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 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought...

    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.

    1. Danny 14


      Thats ok then, now that you have explained that too me I can forgive it for not having acrobat reader, or some mapping software, or perhaps a different UI that I can download, or maybe a game.

      Wait a min I cant install anything from marketplace so it is practically useless....

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    All I have heard for months is that this is the 'go-to' Android Tablet. Cheap *AND* good.

    Without rooting the thing it looks a little crap to me?

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Slightly dodgy

      Not to mention that by installing the custom firmware with the Google marketplace you're effectively installing unlicenced or pirated software.

      Google marketplace is only available to devices made by manufacturers that have licenced it. The Advent does not have a licence to use it, hence it isn't there. The custom firmware has obviously had a copy of the Google marketplace application copied into it and that software has been lifted from a licenced device.

      So not only do you need to be a techie to use this thing properly you also need to infringe on a software licence to get it to run decent software.

      There's another reason why it is £250.

    2. Robert E A Harvey
      Thumb Down

      Crap? ?

      What part of "Dixons" did you not spot?

  3. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    Sticking some extra apps on the tablet hardly counts as hacking - as well call someone a hacker for installing MS Office on a Windows PC while putting a custom ROM on is about as tricky as a reboot.

    All that said, thanks for the poor review, it might get the thing discounted quickly and in time for my summer holidays ;-)

    Does it have a GPS? (or a-GPS)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Worse than hacker, pirate...

      Google's apps, including Android Market are closed source and licensed by Google.

      In the case of Cyanogen mod Google started but agreed not to pursue further legal action because it could be considered that these apps were restored from a backup of the original firmware.

      In the case of the Advent Vega these apps never came in the original ROM, you don't hold a license from Google, so by adding them later you're effectively pirating Google's software and may be legally prosecuted for copyright infringement.

      Plus the apps are even telling Google you're doing it.

    2. worto03

      does it have gps?

      No but you can tether it to a built in gps on your phone or bluetooth it to an external gps

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    What I love about Android

    If you don't like the current OS build you can change it yourself.

  5. Sartori
    Thumb Up

    Sounds good to me

    Actually sounds like a great device for the money, especially since installing a custom ROM is easy now I have done it a couple of times. For the money and a little time spent reading how to root it it seems like a bit of a rare bargain!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >Installation is straightforward on a Mac or Linux box, less so under Windows

    Even under Windows its not really all that difficult download a zip file and reboot. Since it notably ships already rooted, seems like they almost want you to do this.

  7. .stu

    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.

    1. Bob H


      I was waiting for the Xoom but if it is true about exploring the potential of the Vega I may just have to jump in and buy one. I resisted rooting my NexusOne because it is pristine and official. But at this price I can afford the hardware and fix the software!

    2. Geoff Thompson


      I have the Archos 101 and put Market on it. No doubt it will be just as easy on this. Looks like a bargan to me.

    3. Splurg The Barbarian

      Spotted that as well

      Just read the review of the Vega and went and checked the Archos review also. Has the author deliberately slated the Vega due to the fact in almost every tablet story there are comments recommending the Vega and critiscising El Reg for not reviewing it?

      There is no consistency between the two reviews at all, the Archos scores 85% without Android Marketplace and is even praised for a workaround to get access. the Vega is slated for having a workaround. The Vega is also slated for having a widescreen display, doesn't the Archos 101 have a widescreen display yet where was the mark down for it? I couls have sworn that most tablets are widescreen so will they ALL get a mark down for this?

      Out the box both of these tablets can NOT have the marketplace as they are tablets not phones, so therefor do not have 3G or GPS.

      If you want a capacitive screen 10" tablet, I'm sorry Reg, but the Vega seems to be far and away the best value for money device out there.

    4. paul 97


      to be fair the XOOM has a very nice screen. Better than the iPad2.

  8. Gulfie

    Don't wait for a software upgrade...

    There's no point saying this thing could be improved by shipping it with marketplace. Google won't certify an Android 2.2 device that doesn't meet their minimum hardware requirement, so it'll never get marketplace. Further, Dixons/Advent won't be updating the firmware to a later version of Android because there is no money to be made in doing so...

    They're relying on people not understanding what is present, what is missing, and how hard it will be for Joe Public to work that out before the opportunity to return it has been lost. I think the reviewer is being too kind.

    1. nivs123



    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      >Further, Dixons/Advent won't be updating the firmware to a later version of Android because there is no money to be made in doing so...

      MoDaCo is already better than anything they were likely to come up with - aside from better performance, newer version of Flash etc it also includes all the Google Apps which Advent will never be allowed to put there.

      >They're relying on people not understanding what is present, what is missing

      Perhaps they are shipping it pre-rooted to people who actually understand what Android is - certainly the case for the half-dozen folk I know who've bought one and are rather more than happy with the deal.

