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Dell unveils its all-new Venue tablets, plus major updates to its XPS Ultrabook line

Michael Brown | Oct. 3, 2013
New products will run Windows 8.1 and Android; Windows RT gets the cold shoulder.

Dell will offer an optional docking station that can drive an external DisplayPort 1.2 monitor at resolutions up to 2560 by 1600 pixels (or an outboard HDMI 1.4 display at resolutions up to 1920 by 1080 pixels). Hand also showed me an optional docking keyboard/case accessory that effectively transforms the tablet into an Ultrabook. The keyboard felt great under my fingertips, and it houses a second battery for the tablet.

Speaking of batteries, the Venue 11 Pro's is removable. Unfortunately, Dell doesn't provide any means of charging a spare battery outside the tablet. Hand said the intent was more to provide the enterprise with flexibility than to extend the tablet's runtime. Maybe he'll change his mind if there's enough demand for a battery-charging dock.

The Venue 11 Pro will be available in several configurations when it ships in November, with the base model powered by a quad-core Intel Atom Z3770 (Bay Trail family), 2GB of DDR3/1333 memory, and 32GB of solid-state storage. Dell will also offer models with Intel's dual-core Pentium 3560Y processor (Bay Trail again) and several dual-core Haswell-class CPUs (the Core i3 4020Y, Core i5-4210Y, and Core i5-4300Y). The higher-end models will be equipped with either 4GB or 8GB of DDR3/1600 memory, and 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB SSDs.

An 8-megapixel camera is mounted on the back, and there's a 2-megapixel camera in the front. You can plug in a headset for video conferencing or media playback, and a full-size USB 3.0 port supports devices such as external hard drives. A MicroSD card reader can add an additional 64GB of on-the-go storage.

Most Venue 11 Pro models will ship with a Dell Wireless 1537 dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter, but models configured with Intel's Core i5 with vPro CPU will have an Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 adapter on-board. Bluetooth 4.0 and Near Field Communication (NFC) will be supported. As with the Venue 8 Pro, mobile broadband options--HSPA+ or LTE--will also be available.

Depending on the configuration, the Venue 11 Pro will weigh either 1.57 or 1.76 pounds and will range in thickness from 0.4 to 0.6 inches. Dell expects the base model to be available in November and has priced it at $500. The company didn't announce pricing for the higher-end SKUs or for the accessories.

XPS Ultrabooks
Dell XPS 11

Dell reserves its XPS brand for products aimed at PC enthusiasts, and the three Ultrabooks that Dell announced today should appeal to that crowd. All three machines are built from a mixture of carbon fiber, machined aluminum, and Gorilla Glass. And each model is outfitted with a fourth-generation Intel Core processor, SSD storage, and an 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter.


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