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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I owned a Pandigital Novel for exactly two weeks before it died on me. That?s what prompted me to write the reasons why no one should buy a Pandigital Novel.
  • It?s buggy. I don?t have an exact count of how many times the unit froze up on me requiring a reset, but it was many, many more than just a few.
  • Wi-Fi. The only way I could get the Novel to connect to my home network was to remove all but the most basic security. It wouldn?t connect when I used WPA so I had to move down to WEP, but even then the connection was spotty. Supposedly the benefits of ?N? networks are faster speeds and longer range, but this device dropped to one or two bars when I moved to another room away from the router.
  • Browsing. In the end it didn?t matter if the device connected to the Wi-Fi or not because browsing the web was a frustrating ordeal. I ended up using a stylus to click links on pages and even then when there were two links close together the link next to the one I clicked would activate - then I?d have to wait for that page to load so I could click back and re-attempt to click the link I originally wanted. Zooming in barely worked and when it did zoom in and I dragged my finger to position the page where I wanted it, it would un-zoom the page. Frustrating, and simply not worth the time.
  • The keyboard. I don?t know how many times the keyboard appeared when I didn?t want it to and there was no way to remove it from the screen. The keyboard also froze numerous times while I was attempting to enter passwords, web addresses, usernames etc. The keyboard also has the numbers on an entirely different page so I was constantly flipping back and forth to enter passwords and email addresses. Tedious.
  • E-reader. Sometimes the reader would not change orientation from portrait to landscape no matter how long I held the device sideways. Sometimes when it did switch to landscape the text would be so small a fine-print attorney would be proud. Switching the font would not fix this; I had to re-load the book each time this happened. There were also plenty of times when I scrolled the page forward, but it would go backward instead.
  • Firmware. There were three new firmware releases during the 14 days I owned the Novel and that should tell you something. When I installed a new firmware update everything on the Novel would be wiped out and I?d have to reload all of my books. Surprisingly, even the manual and stuff preloaded by Pandigital was wiped out. I didn?t see any warnings stating that a firmware upgrade would cause data to be lost. This is very bush-league.
There you have it. 14 days of misery. Sure, this unit had great potential, but it?s always going to be just potential ? it will never be realized. The price was cheap, but basically you?re paying $124 (what I would have paid after the rebate) to be a beta-tester for Pandigital. Even those of you who own one, and swear by them know I speak the truth. You need to remove the fog of hope and dreams of this unit?s potential and look at it dispassionately, as I did after it died. Oh, and how did it die? I simply powered it down after a few hours of reading and when I went back about three hours later the unit would not power on, would not reset, and would not charge ? completely dead.I chose the Novel because it could handle epub, which the Kindle would not, and I hoped to check books out for free from the library. This turned out to be a pipe dream though, since my library only has epub audio books, and that doesn?t interest me. I am going to buy the new Wi-Fi Kindle, it is only $15 more than I would?ve paid for the Novel and it is proven technology. I know it will work the way it?s supposed to. I found myself wanting some Kindle books on my Novel anyway, and a quick search of the Internet shows that it may be possible for me to convert epub into PDF or mobi format that the Kindle can use. Save yourself time and frustration and do not buy the Pandigital Novel. This device is definitely not ready for public consumption and I think we?re still a few years away from getting a device that will do what we want at the price we want.
 

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Thanks for posting jonbad. Sorry to hear you got a bad one. I have been enjoying my Novel all day. Reading a book, listening to music with Pandora & this morning I listened to a bunch of clips from shows on NPR News. I checked out the solar flare with the Tricorder, when I got an email, on the Novel, about the solar CME coming our way. The only time I would save by taking my Novel back is time I spend enjoying using it. Cheers,kevSent from my PDN using Dolphin HD
 

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Jonbad, Agree that Pandigital is not a quality product, but in this price we can't expect wonders !!Also On Kindle could you browse internet, load market apps, google maps , live radio etc ...... I'm asking as I don't know how much hacking has been done on Kindle
 

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im halfway there. the resistive touchscreen is whats killing me. might send it back and wait on a capacitive alternative. also, my kindle 2 has served me well. i dont expect it to be more than what it is. the novel on the other hand has opened a new world beyond just a reader.
 

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Jonbad,Sorry to hear of your bad experience. I agree that Pandigital released this product before it was ready for prime time and I disagree when folks say that we shouldn't expect much at the PDN's price point. I guess I'm just an old fart, but I feel that if a company puts a product on the market it should do what they say it should do. That said, we have a great community of users on this website. All of the folks that you see that have posted in this thread so far have gone above and beyond to help others, including me, to get the most out our PDN's. With their help and others we are at the point that the PDN is getting to be not only quite enjoyable but it is proving to be a capable tablet that can provide more function than PD intended. I should also note that PD has been very responsive to our queries and problem reports and they are definitely making progress in improving their firmware. In my opinion, this product is not for the faint of heart at the current time but in the not too distant future I think it will be fine for the average user for its intended functions and, since it is very hackable, it will be a fun box to play with and hack for those more technically inclined.
 

