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Old 06-07-2010, 01:00 PM   #1
ColdSun
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ColdSun's Pandigital Novel Early Thoughts

I thought it would be nice to get my first impressions, much like Nate gave his in the other thread. I wanted to create my own thread because my experience seems to be completely different, which I can't explain. Keep in mind these notes are just my early thoughts dealing with the new Pandigital Novel and I reserve the right to change my mind after I have worked with it more. I plan on doing a review on the device by the end of the week. So here are my thoughts so far...

Unboxing
Going from having to depend on Chinese tablets for my LCD ebook reading needs has made me quite accepting of no packaging or cheap packaging. The Pandigital Novel came in a pretty color box with all the things you would expect to see on any product purchased from a larger company. The device was well packed and simple to extract. It was sealed in a bag in which I had to tear open that leads me to believe it has some quality control.

How It Holds/Feels
How can I state this? It feels real good. It is heavier than my Sony PRS-505 but lighter than my eBookwise-1150. I would have to disagree with statements about not being able to hold this in one hand for long periods of time. The device does not feel cheap and in fact feels very solid to me.

Wireless Hookup
The device scanned and found my wireless without any issues. I have not updated the firmware yet.

Performance
The initial bootup of the device took a minute or so as it displayed a nice Novel logo screen. Once it boot, I had no trouble navigating around the interface and changing settings, hooking up WIFI, surfing the net, and opening books.

Page turning seems decent, much faster than my JE-100 turns pages actually. To be honest, I'm not quite sure how mine and Nate's opinion on this is so different. I would have to compare the overall performance of the OS and ebook reading to my son's Archos 5 Internet Tablet (with Aldiko). I'm reading Bram Stoker's Dracula on it right now (it comes with some books pre-loaded). There is a slight delay in the animation when turning pages and a little hitching when the animation moves. Nothing at all to stop the enjoyment of reading on the device though.

The Screen
Well if you are used to capacitive screens like the iPad or iPod Touch, and can't live without that responsiveness, then I'm not sure this is for you. On the other hand, if you are like me and are used to the horrible responsiveness of the last generation of chinese tables (SmartQ, SmartV), you will be pleasantly suprised at how well this thing responds. I would say it responds like my A81 or JE-100 when clicking the screen - which is better than the others I mentioned. The page swipe to turn pages takes a little getting used to, and sometimes you miss and the page doesn't turn, but once I got used to the screen it was working I had it turning pages 9 out of 10 and even 10 out of 10 attempts. Thumb doesn't work as well as index finger FYI.

As for the rest, I'll comment and answer questions if anyone has them. I'm about to upgrade the firmware. I do not know what version of Android is on here, but according to someone else who has spoken with the company (the reviewer at Technilicious) it has Android 2.0 on it.

EDIT: IMPORANT - the stand that comes with the device is so cool. The power adapter reaches up through the bottom and can be left in the stand so when you charge the device you just put it in the stand like the good old PDA days and cradles.

THERE IS ONE THING I DON'T LIKE. This version (the white 1GB version) does not support changing from portrait to landscape. At least from what I've seen. Still, as an LCD ebook reader, this thing feels like exactly what I was looking for. Now if I can only hack it to put other Android apps on like a comic reader I'm all set!

Last edited by ColdSun; 06-07-2010 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 06-07-2010, 03:28 PM   #2
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That is just what I wanted to hear. except for the part of no accelerometer you had me sold until that point. I am a member over at slatedroid.com and I had been very interested in this device. as an ereader/andriod tablet device. I was happy to learn it was running 2.0 but if this version does not have an accelerometer it kills it for me.

Its very disappointing because I was looking forward to this because its the first android device that has some quality control with a real company name attached.
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Old 06-07-2010, 03:40 PM   #3
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If it does have one, I can't find it. Don't lose hope though - I know for a fact they have a black 2GB version lighter and slimmer than this one coming in July and from what I've heard it does have an accelerometer. I can tell you one thing for sure - it is much higher quality than any of the Chinese brands I picked up in the past, and that has been quite a few. A81, SmartQ7, SmartV7, A700 to name a few.
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Old 06-07-2010, 03:53 PM   #4
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I know you signed up over at slatedroid someone replied to your post about the accelerometer. I guess lawman searched the FCC manual and this is something for you to try.

From the FCC review of the device:

Manual page 16:
"
While viewing media, turn your device to rotate the orientation of the screen from vertical to horizontal. When desired, you can lock the screen orientation to prevent the auto-rotation (Reader only. pg. 26).
"

Manual page 26:
"
Screen Orientation - Lock
For optimal viewing while reading, the orientation of the screen automatically rotates from vertical to horizontal depending on how you hold your device.
When desired, you can lock the screen in the desired orientation to prevent the auto-rotation (in Reader only).
To lock, while viewing a media page in the desired orientation, display the top function menu,  tap Lock.
To unlock, display the top function menu,  tap Unlock.
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Old 06-07-2010, 04:03 PM   #5
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I can rotate it beautifully in the eBook reader application. I'm trying others right now.
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Old 06-07-2010, 04:04 PM   #6
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Great! glad I could help you trying to figure it out!
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Old 06-07-2010, 04:43 PM   #7
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So far I can only rotate the screen in the reader application. Been playing with it for a while. I did manage to get into the actual Android settings (not just the Novel stuff) and change some things, but as soon as I saved I couldn't get back to it. I'm sure I'll find something though.

I still love this thing. Great ebook reader so far. Loading my epubs with no issue as soon as I put in my SD card they show up in the library.

Also, I'm not a huge fan of accellerometers. We always turn off the ones we have in the two Archos 5 ITs we have. They are a pain in the arse! Just being able to rotate the screen is good enough for me (for web browsing or reading).
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Old 06-07-2010, 05:00 PM   #8
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Just a clarification did it automatically rotate or did you have to tell it to do so?
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Old 06-07-2010, 05:04 PM   #9
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I clicked the lock icon and it rotated to landscape mode. As soon as I left the ebook reader (which was still in landscape) it changed back to portrait.
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Old 06-07-2010, 05:17 PM   #10
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Well as long as you could do it manually I wouldn't mind to much (I know accelerometers can be finicky) Now its just the test of finding out how to do it outside ereader mode.

I also wanted to thank you for being great about testing out the device for us over at slatedroid!
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Old 06-07-2010, 05:22 PM   #11
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Its my pleasure. You might notice if you look around here, its what I do.
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Old 06-07-2010, 08:34 PM   #12
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How does the landscape operate; single or double column?
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Old 06-07-2010, 08:49 PM   #13
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How does the landscape operate; single or double column?
single
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Old 06-08-2010, 05:11 AM   #14
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I am very encouraged by your post. What I am most interested in having it do is ebooks, videos, and internet/email. I'm thinking I'll have to pick one up this weekend.

Have you tried watching any videos? Does it take a large sized card?
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Old 06-08-2010, 08:54 AM   #15
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single
Thanks. Less Important, then.
With no user control over margins, text would have to be pretty large to get a suitable scan width on normal books.

I guess I'll just keep tracking the thing (and competitors) until Kindle for Android ships. No longer any rush, given the current state of the device.
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