New to Virgin Atlantic for 2012, the Vera Touch in-flight entertainment system is currently available on Virgin's A330s flying out from Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester, as well as on its 747s flying from Gatwick and Manchester.
Virgin Atlantic In-flight Entertertainment 2012: Features
Along with a substantial selection of films, TV and games, you can also use Seat Chat to send text messages to passengers in other seats, which basically equates to sending amsusing and/or offensive messages to friends and family who are probably sitting just inches away.
Virgin Atlantic In-flight Entertertainment 2012: Tablet
The system is centred on a touchscreen tablet that's built-into the chair in front with the hardware taking the shape of the Panasonic EX2 (running on the brand's proprietary Engine 4).
While the Japanese brand has yet to launch a tablet in the UK, despite several products being touted at tech shows such as CES and IFA, it seems that the maker may be taking the commercial route rather than trying to compete with the likes of the Asus Transformer Prime and the Google Nexus 7.
Virgin Atlantic In-flight Entertertainment 2012: Screen
The size of the screen varies, depending on what cabin class you're in - it's 12 inches in Upper Class, 10 in Premium Economy and 9 in Economy. Even the smallest screen size is still a huge improvement on what was offered on the old system
Virgin Atlantic In-flight Entertertainment 2012: Handset
If you're in Premium Economoy, you'll also get a touchscreen handset which sits neatly under the screen and can be removed when you want to use it. while you can use the handset as an alternative to controlling things just on the screen, you can also use it to keep an eye on your flight's progress on Skymap, while still using the screen to watch a film, or play a game.
Virgin Atlantic In-flight Entertertainment 2012: Interface
Replacing the old v:port system, which was introduced in 2001, the new setup goes by the slightly more friendly name of Vera. And what does Vera mean? Is it an acronym? Abosolutely not. It's just the name that Virgin thought had a nice ring to it. In fact, they told us "we're happy for people to make their own mind up about what it means to them", so the choice is yours.
Virgin Atlantic In-flight Entertertainment 2012: Content
The new system has over 50 films and more than 50 hours of TV programmes to choose from, along with over 200 albums to listen to. The selection is varied and we found more than enough to keep us entertained during the eight-hour flight - from Mid Morning Matters with Alan Patridge to ludicrously violent Indonesian action film The Raid.
Virgin Atlantic In-flight Entertertainment 2012: Connectivity
Virgin has also added a few connectivity options to the system, so that you can use the screen to watch your own content. An RCA cable port means that you can hook up your camera or camcorder.
Virgin Atlantic In-flight Entertertainment 2012: Mobile phones
Along with the Vera Touch system, Virgin also offers the AeroMobile network which means that youcan use youre mobile to call, text and access the web while you're in the air. Prices are similar to what you pay for roaming charges outside of the EU.
Virgin Atlantic In-flight Entertertainment 2012: Verdict
The Virgin Atlantic Vera Touch in-flight system is a colossal improvement on the airline's previous offering. While the amount of content hasn't expanded that much, (there are only so many things you can watch on one flight anyway), the way that it's presented is much better.
Virgin Atlantic In-flight Entertertainment 2012 review: Hands-on
Virgin Atlantic In-flight Entertertainment 2012 review: Hands-onT3
T3 took to the skies to try out the new touchscreen tablet-based Virgin Atlantic in-flight entertainment system, known as Vera Touch
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