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Jonbad,Having started with handheld units with the Motorola brick phone, and the palm quite a number a years ago I have felt a lot of pain being a tech early adopter.As with all things, the root cause of the problems are often outside the product under evaluations control. Point in fact, your wifi problems...I have an n router, and use wpk - no probs with the original firmware AND the lastest. Other folks who had wifi probs have documented that they connectedat other sites like the local starbucks when they couldnt at home. So perhaps you should look at YOUR router...With the firmware update - i did not loose any of the original data and files i loaded after i took it out of the box from b&n, nor have I had any keyboard appearingof not appearing problems. I cant conjecture why - works here is not satisfying to you i know...Yeah - the price for the PDN is right, when you compare it to an iphone or an ipad. As to the beta tester comment - yeah it true.This company has never issued a product like this before - so until 6 months or so go by - it will not be stable. Everyone is learning.You want a stable appliance - buy an iphone. You want to learn about android and explore like those of us on this siteand be that beta tester that can get a stange 'joy' out of figuring stuff out - join the rest of us...
 

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This thread is quite similar to what I see periodically on Droidforums.net: a frustrated and discouraged owner (with 1 or 2 posts) lays out a laundry-list of reasons for not buying the product, followed by a series of confirmations and denials by the rest of the forum! =) Over at the Droid forum, it's typically "I hate the Droid! Now I'm buying an iPhone!!!" Not sure how helpful such threads are, other than a way for someone who got a lemon to vent their unhappiness.Well, let me play the game and follow along.Owned the PDN for a week now. It hasn't frozen or rebooted once, but it's slow. Capacitive touch screen is a PAIN! But it's starting to feel A LOT like an Android 2.0 device, and for less than $150 I am enjoying the chance to learn more about modding the firmware and hopefully write some apps soon. While I definitely understand where the OP is coming from, what I don't get is who would by the PDN as an ebook reader? If you wanted a device that did ONLY that, there are much better choices out there for $100-$200. To me, the point of the PDN (and this community, I assume) is to grow the device into something more versatile. Right?-Matt
 

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I think a lot of people come to the device with different wants and expectations. I WANTED to play with android. Much to my girlfriends chagrin, I'm getting what I wanted, and it's both fun and moving the ball. If we do end up getting the source code... Android 2.1 on a $105 device? Seriously?
 

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Sorry to hear that you haven't been enjoying your Novel. Have you attempted some of the fixes/mods found on this forum? I highly suggest you try your hand at realizing the full potential of this device. Although its processor and screen leave a lot to be desired, the price is amazing for the possibility of the Novel. Higher level processors and capacitive touchscreens are expensive and usually are found in cell phones that cost $500-600 (off-contract).This might not be as responsive as an Android cell phone, or an iPhone or an iPad but for $120-150 you get a whole lot of bang for your buck.
At least give it another week and a half and if you don't like it, return it.
 

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I swapped mine for a new unit at BBB and get great wi-fi range now and the keyboard is very usable. The pressure sensitive screen works great, I mean really great with a stylus. If someone wants it for a book reader, I feel that the stock setup is just fine for that. Originally that is why I bought mine. Now I have Panda Home, Market, and a host of other apps loaded. This is certainly an incredible value, especially for those of us that picked it up for under $150....My first one was slow, dropped wi-fi badly, had poor range, sluggish keyboard and most of the things the OP was stating. I say swap out for a newer one and load the new firmware that ups the clock speed. Has made a world of difference on mine.I am very happy with my PDN and would suggest it to anyone.
 

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Im pretty sure that the Novel does what it is supposed to do if you leave it alone. (ive been reading work pdfs for the last week). Not me though, to me its a $150 touch screen computer- youve got to make it into what you want.If you havent seen it check out the evo vs iphone on youtube
 

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It took me till like yesterday to make the novel do what I wanted it to do. The process was full of rewrites wipes, tons of reading in forums, and experimentation. After google experience, loading custom apps, new firmware, im pretty happy with it now. its reasonable fast, I can run pretty much any of the useful apps, and I'm happy with the interface. I can see where u are coming from but its sorta the open source experience that I love about it. Its improving the device one step at a time. Is it perfect? No some of its because Android has become the new windows mobile, tons of devices all running different versions. If u are interested it as a media reader, pick another device. I was interested in exploring the new realm of tablets in a opensource world, then the PDN is exactly what I was looking for, a cheap tablet running android 2.0 with lots of expandable room. Now I wish i had a clean rom to work with that had only a launcher and maybe google experience but there always improvements.
 

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Sounds like someone got burned because they really wanted a proper eReader. I have both the Nook and the PDN and they are two different animals, and am happy with both. Mostly because I have different expectations of them.You will never be able to run a variety of apps on a Kindle or Nook. The PDN will never be as comfortable to read books on, and the battery life is zilch. If you don't set your expectations beyond that you won't be disappointed.
 

