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Author Topic: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro  (Read 706 times)

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knave

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Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« on: December 07, 2016, 03:27:42 pm »
My gadget addiction continues...

This holiday season I tried really hard not to buy any more computers for myself. Deals come and deals go but truth is I have (more than) three computers that I use frequently and don't really need any more since I figured out that I buy them and then they sit and rot because I have no use for them. (not to mention the Computers I have and don't use)

Well Hello first Gen Surface pro 64gb for $148. Right...old...low storage...came with no OS...Sigh

I always wanted one when they came out and were $1000. So in order to further my tech skillset I picked one up.
I stuck Windows 10 on it direct from Microsoft...no problem and it activated automatically. I have 42 out of the 64 gigs free.
I like it. Plus it came with the magnetic type cover keyboard.

Does anyone like these things anymore...What now we are on Surface 4? The i5 CPU and 4gb ram seem pretty snappy. I'm probably going to dedicate this to media consumption since I hate how Android tablets become incompatible with an app you've used for years just because the developer sets a newer minimum requirement. I love having a portable version of full windows

This is much more tablet-centric than my dell Venue 11 pro. Yes...I know I had a windows tablet so I didn't need this one. But...reasons...and it is shiny and only cost $150

I always had a love-hate relationship with the 11 pro. It is a good machine...but has some quirks that don't make it my go-to machine. In comparison:

The Surface has a slightly smaller screen 10.6 vs the 10.8 I don't think I notice.
Surface has a core i5 CPU vs the core i3 in my version of the dell Venue 11 pro
Surface has only 64GB of storage vs the 128GB of the Dell
Surface has a thin cover with an integrated keyboard vs the dell type cover with a extra battery, with the keyboards the dell is much more like a netbook form factor and the surface looks like a tablet with a kickstand and keyboard accessory. Extra props to the Surface for having a backlit keyboard.
Surface has a mini display port while the dell had mini HDMI
Surface battery lasts 4-5 hours vs the 10 I get with the dell (6-7 on the tablet itself and another 3-4 due to the keyboard battery)
Both have a micro SD slot and all the standards of tablets, WiFi, Blootooth, one USB port etc.

The quirks of the Dell that I do not like are mainly in its charger, that with keyboard attached it is basically a small laptop thus I grab my laptop anyway. I feel like it is fragile though it has survived well so far.
Also it was ~$300 and while I have gotten some use out of it is near the top of the list of "Things I kind of wish I hadn't bought" right next to the PS3, my second OUYA and a guitar.

The surface has a feel of portability around it, not to mention durability and while it does not sit on your lap as well as the Dell it probably will be my go to media consumption device

In the end I think the differences are pretty minor except in very specific scenarios.
I will use the surface a bit more and see if it really is what I'm looking for.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2016, 04:30:23 pm by knave »

BorgDog

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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2016, 04:16:11 pm »
hmm, I can relate.  I have 2 of the Winbook windows tablets, a 7" and an 8", both of course with atom processors, but also both less than $100 each.  The 7" is actually built into my Little Bastard arcade (link in sig) and does very well for that function unless I need to reach the power button.  The 8" lives out in the shop for when I want to look something up or to check plans I have on dropbox or whatever. Cheap tablet is great for use in the shop, really don't need to worry about it getting dust on it or anything, no fan nor moving parts really, just lives on a charger on the shelf. I recently picked up a Nexus 9 tablet that lives in my nightstand for browsing, reading, e-mail etc and for those functions it is perfect, 9" screen means it's big enough to see what I'm doing but small and light enough to not ever be a pain to use (looking at you two ipads I've also owned that hurt when they fall on your face when you fall asleep).

Nice deal on the old surface, keep seeing ads for old surfaces, but so far have resisted the urge to pull the trigger.
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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2016, 04:51:37 pm »
A few years ago I picked up a refurbed 10" Unbranded (best buy brand) Win 8, 32GB tablet for $45, then dropped another $55 for the keyboard.
It's nice to pack on the motorcycle, but the thing is painfully slow.
The keyboard is just undersized enough to prevent you from being able to type normally.

Is the keyboard on the old Surface full size?



knave

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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2016, 07:29:36 pm »
It is close to full size perhaps 90%
I don't have any issue typing on it...But I suck at typing anyway...

Image attached

UEDan

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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2016, 08:55:06 pm »
Been looking at these at work. I have a Surface 3 right in front of me that I've been testing.
I don't like them. Too gimmicky for me to be honest. Glad you like yours though!
I am excited for the 2 Surface Books I just ordered though!

thomas_surles

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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2016, 12:10:17 pm »
Well since you posted this in just dropped 200 on the 128gb one with the good keyboard (not the touch one) no stylus and still has windows 8. Also I've never used windows 8 before.

