Advent Vega Android tablet hits stores

UPDATE 19/11/2010 11:10 GMT: PC World has told us that it has sold out of its initial run of the Advent Vega due to "unprecedented demand" for the tablet - but wants to reassure customers that more stock is due next week. Clearly, it's not just the iPad that is enjoying the current tablet craze.

The long-awaited Advent Vega budget Android tablet, powered by Nvidia's Tegra 2 chipset, is finally ready to buy - but can it compete with the insanely popular iPad?

Today has been a good day for fans of Android tablets: we've had the Archos 101 appear in retail channels, and now PC World is showing the Advent Vega ready to order for home delivery - although it looks like it'll be a few days before the stores get their allocations if you prefer buying in person.

The £249 Android tablet is notable for two reasons: it's pretty cheap for a 10-inch capacitive tablet powered by Android 2.2, and it's extremely cheap for a tablet powered by Nvidia's Tegra 2 T20 chipset.

That Tegra 2 power gives the Vega the ability to play back 1080p video smoothly, although the WSVGA 1024 x 600 screen isn't the best for watching HD video - but that's why Advent have thoughtfully included an HDMI port for connection to an external display.

The LED backlighting on the screen, coupled with the low power draw of the Tegra 2 chipset, helps to keep the tablet's battery life up - Advent claims around 6.5 hours from a single charge, which is significantly less than the ten hours claimed by the iPad, but at half the price you've got to expect a few corners to be cut here and there.

There's a rather paltry 512MB of internal storage on the device, although a microSD slot and included 4GB microSD card coupled with the 'Apps2SD' function introduced in Android 2.2 help make that a little more bearable.

Wireless connectivity is covered by 802.11b/g Wi-FI and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR support, and there's an integral front-facing webcam and microphone for video chat - something the iPad can't offer.

The Advent Vega measures 275mm x 178mm x 13.6mm and weighs around 750g, making it taller and thinner than the 9.7-inch iPad but also slightly heavier, thanks mainly to the slightly larger display and extra hardware required for HDMI output.

In short, the Advent Vega looks like a promising competitor in the tablet market - and while Android 2.2 might not be as optimised for tablet use as Apple's iOS, there's certainly no arguing with the price.

More information, plus the ability to order if you can't bear to wait for a shop near you to get a demo unit, is available over on PC World's website.