      1. Gulfie

        Sorry don't buy that...

        People who know what they are doing will root/reflash or just add marketplace manually. What does the majority of DSG customers do - you know, the ones who aren't computer savvy like the El Reg readers?

        1. ChrisC Silver badge

          Is it "normal" DSG customers who're buying the Vega though?

          Or do they continue to flock to the fruity-themed section of the store, leaving the path to the Vega shelf clear for those of us who recognise a serious bargain when we see one...

          As tech-savvy individuals I suspect we all could tell a tale or ten about overpriced/underspecced tat being flogged to the unwary by DSG, but from time to time they do actually punt something which is genuinely decent value and worthy of a second look. The Vega is such a thing.

          The only concern I have for the future of the Vega and similarly reasonably priced Android tabs is that with the release of iPadeux, there's going to be a fair few first-gen iPads hitting the second hand marketplace at prices that will be tempting to anyone who was only put off getting one because of the RRP, and doesn't care too much about how much control they have over their devices. We're even seeing the price of brand new first-gen iPads dropping to the point where they're starting to encroach into this sector - only £60 between the price of a 16GB Archos 101 and a 16GB iPad, that's going to tempt more people to pay the extra for the Apple than when the difference was into three digits...

    3. A J Stiles

      Heard that before

      "They're relying on people not understanding what is present, what is missing, and how hard it will be for Joe Public to work that out before the opportunity to return it has been lost"

      Same business model, then, as flogging axle-grease spreads "made with buttermilk for a butter-like taste" and relying on the punters not knowing that buttermilk is the stuff you throw away after making butter.

      1. John 62

        soda bread

        needs buttermilk, as do scones. mmm, scones, mmm.

  9. Cosmo

    For £250

    I think I'd probably just buy a netbook. Slower, and less battery life, but at ;east I can install any "app" that I want without having to do any rooting etc.

  10. Wibble

    Why widescreen?

    As it's widescreen, it's now too damn narrow for portrait usage.

    All designs are a compromise. Obviously this compromises on day-to-day usability for watching films.


  11. Tony Barnes

    @ Tony Smith - higher score

    "Had it all that functionality out of the box, the Vega would have scored a lot more highly."


    How much more highly? Given the userbase here, I'd wager that most of us would happily stick a new ROM on to a device like this, especially given how clear the instructions appear to be. (.stu - agree on the Achos comparison!)

    I toyed briefly with one of these in Currys on saturday - responsiveness seemed spot on, and viewing angle in landscape (i.e. the one I'd use most) also fine. It wasn't networked so couldn't test browsing/flash support.

    For £250 it feels like a bargain. If they manage to port Honeycomb to it (no obvious reason why not IMO) then I will likely be grabbing one!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's a consumer device...

      and should be reviewed as such, which is exactly what Tony Smith has done. He has gone further by indicating what need to be one to make the device useful. Great for geeks, not so good for the average user. reading the review, 65% is generous.

      1. paul 97


        then why does the iPad ( wont work with many websites that use flash ) get high scores?

        A non-techie wont understand what flash is. Just that the iPad doesnt work.

        1. Giles Jones Gold badge

          Flash is proprietary

          Don't you get it yet?

          Why on earth should the WWW be reliant on a piece of software from Adobe? If it was Silverlight I'm sure everyone would be up in arms at Microsoft controlling the web. Adobe want to sell their very overpriced software tools, so aren't really any better.

          Standards are what made the Internet usable and decent, relying on proprietary plugins, patented technology and so on just ruins things.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        If you haven't realised this yet...

        most El Reg readers ARE geeks.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @"most El Reg readers ARE geeks."

          I know! And that's my point. The tone of the article was "Alright if you are a geek, not so good for consumers *who the device is **actually** targeted at*. So, be clever and make your own own judgement based on what Tony has told you. If geeks that read this disagree and go and buy an Advent tablet then cool beans to them. It sound like a neat toy for tweaking and fiddling about with. I'd *question* a geek buying Advent kit TBH; my experiences of Advent kit have only ever been bad, as with the rest of DSG's output. It doesn't change the fact that OOTB, the thing is a slab of bolts only worthy of a 65% score, and a generous score at that!

  12. Steve Potter

    Bad for Joe, good for me

    In some ways the Vega is an amateurish attempt at a tablet, the Archos is presented much more professionally, I've had both and the Vega wins as long as your prepared to get your hands dirty.

    For Joe public, I imagine DSG have a large returns rate, it really isn't suitable as it stands. DSG could Install and market it as an ebook reader, with extras.

    But it's £250 and a bargain for me, but not for most I suspect.

    1. Robert E A Harvey


      >I imagine DSG have a large returns rate

      So we can get them cheaper still? Oh no, it's Dixons, who tried to sell me a returned laptop for £2 less than a new one.