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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2016, 01:01:23 pm »
The surface seems to be microsoft's attempt to get in on the "exceedingly overpriced netbook but idgits will buy it because it's pretty" market that apple usually has cornered.  At least in Apple's defense their offerings are powerful enough to do useful things with them.  I'm not saying to not buy a windows netbook, they are actually pretty neat because you can run the same apps you have on your pc.  All I'm saying is buy an unbranded one with a decent keyboard and save yourself a few hundred bucks.  Asus makes a damn fine windows netbook convertable and they are usually under 200 bucks accessories included. 

Thomas:

Most people hate windows 8.  Myself I don't care for it but I can work with it, but I would suggest you try it first as it's an acquired taste.  Keep in mind that microsoft scrapped windows 9 as a direct response to windows 8.... people hated it that much. 

knave

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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2016, 02:32:21 pm »
I was really surprised by the price of the Surface line when they came out. ~$1000 or more for a tablet? No thanks. I barely want to spend that on my gaming PC much less a glorified e-reader/tv/email device. Not worth it at all.

Now I agree with Howard that it is neat to have a full version of windows on a mobile device. I could install a much of the software I already owned/quality open source versions and be set.
After I picked up the Dell windows tablet I was actually pretty surprised at what it could do. With a 4th gen i3 and 4 GB ram it handles most productivity and media related tasks. I installed steam and tons of the cheap indie games I've picked up over the years run on it. Best three are Plants vs Zombies because of it's mobile roots, Skulls of the Shogun, and Talisman the board game.

I appreciate that provided I can keep them alive...in 5 years these tablets should still run what they do now. Perhaps not quickly but websites should still load and video should still play. as opposed to the OS creep of android where my OS 4.4 version today might no longer support HBO or whatever App I want in the future.

~300 was an ok deal two years ago...but I didn't really need/use it...$150 today is a pretty good deal and I plan on retiring my Android tablet from 2011.
If I didn't have kids who always want to use my toys I probably would have had to think longer on buying the 2nd tablet. (who am I kidding, I still would have)
I'm surprised at myself really...I really want to baby the dell but the Surface I'm fine with throwing around and abusing...

I thought many times about getting one of the really cheap tablets with an Atom CPU however I am drawn to the beefier CPUs. That and many of the off brands have questionable quality reputations.
I would buy an Asus, Lenovo, Samsung or any major brand without hesitation if the price is right.

Microsoft...since they own windows did make it really a snap to get windows 10 pro installed. Really I just made a bootable USB install drive and ran it. Everything else like drivers, activation and updates was automatic. I turned off all the privacy crap and created a standard user account and I was in business to youtube/Netflix/read to my hearts content.

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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2016, 07:37:44 am »
The one I got will be for my wife, but I was hoping to use it with the pen to trace and vectorize artwork. Does it even run photoshop and illustator? Either way she will just use it for typing school papers.

dkersten

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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2016, 12:44:34 pm »
A few years back I looked into converging the needs of PC users with tablet hardware, and it was a complete and utter failure.  I myself tried uploading my manuscript onto a tablet so I could read and edit it outside of my home office.  You wouldn't think that a 500kb doc file would be unusable on a tablet, but it is.  Despite having 2 or 3gb of RAM, quad core processors, etc., the tablet took nearly a half hour to open the document and once open, took several minutes to scroll a few lines or to edit a word.  I tried 3 different office products, and while they work great for opening a 3 page spreadsheet or a 10 page word doc, a longer document simply didn't work.  Yet a 15 year old PC with a second gen pentium processor can open that document just fine. 

The Surface is trying to fill that gap, so I can understand the price.  I just don't think it is quite there yet, even with the latest generation. You can get a laptop that is just as light (with keyboard), has a longer lasting battery, a full keyboard, and probably slightly newer technology for about the same price, and if you don't mind a little more weight and a couple centimeters more bulk, one for half the price.  When they can make a full blown PC the size and weight of a tablet with battery life to match, AND cost to match, then you have something to bridge that gap.

So far I see it as trying to create a new segment and failing, but hey, $150 to try out one of the older ones isn't too bad. 

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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2016, 01:04:56 pm »
But it's a gap that doesn't need filled.  If you need a powerful machine with a keyboard, you obviously need a laptop and not a tablet.  If you don't then a netbook or tablet will do you at which point it's too expensive. 

