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When we talk about tablet PCs, we instantly think of the iPad as the benchmark, thanks largely to Apple’s massive advertising campaigns.  But why should the iPad be the benchmark for everyone else to follow? Allow me to introduce the Advent Vega, the new standard for all tablet PCs.

With a 10.1″ multi-touch screen, nVidia tegra 2 dual core processor, up to 10 hours continued use and running on Android 2.2, this tablet will give many netbooks a run for their money.  Those familiar with Android will be right at home with the format, and the beauty of Android is that it is so simple to use that even a complete novice will soon be an expert.  The Vega has ‘pinch’ technology like that of Android smart phones, and will allow you to zoom in and out while browsing the web.  The Vega also has a 1.3 mega-pixel webcam at the front, a USB port, a 4GB SD memory card, and WiFI to make work or playing on the move simple. The standout feature is that it is flash compatible, so websites such as YouTube and BBC iPlayer all play beautifully, so you no longer have to be in front of your tv to watch your favourite show!  The only thing the Vega doesn’t have is 3G capabilities, so you will need a WiFi connection to make the most of its features.

BSF were given exclusive use of the Advent Vega, and where better to try it out than at London Fashion Week? When I first received the package in the BSF office, my first thought was how light it is for an item that size.  This was great news for Fashion Week as it saved me from carrying around a bulky laptop and charger all day.  Vega 1 – Laptop 0. After playing with the features for a few minutes, I was soon at home with the interface even though I have very little experience of Android.  The home screen clearly shows all the applications and multi tasking is done at the touch of a button.  However, it was soon noticeable that the screen smears very easily, even with clean fingers, so a screen protector is a must to keep your Vega looking smudge free.

Email access is essential for me, but because the Vega requires a WiFi connection, I could not pick up my emails when out and about, so I found the BlackBerry was never far from reach. Luckily, a WiFi connection is not hard to find in Central London, so we were able to make use of the Vega at the fashion shows.  Tweeting, Facebooking, and updating the BSF site were a doddle on the move, and it was hard not to feel smug while other members of the press were struggling to find a power supply for their laptops.  I should also mention that surfing the web was lightning fast, and because the Vega is flash enabled, there is no fear that your favourite website won’t load. It’s clear that this tablet is tailored towards the social user.  Social Networking sites have their own dedicated apps and Advent have worked hard to provide high quality video and sound, which has paid dividends as video playback is stunning.  The Vega was a great mini assistant at Fashion Week when completing small tasks like updating Twitter or sending an email, but if you need to work on spreadsheets or word processing, then you will be much better off with your laptop.

But for all the Vega’s great features,  I couldn’t help but feel that they have missed a trick by not including a sim card slot to make it fully portable.  In London, it won’t be a problem to find a WiFi hot spot, but I suspect that outside of the big towns and cities, you will find a smart phone a lot more practical.  As much as I enjoyed using the Vega, whenever I had no internet connection, I found myself reaching for the BlackBerry or iPod. As tablets go, you can’t go wrong with the Vega.  It looks cool, functions brilliantly, and offers great value for money at only £249.99.  The recent iPad 2 announcement has whipped up a frenzy in the media, but it still doesn’t feature a USB port or flash, which gives the Vega two major advantages over its rival. I am still unconvinced about the necessity of a tablet PC in everyday life.  Yes it is nice to watch YouTube on a 10″ screen.  Yes it is handy to have a large touchscreen keyboard to send emails.  Yes you will be the envy of your friends and colleagues. Will you be able to get rid of your laptop or smart phone anytime soon?  Not a chance. For more information and stockists, please visit  www.myadventvega.co.uk/

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