By and large, I’ve got to give Dell credit for a winning solution in their 11″ Venue Pro tablet with detachable keyboard. It’s on par, features and power-wise with equivalent Surface Pro 3 models but the Broadwell Mobile processor makes the unit run at least 20° C cooler than the SP3 does at similar load levels. In fact, even at full load the unit’s operating temperature never seems to exceed 41° C (as compared to typical operating temperatures for the SP3 in the high fifties to mid-sixties °C, depending on overall system load). And with no fan, there’s no need to worry about fan noise either (the SP3 isn’t bad, but I sometimes find myself wondering who’s running a leaf blower at this time of year, when I realize that it’s the high-pitched whine of that unit’s fan in full swing).
Compact tablet with replaceable battery good; plug in clamshell with extra battery better!
But since I’ve installed Windows 10 on this unit — it mostly runs quite nicely, BTW, and switches seamlessly between tablet mode and desktop mode, and undocks from the keyboard without a hiccup — I’ve had a couple of interesting problems with this unit. First and foremost, every time it goes to sleep or gets rebooted, I lose my network connection and have to go into Settings to re-establish same manually (even when instructed to reconnect automatically, it does not do so). Second, and somewhat more irritating, when the machine is left to its own device management, the Windows Driver Foundation — User Mode Driver (WUDFHost.exe) constantly consumes 24-27% of the unit’s CPU power. If I end that task, I can reclaim the CPU cycles, but I lose the Intel HID Sensor collection that includes the tablet’s orientation (gyroscope) sensor and probably the Near Field Communications (NFC) sensor as well (though I have no NFC devices, and thus no way to check its presence or absence after disabling that sensor collection).
This is mildly irritating, to say the least, but not an uncommon set of circumstances when beta-testing a new OS on a new hardware platform. Dell supports Windows 7 and 8.* versions for the Venue 11 Pro, but doesn’t officially support Windows 10 on that platform yet (though I’m sure they’re dealing with the same issues themselves, and no doubt working on a fix, though it’s unlikely to result in driver changes until the OS goes into RTM or GA status later this year). To misquote Ry Cooder in this connection, I observe “Well, that’s the way it goes, down in Hollywood…” These are the kinds of things one learns to work around, when working one’s way into a new OS. Sigh.