Btw products like the surface will never be cheaper than desktops unless they stop making desktops.  Why?  Common sense.  The latest and greatest processor/architecture/ect. is always going to be large... because it just became possible to mass produce it.  By the time it is miniaturized for a laptop or similar device they've already came out with the next latest and greatest thing on the pc end of things. The surface, and products like it are even smaller and thus, even more expensive.  Because windows and other OS always optimize to the average hardware, you'll always have to have a fairly powerful pc to run the OS well and thus you'll either pay a small fortune to buy something like the surface with cutting edge miniaturized tech, be more reasonable and buy a laptop, or be cheap and buy a tablet/netbook or buy outdated tech that may or may not perform well enough to get what you want done. 


knave

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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2016, 03:11:38 pm »
I think the Surface is aimed at business/corporate users who don't buy their own technology...meaning that any device around $1000 is an acceptable price point.
For a home user or out-of-pocket businessman it feels like too much to me. Though tech junkies and early adopters might be ok with it.

Long after I wanted one, I spoke to a co-worker who used his for everything. He loved it and could not say enough good things about it.

After comparing the two windows tablets, I realize that the Dell is one generation newer than the Surface and has a 4th generation i3 vs. the 3rd gen i5 of the surface. Right away other manufacturers released windows tablets with comparable specs for abut half the price of a surface.
CPU benchmarks still place the i5 way ahead of the i3, loosing only in terms of power consumption. This is a trend I noticed in once I started to pick up older Business class units...the older gen core CPU can often handle more operations then the newer gen equivalent.

Both of the these tablets handle any average productivity use with ease. I remember hating Netbooks with a passion as I did not find the Atom CPUs up to average tasks.

Where windows tablets win is their ability to run standard software. Windows 8.1 was an ok tablet interface...windows 10 is even better. in some ways though windows still lags behind tablet veterans such as IOS and android...the UIs are just more intuitive and streamlined.

For me it is a done deal...I'm not invested in either the Apple or Android ecosystems but do have lots and lots of windows software. It is real cool to take all my stuff with me in one device.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2016, 03:13:49 pm by knave »

dkersten

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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2016, 06:46:26 pm »
But it's a gap that doesn't need filled.  If you need a powerful machine with a keyboard, you obviously need a laptop and not a tablet.  If you don't then a netbook or tablet will do you at which point it's too expensive.
A part of me agrees.  Then I look at a $250 tablet vs a $1000 laptop and have a desire for near laptop performance out of something costing closer to a tablet (and has the other conveniences of a tablet, like hyper-portability) and I can see the gap pretty clearly as well as a need to fill it.

Like Knave said though, this need to fill it is more for business use.  I have hundreds of guys in the field calling on customers.  A moderate business laptop with an Office license is around $1200 and lasts 4-5 years.  Then there is the smartphone, which when you strip away the padded monthly costs, is a $500-700 device that lasts about 2 years.  But when standing there talking to a customer, it is inconvenient to pull out your laptop to look at literature and pricing.  And the phone is too small.  So the tablet is perfect, but another $250+ for the device, plus support from IT staff and that extra bit of tech adds up in a hurry.  So if we can combine the laptop and tablet it could be cheaper and easier, right?  But the tablet isn't going to last 4-5 years, most keyboards are junk, the screen is small unless you spend more, and in the end it can't do everything a laptop can.  That's where the Surface comes in (or should anyway).  But at $900-$1000 for a 2 year device... well, still not quite there.  No price incentive to switch.  It needs to get down to the $400-500 range.  I can get a bare bones Surface Pro 4 right now for $700, but what I really need is the $800+ version with the core i5 for a few hundred less...

FYI, a lot of people in similar industries are moving to virtualization with tablets.  Get them a tablet and a citrix client and you have a 2 year device for well under $500 that can run any desktop software.  Not bad if you can spring for a server to run a few hundred virtualized desktops...

