Many of our readers may remember the original Advent Vega, which launched just over 3 years ago. How time flies! It arrived at a time when 10” tablets were expensive and underwhelming, bringing with it a rock bottom price tag, support from a top UK retailer and a powerful NVidia chipset. Throw in a high degree of hackability and it was exactly what the market needed – it sold in huge numbers and to this day is fondly remembered amongst Android fans.
The successor has been a long time coming and while it shares some key features with it’s predecessor – a NVidia processor is still on board and it’s still very competitively priced – it has also changed to reflect how the tablet market has matured since the original was released.
The Advent Vega Tegra Note 7 is, as the name suggests, a 7” tablet. The release of the Nexus 7 – another NVidia device – changed the tablet market completely. Prices dropped, practicality increased and the device was a runaway success. With the 2013 Nexus 7 moving to Qualcomm internals, you could argue that the Vega device is that device’s spiritual successor too.
Overall the Vega packs good specs, albeit lacking in some areas compared to it’s main rival, the aforementioned 2013 Nexus 7.
At the heart of the device beats a Nvidia Tegra 4 heart – a quad core CPU and a very powerful GPU ideally suited to the most demanding of games. 1GB of RAM is onboard (surprisingly, given the trend towards 2GB of RAM on devices now) and 16GB of storage. A microSD slot, something that is arguably essential as many games grow to well over a gigabyte in size, supplements this.
The usual array of connectivity is present – microUSB, microHDMI for connectivity to a TV, Bluetooth 4.0 and of course WiFi. A 5 Megapixel camera is included if you want to be ‘that guy’ together with a VGA front facing camera for video calling and selfies. The camera itself is acceptable for a tablet, using SmugMug’s Camera Awesome as the camera app.
The screen on the Vega is a 1280×800 IPS unit. It’s not bad, but it feels a lot like ‘last year’s screen’ both in resolution and clarity. It certainly pales next to the new Nexus. The new Vega, as with the original, is a device that’s engineered to a price point – some compromises are evident and this is one example.
Nvidia’s background is in gaming and the Vega is a great gaming tablet. As well as the powerful hardware and expandable storage, the device includes dual front facing stereo speakers. With ‘PureAudio’ technology, they crank up to a decent volume and it’s an often-overlooked feature that really contributes to an immersive gaming experience.
The Vega has one more party piece up its sleeve and the clue’s in the name. The device ships with a stylus and a silo in the device to put it in. The stylus itself has a great weight to it and an angled, spongy tip that lets you vary the thickness of screen input dependent on the pressure you put on it.
The bundled apps for use with the stylus are fairly basic, but with the Google Play Store on board, plenty of alternatives are available.
Out of the box the Vega includes Android 4.2 in a very stock Android style. A handful of game demos are included and a couple of Nvidia Tegra specific apps, but if you like your Android ‘pure’, you won’t find much here to offend. Performance is silky smooth and battery life is good, although heavy gaming can deplete it quickly, as with any device.