back to article Dixons Advent Vega

I had not had the Advent Vega out of the box for more than half an hour when I felt a very strong urge to fling the thing across the Reg Hardware office. Advent Vega Dixons' Advent Vega: rather long and thin I took receipt of the 10.1in tablet on the day Apple was due to announce the iPad 2. If the Vega is anything to go by, …

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FAIL

widescreen

'Laptops, monitors, TVs, non-Apple tablets ... all new ones are widescreen'

you say that like it's a good thing . . .

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What I want to know is:

Can it play films from NAS?

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Re: DLNA

Yes, but only after installing something like Skifta or 2Player

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Yes (if modaco)

new Roms include a new kernel with CIFS (windows) support.

You can mount the NAS (Assuming windows support) as part of the device filesystem. The various media player apps then think its a local file.

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re: playing films from NAS

Yep it can.....

Using TVersity you can stream over wifi instantly (it will transcode on the fly if needed)

Just browse to http://YOUR-TVERSITY-SERVER:41952

P.S. You can even annoy your Apple fanboi friends (always fun!) and use a shiny flash interface by adding /flashlib to the end of the url ;)

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WTF?

65% is a disgrace.....

Very negative and unfair comments made at the beginning of the review :-( (especially when the Archos is reviewed more favourably and seems to suffer from a significant battery recharge issue!)

Aside from the comments already posted here already -

1) The screen aspect is perfect for browsing - the 1024x600 'width' in landscape mode allows the whole page width to be display at a size which is 'finger friendly' for selecting links. The browser speed is incredible when compared to a netbook/pc, I've used loads of OS's/browsers both on PC's/mobiles over the past 15 years and I was surpised to find that that this device has offered the best experience to date!!

2) You do not need to hack the device, just install some apps! - I've applied 2 x "performance packs" which very easily opens up the android market (plus gmail if required) and also slims down the notification bar. (all they required was a reboot!) Added the Zeam launcher to provide complete customisation over the home screens and what icons/widgets are displayed. All no more difficult than installing an app on a Windows PC....

3) Plays flash (BBC iPlayer / Youtube) out of the box!

3) A 'Honeycomb' capable tablet for half the price of a Xoom??

4) While the viewing angle is narrow, I'm sure most people will want to view the device straight in front of them? (I'm not going to read a website / PDF or Kindle book sat away at an angle from the device!)

I can understand the hype around Honeycomb, but how different will the core components be? I bought the Vega for browsing / reading / email - the apps for which will perform in much the same way regardless of OS. Yes there are some drawbacks but I think this needs to be reviewed in the right context - for £250 it wipes the floor with any other device.

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Re: Honeycomb

Looks well set for Honeycomb based on the 1Ghz processor. I suspect this will be sourced most easily from Cyanogen(mod). Might pick one up for my development work...

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For those who don't know about the dept of technical expertise of Dixons staff.

Hers is a brief training film for one of their earlier products.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pujXTj4X_I4

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Twixt and tween

I was debating buying an Advent Vega, but decided against it. Partly because at the moment, it's not that competitively priced - you can buy a no-name 10" Android tablet from Ebay from as little as £100 and Apple/Currys/Comet/etc are punting out v1 iPads for as little as £329 - with free laser etching, to boot. Admittedly, the prices will go back up once the v1 stocks are cleared and the v2 is released, but I'd expect the secondhand price of an iPad v1 to be around the £250 mark once things have settled.

Instead, I went for one of the no-name tablets, at £130 - it's a ZT-180 v2, if anyone's interested. The specs aren't quite as good (1ghz single-core unnamed CPU, resistive screen), but it's generally comparable on all other features: 10.1" 1024*600 screen, USB host, micro-sd, HDMI-out, 1080p media playback, 512mb ram, 4gb flash and 3-5 hours of battery life. And there's a reasonable number of people playing around with ROM upgrades for this specific model.

Assuming the build quality is alright and the battery life lives up to expectations, it's cheap and portable enough for me to be happy using it as a media-viewer on my daily train-travel. However, in the long run, I'll probably end up grabbing a secondhand iPad V1, once the secondhand models are down enough in price - I'm not keen on the closed-garden philosophy or the lack of a memory card slot, but the battery life is outstanding and that 4:3 screen ratio is much, much more sensible for reading!

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Stop

no ta

1080p on a 1ghz single noname core I doubt it, no CPU bound pad/phone can play 1080p without video acceleration. I doubt it can play 720p without issues. Plus its only an ARM6 CPU so no flash 10.1 for you (needs ARM7). Personally I think you've been had.

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Fun with chinese hardware...

