Dell is back in the Android business, and its Venue tablets are low-cost alternatives to the competition this holiday season

How do you make an Android tablet stand out? If you’re Samsung, you equip it with 101 features and throw in an S-Pen for good measure. If you’re LG, you craft a well-made tablet around remarkable specs and your increasingly popular UI. And if you’re Google, you create a premium and pure Android software experience and let someone else worry about the hardware.

With a market cornered by a handful of big names, how does Dell, a company with an unlucky history in the Android world, compete? Well, one way is competitive pricing. And Dell will be hoping that the Venue 8’s $180 price point, coupled with its brand name recognition, will be enough to lure first-time tablet buyers away from the competition this holiday season.

From the outside, the Venue 8 is your standard 8-inch Android tablet fare: it fits nicely in the hand thanks to its modest 130 mm width, and at 292 grams, it’s light enough to carry with you throughout your day, yet manages to feel sturdy and solid. I dig the matte black finish on the rear of the device, which avoids pesky fingerprints that glossy finishes tend to collect.

The left side of the device houses he volume rocker and microUSB charger, while the microSD card slot is hidden underneath a door on the Venue’s right side. The headphone jack and a relatively low-powered speaker are located on the bottom of the tablet.

On the front we have an 8-inch display with a slightly-underwhelming 1200 x 800 resolution. Despite its low pixel density, though, this panel manages accurate color reproduction, respectable viewing angles, and reasonable brightness. We would have loved one or two steps up from what Dell ultimately decided to include, but at $180 we guess beggars can’t be choosers.

dell venue 8

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Dell is back in the Android business, and its Venue tablets are low-cost alternatives to the competition this holiday season How do you make an Android tablet stand out? If you’re Samsung, you equip it with 101 features and throw in an S-Pen for good measure. If you’re LG, you...