  13. McChicken

    FAIL comparison

    why would you compare the vega with the iPad 2 when:

    1) the vega is made by dixons

    2) the price difference is almost £150, which all your gripes against the cheap plastic back, the smudgy front glass can stuff it somewhere else.

    3) as the advent vega's official website ( has acknowledged, the developer community is vibrant with updates to improve the system, whereas iPad is a closed box, and would not allow anyone to improve the system usability.

    Your modaco comment comes too late in your review.

    Majority of reader would have been switched off by your so negative comment on the 1st page.

    you better average your experience out of the box with the modaco experience to get a more presentable score. 65% is a disgrace!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      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.

      1. Danny 14


        why (then) did the archos score wildly better? It has *more* failings than this vega out of the box and scored higher because of tweakability?

  14. Santonia

    You only did half a review there... you got to the bit where you can install the Modaco custom rom, but didn't really explain any of the benefits. I have an Advent Vega, and went in eyes open that a little bit of time with the device and I'd have a properly flexible tablet.

    With the Modaco rom you can enable the (fullsize) USB port in host mode: the benefits are numerous. Plug in any old USB key to transfer and view files - check. Plug in a mouse/keyboard - check. Plug in and surf using a 3G dongle - check. Options for expanding the memory - SDHC card and USB storage. Options for extending the iPad memory - err, buy another iPad?

    All the usual consideration about openness of Android v walled Apple approach. Example: I can easily swap video content from laptop to desktop to tablet with no need for recoding and formatting, it just works.

    Granted the screen isn't going to blow your mind, but it is more than good enough. The underlying hardware is futureproofed for Honeycomb. I chose the form factor BECAUSE it was 16:9, for me, video on the iPad is a bit old-school, with its letterboxing of widescreen footage.

    I could not justify spending the massive fines that Apple imposed on the iPad, and nor did I want to. My use case suits the Vega, and so did the price. I would therefore change the scores as follows:

    Review based on people who want a cheaper ipad: 65%

    Review based on people who can operate a PC and want a decent Android tablet: 85%. (loses points for screen quality).

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Crap Advent hardware shock!

    Oh Noes, surely not...

    Oh hang on, you said Advent, ok, move along nothing to see...

    1. James Hughes 1


      The review said the HW was pretty good, and its was let down by the software.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    rubbish review

    If the reviewer had even bothered to do a quick google search he would find that installing a custom firmware that enables ALL of the missing features he moans about takes no more than 10 minutes (and is pretty much click-n-go). Mine is running the latest MoDaCo ROM (thanks Paul!) and it runs sweet as a nut, with a lot of added extras thrown in (Titanium Backup anyone?).

    At less than half the price of an iPad or Motorola Xoom (which uses the same processor) I cant understand how this gets such a low score.

    The reviewer is obviously wetting himself in anticipation of getting his shiny iPad 1.5 in a few weeks

  17. JDX Gold badge


    I guess now it can play video...

  18. TheRaul

    Works great for me

    I have had the Vega for about 2 months now. The tablet does not need rooting or any complicated upgrade procedures. Granted, I am a techie, but it took me 5 minutes to download the software and run an .exe file that did all the work. This added both flash and marketplace and it works like a charm.

    One of the coolest features is the HDMI port which means that you can even watch video on any HD TVs. I particularly like being able to use Crunchyroll's Anime streaming app on my TV.

    The review seems rushed and prejudiced. If I were you, I would give it another proper try before discarding it.

  19. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Maplin has an Android 2.1 tablet for about £129.

    It has most of the same disadvantages, including Google actively labouring to exclude and disable your use of Android Market if you hack you way into it. But yes, you don't need Market to install applications - only most of them, that aren't offered any other way.

    I think I read that many of the cheap not-a-phone Android tablets also use a microprocessor that later Android versions aren't being provided for, which seems to imply that an upgrade won't happen. Using a strange processor isn't a problem for apps which are compiled in Google's hardware-independent looks-a-lot-like-Java language, Davros, but it's liable to mean that your object of cheapskate techno-lust will not be updated beyond what comes in the box and what's already compatible.

    But twas ever thus. Asus promised tablet netbooks with built-in TV receivers, Clive Sinclair told you you could strap any hardware update onto the back of a ZX Spectrum (where I think the port pins connected straight into the Z80 microprocessor itself), Charles Babbage and Hero Of Alexandria never got past the prototype and proof-of-principle stage. Not to mention Leonardo da Vinci, who if any of his stuff worked or even got off paper would have been emperor of the world.

    No. What you get for your money is whe!at's in the box, and that's all.

    Galaxy Tab owner (but haven't turned it on yet, I believe in the eyes of the law it is a phone, therefore illegal to use driving)

    1. Gulfie

      To be fair to Sinclair Research...

