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Old 09-21-2011, 12:06 PM   #1
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Pandigital Novel 7 inch - do NOT buy

So, mom saw a "deal" on Groupon for a Pandigital novel, and thought "hey thats a nice e-reader / movie viewing thing for on the airplane".

Long story short, she bought some piece of crap because it "seemed" good, but in the end it was just a waste of money.


I'll list some things:

* It was HEAVY. Not just the heavy kind of heavy, but HEAVY like it was filled with batteries or made of solid lead. Definitely not comfortable for reading.
* I couldn't get it on the android store, so couldn't get any apps on it.
* It came with no software, no drivers, nothing. And yet obviously windows was struggling to detect the device when hooked up on a laptop to try and get some software on it.
* The creator's site, didn't have any patches for it for the european market.
* The touch screen was inaccurate and very sluggish. (Pressing the delete button on the screen would often result in a nearby button being pressed). Compared to an apple, this thing was hellish.
* I Couldn't get any ebooks into it at all. I added .pdf, .epub. even .doc, the thing wouldn't recognize any of them. There was a build in "buy e-books here" which probably would have worked, but sod that we have over 11k e-books on the PC, I'm not buying new ones just to get them onto that pile of junk.
* The interface is a sorry mess, completely unintuitive. Folders and subdirectories all over the place that you simply wouldn't want a non-tech person to see in fear or them deleting stuff they shouldn't. I've been using computers most of my life and got frustrated with this within within the first hour. I can't imagine giving this to anyone 50+ and expect them to figure it out.


The ONLY good thing about this thing was that the WiFi worked without a kitch. Now, I didn't test that extensively, but It detected our network, I could login, and visit google just fine. The speed... well,. sluggish to say the least. But it worked.


In short,
Don't waste your money on this thing.
If you want to read e-books, get a kindle, or an iPad or anything else.
If you want to view movies on an airplane,. I'm sure an EEEPC will do just fine.


I'll quote a review that pretty much pretty much covers my thoughts as well: Source: link
Quote:
Can barely be called a tablet...
By funkotronic - Apr 14, 2011 - Buy.com
The product : Not so excellent. They took a reader and basically hacked it to run Android. But it s only a limited version of Android, so there is no no real Android store access, you generally can t even install apps directly from websites, even those that specify they will support Android 2.0. A number of the built-in or downloadable apps either functioned poorly or not at all - the preinstalled version Facebook was bare-bones and laughable, it didn t even support messaging. The browser displayed some sites very well, other sites would not render at all. Of course, there is no Flash support, but Flash suxors anyway. Sluggish response, 800Mhz processor is hobbled to 600Mhz and it s laggy as all get-out. The resistive touchscreen needs a stylus to even begin to operate it properly, scrolling is an exercise in frustration. I ve already resold this device to a nerd in our MIS department and took a $35 loss just to get rid of it, I m saving up for an iPad. Lesson learned...

Last edited by bbr; 09-21-2011 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 09-21-2011, 12:35 PM   #2
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An Ipad it is not. The white one is a pretty fair cheap tablet, the colored ones - depends on which ones.

www.slatedroid.com has a lot of helps for the novel white and some help for the others. We have two Novels and love them.

Apps are available in numerous places other than app market and you can run app market with a minor addition to the system.

The Novel is not a cell phone, android was a cell phone software so yes there are some limitations. Novel is not the only tablet that has similar/different limitations.
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Old 09-21-2011, 03:31 PM   #3
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This is why it is always good to do research on these kinds of items BEFORE you buy them.

There is way too much information on the internet for things like this to get stuck buying it to find it is useless.
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Old 09-21-2011, 03:41 PM   #4
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I have a U.S. Pandigital Noel 7" I bought on a clearance sale for about $60. I have it updated to the "tablet" version from the Pandigital site and, yes, it does not connect to the Android Market, but I have found and loaded various APK files from the creators' sites with no issue. I have also loaded various MP4 videos and watched with fairly decent playback.

I second the suggestion to check Slatedroid from above. They are a good source of information, hacks, custom firmware, etc.

Give them a try and don't give up completely on the Novel just yet.

