Advent Vega Tegra Note 7 review
Great performance, a low price and pressure-sensitive stylus input sets this tablet apart from the budget competition
It's been four years since PC World's last attempt to stamp its Advent brand on the Android tablet market. Back then, its Vega 10in tablet failed to make a convincing case for itself. This time around, fitted with a benchmark-crushing Nvidia Tegra 4 processor and priced at a measly £140, its compact Advent Vega Tegra Note 7 is much better-equipped to compete. See also the 11 best tablets of 2014
The Tegra Note 7's battery life of 10hrs 6mins in our looping video test couldn't match the Nexus 7's 11hrs 48mins or the Kindle Fire HDX 7in's 11hrs 30mins, but there's more than enough stamina to keep it running all day.
When you scrutinise the screen, however, it becomes apparent how such fantastic benchmark results have been achieved. While both the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDX 7in have 1,920 x 1,200 IPS displays, the Tegra Note 7 has a resolution of just 1,280 x 800. This delivers a pixel density of just 215ppi, and quality isn't wonderful either. While brightness topped out at an adequate 380cd/m², we measured its contrast ratio at a woeful 508:1, which results in a rather washed-out, flat look.
The screen isn't the only area where costs have been cut. The Tegra Note 7 is saddled with a flimsy build quality – twist it about a bit and the seams and rear panel start to pop and creak alarmingly. The speakers, housed on either side are weak, tinny speakers. Its back has a strip of dimpled, rubberised plastic that runs down the length of the tablet, with smoother plastic on each side. It's one of the ugliest tablets we've reviewed in recent times.
Thankfully, it isn't all bad. The Tegra Note 7 is light and slim at 320g and 9mm thick and has two surprisingly powerful magnets fitted into the back of the case allowing it to be attached to metal surfaces. Connectivity is generous as well. There are microUSB and micro-HDMI ports, plus a 3.5mm headset jack all found at the top of the tablet, and the opportunity to expand on the 16GB storage thanks to a handy microSD card slot housed on the Tegra Note 7's right-hand side.
The touchscreen is very responsive and navigating the Android 4.3 OS is a dream. This is made even easier by the inclusion of a rubber-tipped stylus, which docks into the bottom-right corner and provides a debut to Nvidia's ingenious DirectStylus technology.
This system uses one of the Tegra 4's GPU cores to accurately sense the location, size and shape of your touch input. The result is that the tablet's display is able to mimic the pressure sensitivity of a more expensive active digitiser system using only a capacitive stylus, allowing you to paint and draw onscreen, varying the thicknesses of brush strokes as you go.
The note-taking and drawing apps that go with the stylus are basic, and there's no handwriting recognition built into the onscreen keyboard, but the good news is the system works well with third party apps that have pressure-sensitivity support. The free ArtFlow app, for example.
On a final note, the Tegra Note 7 also comes equipped with a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 0.3-megapixel front-facing one. Snapshots taken with the front camera are understandably grainy, but the rear-facing camera produces sharp, if slightly underexposed images. There's Bluetooth 4, too, although the Tegra Note 7 only supports single-band 802.11n Wi-Fi.
In the end, the Advent Vega Tegra Note 7 is a mixed proposition. It's clear that costs have been cut in the choice of screen and the tablet's overall build quality, but with a price this reasonable, top-notch performance and proper, pressure-sensitive stylus support, it's possible to overlook such tribulations. It certainly offers something different to its rivals.
|Price ex VAT||£117|
|Price inc VAT||£140|
|Warranty||1 yr return to base|
|Features & Design||3|
|Value for Money||3|
|Dimensions||120 x 9 x 190mm (WDH)|
|Resolution screen horizontal||800|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,280|
|Display type||IPS touchscreen|
|CPU frequency, MHz||1.8GHz|
|Camera megapixel rating||5.0mp|
|Upstream USB ports||1|
|Mobile operating system||Android 4.3|