@Danny 14: I wouldn't be that doubtful: I have a 5" Chinese (Ainol) PMP which I bought nearly a year ago and is quite capable of playing 1080p content [*] - and has a HDMI output, to boot. These days, similar models are going for around £60 these days; it's not unreasonable to expect a similar decoding chip to have been shoehorned into the ZT-180 V2.

As for Flash: am I bovvered? :) I'm getting the tablet mostly for reading and the odd bit of movie watching; at home, I browse with Flashblock enabled - I tend to have several dozen tabs open at any given time, and flash-based adverts have a nasty habit of pushing CPU/core usage up to 100%. Put simply: I don't have any real use for Flash..

Anyhoo: sadly, the new toy hasn't turned up yet; when it does, I'll probably slap up a video review on Youtube!

[*] e.g. http://www.slashgear.com/ainol-v8000hdw-pmp-gets-reviewed-slick-1080p-from-hdmi-output-3083843/

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Grenade

Needs..

1) An Asus type netbook chassis.

2) matte screen

3) bigger battery

4) more ram

5) Easily expandable HD option

6) easily available drivers/source

= win.

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FAIL

err

so what you are looking for is an asus netbook that runs windows?

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horseshite....

I've had my vega for 3 months and love it...and I'm a loyal mac user. The ipad is more fluent but way too pricey and wall gardened.

Just spend £250, mod it in 5 minutes and enjoy. Even reg readers can manage that.

Marketplace is decent, there's loads of online support and it handles flash great. Just don't analyse it too much...i really love it.

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Coat

On a visit to PC-World

I read the review and was vaguely interested.

Sigh. What a let down.

This device was proudly displayed next to an iPad.

The Vega was busted. Kaput.

Eventually I found a member of staff.

"Oh yeah, some kid broke it on Sunday"

"So do you have another?"

"No sorry. We only got one."

"you mean you don't have any in stock?"

"No Sorry. Perhaps you should try another branch"

No wonder people walk out with an iPad.

To all those who say, yeah, I can root it and load some other distro/version on it.

Please ask yourself this question.

How many people who but this device and ARE NOT geeks are going to do change the version of the software to get all the missing functionality?

My estimation is Zip. Zero, None.

Is this a really useful table any more?

IMHO, No. 65% is rather high in my estimation.

Mines the one with no tablet in the pocket

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Don't blame the hardware

For lack of decent customer service in PC World. Those guys couldn't organise the proverbial PUIAB.

You can, though, blame the software for not being capable of giving the basic user all that is required out fo the box. And that is because the hardware doesn't meet Googles spec for Marketplace, which in turn could be argued is sort of Google's fault, not the machine described here.

Not sure how to get round that problem. They are not allowed to install marketplace etc prior to selling to the end user, so it has to be done after market. Perhaps something like the after market installation of restricted stuff on Ubuntu?

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err

or maybe everyone walked out with a vega first then when they had sold out bought ipads.

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Non-techies Web Surfing.

Poor review - but its gotta point. Its gotta poor screen, bad stock OS - but it very very cheap. Very cheap.

The stock browser identifies itself as a desktop browser and coupled with flash means you get a desktop experience by surfing the web.

Get a non-techie who wants to go to a shopping site that uses flash - the iPad just wont work (TM).

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Tradeoffs

USB and a Micro-SD slot: that's good to have. 4GB Micro-SD cards seem to be the default: you can buy 'em in Tesco. Smarter people get 16GB cards off the web.

If only there were the software easily available to exploit these features. It almost seems to be going in the opposite direction to the iPad.

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Screen is a deal breaker

To say the screen is a bit poor is an understatement. it's diabolical, even in landscape to get the right angle to watch anything at is a mission, and you can forget readng those pdfs on it.

I had one for a while and easily installed the custom rom and had a play about, but you just can't get over some very poor hardware decisions, regardless of how cheap it might be.

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If ye don't like it...

...send it my way! :) I'll root it and installed honeycomb, and detail my experiences. I'd love a chance to play with this device...but they won't ship to Canada!

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Go

nope

you dont need to root it. You can flash the rom till the cows come home - there is a fallback rom if it all goes wrong too.

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Screen

@Kingsley - I almost bought one the other day- reserved in store and everything - but the screen left me feeling distinctly unimpressed. The resolution and colour reproduction just seems well below par - even for a cheapo like this I was expection a bit more.

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Anonymous Coward

meh

I'll stick with my GT, small and with the same resolution, classier looking, works a treat without having to update the ROM (although I await a quality ROM from Modaco seeing as I'm a paid up member).

