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Advent Vega review

Verdict

It isn’t the Android tablet we’ve been waiting for, but if you’re on a tight budget it’s a promising cost-cutting alternative

Review Date: 26 Nov 2010

Reviewed By: Tim Danton

Price when reviewed: £213 (£250 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

The Advent Vega is one of the more interesting tablets to appear in the run-up to Christmas. Priced at £250 inc VAT and sold exclusively through Dixons Group stores such as PC World, it includes a 10.1in capacitive touchscreen, a 1GHz Nvidia Tegra processor, 512MB of RAM and, crucially, Android 2.2.

It undercuts tablets such as the Toshiba Folio by a good £100, so any sane person would think it must be a much worse machine. But it certainly doesn’t feel that way.

Advent Vega

Its black plastic rear isn't a patch on the finish of the iPad, but this helps the Vega shed an ounce or two - it weighs just 700g. Fortunately this hasn’t been at the expense of battery capacity, with the Vega lasting over eight hours in our light-use test and five hours when playing video.

Advent also takes the unusual approach of removing any buttons from the front, with a permanently viewable menu bar at the top of the display. Not that buttons have been entirely shed. It tucks a Back button onto the top edge, along with a handy rotation lock slider and the power button. On the right-hand side you’ll find volume up and down buttons plus, tucked away behind a plastic flap, a microSD card slot (with a bundled 4GB card to add to the 512MB of flash), USB port and HDMI output.

Advent Vega

We don’t see the latter as a compelling feature on a tablet, but it does offer a relatively easy way to display internet video onto your HDTV. This is one the advantages of a Tegra 250 processor: it’s capable of decoding HD video without any juddering.

It should be more than a match for Android 2.2 as well, but that’s where we encountered some frustrations with the Vega. Sometimes the operating system flies along at breakneck speed, but at other times it seems to stall for a moment. There’s also an intermittent bug where the onscreen Android keyboard will become far too sensitive: rather than just register one “r”, for instance, it might record “rrr”. It's rare, but irrritating when it occurs.

The edges of the screen aren’t as responsive as the centre either. Sometimes it took us two or three jabs to convince the Vega that we wanted to hit an icon. It’s not as damning a flaw as the Folio’s lack of responsiveness, but it makes Advent’s tablet more frustrating to use than it should be.

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User comments

Link error

There's an errant "p" tacked onto the start of the MoDaCo link.

By simbr on 26 Nov 2010

Link correction

@simbr Thanks for pointing this out; now corrected.

By TimDanton on 26 Nov 2010

Think you need a Tablets section :-) The Vega seems pretty smart but it's not a phone!
+1 for MoDaCo - great site with a great owner/operator.
The Vega seems a great companion to the Orange San Francisco (a great budget Android phone) - rooted with barnacle or Froyo (to tether) and a cheap data/call plan.

Also you obviously have taken the plunge and 'modded' the Vega to get the Market (refreshing to see you doing that as so many mags/sites insist on reviewing stock items - which I understand and accept but they could have a review of two halves, before and after mods) - so why not install a full screen browser to help with the loss of pixels. I recommend Steel fast and minimal.

By sipart on 26 Nov 2010

i'm confused

why are you still recommending the ipad? you have to connect the ipad to a pc (running windows or osx not GNU Linux) to get the most from it.this however is a stand alone device. and the ipad is twice the price.

also would be like to know how this compares to the archos as this is similarity priced.

By SimonCorlett on 26 Nov 2010

Browsers, iPads and Archos

@sipart Absolutely you could install a full-screen browser, but as you say that's only after you install the mod so won't be relevant to many people. Thanks for the Steel recommendation, too.

@SimonCorlett Could you explain why you think the iPad needs to be connected to a PC to get the most from it? Yes to synchronise with iTunes, but you could say the same about moving your music etc collection to the Vega.

We'll update the Archos review, and give it a full comparison with the Vega, as soon as it's shipped with 2.2 (and Archos is brave enough to send it in to us).

By TimDanton on 27 Nov 2010

Vega vs iPad

@SimonCorlett - I've got both devices sitting here, and I'm with Tim on this one. The iPad just feels a lot more 'finished' than the Vega. Don't get me wrong, the Vega is one of the better Android tablets, especially at this price.

Recommendation is difficult because in the end it always comes down to what you can afford. Citroen make some good little hatchbacks, but if you could afford it you'd probably buy a small Audi or a Mini. If you can't, the Citroen will get you from A to B just as well.

Similarly, if you can afford an iPad I reckon you'll enjoy it a bit more than the Vega. Especially the breadth (and indeed quality) of apps available. But if you can't afford an iPad the Vega is a good budget option.

By PaulOckenden on 27 Nov 2010

Specs page

According to the Specs page it weighs 700.000kg.

A Wi-Fi only iPad weight 680g.

Speaking as an iPad owner I would definitely consider this given the price.

Is the battery removable by the user?

The HDMI output and card slot are just two of the missing features that annoy me about the iPad.

I agree with SimonCorlett about the need to connect to a computer to get the most out of my iPad.

I wanted to remove some TV shows and a movie from my iPad this morning so I had to connect it to my Mac and use iTunes - that is just plain stupid.

