Dell, Re-Energized, Introduces Venue Tablets, New XPS Laptops

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2013-10-02

Dell, Re-Energized, Introduces Venue Tablets, New XPS Laptops

Dell says it's going back to being private so that it can be "fast and focused." At a New York City event Oct. 2, it showed off two areas where it plans to apply both: tablets and laptops.

Dell introduced three new XPS laptops, each setting an industry record (per Dell) and four Venue tablets, with choices between Android and Windows 8.1.

"Our goal is to deliver the best experience you can get with any product out there, bar none," said Sam Burd, vice president of Dell's personal computer group.

Dell gave some analysts an early look at its tablets, and before introducing them to the New York crowd, Neil Hand, vice president of tablets and performance PCs at Dell, was delighted to share that analyst Rob Enderle, of the Enderle Group, had found them "damned sexy"—an opinion Hand surely shares.

The Dell Venue 7 and Venue 8 are 7-inch and 8-inch Android-based tablets running Intel Atom "Clover Trail" processors. Priced at $149 and $179, respectively, Hand said they offer "great value, great features and great design ... and will last for a really long time."

Alongside them, Dell introduced an 8-inch Venue 8 Pro and an 11-inch Venue 11 Pro, both running Windows 8.1. These two are built on Intel Atom quad-core processors code-named "Bay Trail," with the Venue 11 Pro offering up to a Core i5 processor, as well as Intel VPro for manageability.

"We wanted to build flexibility into the design and make it extremely affordable," Hand said of the Venue Pro 8. "This is a $299 tablet with full Windows 8 Pro capabilities, expansion options, pen capabilities and it weighs less than 400 grams [or 0.88 pounds]. It's the world's thinnest 8-inch Windows tablet."

The Venue 11 Pro weighs less than a pound and a half and can be paired with a case that includes a full keyboard with physical feedback (which is to say, it's more like the Type keyboard Microsoft offers for its Surface, than the Touch keyboard.) Another option is a Travel Keyboard accessory, which offers an even truer laptop experience and brings the device's battery life up to 17 hours, while a third option—ideal for security-sensitive industries such as financial, health care, government—includes a fingerprint reader.

"We think it has the greatest flexibility of anything on the market today," said Hand.

Alongside the Venue tablets Dell introduced Pocket Cloud, a software solution intended to enable better communication between devices. For example, a user could take a photo with his smartphone and then show it off on his tablet.

Hand pointed out that the tablet market is expected to have nearly a billion users by 2017 and said that Dell is "dedicated" to growing a tablet business and being a leader in the space.

"By dedicating the energy, time and organization activities behind the Venue brand," said Hand, "we plan to be a major player in the tablet market for years."

New XPS Laptops

Dell's XPS laptop lineup, which Burd said is intended to "meet and exceed" the needs of Dell's "toughest customers"—Millennials—now includes the XPS 13, "the most compact 13-inch laptop on the planet"; the XPS 15, the first laptop in the world with a Quad HD+ display; and the XPS 11, the "world's thinnest, lightest and most compact two-in-one Ultrabook" on the market, according to Dell.

Dell Introduces 'Damned Sexy' Venue Tablets, New XPS Laptops

The XPS 11 starts at 2.5 pounds and is 11mm thin at its thinnest point and 15mm thin at its thickest. It feature a 360-degree rotating hinge that enables it to rotate from a laptop to a tablet mode, at which point the keys retract, preventing any typing mishaps and providing the user with a comfortable back surface.

Its 11.6-inch Quad HD+ (2560 x 1440) is also the highest-resolution display in a two-in-one laptop of its size.

The XPS 13 has a 13.3-inch, edge-to-edge full-HD Touch display, fourth-generation Intel Core processors, starts at less than 3 pounds and "continues to be the most compact 13-inch laptop available anywhere," said Hand.

And finally, the XPS 15 features a 15.6-inch, Quad HD+ IGZ0 display. With a resolution of 3200 by 1800, it has more than five times the pixels of a traditional HD display and "half a million more pixels than the MacBook's Retina display," said Hand. "It's the best display on any laptop in the industry and it has double the storage of its nearest competitor. This product really delivers."

The XPS 15 comes with up to a fourth-generation Intel Core i7 quad-core processor and Nvidia discrete graphics, boots in seconds and offers hard-drive configuration options from 500GB to 1TB, both with a 32GB mSATA solid-state drive (SSD) or a 512GB SSD.

Dell's Burd, who's been at the company for about 20 years, said: "I've never seen us more energized about the opportunities that are ahead of us."

The new Venue and XPS devices, he added, offer the performance features that Dell's customers need, "in designs that they'll be proud to show off and own."

The Dell Venue 7 and Venue 8 will be available from Oct. 18, starting at $149.99 and $179.99, respectively. The Venue 8 Pro will arrive the same day, priced at $299.99, while the Venue 11 Pro will arrive in November, priced at $499.99

The new XPS 15 will arrive Oct. 18, priced at $1,499.99, with the XPS 11 and new XPS 13 will follow in November, each priced at $999.99.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This text has been corrected. The Venue 11 Pro and Venue 8 Pro run Microsoft Windows 8.1, not Windows 8.

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