- Solid performer
- Long battery life
- Strong connectivity
- Bulky and heavy
- Keyboard sold separately
Dell Venue 10 Pro Tablet 5000 series (2016) review: The Venue 10 Pro 5056, otherwise known as the ‘New Venue 10 Pro 5000’, is the 2016 edition of Dell’s professional tablet range. We test out this 10-inch slate, boasting a sharp Full HD screen, impressive connectivity and the option to convert into a laptop using the separate keyboard dock.
Windows 10 is still a mere bairn, yet we’ve already seen plenty of Windows 10 tablets and laptop convertibles to keep you productive on the move. Dell’s Venue 10 Pro 5056, its new Pro 5000 series tablet, is one of the more affordable Win 10 devices with a price tag starting at £349 via Dell’s current website offer. But can it compete with the likes of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 and other more pricey Windows tablets?
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Dell Venue 10 Pro 5056 review: Design
The new Venue 10 Pro 5000 is a chunky monkey, with a body that’s almost 10mm thick, and it’s not exactly lightweight either. That 662g frame is roughly 50 percent heavier than the Apple iPad Air 2, for example, so it’s not really meant to be clutched one-handed for long periods. Rather, it’s best used when resting on your lap or a flat surface, or propped up using Dell’s cover or keyboard dock.
That said, the new Venue 10 Pro can definitely be handled in a pinch, and the well-sized bezels surrounding the display means your thumb isn’t in danger of straying onto the screen by accident. That soft-touch rear also gives the tablet some much-needed grip.
You don’t have to worry about the Venue 10 Pro falling apart in your bag, either. It’s solidly built, with a tough, rounded plastic edging that soaks up punishment when the tablet is bashed about.
Connectivity is one of the Venue 10 Pro’s highlights, with a whole bunch of ports lining the sides. There’s a microSD memory card slot to expand the on-board storage, mini HDMI to connect a TV or monitor, Type-C USB to charge and even a full-sized USB port for connecting . It’s also possible to buy a micro SIM SKU, for staying connected outside of WiFi hotspots.
You’ll struggle to find many other tablets with such a strong range of ports right now.
Dell Venue 10 Pro 5056 review: Screen and media
Another highlight is the new Venue 10 Pro 5000’s 10.1-inch IPS screen. The 1920×1200 pixel resolution keeps things relatively crisp at around 220 pixels-per-inch, so your high-def movies and documents look nice and sharp, despite the full-sized scale.
Viewing angles are wide enough to comfortably watch a film with a friend, while contrast levels are also strong, with deep blacks and clean-looking whites. It’s not the brightest screen around, falling short of the iPad Air for instance, but we only struggled to see when watching dark movie scenes with bright overhead lighting.
With 64GB of built-in storage, expandable via microSD, there’s plenty of room on the Venue 10 Pro for a bunch of movies and other media. You can even connect an external drive via USB if you’ve got an enormous film collection to cart about.
The Venue’s dual side-mounted speakers pump out pleasingly powerful audio, although they don’t quite reach the giddy heights of the iPad Pro’s quad-speaker setup. However, the unfortunate lower positioning sadly means that your palms naturally smother the speakers when clutching the tablet, unless you flip the thing upside down.
Dell Venue 10 Pro 5056 review: Windows 10 and features
Windows 10 is of course the OS of choice here, and it runs smoothly on the Venue 10 Pro 5056. You get all of the usual features including Cortana, plus a few Dell extras such as SupportAssist (which gives status info and checks for any issues) and Dell’s Data Protection security software.
However, we did experience a couple of annoying issues during our time with Windows on the Venue 10 Pro 5056. For one, the WiFi kept dropping out unexpectedly, despite staying strong on other connected devices, requiring a manual disconnect and reconnect to sort out.
Also, the virtual keyboard can be rather temperamental, refusing to pop up when we tried signing into various accounts – we had to manually bring up the Windows keyboard ourselves.
As this is a business tablet, chances are you’ll want to splash out on the optional keyboard dock accessory. The tablet attaches to the dock via dual docking pins to give you a laptop-style experience, with a proper physical keyboard for smashing out word documents at a much faster rate. This also bypasses those issues with the default virtual keyboard.
We haven’t tested out the dock with the tablet, but we’ll update this review if and when we do.
Dell Venue 10 Pro 5056 review: Performance and battery life
An Intel Atom X5 Z8500 powers the new Dell Venue 10 Pro, backed up by a mighty 4GB of RAM. That’s enough power to run office suites, creative software such as video editors and even some relatively modern games. We blasted through some fairly demanding action titles and they ran with a smooth frame rate throughout.
Battery life is also strong, offering eight hours of non-stop media streaming per charge. That’s almost as good as the iPad Mini 4 and iPad Air 2, and should keep you going all day or keep your productive or entertained throughout a long-haul flight.
Dell Venue 10 Pro 5056 review: Verdict
The Venue 10 Pro 5056 boasts solid performance and battery life, making this a Windows 10 device worth considering for the mobile professional who can’t quite stretch to the Surface Book or Surface Pro 4’s asking price. You’ll need to grab the optional keyboard dock for the full experience, however, while the thick and hefty design means it’s not too comfortable to use as a tablet.
|Processor||Intel Atom X5 Z8500|
|4G LTE||SIM optional|