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Anonymous Coward

Actually made by Malata, Dixons just sell them

Dixon's Advent badge is stuck on a bunch of items made by third parties you've mostly never heard of, often cheap crap. Sometimes it strikes (still cheap) gold though and sells it at an astonishing price, e.g. the Advent netbook which was a rebrand of the MSI Wind. This Malata tablet is a similar story.

The Advent Vega has been a great tablet for those lucky enough to buy one a few months ago and do the Modaco stuff to bring it up to scratch. But yes, the lack of the Google Market and Flash has hampered it's acceptability for the average punter.

This will change with Honeycomb, as you'll note that due to a change in Google policies it is being punted on several items e.g. the upcoming Galaxy Tabs and the Xooms that don't have 3G or phone capabilites which means the out of the box experience will be fine from that point onwards. Particularly as the Tegra2 platform of the Vega is the reference platform that all those Honeycomb tablets are running. It is likely, but not guaranteed that the current Vegas will be sold with Honeycomb at some point.

For those who are geekier you might want to wait for the slightly newer models that Malata have already announced, to see if you get slightly better screen and minor bumps in other specs, possibly at even lower prices if you're prepared to wait and see if Dixons pick them up or get them via some other route. (Google for "Malata Honeycomb" for details).

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lack of flash?

it comes with flash installed, it costs £249. how much is an ipad again?

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Grenade

Aweful Article

I think it's clear that the author of this article is a die hard Apple fanboi who's just furiously trying to pick holes in everyone else's products.

I have a Vega, it has flash support, android market, expandable memory - essentially everything that I want to do that the iPad is incapable of despite it's huge price tag. Apple products have always been rediculously overpriced (don't believe me check the prices for hardware when customising a Mac online). Apple know that their army of fans will buy whatever they put out and formed a whole business model around this; sell something substandard and featureless, let the fans buy it, then release version 2 with everything that should have been in the original knowing that the fans will buy it again. It happens in every "i" product from the iPhone to the iPad

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Jobs Horns

here's your title

theoatmeal.com/comics/apple

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For the flashing fearful

http://mobilestore.opera.com/

but flashing is so easy!

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Ipad or vega or maplin scroll ?

I had a Vega and found it to be rubbish, The screen is a joke , I now have a Maplin scroll with 2.1 and that has better veiwing angles than the vega. The archos 101 was even worse. but that was reduced in Currys.digital as it was a customer return and went down more than a working girls knickers

I've had 2 ipad's so far in a week only returned due to first having major backlight bleeding and second just started to corrupt my music, which i did a restore on and it just gave up

so not getting a third.

took wife out spent some of the refund money and ended up with the maplin scroll.

The touch screen is a joke but it does play videos well. nice clear screen

the battery does under 2 hours, and only cost £30 less than My used Motorola Defy thanks CEX

Claims to have open GL2 support but very few games run right on it bits missing etc. Also having to turn the thing 180% to get it the right way up.

I have rooted g1 and san francisco etc and its easy in most cases, but as the vega's backlight was faulty, it was strippy light and dark. it had to go back.

Want unlimited net etc use O2 based spin off giffgaff

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Rubbish

Bag of Dirt!

Go get a Galaxy Tab if you can't stand iPad.

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Why compare to iPad

Why bother comparing to the iPad at all? It is clear that Android tablets - while sharing a form factor - are completely different beasts to the iFamily. iOS gives you a locked-down ecosystem, but provides many features out of the box and has a consistent user interface. Android may seem lacking at first, but if you're prepared to roll your sleeves up and do a little work yourself, you'll get a far more rewarding experience and a far better device.

Hell, you don't even have to get your hands dirty with the Vega. Modaco have done - literally - all the work for you; all the end user needs to do is download a zip file, change one setting and run a program. Get yourself a nice cuppa, let it flash & reboot, then you're done. Chances are that you won't even finish making that cuppa before it's rebooted into the Modaco ROM.

I don't read el reg/reghardware to get the "consumer" point of view, I read it for a more tech-savvy opinion. The nice friendly padded corners you get with iOS may be just fine and dandy for the masses, but that's not what computing is about to me. I want the sharp corners that I can gouge my shins on (scars are cool, right?), I want to be able to screw up and learn from my mistakes, I want the endless customisations, the custom kernels/modules, etc.

After spending about 5 minutes in the Modaco forums, I knew this review was way off and decided that I would be getting one. Especially when it has been pretty much confirmed that the Vega will be getting Honeycomb. Manufacturers of vega clones have already confirmed that they are working on releasing Honeycomb; we don't even need a 100% open source homebrew effort, because there will be official builds to work on that are already optimised for the hardware.

A Honeycomb-capable tablet for half the price (yet the same hardware power) of the Xoom? Yes-bloody-please.

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