New Dell Venue Pro tablets run Windows 8.1; no Windows RT in sight

Dell Venue Pro tablets

Dell introduced a pair of new tablets on Wednesday, updating their hardware line for Windows 8.1 on the go. Both tablets run the full version of Windows 8.1 and are powered by next-generation quad-core Intel Atom chips, also known as “Bay Trail”. The company also introduced accessories specific to the slates.¬†With the release of the new Dell Venue Pro tablets, it looks like Microsoft is alone in the Windows RT market.

Dell Venue Pro tablets

Dell’s two tablets come in different sizes — 8 inches and 11 inches — and both have HD screens but with different resolutions: 1280 x 800 on the smaller tablet and 1920 x 1080 on the larger edition. With Intel’s newest Atom processor, both will see solid battery life as well: each is rated for 10 hours. The larger device has a removable battery so you can swap in a spare. There’s also a Mobile Keyboard option for the 11-inch model, which boosts battery life to 16 hours in total.

The Dell Active Stylus is available for both slates, allowing for annotations or note-taking applications. Dell is also offering a slim keyboard that acts as a device cover and a desktop doc with USB 3.0 ports for the larger slate. Those looking to boost performance can configure the Dell Venue Pro 11 with a fourth-generation Intel Core i3 or i5 processor.

Dell says the Venue 8 Pro will be available on October 18 at $299.99 with the larger Venue 11 Pro to follow in November priced at $499.99.

At these prices, I’m more intrigued by the new Dell tablets than Microsoft’s own Surface 2, which starts at the $449.99. I think more consumers will be as well since these new Dell slates aren’t limited to the Metro-style apps for Windows RT. Dell must be thinking the same as Neil Hand, Dell’s head of tablets, confirmed to CNet that it has no plans to refresh its Windows RT products.

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