Hands on: Dell's thinnest Venue 8 7000 tablet with 3D camera

Intel calls Dell’s new Venue 8 7000 the world’s thinnest tablet, and there’s a lot to like about its paper-thin design and its 3D-sensing camera that is for more than just selfies.

The Android tablet, which has an 8-inch screen, is just six millimeters thick. It felt extremely light and easy to hold during a brief hands-on review at the Intel Developer Forum trade show, where the product was announced.

The rectangular tablet was barebones in design and had minimal port options. It had an on/off switch, a volume button and a micro-USB 2.0 for charging. The speakers were located at the bottom, and the tablet didn’t seem to have a micro-SD slot for expandable storage. The tablet ran on a dual-core Intel Atom processor called Moorefield, and applications loaded swiftly.

A standout feature on the tablet was Intel’s RealSense camera, which can grab 3D images and track depth, similar to how human eyes go deep inside images. By capturing multiple layers of image depth with the help of infrared and other sensors, the camera can determine size, distance and contours of objects.

Dell and Intel want users to be creative with the Venue 8 7000 and use it for advanced imagery.

Images can be modified at different layers captured by the 3D camera, said Brian Krzanich, Intel’s CEO, during a press briefing, where he showed off the tablet. Krzanich has used the tablet for months, and has had to charge it once every two to three days.

“It’s got an infinite number of layers, so you can sit there and take out color and do any kind of effects,” Krzanich said.

A tablet application called Measure allows measuring the magnified view of images. Another application called MotionEffects lets you add special effects to 3D images, though it can take time to learn the application.

The Venue tablet can measure 3D images to a depth of four to five meters. But the RealSense technology will get better, Krzanich said.

RealSense was originally introduced in webcams, and is due to replace mundane 2D cameras in PCs by the end of the year. Intel has grand plans for RealSense, and hopes it will able to capture moods and make Skype chats more enjoyable by superimposing pictures. The camera will also be able to scan 3D objects, which can then be reproduced on 3D printers.

Intel earlier this year showed a prototype tablet with the RealSense camera, but that unit was much thicker. The chipmaker has slimmed camera circuitry so it can fit in thin tablets.

The Dell Venue 8 7000 tablet will ship by the end of this year. Pricing information was not immediately available.

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