Dell’s affordable Venue tablets, while not quite Nexus 7 or iPad mini killer material, have proven fairly popular of late, particularly when discounted as part of several limited-time promotions. Ergo, it’s no surprise the PC maker is looking to bolster its slate portfolio, raising the performance ante of the humble Android-based Venue 7 and 8 and keeping costs relatively in check.
The beefed-up Venue 7, unveiled a month back alongside an upgraded Venue 8 that remains up in the air, is now up for grabs on Dell’s US website, costing just $159.99 in a version packing 16 GB on-board storage.
That’s a measly 10 bucks north of the old Venue 7’s initial asking price, and the minuscule gap is pretty amazing given there’s a spanking new Intel Atom Z3640 “Merrifield” chip powering the fresh bad boy. A dual-core, like the aging Z2560, and clocked at 1.6 GHz, again like the 2560, the 3640 is nonetheless punchier and more frugal, delivering battery life around the 7-hour mark, up from five hours or so.
Aside from the processing speed bump, not much else has been changed, although the latest Venue 7 does run the latest flavor of Android (4.4 KitKat), and comes with a refined exterior, wasp waist (8.95 mm) and featherweight numbers (290 grams). Not bad for less than half of iPad mini Retina’s price, huh?