Dixons Advent Vega

Geek's delight, consumer's fright

Missing Market

Or maybe you can, and there's a note to that effect in the manual. Said tome is provided as a download on Dixons' myadventvega.com website, but having retrieved it, you find there's no bundled app capable of reading PDFs.

And here's a major problem: there's no Android Market support, so no Adobe Reader or any other additional apps. The Vega comes with a decent set of media playback and personal information management tools, and both a browser and email, but that's it.

Advent Vega

The MoDaCo custom firmware massively increases the number of useful on-board apps -
and adds Android Market support

So, no Skype to make use of that nice webcam, then. If you plan to put anything else on it, you're stuffed unless you're a hacker. Closing the tablet to app downloads is unforgiveable - hence my frustration and desire to chuck the Vega away in disgust.

Now, if you're happy with the basic array of apps, that's fine. Buy a Vega and you'll have a relatively cheap media playback and browsing device. Services like Twitter and Facebook, you can access through the web.

But so many opportunities to extend the abilities of the hardware will be denied you, at least until Dixons updates the software to support the Market - or you waive your warranty and install custom firmware. I briefly tried one from MoDaCo. Installation is straightforward on a Mac or Linux box, less so under Windows, and you get the Android Market and a lot more besides. It really brings this £250 tablet to life, making it the product it should have been from the start. Had it all that functionality out of the box, the Vega would have scored a lot more highly.

Verdict

With better performance that your average netbook yet a lower price - and lower weight - the Advent Vega is an appealing tablet. Personally, I don't like the widescreen aspect ratio, but if you're happy to live in landscape orientation that won't worry you. The lack of storage capacity can easily be addressed with a cheap Micro SD card upgrade. Get one and the Vega becomes a decent big-screen PMP, but without access to fresh apps, it won't become a mobile companion. ®

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Advent Vega

Dixons Advent Vega

Cheap yet fast Android PMP-cum-tablet.
Price: £250 RRP