Good luck.
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Old 09-21-2011, 11:12 PM   #5
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I can't imagine giving this to anyone 50+ and expect them to figure it out.
I'm 64 and I had it figured out in less than half an hour. My sister is 75, bought it on my recommendation, has absolutely no problem with it, and loves it. And no one in their right mind would call her computer savvy.

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It was HEAVY. Not just the heavy kind of heavy, but HEAVY like it was filled with batteries or made of solid lead.
iPad 2 = 1.3 lbs (601g) Novel = 1.2 lbs (539 g) loaf of bread = 1 lb (454 g)

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I Couldn't get any ebooks into it at all.
Did you read the manual? My 75 year old sister managed this in one try.

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The touch screen was inaccurate and very sluggish.
Again, did you read the manual and follow the directions to calibrate it? Did you read that you should use your fingernail and NOT the fleshy part of your finger? My screen is not at all inaccurate and -- for the low cost -- very acceptable response wise.

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I couldn't get it on the android store, so couldn't get any apps on it.
The Novel has never had out-of-the-box access to the android market. I, like steven522, have never had a problem finding and installing apk's from the internet. Google is your friend here. If you MUST have market access, it is easily done by doing some research at slatedroid.com. There are multiple alternate firmware roms available and more than one of them include market access.

For the money the Novel is a VERY acceptable device. But you cannot have the attitude that you are paying for a Yugo but expect the performance of a Porsche and be happy with it.
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:02 PM   #6
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The Novel as the Yugo of readers--that just about sums it up! (or maybe the Trabant.)

I bought on of these devices a week ago and it's been interesting. A few things:

Calibre will put books on the device, not a problem but if you want to organize thing on bookshelves it appears that you will have to do it manually. I will have to investigate this further but it might be an alternative to collections. After going into the device I have to reset it before it will respond to screen input.

Font rendering is poor. It needs edge smoothing, otherwise I quite like the screen, both size and resolution (I can always use better resolution) but I do like the the 7" size and the 4:3 proportion.

The touch screen is erratic, especially if you use your finger. Tucked under the bottom right hand corner is a cheap chintzy stylus that just screams "break me!" I use an orange stick instead. Still erratic but much better. I have a 'passport case' that I picked up at a local Dollarama that holds the reader and the stick quite nicely.

The reader software that comes with it isn't bad except that the first screen always wants to connect with Kobo. I wish I could get it to start directly in 'my library'. I am never, ever going to buy a book through a reader.

I looked at SlateDroid but came away confused. I would like to be able to add a better reader program (support for mobi would be nice) but I could find nothing that would install.

One big plus for the Novel. It uses standard SD cards. I have a box of SD cards ranging from 64Mb to 32Gb. My cameras and other readers and players all use SD cards. I see no need to go out and start buying micro-sd cards. At least for quite a while.

It is heavy (heavier), with silicone sleeve it weighs a third more that my 650 with cover.

Battery life is poor. Less than ten hours on a charge and this is just reading.

Last edited by grumbles; 09-22-2011 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 09-23-2011, 01:56 AM   #7
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<snip>

For the money the Novel is a VERY acceptable device. But you cannot have the attitude that you are paying for a Yugo but expect the performance of a Porsche and be happy with it.
Very well said!

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The touch screen is erratic, especially if you use your finger. Tucked under the bottom right hand corner is a cheap chintzy stylus that just screams "break me!" I use an orange stick instead. Still erratic but much better.
It uses a resistant touchscreen, right? They react not as well to finger touch as a capacitive does. But you try to use a stylus on a capacitive one...

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It is heavy (heavier), with silicone sleeve it weighs a third more that my 650 with cover.

Battery life is poor. Less than ten hours on a charge and this is just reading.
Comparing a tablet to an e-ink reader will always favour the reader. That's really comparing apples with pears. They look somewhat the same, can be used for most of the same purposes, but are completely different things.

Less than ten hours? First, that doesn't say anything. My JE100 is less than 10 hours. And I doubt the average Ipad user gets more than 10 hours. Less than 3 hours, I agree, that would be poor. I find everything between 3 and 6 average, 6 to 9 good, and over 9 very good.
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Old 09-23-2011, 12:52 PM   #8
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Two points:

Yes, it is a restive screen. The point is that the screen is erratic even with a stylus. Quite irritating at times.

