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Pandigital Novel: The e-reader review

Do not buy this e-reader. I own a Sony e-reader (which I’m very happy with) but I was looking for another device for my wife. The Pandigital looked good, but I was soon disappointed.

Out of the box, it’s impressive. Not only is it an e-reader, it’s a tablet. That, and the price at $189, is what got my attention in the first place. The e-reader function was primary, but to pick up a cheap tablet with which She Who Must Be Obeyed could access Facebook, e-mail and the internet sounded great. And it has a color display! Hurray, I’d give it a go.

I learned a lesson I seem to have to learn over and over:

You get what you pay for.

The Pandigital Novel seemed to work fine as an e-reader and I liked the option of night reading (black field/white text) in addition to daytime reading (though I understand that’s an energy suck. We charged it up (using a wall outlet adapter.) It was already at 97% charge so it was soon ready to play with and we were anxious to experiment with our first Android tablet.

We were pretty chipper at first since it was so easy to set preferences. Then  things soon went south. The first and worst thing was that the touch screen was so bloody unresponsive. I’m used to the ease of working with my iPod Touch. I foolishly thought all touch screens were made equally. Uh-uh. I swiped with one finger, then two, then three. The response was hit and miss and always slow and frustrating.

We switched to the stylus and that didn’t make much difference. In fact, the stylus had to be precisely perpendicular to the screen and pressed just so to be at all effective. Even then the Pandigital Novel’s screen was often uncooperative.

Then things got worse. The e-mail wouldn’t configure. It wouldn’t play YouTube videos. Then it froze when we played the sample movie that came with it! And it stayed frozen until its battery ran down.

No, it wouldn’t turn off and reboot. No, there wasn’t even a reset button I could stab with a wire paper clip. There might have been a way to solve the problem, but tech support wasn’t answering at that time of day. (I’ve since learned from other reviews that the help center is often unresponsive anyway, perhaps overloaded with calls for help from disappointed customers.) The user manual was, of course, filed on the tablet, which as I mentioned, was already frozen. It would not thaw.

In a word, G-G-G-GAAAAAaaaaaaaaaagh!

Best Buy cheerfully refunded me for the tablet, its protective case and the warranty I got for it (about $220.) For the same amount of money, I’ve got the gold standard e-reader: A Kindle with extra adapter and case is on its way. 

Lesson learned.

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Filed under: e-reader, ebooks, Rant, reviews, ,

3 Responses

  1. missusk76 says:

    I’m grateful for WordPress’ ‘Related Articles’ and the pingback notification I received, because this ereader was on the short list for my library. I hadn’t found many reviews so far, so I very much appreciate reading about your experience with it. Thank you.

    • Chazz says:

      You’re welcome. Thanks for popping in and leaving a comment. I got the Kindle instead and also own a Sony e-reader. They’re both great.

  2. Ken Wiulson says:

    After a few months, my on/off switch spring on my Pandigital Novel let go. Pandigital customer service told me, “Too bad”. They claimed that defective manufacturer’s parts are not covered under the one year warranty. Now I own a $170 piece of junk. DON’T BUY ANY PANDIGITAL PRODUCTS!

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