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Use the Dell Venue Pro as a mini laptop with the Fintie Blade X1 Bluetooth Keyboard case


A few months ago, I purchased the Dell Venue Pro 8 hoping that under certain circumstances, it could take the place of both my Nexus 7 and my Acer ultraportable laptop.  For those of you who have yet to read my overview and comparison between the Venue Pro 8 and Nexus 7, it can be found here.


Without a doubt, many of you are curious about the Fintie case and how well it works with the Dell Venue Pro 8. The first thing to double check is that you have the correct version of the Fintie blade X1 that is specifically designed for the Dell Venue 8 Pro Windows 8.1 tablet as Fintie claims that it is NOT compatible with Venue 8 (not PRO) Android Tablet.  The case is made of a very thin PU "leather" cover with a soft, microfiber-lined interior and a plastic case to provide full protection for your tablet. The magnetically detachable ultra-slim 7mm and light weight bluetooth keyboard integrates seamlessly with your Dell Venue 8 Pro Windows 8.1 tablet and other Bluetooth enabled devices.

Ultra-slim design adds protection with minimal bulk .
I placed my tablet in the polycarbonate shell and it locked the tablet in place and feels like it can absorb some minor drops and bumps. The case allowed for a pretty good range of motion and allowed me to adjust for a wide variety of angles.  Since the cover and keyboard magnetically attach to each other, you can have the keyboard hold the angle of your screen pretty securely.  While it does work on your lap, I suspect that it won't be ideal for most people.  It will work in a pinch, but chances are that most of you will not want to use this case on your lap for any extended amount of time. I also have the official Dell keyboard case, and that one cannot be used on your lap at all. Something to keep in mind if you're on the fence between the Fintie and the Dell case.

Adjustable stand securely holds your Dell Venue 8 Pro in landscape mode.
The keyboard itself is a "hard" laptop style keyboard made out of plastic with a magnetised bottom. As you will see from the pictures, it's a very small keyboard, it's width is about half an inch less wide than the Dell Venue Pro 8.  The keys themselves are spaced inward even further, and altogether your typing space will be about an inch less wide than the tablet itself.  It will feel very cramped for those with normal to larger hands.  A spring mechanism underneath each key ensures a tactile response with every stroke, helping you to type faster and with less errors than on a touchscreen.  Understandably, due to the size of the keyboard, some keys had to be readjusted.  The problem lies with some of the strange decisions made with their placement and/or function.  For example, you will need to press the Fn key to get the "esc" key to work.  The default is the rarely used "~" symbol.  The Windows key and the Alt key have switched places. Typists will have to adjust to the small, but noticeable changes. The function keys for the volume control do not work for me.  They do work as numbers and dashes, but they do not pull up the volume controls when pressed along with the Fn key.  Just a fair warning.  You will have to use the physical volume keys on the tablet, or swipe for the on screen volume controls.

Pairing was quick and painless with Windows 8, and even with my Nexus 7.  The case supplies its own standard micro usb cable without a power brick.  You'll need to supply your own or plug it into a computer or USB compatible wall socket.   I let it charge for an hour, and have not run out of power in 3 weeks of use.  Unfortunately, the battery is sealed in. With such a long amount of time between charges however, my guess is that the battery should easily last the life of the tablet if not longer.  The case with the tablet weighs 1.5lbs and the keyboard weighs in at just over 5oz.  You can feel the difference in weight when the keyboard is attached, however, it's will not be heavy for a majority of people.



The back of the case has the appropriate cut out for the back camera, and the flap attaches magnetically keeping the tablet secure.  It actually does take a little bit of effort to pry open the case, which is a great thing.  One thing that was overlooked was the charging port.  It is on top of the tablet and there is no cut out for it.  To charge the Dell, you will have to leave the flap open.  Hopefully they will address this in a future revision of this case. It's a fairly significant oversight.

One last thing about the case itself.  When you first get it, it will STINK.  It seems like they washed it in ammonia, because the stench is strong.  Be sure to air it out as much as possible in the first few days.  You have been warned.


Overall, the Fintie case when paired with a bluetooth mouse makes the Dell Venue Pro 8 a great and fully functional (yet still light) travel tablet and laptop. Despite its flaws, it's one third of the price of the official Dell keyboard which has its own set of problems, such as not being able to charge (you will need to buy batteries for it when it dies) as well as its own strange key placements.  The official Dell case also has a lot less adjustability with just a single angle.  Forget about using it on your lap.  It will not work. The Fintie case also comes in different colors and patterns to suit your personal style.

If there are any further questions, please feel free to post them in the comments section.




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Comments

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  2. Where can I buy this? Can't seem to find anywhere that sends to UK/scotland

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  3. Please take us through the steps to connect this keyboard, I cannot make this work!

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