Sure, Pandigital's Novel
may be delayed until next month because of some firmware issues
-- and we haven't heard the most positive things
about the 7-inch LCD based e-reader / tablet -- but we had to check it out for ourselves. At $179.99
, the all-plastic reader isn't going to win any build quality awards (it's also rather heavy for what it is), but the Android 2.1-powered gadget does have a pretty attractive user interface. In use, however, the resistive screen had to be pressed quite firmly to make selections and the software was noticeably sluggish. Surprisingly, the device did play a standard definition video smoothly and it has an accelerometer -- which is more than the Archos 7 Home Tablet
can brag. Barnes & Noble's eBookstore will be preloaded, and it also has a skinned Android browser of some sort. We've got a short hands-on video after the break, but you've got the picture here: the Novel isn't what we'd call novel
, you just get what you pay for.