By January 10, 2011

Advent Vega review

advent-vega_featureThe Advent Vega seems to be the best value Android tablet on the market yet. The combination of specifications with price is unbeatable value. Surely something has to suffer to allow this thing to be so competitively priced.

 

 

 

What’s in the box?

  • Advent Vega 10″ Android Tablet
  • Setup guide
  • Safety & Regulation Manual
  • 4gc MicroSD card and SD adapter
  • Usb Cable
  • Power charger

The ten second review:

  • Device:Advent Vega 10″ Android Tablet
  • Price: £249.99
  • Summary: Budget Android tablet with a high level of specifications
  • Best of: Fast processor, ample RAM, large display
  • Worst of: Now shipping without Flash, difficult firmware upgrades, tricky button configuration
  • Buy it now from: Currys.co.uk

Specifications:

  • Nvidia T20 Tegra 2
  • 1024 x 600 WVGA LED Capacitive display
  • 512mb RAM
  • 512mb ROM
  • MicroSD up to 32gb
  • Android 2.2 Froyo
  • 1.3mp front facing webcam
  • Wirelress B, G
  • 700g
  • £249

Highlights

  • Tegra II processor
  • low price point
  • Kickstand
  • Froyo

Lowlights

  • No Flash out of the box (Anymore)
  • little lag
  • Button layout

 

Review

VEGA_main4

The top of the Vega has a mic hole, and three buttons. The first, a power button. The second is a slider locking button and the third is a back button.

 

The right hand side has a volume rocker, 3.5mm headset jack and a power connector port. Under a magnetic door are the microSD card slot, a full sized USB slot and a full sized HDMI connector.

DSCN1783
The bottom has a proprietary connector for an upcoming dock.

VEGA_main1
The left hand side is blank.

The back has the Advent logo in the centre and a few rubber caps for the screw holes. Along the bottom to either side are two speakers.

VEGA_main5

The front has a large black bezel measuring almost an inch think. At the centre of the top is the 1.3mp webcam. In the centre is the large 10.1″ TFT LCD screen.

 

VEGA_main2

 

The two most notable things about the build of this tablet are, it’s likeness to the iPad and the plastic construction. At present this is easily the closest in looks to that of the iPad but it wouldn’t take too much to tell them apart. The device is quite a bit thicker than an iPad however it’s noticeably lighter. Also the construction of the Vega is completely plastic. It might sound off putting, like with the Galaxy Tab, however the construction is quite solid. Easily better than the Archos 101 but not quite a robust as the Tab. It’s passable and shouldn’t really be a concern, unlike what other online reviews might make out.

The feature set is the most satisfying out of all the Android Tablets on the market. It’s checks more boxes than most others and still manages to be beat them on price. The one main criticism is the on-board storage. Outside of the 512 ROM, there isn’t any. It relies entirely on the MicroSD card slot and the USB connector for storage. Shame really, the price of sticking in 8gb or 16gb can’t be that much. In comparison this appears to be the biggest cost cut Advent have subjected the Vega to. Whereas to compare it with other similarly priced devices the Linx N700 / Viewsonic Viewpad 7 have downgraded their processor to 600mhz to keep the price low. So Advent have made a pretty good call there.

Unlike all the other Android Tablets I have looked at, this one is the first to have the Tegra II chipset. Whilst there are now a couple of device’s sporting the Nvidia processor it’s still not a well tested processor like the Snapdragon or Cortex A8 which have become fixtures in Android devices in the last 6 months. With the Tegra II appearing to manage power more efficiently and a some smooth reports about HD it seems that this will become the new standard for Android devices. It will be interesting to see what the hardcore coders can get out of this chip and the system embedded on it.
Speaking of said hardcore, this group seems to be the target consumer base for the Advent Vega. It’s not really the perfect end user experience. In fact, even the process of install updates to the firmware requires a little know how. Google’s app’s also do not feature however, Paul over at Modaco has remedied this. Again, a process that will require a little extra work than running an apk as you would with an Archos for example.

This is Android 2.2 at it’s most raw. Recently Advent have updated their firmware to remove Adobe Flash player and newer units will have to ship without this component. Not really a worry if you are going to use the Modaco method however there will be some out there who are unaware of what exactly they are to do and will likely return the device with a bit of a frown.  This is something at the average End user is going to have to consider. Picking up an Archos or the Galaxy Tab will see a fairly simple experience with pretty much everything to get going available to you from the outset. The Vega is surfing and a bit of home sourced media out of the box. To get all the other elements to fashion a fully fledged operating system will require a little research to find an appropriate application market or source for apps.

Using the device is a bit of a hit and miss experience. The touch screen is quite responsive, however the software behind it can be a little laggy. Not everything is a fluid as you would imagine. I did mean to say the screen was quite responsive as most of the time it works but due to the lag you will end up mis-selecting something or noticing a bit of a chug as you scroll. Of course this sort of this is being ironed out with every new firmware upgrade, if only it wasn’t such a pain to update.

My biggest let down with the Advent Vega was the button layout. As I have been using a lot of Android device recently I’m used to the typcial layout of the system buttons. Sometimes manufacturers might mix them up a bit and this can be a little hurdle to get over before you are proficient at using the device. Here is the other end of the spectrum. It has them all, just not as you would expect at all. They are on top corner and the status bar. For sometime I was fuming that I couldn’t bring up the menu in a full screened game and it wasn’t until a listener to the podcast heard of my annoyance and advised me to hold in the back button and the menu would appear. Of course it says this on the feature guide however, I’m a manly man and have no need for such things. It can require extra concentration to focus on what button you have to press and where to get a desired result and it can take crucial attention away from the job at hand. However thankfully my only main problem is something trivial that I can’t really let it affect the review as a whole.

 

Conclusion

The Advent Vega is the star of the show as far as Android Tablets go. It delivers on it’s low price and high specs. Forget what you have read on other reviews about the build quality, it’s fine! Grab a 32gb MircoSD card and whack it in. Use it lots and you’ll get used to the fiddly button arrangement and keep it up to date with the latest firmware and things will get smoother. Finally visit Paul’s forum at Modaco, get the customisation mod and you’ll never look back. This is simply great value and the best 10″ Android Tablet on the market.

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

Seasoned tech blogger. Host of both the Mobile Tech Addicts podcast and The Mobile Tech Addicts Show.
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