Quote
Btw products like the surface will never be cheaper than desktops unless they stop making desktops.  Why?  Common sense.  The latest and greatest processor/architecture/ect. is always going to be large... because it just became possible to mass produce it.  By the time it is miniaturized for a laptop or similar device they've already came out with the next latest and greatest thing on the pc end of things. The surface, and products like it are even smaller and thus, even more expensive.  Because windows and other OS always optimize to the average hardware, you'll always have to have a fairly powerful pc to run the OS well and thus you'll either pay a small fortune to buy something like the surface with cutting edge miniaturized tech, be more reasonable and buy a laptop, or be cheap and buy a tablet/netbook or buy outdated tech that may or may not perform well enough to get what you want done.
Intel has been releasing their laptop parts before the desktop counterparts for the last 2 generations.  Desktops are already dead, and the pricing out there shows it.  Pricing is driven by demand and there is almost no demand for midrange desktops any more.  For a few years now, the drive for manufacturers has been focused on smaller, more efficient parts and pieces and small batteries to run it.  The smartphone market has proven that there is a demand for high end miniaturized computers.  Unless you are looking for a workstation or gaming machine, the price difference between laptops and desktops is currently a wash.  And for the kind of tablet I am talking about filling that gap with, it just needs to be a viable desktop/laptop replacement, doesn't need to be a bleeding edge powerhouse.  When these tablets can do what a laptop can do and be priced somewhere between an ARM based tablet and a laptop/desktop, then the gap will be filled.  We are getting close, but not quite there yet. 

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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2016, 08:47:11 pm »
Sorry but that just isn't true.  The desktop version is cheaper because it's easier to mass produce and that will always be the case.  Desktops are alive and well and so long as there are businesses they always will be.

dkersten

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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2016, 10:01:01 pm »
Sorry but that just isn't true.  The desktop version is cheaper because it's easier to mass produce and that will always be the case.  Desktops are alive and well and so long as there are businesses they always will be.
When was the last time you bought a computer from a mainstream manufacturer like Dell, HP, or Lenovo?  I just bought 30 desktops and 15 laptops.  The laptops have the same specs, right down to the 128gb ssd drives, chipset series, cpu series and generation, ram, and screen resolution.  The laptops started edging out the desktops with monitors 2 years now ago..  Up until then there was a clear price difference.  Not so any more.

Desktop demand dropped out on the consumer side, which drove prices up on the business side where there is still demand.  But laptops outsell desktops be a huge margin, and that is not going to stop.  When desktops get too expensive, businesses will just replace them with laptops, thin clients, or just the newer micro desktops which are just laptops with desktop processors in them and no screen or keyboard attached.  If manufacturers have their way, tablets will do the same to laptops in the next few years.  Cheaper to make, no serviceable parts, shorter lifespan... it's a manufacturers dream.  Only thing holding them back is businesses, and when you can convince businesses to get a tablet instead of a laptop, like the Surface for example, you have effectively started the clock on the demise of the laptops...

knave

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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2016, 01:15:02 pm »
No form factor will ever be truly extinct. Consumers have been moving to laptops because the mobility and convenience has outweighed better price/performance ratio of desktops. But their is still plenty of market for desktops. I do agree that at the budget end price and specs have become similar. ~$200 for a crappy CPU and 2GB ram 4 if you are really lucky. But for anything but the most budget models desktop specs will start to edge out laptops at higher price points.

Businesses Still prefer desktops for the majority of their users. (Unless they Need Mobility)Thin clients and ultra small form factor desktops are a threat to them but pricing for the enterprise level of virtualization software is not at a point where it makes it cost effective unless the shop has special needs. And then they can use cheaper one-of solutions.  I'd say offices who do not need mobility can find a better desktop solution.

These laptop-tablet hybrids do have a place...it is about convenience vs need. The 2-3 year old surface has specs that are good enough to accommodate the needs of the average computer user. Put it in a box, hooked up to a monitor, keyboard and mouse and lots of people wouldn't notice. it is good enough for email, social media, TV and light productivity. But it IS portable...just you don't have a huge screen, or full keyboard, or mouse without hooking them up this sacrificing some convenience. At $150 it is totally worth it but at $800 I will pass and just use a Laptop. I still love the $200 old school Latitude I picked up off-lease.

I'm an anomaly in that I (am crazy) have the luxury to dedicate several computers to various purposes to meet my needs. Whereas I could easily just use one Laptop for everything. When I travel I take a Laptop, and tablet, and smartphone with me. I'm pretty sure that for most trips I could get by with the surface and my phone. That is the nitch. At home I use it to read, or watch TV if I don't want to disturb others...or to look up that "one thing real quick" because it there within arms reach. Sure I could use my phone...but the tablet is just nicer and I still don't have to sit down.

thomas_surles

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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2016, 08:06:28 am »
I got mine in the mail yesterday and put sims 4 on it for my wife. Runs great. I like that it can mount .iso out of the box without extra software. I need to get a pen for it to see if I can trace artwork and vectorize it.

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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2016, 04:07:16 pm »
Just beware some of them are well engineered while others are old-school and have a fan inside to dissipate heat. They get noisey. No tablet should need a friggin fan, not this day in age.

NO MORE!!

