Nearly a year on from its initial launch the Advent Vega is still one of the best value Android tablets on the market, especially when deals such as this come up, but the stock install of Android 2.2 (FroYo) is getting a bit dated now, even with the sterling work done by Paul and others at MoDaCo.com who made some huge improvements to the stock Android image within days of the tablet being launched.
As you may be aware, Google has been working on a new 3.x branch of Android codenamed Honeycomb which is specifically designed for tablets. Unlike the older 1.x and 2.x series of Android the source code for Honeycomb is not yet available but naturally that hasn’t stopped the hacker community from bringing it to tablets other than the few that have so far been released with it and it wasn’t long after Honeycomb first launched on the Motorola Xoom earlier this year before the first unofficial versions for the Vega, known as VegaComb, started to appear.
Without official support it has been a rocky road to get it to the point where it is now with pretty much everything is working as it should, there was even a problem recently that could cause permanent damage to the speakers but with that now solved and all the important things working it seems to have reached the stage where it is now ready for daily use, there are still a few issues but nothing that is a deal breaker for me.
Installing VegaComb on the Vega is a doddle although it will mean a clean install. First you need to flash the ModdedStock firmware image, a procedure which is identical to flashing an official update, this installs a modified stock ROM that changes the partition sizes to those more suitable for Honeycomb and adds the ClockworkMod recovery system. Once the ModdedStock image has been installed reboot the Vega, connect it to your PC and copy the VegaComb zip file to the root of the Vega’s Micro SD card. Then run the “Recovery” app which will reboot the Vega into ClockworkMod where you can then install the VegaComb ROM using the normal recovery method.
Having used the Vega for the best part of a year I was initially sceptical as to what benefits Honeycomb could bring, I didn’t feel that the FroYo experience on a tablet was bad at all but Honeycomb really is a huge improvement, little tweaks like the task switcher make all the difference and the new on screen navigation makes the Vega’s shortage of hardware buttons even less of an issue than before. There is also improved handling of widgets and notifications, improved copy and paste and a much better browser. Graphics performance seems to be very good and I’ve seen none of the video artifacting or tearing that was common on the MoDaCo modded ROMs and the handling of wi-fi is much better, you can leave it connected when the screen is turned off which was always something that bugged me about the stock based ROMS. Overall it’s definitely a slicker and more tablet oriented experience.
VegaComb definitely gets the thumbs up from me, if you’ve got a Vega and haven’t already tried it, now is the time.