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The definitive Pandigital Novel review

8568 Views 33 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  davemonfl
I got my device yesterday, and have been playing with it as able. I will do a definitive review in several parts as I play with it. For now:

Conclusion: Dessert first

This thing gets a solid 4 out of 5, with serious potential to actually get better as they support and upgrade it. The accelerometer is disabled, so that isn't even a factor at this point, they intend to go up to Android 2.2 with an appmarket soon, and the ONLY thing holding it back is the GUI - it's just way, way, way too big, clunky, and flashy. I suspect Pandigital is going to strip a lot of the junk out so they can get all the hardware to work properly. This thing has at least 2x as much computing capacity as phones running android - there's no reason for it to not be way more functional

Intro: This is not an IPAD

A lot of reviewers have harped about how this thing is not as good as an IPAD. I got mine for $90, less than 20% of the cost of an IPAD. This thing doesn't have Apple's proprietary software, or its proprietary architecture/chip, which I personally consider a good thing. It also has user-upgradeable memory - I had mine go from a 1gb device to a 16 GB device with 8 GB external swappable memory within 8 minutes of owning it. A 16 GB Ipad is, what, $700? Screw that. It's also smaller than an Ipad, which is good, lighter than an IPAD, which is good, and isn't Apple which is good. If you want a ferrari, a kia ain't going to cut it. If you want an IPAD, this isn't going to cut it... yet. Remember, they released the IPAD to big hype, and we just found out it's been quietly giving away national security secrets. They released this thing, and immediately told us it was a work in progress. A device that starts good and gets worse is what we call "obsolete." A device that starts mediocre and gets better is called "adaptive." I prefer adaptive.

My bias: I will not pay for apple stuff.

I own a few Ipods, bought broken and used, which I have toyed with. I own a Zen vision M. I own a blackberry. I think Apple is an evil monopoly that guards its monopoly with closed software and architecture, and deliberately misses its pricing point to gouge people. By doing that they create entire industries of companies trying to do things better, cheaper. Hence the pandigital novel, the Apad, the M001, etc.The pandigital novel is an ereader that has the capacity to do more. Compared to the nook, kindle, and sony it is light years beyond those devices, and still much cheaper. It has full color, a touch screen, access to B&N's store, user-swappable memory, plays video, etc. It also is likely to soon be able to accept software that allows it to do much, much more.

Pandigital recalled the device because it was half-baked. This is true. The firmware on the device when I got it was abysmal. However, Pandigital is marketing this thing to people who want an ereader and are not sophisticated users - hence selling it at Kohl's, Kmart, BBY, etc. They even use double-sided tape to seal the back compartment so you can't get to the mini SD card inside without getting the tape loose. Now that they know that there is a market other than unsophisticated people looking for an ereader, I suspect they will adjust accordingly.

The build quality on this device is spectacular. It feels solid, everything fits right, it doesn't overheat with use or charging. It also has a higher resolution screen than most similar devices. The speakers are better than I would have expected. Even after getting the tape holding the back on off, the back still fits snugly enough to be hard to remove. The ports all fit firmly with their respective cords, and the memory slots are equally solid.

That's a long intro, but the bottom line is this - people need to stop comparing all of these devices to the IPAD. I can get a desktop computer that far outperforms the IPAD for the cost of an IPAD. Why don't we compare the IPAD to that? Because they're not the same. If you want to spend far more for an IPAD, and are willing to do it, do so. Otherwise, join me in ignoring the Apple fanboys and finding good tech.

4/8/11 Mod Edit: Fixed formatting. Please report any broken links or other errors. Thanks --MrsB
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ofacto said:
The Samsung Arm 11 chip that power this thing has native MP4 decoder so that is probably why the video files type are limited to that. Also many android devices only support MP4 out of the box it's the main video file type for Android.
So does that mean it has a DSP coprocessor like the rockchip in the chinese apad android tablets? Those only support 128 mb ram so theoretically the samsung shoud be faster then the rockchip cause it has 256 mb ram and I think they both run at 600hz? anyone know for sure?

I have a v.1 apad running android 1.5 and its way faster than the novel. If its just a matter of bad software slowing novel down and this samsung chip is as fast, or faster than the rockchip, the novel will be really nice, especially when it gets support for third party apps and eventually android 2.2 The hardware on novel is much nicer and more solid, better battery life too. Just sloooow, cluuunkkkyy software....
lawman said:
I got my device yesterday and have been playing with it as able. I will do a definitive review in several parts as I play with it. For now:

Conclusion: Dessert first

This thing gets a solid 4 out of 5, with serious potential to actually get better as they support and upgrade it.
No offense, but a 4 out of 5? Maybe a 1 out of 5 because the hardware has potential, but as a device that you can actually use, its just terrible.
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