It's a full-size USB port on the tablet, as is the HDMI port. The two speakers built into the back panel are not large, and don't deliver a particularly beefy sound, but most folk, I suspect, will use the 3.5mm earphone jack anyway.
There's no skimping on the processor: an Nvidia Tegra 2, which keeps the UI moving smoothly and has the oomph to take 1080p H.264 video playback in its stride. No worries there - all my test videos - H.264, AVI, MKV; SD, 720p and 1080p played just fine. Better than a netbook, for sure.
The plastic screen shield will require regular polishing to avoid a whole mess of fingerprints
Out of the box, the Vega's brightness was set to around 30 per cent. That left the glossy screen seem very reflective, and upping the brightness to the top certainly helps. Running Reg Hardware's netbook-centric video loop test, I got an impressive 6 hours 20 minutes out of the Vega - rather better than most netbooks, even those with bulbous external batteries.
But for 250 quid, I can forgive it that - and the other hardware shortcomings, such as 802.11g Wi-Fi not 802.11n, and the small-capacity SD card.
Rather than wait for the tablet-centric Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Dixons chose to equip the Vega with Android 2.2. Yes, it fills the tablet's larger display, and delivers the basics, but its smartphone origins soon make themselves felt in a sub-optimal user experience.
When you only have 600 pixels top to bottom, wasting a heap of them on a big, chunky status bar is just plain wrong. The icon dock at the bottom of the homescreen, used to present apps no matter what homescreen you've swiped to, is a neat, iPad-style touch, but it provides no feedback when you tap on an icon, not one of which can you change.
Video Playback Battery Life Test
Battery life in Minutes
Longer bars are better
Netbook-thrashing performance: the Advent Vega outclasses netbooks with twice the battery capacity it has. In each case, the screen brightness was set to maximum.
Next page: Missing Market
I cry foul!
A quick scan of the archos 101 review reveals that one of the reviewers biggest gripes - lack of market support - is also an issue with the archos tablet, yet the reviewer skims over it as it is easily installable via a third party website. So, the outdated single core archos with only 256MB ram gets a higher score than the vega.
Secondly, this thing is unbrickable, so not matter if you put custom firmwares on there, or even linux distros such as ubuntu, you can ALWAYS get back to stock if you need to send it back. So you don't have to worry about the warranty. Not that I expect it would be an issue anyway as DSG are well aware of the vega community as modaco and are actively encouraging it, as it helps them to sell more devices without breaking googles android apps licensing restrictions.
Thirdly, the actual hardware is made by shuttle, and as such there are are various companies rebadging this thing, several of whom have promised Honeycomb within the next few months. And given the Tegra 2 chipset, the vega is just as capable of running Honeycomb as the Motorola Xoom, but at half the price.
I had a vega myself for a while but one of the speakers failed and after getting it refunded I decided to wait and see what the xoom would be like. Overpriced is the answer, so I will be picking up a new vega as soon as I have the funds again.
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.
"Only" has 512MB RAM...
Are you kidding me? The original iPad only has 256MB, chances are that the iPad 2 has that or at most 512MB RAM yet this counts as a negative point for a budget tablet? Widescreen is a problem too somehow! Laptops, monitors, TVs, non-Apple tablets ... all new ones are widescreen. Only the iPad has a 4:3 aspect ratio in the market that I'm aware of so again you're comparing it to the iPad when it's a budget tablet and marking it down due to personal preference. It was released in November last year when Honeycomb was still quite a way off so of course it has Android 2.2 and not Android 3.0 but what do you expect?
What happened to reviewing the thing on its own merits? I can only see about half of the review doing that with the majority of the rest being nitpicking. Yes there are bad points about the Vega, it has an awful viewing angle in portrait and not much better (but usable) in landscape, the market is M.I.A. out of the box and like all touchscreens it's a fingerprint magnet. However, the screen is very responsive, it has very good battery life for the price point, it's very easy to install custom ROMs to get Market access and it comes with both a full USB port and HDMI port.
I'd consider about 70% fair for what you get out of the box at this price because if you just want to browse the internet, play videos and listen to music then it's very capable. If you want to put another ROM on it at a later time you get a very functional tablet for over £150 cheaper than an iPad. Not everyone will want to or be able to but if you buy this expecting it to have the market then you've not done your homework in reading up on it. That's not the fault of the Vega though.
Reviewing the "out of the box" experience...
....seems fair enough to me.
If you bought a wireless router and the signal was terrible, connection kept dropping out etc, and you had to go to a third party website to get some unofficial software to make it work well, then it ought to get a bad score.
If it came with duff software, but immediately connected and prompted you to do an official update from the manufacturer, then that's a different matter.
that homescreen rotate was missing from the standard Android homescreen anyway? Its one of the reasons I moved to another homescreen app.
AFAIK the Vega is not a phone, so does not pass the Android minimum spec, so does not haev access to the market. Unless I'm wrong a bit of basic research would have been nice for both these issues.