      What they actually said was, approximately, "You can do pretty much anything with a Spectrum you can do with any other Z80-based computer but the hardware may get in the way". The ZX81 manual said much the same thing (I build several third party expansion cards for both and designed and built a couple of my own). In hindsight we got some relatively awesome hardware for our money!

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        I really am glad you enjoyed building your own peripherals, but

        Some of us just want to buy an upgrade that clicks into place. And the Sinclair accessories were late, few, and expensive. Modern readers should probably think of them as docking devices. You could buy an "Interface 1" or an "Interface 2". (They did various minor things, look it up.) Oh, and a printer. What a printer: data poked from processor register straight onto thermally sensitive paper, like some current cash registers. But not cash register width, that would be ridiculous and awful. No, the Sinclair printer output was full-size ISO toilet paper width.

        Well, it was the early 1980s, and unlike IBM, this personal computer cost less than a car. And on either or both or all of the ZX series, you were encouraged, not forbidden, to use your computer to run a nuclear power station. Only, you would have to build that nuclear power station yourself - like most other conceivable accessories. Or buy a third-party accessory, of course - but that's not the point. Sinclair didn't keep promises.

        It's a life lesson.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think what most people are looking for in a tablet is SIMPLICITY, at the bare minimum it should come ready to play out of the box.

    If this needs users to install a ROM full of pirated Google apps to do anything useful, along with whatever future headaches it may bring, then just get a notebook for almost the same price.

    Surely no self-respecting geek hacks around with tablets, they have minimal expansion and most of the really juicy stuff is locked down inside binary kernel blobs.

    1. Simon_Edwards

      Updates required.

      Simplicity is a good thing for sales to end users. Until recently the Vega has been sold on-line to enthusiasts who knew exactly what they were getting.

      The Open Source nature of Android has really helped these enthusiasts.

      Kernel source is made available by the best Android tablet manufacturers (Viewsonic and Advent included) in the knowledge that it will be used. New kernels are relatively easy to create if required because of this.

      As has been pointed out already the Google Apps collection won't ever be certified for Android 2.2 on a tablet with no phone functionality. This is apparantly because Google do not want to be responsible for how they behave and appear on the supersized screen of a tablet. However Google do know that they will be used on tablets and take no active efforts to stop it - they could easily stop it, but they don't.

      Don't be worried about the implied or potential actions of Google. They know exactly what is going on and whilst not being willing to take direct responsibility for the use of their apps on large screens there is tacit complicity that its going on.

      There's an eco-system to be fed here and the market needs all the throughput that it can get even if its not officially recognised.

      Screen angles and WiFi modules apart the hardware is bang up to date, at a relatively low price. Once the MoDaCo pack is installed its an iPad killer in many ways, whilst lacking the integrated Apple user experience.

      So, if you know you are buying hardware that will require some simple tweaks to make the best of it the Vega is a great tablet (as are several others mentioned in the comments here).

      If you want to see an iPad competitor out of the box, then wait for Honeycomb to ship on the hardware.

      For the price, if you are in the UK, if you are a techie, its currently unbeatable.

  21. BorkedAgain

    Oh dear.

    Poor score. that's dreadful news. Reckon DSG will be so upset they'll be dropping the price soon...

    (Yay! Bargain!)

  22. PaulR79

    "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.

    1. Dave 142


      try reading it again, he's complaining about the storage, not the RAM.

    2. Goat Jam


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

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

  23. spencer

    What I want to know is:

    Can it play films from NAS?

    1. Gulfie
      Thumb Up

      Re: DLNA

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

    2. paul 97

      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.

    3. g dot assasin
      Thumb Up

      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 ;)

  24. Anonymous Coward

    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.

    1. Gulfie
      Thumb Up

      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...

  25. paul 97
    Thumb Up

    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).

  26. juice

    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!

    1. Danny 14

      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.

      1. juice

        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.

  27. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    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.

  28. thecakeis(not)alie

    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!

    1. Danny 14


      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.

  29. whats the point of kenny lynch?
    Thumb Up


    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.

  30. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    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

    1. James Hughes 1

      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?

    2. Danny 14
      Thumb Up


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

  31. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


    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.

    1. Danny 14


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

  32. Kingsley
    Thumb Down

    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.

  33. Dave Bell


    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.

  34. twunt


    @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.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    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).

  36. Anonymous Coward
    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).

    1. whats the point of kenny lynch?
      Thumb Down

      lack of flash?

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

  37. Biomech

    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

    1. ttuk
      Jobs Horns

      here's your title

  38. Mahou Saru

    For the flashing fearful

    but flashing is so easy!

  39. Patrick 14

    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 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

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Bag of Dirt!

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

  41. blcollier

    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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