CPU Performance

The Venue 8 is a unique device among the Android devices that we have tested. While most Android smartphones and tablets employ ARM based SoCs, Dell has opted to use Intel's Atom Z3580 processor. Z3580 is part of Intel's Moorefield line, built on Intel's 22nm process and sporting four Silvermont cores with a max burst frequency of 2.33GHz. To test CPU performance we turn to our standard web based benchmarks, along with Basemark OS II. For our 2015 benchmark suite we've removed Sunspider as it's become too much of an optimization target.

Kraken 1.1 (Chrome/Safari/IE)Google Octane v2  (Chrome/Safari/IE)WebXPRT (Chrome/Safari/IE)

The Z3580 performs very well in all of our web based benchmarks. Its scores are in the same range as devices with Apple's A8 and NVIDIA's Tegra K1 which currently hold the best scores of the devices we've tested.

Basemark OS II 2.0 - OverallBasemark OS II 2.0 - SystemBasemark OS II 2.0 - MemoryBasemark OS II 2.0 - GraphicsBasemark OS II 2.0 - Web

The performance in Basemark OS II is a mixed bag when compared to the consistently good results from our web benchmarks. We see fairly good performance in the web and memory sections of the benchmark, but less impressive scores in the system and graphics categories. This leads to an overall score that sits in the middle of the results from other devices we've tested.

Whether a tablet's performance is acceptable or not will often be based largely on how much the tablet costs. Class leading performance can't really be expected from inexpensive tablets, and for expensive ones having class leading performance is a must. At $399, the Venue 8 is priced at the same point as the Nexus 9, and it trades blows with it across our different tests. With generational improvements to their processors, it's not hard to imagine Intel becoming a major performance leader in the mobile space. Performance isn't the only metric considered when a manufacturer is deciding on the processor for their device, but I wouldn't be surprised if we end up seeing more design wins for Intel in the future.

Device Performance

A device's performance in benchmarks is a fairly objective measurement of performance, but it may not necessarily be representative of how a device actually feels to a user. Issues with performance in the real world can fall under many categories, which range from long loading times to stutters and sluggish framerates. The "jank" that has historically existed on Android devices has typically fallen under the latter category rather than the former. With each iteration of Android, Google has made improvements to this perceived smoothness in the Android interface. The recently released Android Lollipop brought large increases to framerates in many key areas, but the Venue 8 ships with KitKat and can not take advantage of them.

Unfortunately, the Android 4.4 KitKat experience on the Venue 8 is not always as free from jank as one would expect based on its CPU performance. Many issues manifest themselves as stutters or drops in framerate, even in common animations like bring down the notification shade and rotating the device. Turning on any live wallpapers is also guaranteed to bring the animations in the launcher well below 60fps, and even below 30fps. Many scrolling lists also suffer from the jank that was commonly seen on pre-Lollipop versions of Android. It's unfortunate that the Venue 8 didn't ship with Lollipop, as I don't think I would have to discuss performance issues like these if it had. Hopefully a Lollipop update arrives for the Venue 8 soon.

Introduction GPU and NAND Performance
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  • darkich - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    "Intel will be somewhere below 5 by then."
    Oh I see, you're nothing but a TROLL
  • Michael Bay - Saturday, March 14, 2015 - link

    So all you have is an eteranl looser`s excuse.
    Typical of ARM fanatics.
  • Michael Bay - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    Oh please. Intel has to improve a much more complex architecture and simultaneously drive power consumption down, while ARM is touching the heat ceiling on current complexity. Those issues will only exacerbate in next iterations.
  • GNUminex_l_cowsay - Thursday, March 12, 2015 - link

    Considering that there isn't much you can do with a tablet besides viewing content. How could something with such a bad screen possibly be useful?
  • extide - Thursday, March 12, 2015 - link

    Wow, those CPU scores are terrible. Even nVidia can roll a custom ARM core and be faster, and I'm not even talking about the GPU part, only CPU. This is sad Intel, c'mon you're letting me down! ATOM NEEDS TO GO. Use Core-M and then for the cheaper segments Intel needs to roll a custom ARM-v8 core. It's time!
  • djc208 - Thursday, March 12, 2015 - link

    Remember that in some cases the Atom CPU has to do a real-time conversion from ARM to X86 on any app that doesn't provide an X86 build. I notice that on my MeMo Pad some things just don't run, or don't run right even though they're fine on my phone. Admittedly the MeMo has far less RAM, but it's still glitchy on some apps. But it also means that some stuff just isn't as responsive because the CPU is trying to translate and run at the same time. Which admittedly is kind of what the Tegra K1 is doing too, just without the optimization library.
  • extide - Thursday, March 12, 2015 - link

    That only happens on apps that are native code, which is basically only things like full-screen 3d games. All of the main google apps, browsers, and common stuff you use is java, so it has no additional translation overhead compared to running on ARM.

    However, the truth is that it's the end result that matters.
  • tipoo - Thursday, March 12, 2015 - link

    Browsers aren't java, they're native.
  • staiaoman - Thursday, March 12, 2015 - link

    and THIS is why we patiently wait for anand's review before buying a tablet, instead of going off of the "FIRST!" articles from other sites. Well done, guys. Thorough as always.
  • Refuge - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    Haha agreed, they are my guiding light.

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