ADVtablet // Tiny Cheap Adventure Computer!

ADVtablet // Tiny Cheap Adventure Computer!

Finally! I can bring a computer with me on my trips.. heck it even fits in my tank bag! I call it my ADVtablet!

Yep.. thats it.. my computer that allows me to connect to my Garmin 478 GPS or upload photos to my Smugmug account or watch my GoPro videos when I’m out on an adventure!

The Low-down

I’ve never brought a computer on any of my trips but always wanted to… but did NOT want to carry some heavy laptop around. Well with an upcoming trip to Utah I started putting this little package together, and I have to say it works very very well!

What it had to be able to do:

  • Run Mapsource – The ability to modify routes and upload them to my GPS. This is a must.. sometimes plans change and being able to upload a route change to your GPS really saves you time out on the trail.
  • Upload Photos/Videos – The ability to upload photos off of my gear on to A) external drive B) Smugmug account. This enables me to pull media off my gear and not worry about filling my memory cards up or carrying more than needed.  With my GoPro, Nikon P7800, Panasonic Lumix FP1, and now my DJI Phantom3 Drone.. this is a must too!
  • Browse Interwebs – The ability to use it as a daily internet computer… checking email, remote logging into systems to fix things 🙂 , updating my blog, finding reservations, or Video chatting with my family!
  • Light, Light, & more Light – It must be super light and small, yet large enough resolution to run Mapsource and plan routes.
  • Plugin Stuff – The ability to plug in USB devices.. external drives, thumbdrives, GPS, GoPro, Console cable (for work)
  • Full OS – In order for me to use it for work & accomplish most of this list, I wanted to run full Windows OS.. Mapsource really likes it and I have NOT converted to Basecamp 😛
  • CHEAP!!! – I did not want to spend much on a travel computer.. if it breaks/stolen/drowns, it doesn’t break the bank!!! Around a hundred bucks I say!

The Computer

So what am I running you ask.. well here it is… the Dell Venue 8 Pro. It runs full Windows 8.1 OS, 2Gb memory, 32Gb internal storage(there is a 64Gb version) & weighs in at a whopping 0.86lbs or 388g!! As many of you know, Windows 8 is somewhat of a tablet based operating system.. it can act like an iPad or Android tablet. So you can use it in tablet mode(Metro) or switch to desktop mode and use it like a laptop with keyboard and mouse.

Desktop Mode


[ezcol_1third]Display[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end] 8.0 inch IPS Display with HD resolution and 10-pt capacitive touch (WXGA 1280 x 800)[/ezcol_2third_end]

[ezcol_1third]Processor[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Intel® Atom™ processor Z3740D (2MB Cache, up to 1.8GHz Quad-Core)[/ezcol_2third_end]

[ezcol_1third]Hard Drive[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Options 32GB7 or 64GB7 eMMC storage Memory 2GB Single Channel DDR3L-RS 1600MHz8[/ezcol_2third_end]

[ezcol_1third]Graphics[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Intel® Gen 7 Graphics8[/ezcol_2third_end]

[ezcol_1third]Wireless[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]LAN Dual-band 2×2 MIMO 802.11 a/b/g/n/ Wi-Fi (QCA6234)[/ezcol_2third_end]

[ezcol_1third]Bluetooth[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Bluetooth 4.0[/ezcol_2third_end]

[ezcol_1third]Battery[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]18Whr9 (4830mAh), 2-Cell Battery Power Adapter 10 Watt AC Adapter[/ezcol_2third_end]

[ezcol_1third]Webcam[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Integrated 1.2MP HD Webcam (front) / 5MP (back)[/ezcol_2third_end]

[ezcol_1third]Card Reader[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Micro-SD Card Reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, supporting up to 64GB)[/ezcol_2third_end]

[ezcol_1third]Ports & Connectors[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]1 x Micro-AB USB2.0 (for trickle charging and data transfer), 1 x Headphone and microphone combo jack, 1 x 3FF micro-SIM slot (optional)[/ezcol_2third_end]

[ezcol_1third]Weight[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Starting at 388g / 0.86lb10[/ezcol_2third_end]

[ezcol_1third]Dimensions[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Thickness: 9mm Width: 130mm Length: 216mm[/ezcol_2third_end]

[ezcol_1third]Operating System[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Windows 8.1[/ezcol_2third_end]

Dell Datasheet

My Setup

As you can see above, it’s in desktop mode and I’m installing maps, I have my Garmin 478 connected, to a USB hub(optional), it connected via OTG microUSB to USB cable, and a bluetooth mouse & keyboard. I have the 32Gb internal storage model, so I added a 64Gb microSD card to the storage slot, this will stay in it at all times. Here’s a list of farkles that make it all work!

The Farkles

Total package for under $220 bucks!


I had my doubts…. BUT this little thing is very fast! My recommendation is to get the 2Gb memory version for sure. I’ve been impressed every time I use it… I’ve watched movies on Netflix, even a 9Gb HD movie playing from a USB external hard drive and it ran flawlessly! You can search Youtube for games people play on these little things. For me.. no games on here..

So far I’ve been able to do everything on my needs list and then some. I keep finding more uses for this little tablet & for ADV traveling, it will be perfect!


Nothing is perfect.. except my wife! So far, for me I’m work in the tech world, so I have no issues with making things work, others may. And if you can’t see a smaller screen, please, this little guy isn’t for you. Yes, you can zoom in on almost every screen, but, if you have issues with eye sight, it might drive you nutz.. stick with a laptop.

To get Garmin maps to load, theres a bit of configuration to do, but it’s really not bad. I got it all up and running in just a few hours. Below I will show you how I got it all to work.


Just like your suspension, she’s gonna need a bit of tweaking! If you have the 64Gb internal memory version, you may not need to do much… if you need to free up more storage space, I’ll show you how. Stay tuned for my next post as I walk through the steps I took to get Mapsource up and running!


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