If you know of Pandigital, you probably know it for its photo frames. However, the company is moving into the hot e-book reader market with a device that a lot of people have been waiting for: an affordable color-screen e-book reader with ties to a major bookseller.
Integrated with the Barnes & Noble's e-book store, the Pandigital Novel is an Android-powered e-book reader that has a full-color 7-inch touch-screen display, Wi-Fi connectivity, and multimedia capabilities. On the surface, this all sounds pretty good and when we first saw a picture of it it, we thought it looked a lot like the rumored smaller version of the iPad. The product is available in white and black versions for less than $200. You can find the Novel discounted to $169--or even less--at stores such as J.C. Penney and Bed, Bath, & Beyond.
Alas, the Novel, at least in its current state, has some issues that seriously hamper the device. For starters, though the Novel's 800x600-pixel resolution display is adequate, its sharpness level will probably disappoint anybody with a 2010 smartphone. More importantly, its resistive touch-screen interface isn't nearly as responsive the iPad's capacitive touch-screen interface and the touch-screen interfaces of all those new smartphones (and the iPod Touch). And the device also feels underpowered.