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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2016, 04:52:17 am »
I've noticed mine gets really hot.
It has overheated on my wife playing sims 4
« Last Edit: December 15, 2016, 05:37:19 am by thomas_surles »

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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2016, 01:50:45 pm »
I've noticed that mine gets warm...Not really hot and never uncomfortable to hold...there is a fan but it is pretty quiet. I can't hear it unless I put my ear to right up to the tablet and with any audio playing it is pretty inaudible.

My dell tablet has a fan as well it is louder than the surface and still never bothered me. I do think the fan on the Surface kicks on sooner and more.
 I understand the need fan. Tablets with low power CPUs don't need a fan. But this is basically a full Laptop CPU shoehorned into a tablet. I'll take the fan noise and more grunt any day over weak and silent.

The fan in the surface is pretty well designed. The exhaust exits through a slot that runs most of the length of the top of the tablet. I barely notice it and I don't any risk in accidently covering the port.

After using it for a while I can say it is a pretty solid device. its few quirks are easy to overlook considering how well it functions.

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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2016, 02:41:31 pm »
So I think it may have overheated because my wife was using it on top of a fleece blanket. It hasn't happened since.

I am enjoying using Adobe illustrator on it. It beats the hell out of tracing art with a mouse.

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Re: Windows tablets...Cheap Gen 1 Surface Pro vs. Dell Venue 11 pro
« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2017, 06:10:14 pm »
No form factor will ever be truly extinct. Consumers have been moving to laptops because the mobility and convenience has outweighed better price/performance ratio of desktops. But their is still plenty of market for desktops. I do agree that at the budget end price and specs have become similar. ~$200 for a crappy CPU and 2GB ram 4 if you are really lucky. But for anything but the most budget models desktop specs will start to edge out laptops at higher price points.
I completely agree that at the top end a desktop is going to be better and cheaper, but entry and mid range (basically anything without a high end graphics card) are equal once you add in a monitor, and at mid range the laptops have the price edge right now.

Quote
Businesses Still prefer desktops for the majority of their users. (Unless they Need Mobility)Thin clients and ultra small form factor desktops are a threat to them but pricing for the enterprise level of virtualization software is not at a point where it makes it cost effective unless the shop has special needs. And then they can use cheaper one-of solutions.  I'd say offices who do not need mobility can find a better desktop solution.
Sure, any employee tied to a desk doesn't need a laptop, and since bigger screens work better for most people, a desktop makes more sense.  Right now a mid level business computer will cost you about $1000 for a core i5, ssd drive, and 1080 screen.  In a desktop that screen will be a 24" and in a laptop a 15", but all other specs are equal.  Niche stuff is going to cost you more, and while you can go cheaper, over time that can cost you more too.
You might be surprised how few computers you need for thin clients and Citrix servers to be cost effective though... particularly now that a desktop will cost you around $500 more than the thin client.  2-3 years ago it was closer to a $200 difference.. And with cloud computing coming on strong, don't be surprised if the OS generation after the next is fully subscription based SaaS...

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At $150 it is totally worth it but at $800 I will pass and just use a Laptop. I still love the $200 old school Latitude I picked up off-lease.
For a consumer looking for second hand tech, it can make sense because of the price.  For a business, you don't buy second hand because you need it to perform for several years without issues.  It's unfortunate though because I do see a place for it in the business world, but like you said, not at that price point.

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I'm an anomaly ...
I don't think so at all.. With a ton of cheap tech available, combined with a desire to spend money, I don't think it is unusual for consumers today to have a device for everything.  Last year there was a commercial for the Amazon Fire where they had one for each room in the house because it was like $35 for the smaller one (with ads)... I was tempted to buy a few to have lying around the house, but then I came to my senses.  Cheap tech is like a siren call to those of us who grew up in the 70's and 80's (and even some from the 90's).  It doesn't even matter if it is practical or not, we see things we wanted when we were younger (whether they had been invented yet or not) and when they are within easy grasp we snatch it up.  I'm sure I am not the only one here who has had the first world problem of what to do with that perfectly functioning 32" LCD TV that got replaced by the much thinner, lighter, and better looking 40" LCD (that cost less than the 32" TV it replaced) that sits in a room that almost nobody uses. 

I travel with my kindle paperwhite for reading, my 10" Fire HD for watching movies, and my laptop for business use, and of course I always have my smartphone on me.  Do I really need a 5.5" screen in my pocket, a 6.5" screen in my back pocket, a 10" screen and a 15" screen in my backpack?  Hell yes I do, each has it's own use and can do that better than the other.. 

  
 

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