Buy a tablet or a PC? Small and midsized businesses (SMBs) no longer have to choose, says PC and server maker Dell.
The company recently launched its new Venue 11 Pro 7000 line of Windows 8.1 tablets that pack enough computing power for desktop workloads. Slimmer and more powerful than their predecessors, Dell's latest business-oriented tablets help SMBs avoid upending their IT management environments.
According to a Dell-sponsored survey conducted by Harris International, more than a third of IT organizations admitted to apprehension around deploying work tablets. The reasons are many, but mainly they boil down to setting up, configuring and managing the devices. Lingering security concerns and the fear that today's shiny new tablets will quickly become obsolete aren't helping.
Workers, on the other hand, don't want to reinvent the wheel. They just want a form factor that offers them more options than the traditional PC.
Figure 1: The Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000 tablet.
Dell's answer is the Venue 11 Pro 7000. The new tablets, and an ecosystem of peripherals, were designed for "office professionals looking to replace their laptop with a more mobile solution," Kelli Hodges, global marketing manager for Dell Tablets, told Small Business Computing.
Small Business Tablets with Intel Core M Inside
To that end, Dell made the tablets easier to tote around. The Venue 11 Pro 7000 is 15 percent thinner (0.42 inches) than previous models. Dell achieved the slender profile by making the move to Intel's new Core M mobile chips.
Venue 11 Pro 7000 is "Dell's first launch with the Core M series from Intel, said Hodges. The smaller, power-sipping chip allowed the company to shave millimeters off the tablet's chassis by, in part, pumping out less heat. As a consequence, the tablets "no longer have to have fans," she said, and they are quieter to boot.
Core M processors, launched on Sept. 5, and according to Intel, they're the "most energy-efficient Intel Core processor in the company's history," enabling a new breed of fan-less laptops and tablets. Power consumption is rated at a scant 4.5 watts.
"Core M is the first of a new product family designed to deliver the promise of one of the world's thinnest laptops and highest performance tablets in a single 2-in-1 device," said Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of Intel personal computing, in a written statement.
Dell's Venue 11 Pro 7000 series tablets are among some of the earliest of these devices. They feature a 10.8-inch IPS display with 10-point capacitive touch support and a full-HD resolution of 1,920 pixels by 1,080 pixel. Screen brightness is rated at 400 nits. A 2-megapixel front-facing camera makes video conferencing possible, while an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera handles on-the-road picture taking and video capture.
Figure 2: The Dell Venue 11 Pro 700 tablet shown (left to right) on its own, with an optional keyboard, and with an optional docking station.
Processor options boil down to a dual-core 2.0 GHz (5Y10a) or a 2.6 GHz (vPro 5Y70) Intel Core M processor, both with 4 MB of cache. Other configuration options include 4 GB or 8 GB of memory and a selection of 64 GB, 128 GB or 256 GB solid-state storage.
Another benefit of the Core M microarchitecture is extended battery life. Coupled with Intel's new energy-saving chips, a 38 watt-hour (Whr) lithium ion battery provides enough juice "to get through the work day," according to Dell.
Small Business Tablets: Designed for Hard Labor
A line of optional peripherals help the Venue 11 Pro 7000 pull desktop duty and survive challenging work environments.
They include the full-sized Dell Venue Keyboard-Mobile, which effectively allows the tablet to double as a laptop and provides a 50 percent battery boost, and the cover-like Venue Keyboard-Slim. The Dell Tablet Dock provides connectivity to an external monitor, keyboard, mouse and USB peripherals. The company's Active Stylus provides pen input.
For doctors and other caregivers, the company has launched a "100 percent 'sanitizable' case" called, fittingly enough, the Dell HealthCare Case, said Hodges. It stands up to the rigors of a busy health worker's day and shields the device from harsh chemicals and fluids. "None of that permeates the tablet," she assured.
A similar ruggedized case featuring hand and shoulder straps for contractors, landscapers and other outdoor workers is also available. For merchants, Dell plans the imminent launch of a point-of-sale dock along with a 2D barcode scanner and magnetic stripe reader for payment card processing, Hodges revealed.
Available now, Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000 tablet pricing start at $699.99.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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