"Less than ten hours? First, that doesn't say anything." Well yes it says that a full charged device will be usable for less than ten hours before it needs to be recharged. If you take as reader and you will be out for twelve hours, you won't be reading anytime in the last two hours.

Make no mistake. This is the Trabant of tablets. If you're looking for a reader, the new Sony is about the same price (at list). If you're looking for tablets there are many alternatives. I bought mine based on the screen size (4:3 ratio) and the use of standard SD cards. Unless the Novel has a specific feature that is important, there a much better choices available.
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Old 09-24-2011, 01:40 AM   #9
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Two points:

Yes, it is a restive screen. The point is that the screen is erratic even with a stylus. Quite irritating at times.

"Less than ten hours? First, that doesn't say anything." Well yes it says that a full charged device will be usable for less than ten hours before it needs to be recharged. If you take as reader and you will be out for twelve hours, you won't be reading anytime in the last two hours.

Make no mistake. This is the Trabant of tablets. If you're looking for a reader, the new Sony is about the same price (at list). If you're looking for tablets there are many alternatives. I bought mine based on the screen size (4:3 ratio) and the use of standard SD cards. Unless the Novel has a specific feature that is important, there a much better choices available.
Whoop, that's what you get if you're distracted... I meant resistive...

And that it is erratic, I think is because of the relative low resolution. My JE100 has the same flaw....

About the battery, what is the battery life?

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Old 09-24-2011, 02:07 AM   #10
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The battery life of my Pandigital White is about 5-6 hours. I use it strictly for reading, wifi off.

I use it every day and love it, but for me it is a single-purpose device: it is my bedtime reader. That is the one area where LCD screen devices are fantastic. I sleep in a bedroom with a baby and wife. A clip-on light for a book or e-ink reader keeps the kiddo up and makes the missus toss and turn.

But the Pandigital running either coolreader or aldiko (I use both) works great. Not only do they have night modes, but you can make the text gray instead of white (which is too bright for me). I can read for an hour perfectly well and not disturb anyone.

I generally have to charge it every 5 days or so. No problem at all.

I've never really used it for anything else. It may be a Yugo, but it gets me where I need to go and I don't see upgrading until the wheels fall off it. (Doesn't hurt that I got it for 60 bucks brand new during the Kohl's clearance sale).
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Old 09-26-2011, 06:35 PM   #11
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A word of caution. The white Novel is not the same as the black. The hardware and software are quite different. The white runs Android 2.0+ as opposed to the black which is 1.5. Overall, the white version appears to be a much better device. At least alternative reader software is available.

At under $100 either is a bargain (we don't see deals like that here.) At the regular price ($150) the value is marginal.

Based on my experience yesterday, the screen is almost legible in sunlight but usable in open shade.
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:41 AM   #12
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I can weigh in on this a bit too. We have in our family the white Novel, and then I also have the Nova and an iPad. I've used the Novel a few times and for what it is, no problem. My mom is in the 70+ arena and loves hers. She downloads books herself and so forth. She uses it to read at night. We did the software hack thing just to have the option to sideload apps, and it was no problem. She doesn't sideload or bother with the internet use, but if she wants to start using Kindle, she could and would have no problem. Hers works fine. I have a Nova myself along with my iPad. The Nova is a little different and allows automatically for the sideloading of apps, so I haven't bothered to hack it. I have Kindle on there which is my major interest, along with a PDF reader. The Nova does have an easier screen-not as smooth of course as the iPad, but pretty smooth, so easier than the Novel. But I accept the fact that with heavy use, like surfing and playing games on it, no, it's not going to get the same battery life as the iPad. But I turn it off and the standby time is fine and like someone's report above, I end up needing to charge just every several days too. I do very light surfing and might check my e-mail, then do some reading. I got it simply for those nights when I read in bed and just need the lighter size as my iPad gets a little heavy. I don't have the expectation of it being a junior iPad. Its primary function is e-reader with a little extras thrown in that have tablet like qualities, and it does a good job with some of the tablet-like features. I do often like to read, and then quickly look something up which is why I wanted a good web surfer function too, and I like having the option of the Nook bookstore and Kindle in one device too like the iPad. The Nova is a companion to the iPad, and I got it with that expectation.
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:25 AM   #13
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I love my pangital ereader!:)

