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Having previously used my partners Ipad I was looking for a tablet of my own, looking at the budget end of things I decided to purchase an Advent Vega.
The Vega is a cheap android based tablet and as such runs all android apps.
The screen seems responsive enough to touch but when plugged into mains power a corner of the tablet becomes hot and parts of the screen soon become unresponsive, this happens so much so that the tablet becomes almost unusable when on mains power. The screen its self is also not the clearest, unless you look at it from the right angle the screen becomes very dark and not very clear, it actually appears to work better when turned upside down as the viewing angle seems to make the screen slightly brighter like this.
Having owned this for almost a year I find myself using my partners Ipad much more that I do my Vega as the whole experience seems better on this.
After I had my iPad for probably around 4 months, my Dad decided to purchase this Advent tablet, as it was the cheapest one on the market, to see how it performed in comparison. Therefore this review will be a deconstruction/comparison between the two.
I personally feel that the iPad wins this battle between the two, sporting its all-in-one glass display and curved metallic back. This tablet on the other hand has a fairly cheap feeling plastic body but a glass display, so it isn't quite as luxurious as the iPad but makes an attempt, opting for a glass display instead of a cheap and nasty plastic one. This product does not have any buttons on it's face, so it looks a bit like a digital photo frame, unlike the iPad which has its home button, so this a plus for the advent. It also has a front facing camera, looking very similar to that of the iPad 2, only it is landscape rather than portrait. It also has button around the edges, similar to that of the iPad, only these are made of a cheap looking shiny silver plastic instead of the subtle black colour of the iPad ones. Furthermore this is plagued with holes and flaps etc for different cable attacthments that are, although very useful, not the prettiset things in the world. And most importantly, it is nowhere near as thin as an iPad, being about twice the thickness. In my opinion this product is just simply not as appealing as the iPad, although it isn't far off.
The Advent's display is taller and thinner than the iPads, so it is less proportional to an A4 piece of paper, which is what I feel a tablet should be similar in size too. Furthermore the Advent takes longer to boot up than the iPad, but only fractionally, but can be locked using the power button, similar to the iPad. The display is not as bright as the iPad's and does not feature the 'Retina' definition that the iPad sports, so things are not quite as crisp edged. Furthermore it is not as smooth in operation as the iPad, for example it can be a tad stilted when moving from page to page and does not glide like the iPad's display. And finally the touch screen is not quite as responsive as the iPad's, but in fairness to it, it is not far off, and is more than an acceptable quality.
This tablet runs the Android OS which since it came out has been in competition with the established IOS software powering all of apples touch screen products. For me, IOS will always be the best, I personally feel that the interface is easier to use and has superier features. However this Android software runs pretty well on here, allowing you to display apps and widgets on your home screens and providing you with an app menu, and also a very helpful pull down menu from the task bar which is, I have to admit, a superior way of displaying notifications than that currently seen in IOS. I have, however, had lots of trouble with the android app store, with apps not downloading and then not calibrating correctly, and doodle jump not working at all. This is a massive problem that I have found and hopefully it will be fixed fairly soon.
To begin with, this device only has one camera, which is forward facing, which instantly makes it inferier to the iPad 2's dual camera setup. Furthermore, it is a landscape camera as apose to a portrait one, which I feel for a forward facing camera is not as easy to use.
Battery life is good, lasting about 5 hours of constant use with wifi turned on, which is good but not quite as good as the iPad's 8 hours. It is very simple and quick to connect to your wifi and then once connected runs very quickly and smoothly.
This tablet comes with not only a headphone port but also a USB port, an HDMI port and a slot for an SD card. This makes it far superior to the iPad as the iPad has no way of connecting to an external hard-drive or flash drive which means that it's content is limited to only that which you can fit onto your device's memory. Also this means that you can display your device onto an HD ready TV without having to buy an expensive attatchment. This comes in handy for giving presentations or just wanting to enjoy your film content on a bigger screen.
