Tablet Mode! Windows 10 on the Dell Venue 8 Pro

It’s finally here, Windows 10 and it’s on my tablet!

I don’t recall there ever being a time when an operating system was launched that both the media and consumers were this excited (and generally positive) about something that Microsoft was launching.  It’s not that much of a surprise however to those of us who have been using Windows 10 preview for the past few months.  Windows 10 is here and it’s time to upgrade.

That upgrade for many will come (when Microsoft says its your turn) on your desktop or laptop but for some it will arrive on a tablets as well.  Leading up to the launch I was running Windows 10 on my laptop but was anxiously waiting to find out if it was going to run on my Dell Venue Pro 8.  I had bought the Venue Pro 8 a few years back because it was the best Windows 8 tablet on the market.  However Windows 8 and the app environment never really took off and slowly the tablet was used less and less.

As more and more people were using the preview a few brave people began to upgrade their tablets and started discussing it online, some experiences were good some were not so good.  The biggest issue with doing the tablet upgrade, especially on the 32GB version, was that there wasn’t enough space to do it.

I decided installing the preview build was not what I wanted to do but once July 29th rolled around I could not wait any longer to install Windows 10 on my Venue Pro. Finally last week I did what any self respecting tech head would do and jumped the line and installed Windows 10 on the tablet.

After deleting just about everything I could I still didn’t have enough room to do the needed in place upgrade.  Since there wasn’t any real important data or many programs left on the device I used the one handy tool Windows 8 included to easily roll back to a fresh Windows install, thankfully in this case it rolled back to Windows 8.1.  Once that was done I headed over to Microsoft’s website and used the Media Creation tool and began the in place upgrade.  Just a little under an hour later I had a nice fresh install of Windows 10 running on my tablet.

My short review of Windows 10 on my Dell Venue Pro 8 is this, it’s fantastic!  I feel like I have a brand new device.  Windows 10 is a tablet operating system that makes the tablet useful, fast and fun to use.  Since the tablet is only 32GB total there is not a lot of room to begin with, and you don’t even get all of that 32GB to use to start with.  I am happy to report that after installing Windows 10 and a bunch of programs I still have over 10GB of free space!  When the tablet was running Windows 8.1 I had 3GB free at best.

The Start menu works nice on the tablet either in Tablet mode or normal mode, I use the normal mode which is basically the same as any desktop or laptop.  Action Center makes getting to important settings and notifications very easy on the tablet and Live Tiles in the Start Menu give you appropriate information.  Two of Windows 10’s biggest additions The Edge browser and Cortana work great on the tablet as well.

Two things that are a big plus for tablet users (and many laptop users as well) will be the new Photos and Groove Music apps.  For anyone using OneDrive to store your photos and music you’ll be able to use both these apps to view and listen to music via streaming so you won’t have to take up any valuable storage on the device.

Finally battery life seems to be quite good on the tablet as well.  I did have one slight issue which was resolved with flashing a new bios to the tablet.  The issue was when the tablet went to sleep I had a hard time getting it to wake back up.  I hadn’t updated the bios so if you have already done this you probably won’t run into any issues.

All in all I am thrilled with Windows 10 on the Dell Venue 8 and happily have it with me as much as possible now.  If your gamer or an Xbox fan you’ll also be happy to know that many of the games run well on it and the new Xbox app is also pretty cool.  It can stream games from your Xbox One if you have a game controller attached to it but I have not tried this yet.

If you happen to have a tablet laying around, perhaps just collecting dust, it’s time to update it (along with all your other compatible PCs) to Windows 10.  Microsoft is finally giving us a PC future we can be excited about!