Advent Vega review

26 Nov 2010

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

Price when reviewed: 
250(£250 inc VAT)
4

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.

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £213
Price inc VAT £250
Overall rating 4
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 4

Battery Life

Standby, quoted 4 days

Physical

Dimensions 275 x 13.6 x 178mm (WDH)
Weight 700g
Touchscreen yes
Primary keyboard On-screen

Core Specifications

RAM capacity 512MB
Camera megapixel rating 1.3mp

Display

Screen size 10.1in
Resolution 1024 x 600
Landscape mode? yes

Software

OS family Android