The speakers on the device are also of a good quality, just as good as those on the iPad, but there can be the occasional crackle if you play music too loud or the bass is too heavy, which can be the case for most modern music. The SD card is also very useful for increasing the internal memory of the device, which otherwise is capped at 4 GB.
Now this will be fairly quick, this device is MUCH better value for money than the iPad, being available for around £150, compared to the £400 of the iPad. This is a huge selling point as it means you can get a lot more for your money, and despite being not quite as good as the iPad, this price more than makes up for it.
To summarize, this product does pretty much exactly what the iPad can do, perhaps not quite as well, but it does them. And for £250 less this is more than worth it. My advice would be that if you are an iPhone user, get an iPad as it's a system you are used to and the two work together perfectly. And if you are an Andriod user, buy this tablet as it is the cheapest and yet possibly one of the best tablets on the market. This is also a great tablet if your a person who loves to tinker with operating systems, as there a plenty to put on here and mess around with, unlike IOS which you can't change without jailbreaking your device.
When I bought my Advent Vega I was after a 10.1inch tablet as cheaply as possible that could access the internet and the android market. I searched around through all the available tablets currently on the market and decided to go for the Vega, Simple because pound for pound it seemed to be the best available and I bought it from currys/pc world for £199. I also got the neoprene case for it.
The Advent Vega comes with the Nvidia Tegra 250 processor with a clock speed of 1GHz and 512mb of memory. It Weighs 700g and its dimentions are 178x275x14 with a 10.1inch viewable screen at 1,024x600 native resolution. Its an LCD capacitive touchscreen. It has an HDMI port for conections to a tv or monitor, 1 USB port, bluetooth, 802.11b/g wireless WIFI but no 3g support. It supports micro SD cards and you get a 4gig card with it but I bought another 16gig card ontop and has the usual headphone ports. Prepacked with android 2.2 froyo which supports flash player. It has a front facing 1.3mg camera as well so not a bad spec.
When I bought this device I wasnt bothered that it had no 3g and I intended to use it within areas where i'd have a WIFI connection anyway. It is made of plastic and not to be compared to the build quality of the iPad or other higher end devices on the market. It is very easy to hold and carry about and I didnt feel too encumbered.
The device itself is ok to look at, nothing exciting in its plain black shell. It comes with the usual preinstalled links to google, facebook, youtube , mail and twitter but these are not the apps themseves but mearly links to the websites. Same goes for the help files, I was fully expecting to have some kind of documentation with the device but all that was given was a link on the device itself which points to a web site, so no pamflet or book or preinstalled library to use.
The battery life is very good actually which is one of the big plus points. It does take a few hours to fully charge but it does then last all day even with a lot of internet browsing and music playing.
The LCD capacitive touchscreen is quite responsive actually but there is an annoying little thing where if you click on the devices apps area screen button on the right hand side in the middle it flicks to the apps page but then straight back again because the option to then go back to the main screen is EXACTLY below where the button to go to the apps screen is, so it can sometimes annoyingly flick back for no reason because it thinks you've pressed it twice.
To be honest I was expecting the android market to be available on the device with it being froyo 2.2 and to my dismay it isnt. I had read the reviews before I bought it but must have missed the part where it said android market ISN'T actually on the device nor can it be installed. You can go to MoDaCo and download all sorts of things to flash the device but thats not what I wanted to do and despite what others have said to get the android market access on it you will have to go through hell to get it working . Bare in mind i've spent the last 15 years of my life in IT and it was difficult for me to do it so goodness knows how NONE IT literate people would get on. The guy in the shop who sold me the device said "oh yes its easy you just plug it into your pc and download an app to get it all up and running." load of nonsense.
believe me its far harder to do than you are told it is.
Needless to say I did however wipe it back to factory settings and i've learned to live with the lack of access to the android market. There are ways to get apps onto your device by going to other web sites and getting the .apk files directly from them but sadly the apps are limited on the sites compared to android market.
