The Pandigital SuperNova ships with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), but isn't a Google-certified tablet, so Android Market isn't included. We're left instead with the severely limited GetJar, a Web-based Android app store that doesn't offer nearly as many apps as the Android Market.
The SuperNova does include a few useful applications like the ES File Explorer, with which you can directly access your storage file system. Also included are the Barnes & Noble e-reader, a news aggregator, InTouch, and Office Suite.
Navigation was quick and snappy, but when opening apps like the gallery there was some noticeable lag as pics were loaded into memory.
The tablet has an 8-inch capacitive touch screen with narrow viewing angles, a dim luminance, and a low resolution of 800x600 pixels. As a result, games, Web sites, movies, and so on look dreary, and text, while not blurry, isn't as sharp as we're accustomed to seeing on most tablets.
Pandigital doesn't make clear the specs of the cameras, but each one records up to 720p resolution; however, we found the cameras took grainy still photos with obvious color dithering.
Performance in games was noticeably choppier when directly compared with games running on Honeycomb tablets. Animation in Angry Birds, while fine on its own, wasn't as smooth as what we've been spoiled with previously.
|Tested spec||Pandigital SuperNova||Archos 80 G9||BlackBerry PlayBook|
|Maximum brightness||146 cd/m2||220 cd/m2||587 cd/m2|
|Default brightness||101 cd/m2||93 cd/m2||474 cd/m2|
|Maximum black level||0.18 cd/m2||0.48 cd/m2||0.48 cd/m2|
|Default black level||0.12 cd/m2||0.16 cd/m2||0.39 cd/m2|
|Default contrast ratio||811:1||581:1||1,215:1|
|Contrast ratio (max brightness)||841:1||458:1||1,222:1|
There's no more important component of a tablet than its display, as the primary and sometimes only way to interface with the device. So it should go without saying that it helps if the screen is at least bright, with a resolution that keeps details sharp. With the SuperNova, Pandigital seems to have skimped on the quality of the screen to get its price down to $200. This would be bad enough, but unfortunately, it doesn't stop there. The SuperNova is missing full access to the Android Market, and although comfortable to hold, it feels like a toy in the hand instead of a useful gadget.
The fact is, $200 is still a lot of money to blow on something that doesn't do what you want it to. That said, the SuperNova works as a very basic tablet and if that's all you're looking for, rest assured, that's what you'll get. However, there are better ways to spend your tablet-craving dollars: devices that are much better values, even at higher prices.