I have the white "7" ereader and I absolutely love it! i have tons of ebooks, kindle, and barnes and noble on mine. I also have alot fo games and videos1. i Aalso watch full length movies on it, i HAVE MR DEEDS, RUSH HOUR, to name a few, for a start you can try downloading the amazon apps store to your ereader you'll get alot of fun free apps on that, but there are also free kindle aps for andriod that you can get off the internet, if you dont have the upgraded firmware version for andriod i would highly suggest it:0 I dont think its a piece of crap at all i find mine quite entertaining and useful, ( and my novel is not rooted)
I hope this helps you. Have a nice day.
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:28 AM   #14
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There is also the posibility that BBR's mom got a dud unit. My first PDN was the Canadian version which came with Kobo reading app & And 1.5. Pandigital came out with an update that opened up the Android side and allowed acccess to SAM (x) which is a smaller android app store. The big limiting factor was And 1.5. I did not have to do any rooting to access the And O/S.

I was a little pissed that Pandigital did not advertize the And level on their packaging. I tried to obtain the PDN-White (only available in the USA) which I new was And 2.0 and gave you access to the internal SD card reader as well as the Battery. I gave that up when I discovered that it would cost me much more than some of the other tablets available here in Canada.

In the late fall of 2011 I found an advert stating that ExcessCargo was selling the PDN-White (refurb) for $79. I went and purchased one. It had to be exchanged at the store due to a hardware problem but the replacement unit runs very well. No - it's not an iPad or a Galaxy Tab 10.1 but as a small 4:3, 7" colour ereader it is very good. Right out of the box it came with the latest FW from Pandigital which gives access to And 2.0. It comes with Barnes & Noble ereader software which is no good in Canada but I now have a Kindle and Kobo reader app as well as 6 more which pretty well covers any type of e-book format. I swapped out the internal SD-card from a 2 gig to an 8 gig which allows more system storage for apps and data. There is still an external SDHC card slot for further expansion of user files.

Yes it is heavier than the Black PDN (I believe the white PDN has a glass screen under the touch interface). It only sports a 800 mhz processor and will give approx 6-7 hrs of reading time if you use power management strategies. I also have a Coby MID 7015a, a Hero MID 816 8" tablet and a new Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 w/keyboard but I still prefer my White PDN for reading in bed.

John
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:35 PM   #15
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AGREED!

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There is also the posibility that BBR's mom got a dud unit. My first PDN was the Canadian version which came with Kobo reading app & And 1.5. Pandigital came out with an update that opened up the Android side and allowed acccess to SAM (x) which is a smaller android app store. The big limiting factor was And 1.5. I did not have to do any rooting to access the And O/S.

I was a little pissed that Pandigital did not advertize the And level on their packaging. I tried to obtain the PDN-White (only available in the USA) which I new was And 2.0 and gave you access to the internal SD card reader as well as the Battery. I gave that up when I discovered that it would cost me much more than some of the other tablets available here in Canada.

In the late fall of 2011 I found an advert stating that ExcessCargo was selling the PDN-White (refurb) for $79. I went and purchased one. It had to be exchanged at the store due to a hardware problem but the replacement unit runs very well. No - it's not an iPad or a Galaxy Tab 10.1 but as a small 4:3, 7" colour ereader it is very good. Right out of the box it came with the latest FW from Pandigital which gives access to And 2.0. It comes with Barnes & Noble ereader software which is no good in Canada but I now have a Kindle and Kobo reader app as well as 6 more which pretty well covers any type of e-book format. I swapped out the internal SD-card from a 2 gig to an 8 gig which allows more system storage for apps and data. There is still an external SDHC card slot for further expansion of user files.

Yes it is heavier than the Black PDN (I believe the white PDN has a glass screen under the touch interface). It only sports a 800 mhz processor and will give approx 6-7 hrs of reading time if you use power management strategies. I also have a Coby MID 7015a, a Hero MID 816 8" tablet and a new Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 w/keyboard but I still prefer my White PDN for reading in bed.

John

You are so right! Thanks
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