It is however VERY GOOD as a web browser tablet and the WIFI is faultless.
I wouldn't however get this if you want anything as far as a camera is concerned. The 1.3 meg front camera is appalling even for a 1.3 meg camera.
The sound quality is decent enough but not great. Video quality is actually quite poor and there were many file formats that it wouldnt play for me some of which play perfectly on my tv and pc. I have downloaded a few new media players onto the tablet to get around it but its still a poor movie watching device.
I know I may sound like i'm putting the device down in my review but i'm not.
For under £200 it is still the best device on the market to date. However IF you want better camera, better sound, better video playback and access to the android market or the apple store then pay at least twice this price and get a samsung galaxy tab or the iPad as they are far better but at the same time a far greater price to match.
Overall it is a really good device but it's just a shame it doesnt come prepacked with a working android market and a better camera with decent software to run all mannor of videos.
If your after a none 3g web browsing tablet then this really is for you, its great for that.
If you after more then I wouldnt bother with modding it i'd just pay the extra and get it all in from scratch.
I've recently been on a search for a tablet that I could afford within my rather limited budget. It was with that in mind that I purchased the Advent Vega for £199. I was aware at the time of purchase that this tablet, although Android, distinctly lacked the marketplace, gmail and youtube apps, all the little things that you expect to get with Androids and it is this that is the reason for it being so cheap. This was a problem for me, as I'm sure it will be for most people looking to purchase a tablet but there is a work around for this so don't despair! I will discuss this later but for now lets get on with the nuts and bolts.
This tablet weighs just 750g and has a NVIDIA T20 Tegra 2 processor; it runs Android 2.2 operating system. The screen is a 10.1 inch LCD capacitive touchscreen with LED backlighting.
Memory wise this has 512MB built in but has a micro SD slot to expand on the memory, a 4GB SD card is provided when you buy the tablet.
The battery is a Li-Polymer 2 cell battery which they claim lasts up to 16 hours audio playback if the screen is off; 6.5 hours video playback or 4 days on standby.
Well to be honest out the box this is a pretty bland tablet suitable for internet browsing and music or video playback only.
It comes with links to Google search, Facebook, Twitter, Mail and Youtube. These are not the apps that you may expect but the websites themselves. I can only presume this is due to the sparce nature of the Vega and distinct lack of google/android features. There is also a link to the online Vega help site where you can download instructions and manuals - However on the Vega as it comes out the box this proves little to no actual help as there is no document reader installed so you're unable to open and read the manuals you download.
There is also no 3G connection meaning that you can only use the internet features where you are able to connect to a Wifi.
There is however, a front facing camera with video function albeit only 0.3 megapixels, a media player allowing you to play music and video, a sound recorder and the WHSmiths ebooks app.
So far whilst I realize I have been understandably critical of the Vega I do actually quite like it. I wasn't expecting perfection on a tablet worth less then £200 and I was aware of its shortcomings prior to purchase and therefore wasn't disappointed with what I got.
Despite my criticisms the Vega has been voted winner of both computer shopper budget buy and stuff test. I feel these are well deserved.
If all you're looking for is a budget tablet to browse the web and play music or video then this is more then suited to your needs. If, like me, you want that little bit more from your tablet then the official Android forum MoDaCo do free custom ROM's which open up the tablet to all the Android features you expect such as the market place and gmail that are missing on the provided operating system. Installing this is easy, a picture walk through is provided on the site and installing this does not invalidate your warranty (I have confirmed this as I needed to return my first). It was actually recommended by staff in store when I purchased it. A link to the forum is provided on the Vega help website.
I do appreciate that not everyone will want to install a new ROM and if this isn't suited to you then apps can be easily downloaded from sites such as getjar.com; again I tried this and whilst not all apps are available on these sites they do install and run without problems so this may be an easier way around the lack of features for those of you less willing to install ROMs.