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The title of my post says it all for me.I was on the fence when I first heard of the Novel. Was leaning towards not getting it when I read the mostly negative reviews. Then I stumbled onto slatedroid.com, bought the Novel and never looked back.I own a G1, Droid, Hero, EVO. I've rooted/hacked the G1, and Hero. I haven't taken the time to root the Droid, but will some time just for the heck of it. I won't root my EVO just yet because it's my main phone and I'm waiting for the rooting dust to settle before I take the plunge. I also own a Nook that I purchased because it could be rooted. I also have a Dell mini10V that I have "hackintoshed". I'm a gadget freak and I just can't leave well enough alone.As for the Novel, it's definitely not perfect...I did my research and bought it knowing it's limitations. But this community has made it better. And it has forced me to do something I've been putting off...learning the Android framework and to how to make Android apps. For me, the value in that has surpassed the cost (monetary and otherwise) of ownership.
 

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[quote name='olddognutrx;27664]The title of my post says it all for me.I was on the fence when I first heard of the Novel. Was leaning towards not getting it when I read the mostly negative reviews. Then I stumbled onto slatedroid.com' date=' bought the Novel and never looked back.I own a G1, Droid, Hero, EVO. I've rooted/hacked the G1, and Hero. I haven't taken the time to root the Droid, but will some time just for the heck of it. I won't root my EVO just yet because it's my main phone and I'm waiting for the rooting dust to settle before I take the plunge. I also own a Nook that I purchased because it could be rooted. I also have a Dell mini10V that I have "hackintoshed". I'm a gadget freak and I just can't leave well enough alone.As for the Novel, it's definitely not perfect...I did my research and bought it knowing it's limitations. But this community has made it better. And it has forced me to do something I've been putting off...learning the Android framework and to how to make Android apps. For me, the value in that has surpassed the cost (monetary and otherwise) of ownership.[/QUOTE'] Man, I wish I had your money. Let me know if you have to much OK. ;)
 

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[quote name='blazingwolf;27668]Man' date=' I wish I had your money. Let me know if you have to much OK. ;)[/QUOTE']LOL...it's not the money. It's a wife who supports my habit. And, no, I'm not giving her up!
 

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[quote name='olddognutrx;27675]LOL...it's not the money. It's a wife who supports my habit. And' date=' no, I'm not giving her up! [IMG]http://www.slatedroid.com/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ohmy.gif[/IMG][/QUOTE'] And let me add: dude, root your Droid and install Froyo for crying out loud! Overclock (I only take mine up to 800MHz) and you'll easily go from a Quadrant benchmark score of 350 to 1200 or 1300. The improvement in speed and responsiveness is amazing.-Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I wrote my post hoping to help those who have not yet purchased the Novel, but are researching it and pondering whether to buy it or not. A lot of the replies sound like many of you are trying to convince yourself that buying the Novel was the right thing to do, rather than convincing me.In answer to those who questioned why I would by the Novel as an e-book reader I?ll say it?s because that?s what Pandigital is marketing it as (it?s called the Novel for a reason). Just look at the box ? it has a picture of the main screen just loaded with books, and it hypes built-in integration with Barnes and Nobel. The fact is that the Novel doesn?t even do something as basic as e-reading very well. I don?t know how many times I got the force close/wait message when trying to simply turn a page.Here?s a few more reasons why not to waste your time/money on the Novel:
  • I read a post somewhere on this site about a user who contacted Pandigital?s support, and the support person would not help him. Instead, the support person simply told the user to return the Novel to the store. Even the company that makes the device does not believe in it.
  • How many times have you used the poorly designed power switch to turn the Novel on and thought, even subconsciously, if this would be the one where it wouldn?t turn on? It really was no surprise to me when my Novel did not power on ? I guess I had half been expecting it to fail anyway. What did surprise me was when the charge light did not come on when I plugged it in, proving that it was undeniably dead.
  • How many of you have said, ?well, if it fails/breaks it?s only cost me XXX dollars, so no big deal?? I remember thinking that many times, but the fact is that even though it only cost XXX dollars it should still work as advertised, and if I need to justify a purchase with reasoning like that then I shouldn?t make the purchase. There?s still a lot better things I can do with XXX dollars.
  • How many of you have kept your receipt handy and considered (probably multiple times) returning it?
  • I have no doubt in my mind that two years from now I will still be using my Kindle. How many of you who own one feel that way about the Novel? In two years I think it will be collecting dust for many of you.
Like I said in my original post, I think that within a few years a device will come along that will be well-built, easy to use, and customizable. The Novel is not that device. If you haven?t bought one, don?t! If you have one and can still return it, do! Seriously, you?ll feel much better, your mind will clear and the weight will be lifted and you?ll realize what madness it was to pin your hopes on this device. I wonder if we can come up with a seven point plan to help those in denial (the state of mind, not the river)?
 
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