If you’re looking for a color eBook reader that can do a little more than a standard eReader, yet still comes in at an affordable price, then the Pandigital Novel could be the gadget for you. With Wi-Fi connectivity and the ability to download apps, this model enters the realm of budget tablet computers. But is it worth buying in a world where the likes of the Amazon Kindle Fire cost just a little bit extra?
Pandigital Novel Key Specs
Average Price: $160
Release Year: 2011
Battery Life: Not advertised
Screen Size: 7 inch
Screen Type: color touchscreen
Weight: 19 oz
Storage Size: 1GB (expandable by 32GB with SD card slot)
Color Screen: The Pandigital Novel makes use of a color touchscreen, which many people choose for the fact that they can view images in high quality, and access the features and menus through intuitive touches. When you need to make notes, simply use the virtual keyboard to do so. The only drawback of the color screen (and this applies to all color eReaders) is the fact that they’re notoriously difficult to read in sunlight.
Book Store: The great thing about the Pandigital Novel is the fact that you can access the Barnes & Noble store directly from the device. This gives you access to a huge selection of books, including a number of free classic titles, making it easy to get hold of what you want to. You can extend the eBook functionality even further by downloading the Kindle apps and buying apps from the Kindle Store.
Multimedia: This isn’t just for reading eBooks: the Pandigital Novel can also handle a variety of different media types on the go. There’s a video player and photo viewer on the device, and you’ll be able to listen to your music and audiobook collections, too.
Features: Unlike some of the cheapest color eBook reading devices out there (such as the Skytex Primer or Ematic eGlide), the Pandigital Novel does have a range of extra features including email, web browsing and more. However, it isn’t a fully-fledged tablet computer (see below). Its main function is still as an eBook reader.
As far as reading functions go, you have everything you’d expect from an eBook reader: the ability to make notes, highlight passages, search through the book, look up words in the dictionary, change the font size and create your own bookmarks.
Internet Access: Some of the budget color eReaders are unable to connect to the internet. Thankfully, this isn’t the case with the Pandigital Novel. You can connect up to Wi-Fi networks in order to take advantage of onboard eBook shopping or the built in web browser. This is a useful feature to have in an eBook reading tablet at this price point.
Cons Of The Pandigital Novel
Price: At around $150, the Pandigital Novel is more expensive than some other color eReaders, such as the Ematic eGlide and the Skytex Primer. That said, it is a lot cheaper than the Nook Color ($250) and a little cheaper than the Amazon Kindle Fire ($199), but it doesn’t have the benefit of a powerful processor to keep things running so smoothly.
Storage Space: Although 2GB onboard storage space is enough for a standard eBook reader, it’s not much for a color reader that can also play other multimedia files. Its rivals offer 4GB or more, which is more acceptable. Thankfully there’s a useful SD memory card slot for expanding the memory should you need to. Memory cards are inexpensive, so this offers some flexibility.
User Experience: Unfortunately, the Pandigital Novel can be a little slow to boot up and run apps due to a low end processor when compared to other tablets on the market. The user interface isn’t as polished as on some other devices, either, and the touchscreen isn’t as responsive as devices such as the Nook Color.
Apps: It’s fantastic that this device has the ability to download apps, as it’s one of the cheapest Android tablets available. That said, it uses a very old version of Android, meaning that the newest apps won’t all be available to you. The good news is, however, that users will be able to find apps for most of the things you’d expect an internet tablet to do: browsing the web, watching videos and, importantly, reading eBooks.
Size & Weight: The Pandigital Novel looks a little chunky compared to its main competitors such as the Kindle Fire, and is a little heavier too. The good news is that it still feels comfortable in your hands and is light enough to read for long periods of time. The size of the screen is a benefit when comparing the Novel to some basic eBook readers, as most come with 6 inches instead of 7.
Is The Pandigital Novel Worth Buying?
The Pandigital Novel currently sits in between super-budget color multimedia devices, such as the Ematic eGlide and Skytex Primer, and more impressive yet not fully-functional tablets such as the Kindle Fire and Nook Color. The price is affordable, given the fact that you have Wi-Fi access and can download a limited range of Android apps. However, it could be worth spending the extra $50 and having access to the more powerful features that you get from the Amazon Kindle Fire.
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