As far as actual use goes, initial set up is easy. It involves following the onscreen instructions to set the time, date and language and letting the Vega do the rest.
Along the top of the Vega there is a microphone and three buttons including a screen orientation lock, the power and back buttons. On the right hand side there are the volume buttons, a microphone and power socket and a flap that opens to reveal a HDMI, USB and micro SD slot. The USB has little use, it allows you to transfer files from your computer to the Vega but it will not charge either itself or my iPhone from here. The HDMI I haven't tested much as I find this to be of little use since the screen is large enough for me but for the purpose of this review I did try it once and it worked without problems. There is also a docking port on the bottom, there is a docking station available especially for the vega but I have also heard that this will fit iPad docks, the port does look the same but since I haven't tried this I can't confirm it true.
Connectivity wise it has bluetooth and wifi, however as already mentioned it lacks 3G. I already owned the 3 mifi so get around that problem by using that which it connects to without problem. It will not however connect with a USB dongle. The wifi connection is both stable and reliable, in fact more so then my laptop when I'm a fair distance from the router. Browsing webpages is hassle free although easier in portrait mode then landscape as the webpages seem to fit the screen better in this orientation. The Vega also features pinch to zoom which works as it should and makes smaller webpages easier to read. A real bonus for me was the addition of flash player, this works with a click to activate system where when a webpage has flash a little arrow is displayed, if you want to play it you simply touch the arrow and flash will activate. This system means browsing webpages is quick and simple as you're not waiting for flash all the time; having said that when you do activate flash the playback is faultless and doesn't appear to slow down the tablet at all. Webpages using a lot of flash such as BBC iPlayer are easy to use and present no problem.
The touchscreen itself is very responsive on the whole, in fact too much at times. Occasionally when I press a letter or symbol it registers a double click. Having said that, the home button is located on the top left hand button of the touchscreen, whilst this is helpful positioning it sometimes requires a double tap in order for the Vega to register the tap. These are only occasional problems but annoying nonetheless.
The sound quality isn't anywhere near as good as a laptop of home music system and can sound slightly tinny, music played through earphones actually comes out slightly distorted at times so you're better off just using the inbuilt speakers for music. Youtube, iPlayer and other films all have a good enough sound quality through both headphones and the inbuilt speaker so I can't fault the sound quality for video, its just with music that it appears to struggle a little bit.
The viewing angle for notes and webpages in general appears to be pretty good I can have this resting on my lap as I sit in a chair and comfortably see the screen. For video playback however you need to look at it almost exactly straight on in order to avoid distortion to both brightness and colour. The screen in general is more then bright and clear enough to see indoors without any hassle, outdoors however you do need to ensure that the screen is shaded as there is a lot of glare making it difficult, if not impossible, to see when not shaded.
The camera and video recorder isn't the best quality being only 0.3MP but is easy to use and works as it should, sound when using the video recorder is of a good quality. This is only really useable in daylight due to the lack of flash and surprisingly low megapixels but although it could never replace your camera it's good enough to mess around with.
Battery life when using apps lasts 4-5 hours, for light use (web browsing, playing music etc) the battery will comfortably last a whole day.
Finally, I mentioned at the start that I needed to return my first, this was due to a power problem - it failed to charge. However the return was dealt with well and I have had no problems with this one.
Price, Availability And Recommendation
As far as I'm aware this is only available from Dixons and Currys. I bought mine for £199, there is one on the Currys website for £250. This is currently unavailable but I can't tell the difference between the two anyway.
Recommendation is a hard one, without the custom ROM I'd probably only have given it one or two out of five and I do appreciate that this something not everyone will want to do. However, with the getjar website and the fact that the custom ROM is easy and hassle free to install I'm going to give it four out of five based on my experience. It's far from perfect but for a tablet half to a third of the price of the others on the market I wasn't expecting perfection.