Barnes and Noble's Pandigital Novel: eReader or Tablet?

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Barnes & Noble is not playing around when it comes to the eReader market. Not only do they have their homegrown Nook, but also devices made by several other companies: Plastic Logic, iRex, Samsung, and now Pandigital.

But unlike the company's other eReaders, the Pandigital Novel has a 7-inch LCD screen instead of an e-Ink display. It will hook up to B&N's store for eBooks, magazines and newspapers.

The Novel is a 7-inch, 800 x 600 color touchscreen device that connects to the internet via Wi-Fi. It runs on Android, plays music, browses the web, plays video, and connects to email and social networks. If you didn't know this device was an eReader, what would you call it?

A tablet, that's what.

Personally, I'd like to keep the distinctions between eReaders and tablets at the display. If it's a traditional LCD, then I don't think it classifies as an eReader, though consumers can certainly use it for that purpose. Then again, with many touting the iPad as an excellent eReader (I'm not so convinced), it doesn't surprise me that Pandigital would apply that label to this device.

Beyond that nitpickiness, the device sounds like a decent Android tablet running on an ARM processor (ARM 11 Mobile, to be exact). No mention of an app store in the press release, which will vex some. But there are some definite pros to this device. A claimed 6 hours of battery life, 1GB of internal memory (expandable to 32GB with an SDHC memory card), and an accelerometer. All for $199, which is a pretty good price for an eReader or a tablet.

We're looking forward to putting the Pandigital Novel eReader through the paces and testing how it holds up both as an eReader and as an Android tablet. The devices will be available in early June.

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  • Vanda Malool Says:

    Really GOOD stuff!CAN-bus support badly needed, and please note that CAN users would happily (optionally) sacrifice a DAC for the second CAN interface.

  • Lanelle Munger Says:

    I am on my third Pandigital Novel, I really like it, but I cannot seem to keep one working, my last one froze up and when I tried to undo it, it went off and now I cannot get it to come on, it is completely dead. I am so dissapointed.

  • Guillermo Says:

    I like to play with gadgets and I have bought a couple of eReaders/eTablets. I have owned a Kendle, a Nook (original), an iPad (32GB, WiFi only) and an Augen GenTouch78. My phone is an HTC Evo (I love my Evo). I recently bought a Pandigital Novel (White/USA version) at Kohl's (they had a great price and you get 20% of the sales price in Kohl's Kash for the after Christmas sales).

    There is no doubt in my mind that the best pure reader is the Nook (great B&W display for reading in all light conditions, even outdoors). The Kendle is not bad but I prefer the Nook. The Augen GenTouch78 is mediocre but it is reasonably priced. The iPad is a dream -- but costs WAY too much (I won't buy another one until they drop the price by half).

    The Pandigital Novel is a great little device for the price. Yes it has a resistive touch screen and is not as sensitive as the capacitive touch screens on the iPad or Evo. But it works pretty good and I have *NO* trouble using it with finger or stylus even for typing. It has a reasonable CPU and is pretty speedy in response (though accessing the SD flash memory card can take some time if you have a lot of files on it).

    I like the Pandigital interface since it provides easy access to the features most people will use (e.g. MyLibrary of books I own, Barnes&Noble books, Public Library eBooks through Adobe Digital Editions, e-mail, the World Wide Web, music, photos and video).

    In addition Pandigital provides on their website a download to install the Android Open Platform kit that essentially transforms the device into an Android tablet (though it voids your warranty).

    I really like the Pandigital Novel and recommend it to those who are looking to get started with a low priced tablet computer. It's no iPad. But it is good enough for most of us and costs a small fraction of what an iPad costs.

  • Debbie Says:

    I bought my Pandigital at Kohl's in November 2010. I believe there had been a recall of these before I bought mine and they've upgraded a lot of features. Mine has a very sensitive touch screen, absolutely no problmes with that. I love it, love it, love it!! I had a 20% off coupon, plus it was on sale at Kohl's and then with the rebate, I got mine for 117.00!! A steal!! Downloads to Barnes and Nobles books is very, very easy. Go buy one today!!

  • Kevin Says:

    I bought one of these at Kohl's today, it's going back tomorrow. The touch screen is horrible, not sensitive enough, not responsive enough. Aside from that it seems good, I could get my gmail, I could surf the web, but text input is a nightmare.

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