CPU Performance

The Venue 8 is a unique device among the Android devices that we have tested. While most Android smartphones and tablets employ ARM based SoCs, Dell has opted to use Intel's Atom Z3580 processor. Z3580 is part of Intel's Moorefield line, built on Intel's 22nm process and sporting four Silvermont cores with a max burst frequency of 2.33GHz. To test CPU performance we turn to our standard web based benchmarks, along with Basemark OS II. For our 2015 benchmark suite we've removed Sunspider as it's become too much of an optimization target.

Kraken 1.1 (Chrome/Safari/IE)Google Octane v2  (Chrome/Safari/IE)WebXPRT (Chrome/Safari/IE)

The Z3580 performs very well in all of our web based benchmarks. Its scores are in the same range as devices with Apple's A8 and NVIDIA's Tegra K1 which currently hold the best scores of the devices we've tested.

Basemark OS II 2.0 - OverallBasemark OS II 2.0 - SystemBasemark OS II 2.0 - MemoryBasemark OS II 2.0 - GraphicsBasemark OS II 2.0 - Web

The performance in Basemark OS II is a mixed bag when compared to the consistently good results from our web benchmarks. We see fairly good performance in the web and memory sections of the benchmark, but less impressive scores in the system and graphics categories. This leads to an overall score that sits in the middle of the results from other devices we've tested.

Whether a tablet's performance is acceptable or not will often be based largely on how much the tablet costs. Class leading performance can't really be expected from inexpensive tablets, and for expensive ones having class leading performance is a must. At $399, the Venue 8 is priced at the same point as the Nexus 9, and it trades blows with it across our different tests. With generational improvements to their processors, it's not hard to imagine Intel becoming a major performance leader in the mobile space. Performance isn't the only metric considered when a manufacturer is deciding on the processor for their device, but I wouldn't be surprised if we end up seeing more design wins for Intel in the future.

Device Performance

A device's performance in benchmarks is a fairly objective measurement of performance, but it may not necessarily be representative of how a device actually feels to a user. Issues with performance in the real world can fall under many categories, which range from long loading times to stutters and sluggish framerates. The "jank" that has historically existed on Android devices has typically fallen under the latter category rather than the former. With each iteration of Android, Google has made improvements to this perceived smoothness in the Android interface. The recently released Android Lollipop brought large increases to framerates in many key areas, but the Venue 8 ships with KitKat and can not take advantage of them.

Unfortunately, the Android 4.4 KitKat experience on the Venue 8 is not always as free from jank as one would expect based on its CPU performance. Many issues manifest themselves as stutters or drops in framerate, even in common animations like bring down the notification shade and rotating the device. Turning on any live wallpapers is also guaranteed to bring the animations in the launcher well below 60fps, and even below 30fps. Many scrolling lists also suffer from the jank that was commonly seen on pre-Lollipop versions of Android. It's unfortunate that the Venue 8 didn't ship with Lollipop, as I don't think I would have to discuss performance issues like these if it had. Hopefully a Lollipop update arrives for the Venue 8 soon.

Introduction GPU and NAND Performance
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  • Sushisamurai - Sunday, March 15, 2015 - link

    Yeah, this was a really well done review. Thoroughly enjoyed it even tho I'm not a dell fan. Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, March 12, 2015 - link

    My primary interest in this is that it has the same chip as in the Zenfone 2, I wonder how much it will have to scale back for a smartphone form factor. Seems like that could be the next budget champ, since it should be closer to the Snapdragon 800 than the 400. Reply
  • hrrmph - Thursday, March 12, 2015 - link

    I find it less disconcerting that Dell made a WiFi only version that is being mistaken for a flagship tablet than the fact that it remains difficult to figure out from AT reviews whether there is an LTE version of any given tablet.

    For a flagship tablet review, this should be prominent in the Connectivity section, if not in the Introduction. Flagship tablets have everything but the kitchen sink thrown in - and that is the way it should be.

    There is nothing wrong with the manufacturer making a WiFi only version. It is just that doing so will automatically make that version of the tablet a mid-range tablet. Maybe, upper mid-range - at best, if we are being charitable and they nailed everything else down perfectly.

    4G LTE and GPS radios are mandatory for a tablet to be considered a true fully equipped flagship because it represents the peak level of equipage possible. Those who need it know why they need it...

    ...and AT should make it easier for us to figure it out... instead of having to sort through a pile of chaff to figure out if we are even interested in the article at hand. As it is, these type of muddled articles border on being clickbait.

    If it were not for a helpful reader's comment, I wouldn't even know that Dell has produced LTE versions in this class of device.

    In addition to asking whether Dell is interested in providing full flagship value, I'm finding myself asking the same of AT.
    Reply
  • Brandon Chester - Thursday, March 12, 2015 - link

    I apologize for not listing it in the chart on the first page. However, it was mentioned in the WiFi section. I've added it to the connectivity cell in the spec chart to make it easily accessible. Reply
  • FlyBri - Thursday, March 12, 2015 - link

    @hrrmph -- I'm sorry, but you are sorely mistaken with your comment about a flagship tablet absolutely having to have a 4G LTE radio. Adding in a cell radio usually increases the cost of the tablet much more, and you can have the exact same tablet without it, and it's still considered flagship. So what are you saying is that an iPad Air 2 with a cell radio is a flagship device whereas the same iPad Air 2 without is not? That's just ridiculous. any iPad Air 2 is a flagship device -- period. Many tablets are used just as a media consumption device at home with WiFi. And as someone mentioned earlier, you can also many times use your phone as a hotspot to get cell coverage for the tablet.

    As a tablet doesn't have to have a cell radio, it can still be a flagship device. So you can have a flagship tablet with and without a cell radio -- it's as simple as that.
    Reply
  • metayoshi - Thursday, March 12, 2015 - link

    By the way and off topic, nice Google+ avatar Brandon. One of the best Anime in recent times.

    Back to the review... Great review. I was also someone really wanting Dell to succeed on this one since I'm still on the lookout for a Windows tablet and Dell seems to have a bunch in the pipeline. Kind of disappointed at this device, but also somewhat expected considering they're not really the first choice when it comes to Android tablets.

    Dell recently updated their Venue 11 Pro tablet line with the Core M 5Y71, and that, along the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi, which is not out yet, is on my radar for a future purchase. If you guys could get reviews on those devices, that would be really nice. Of course, the best thing to do right now is probably wait until the Surface Pro 4 comes out, but I'd like to see some comparisons with other tablets/hybrid models before I make a purchase decision.
    Reply
  • GeekBrains - Thursday, March 12, 2015 - link

    Since the DELL Venue 8 is now having the option to update to Lollipop, why wasn't it updated before running all the benchmarks?
    http://www.hardwarezone.com.sg/feature-hands-dell-...
    Reply
  • Brandon Chester - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    The update wasn't available at the time I was doing my testing. I had to send the Venue 8 back to Dell. Reply
  • LukaP - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    Perhaps noting in the review that the Lollipop version is now available, instead of saying it may take a while would be good. Reply
  • Brandon Chester - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    I'm actually still looking into this because that hardwarezone source is the only site saying there's now a Lollipop update out, and yet their photos are of a tethered unit running KitKat. Once I hear back from Dell I'll update the article. Reply

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