Having used my iPad on a daily basis for a while I could easily see myself dumping the iPad and going Android.

By Tim_B1 on 27 Nov 2010

Specs page

According to the Specs page it weighs 700.000kg.

A Wi-Fi only iPad weight 680g.

Speaking as an iPad owner I would definitely consider this given the price.

Is the battery removable by the user?

The HDMI output and card slot are just two of the missing features that annoy me about the iPad.

I agree with SimonCorlett about the need to connect to a computer to get the most out of my iPad.

I wanted to remove some TV shows and a movie from my iPad this morning so I had to connect it to my Mac and use iTunes - that is just plain stupid.

Having used my iPad on a daily basis for a while I could easily see myself dumping the iPad and going Android.

By Tim_B1 on 27 Nov 2010

WinAMP

The latest Winamp beta allows WiFi synchronisation of your Android device with your music library. No need to connect via USB to get your music. It's pretty fast too!

By BlueLeader on 28 Nov 2010

the point about needing a pc is just that. you need to sync to itunes to get it working. see comment from tim_b1

Paul I take your point on the car analogy but as with your pc reviews car reviews rarely compare items that are priced so widely apart as side by side items as you are doing. it is like comparing the eee pc with a mac book air.

By SimonCorlett on 28 Nov 2010

Specs page correction

Weight has now been corrected. Thanks for pointing this out!

By TimDanton on 29 Nov 2010

hmmm, Apps anyone ?

I would not buy anything else than an iPad right now. It's down to the fact that the main use I see for these devices is magazine and newspaper apps and right now for these guys, there is only one device that matter : the iPad. In a couple of years, it should be easier to make a call on Android tablets.

By dukeinlondon on 30 Nov 2010

Marketplace

Why do tablet manufacturers disable the Android Marketplace? I'm genuinely puzzled - does anyone know?

By KevPartner on 2 Dec 2010

Android or iPad

Free and open or closed and proprietary -- that's the major difference between the two.

The iPad is a culmination of Apple's desire to control everything by way of DRM. The App Store and iTunes are the only gateways to installing anything on the iPad.

By 6tricky9 on 2 Dec 2010

Android or iPad

Free and open or closed and proprietary -- that's the major difference between the two.

The iPad is a culmination of Apple's desire to control everything by way of DRM. The App Store and iTunes are the only gateways to installing anything on the iPad.

By 6tricky9 on 2 Dec 2010

Marketplace

Why do tablet manufacturers disable the Android Marketplace? I'm genuinely puzzled - does anyone know?

By KevPartner on 2 Dec 2010

Build a 7in version & sell it for £199 - it'll put the Galaxy tab to shame...

By the_bunker on 2 Dec 2010

HD via HDMI

I don't understand why the reviewer doesn't think HDMI output is important.
Couldn't this thing have a second life as a nice media streamer?
Connect the audio to your hifi for music, but more interestingly, use the HDMI output to playback HD content.
Any reason this wouldn't work?
Surely this is the same price as a Squeezbox Duo & can do much more?

By Tony_Yeah on 2 Dec 2010

Apps store

Finally my Advent arrived. After startup, definitely agree with your review about the bare bones apps. The system also had little information how to proceed, the vega help app was of no help. After a quick search on the web, I finally found out about the link to install the apps library (Archos) which - perhaps naively - I assumed would be pre-installed but wasn't. Downloaded the manual which is in PDF and the Advent said, no supporting application... hmm, no native PDF reader then - and couldn't find much PDF related in the freshly installed appslib. The Youtube videos looked fine showing them via the browser. Guess it will take some time to get used to.

By Andrew713 on 10 Dec 2010

Good Tablet, just shame about the poor screen

Just got my Vega and it really is a disgrace the state this tablet comes in. Without market app, there is no easy way to install apps. Thankfully after installing a custom rom from android.modaco.com, the tablet is much improved. The only negative thing I could say about it now, is the lousy screen. It really is bad, even for a TN panel. But for the price, you can't complain.

By chockimon1 on 14 Feb 2011

advent vega

i was thinking of buying this system. after reading reviews im not sure. does any one recomend it and what apps can you get.

By ments on 28 May 2011

what is the maximum gigabite of micro SD can I use for my advent vega? :) thanks!

By Raisa_Comia on 17 Jul 2011

Max microSD card size

Hi Raisa - difficult to say for sure, but judging from the Modaco forums 16GB cards work without any issues: http://android.modaco.com/topic/326942-recom
mend-a-good-8gb-16gb-microsd-card/page__mode__thre
aded

By TimDanton on 18 Jul 2011

its good i own one

Im typing right now on my advent vega, i was going to get the archos 101 but then i saw this, i had a play on it at PC world and it can do the sane stuff witg wifi, andoid 2.2 , camera, ect. With a duel proccesor harddrive ...... i like it alot uts nice slim desiggn is really good, like other tablets you have to install google market and people are complaining that it has no physical home button so you have to keep presing back but ivthey read it., it says hold for two seconds and it will take you too home..... id recome d this 10" good tablet to anyone :)

By super_me on 4 Aug 2011

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