Review: Pandigital Nova

There are a lot of tablets in the sub Kindle Fire price range, and this is one of better ones.

The Pandigital Nova is one of a clomp of tablets that Pandigital have released this year.  This one is a reasonably capable 7″ budget tablet running Android v2.3.

For a budget tablet, it had adequate performance but the poor build quality gave it an less  than satisfactory feel. Battery life was a rather impressive 6+ hours of video.


The Nova is based on a 7″ (800×600) screen, and it’s running Android v2.3 Gingerbread on a single core CPU. It has  a pair of cameras (VGA and 1.3MP), 4GB Flash storage, microSD card, Wifi, HDMI out, as well as speaker/mike/headphone jack.

You can see from the picture that it has 4 buttons (home, menu back, search) and a mike below the screen and a VGA camera in the upper right corner.  The left edge has the microSD card slot, the right edge has power and volume buttons, and the HDMI, USB, and power jack are on the upper edge. The back has a second camera (1.3MP) and a speaker.

The general build quality feels poor. The back can be popped off without too much effort, and that just makes this feel cheap and junky. The  case and the buttons also feel cheap, and while that is not a serious issue it does detract from the appearance.


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The VGA front camera quality is decent,and the 1.3MP back camera is a waste of time. No matter what I did with the rear camera, it simply would not take a sharp image.

click to enlarge

I would prefer to have higher resolution cameras  or none at all. Cheap cameras are pretty much w0rthless, IMO. With a low resolution camera I might as well carry around my good camera because the tablet can’t replace it.

You may have heard that the Nova has a new type of touchscreen. It does, and I’m not happy with it. I’ve heard it described as an enhanced resistive touchscreen, and that means you can use 2 fingers, not one. But it is still a resistive touchscreen so you can still use a stylus.


I don’t think the quality of the touchscreen is very good. I tired to play Angry Birds on the Nova and I gave up.  I’m not sure how to explain it, but there’s something in this new tech that makes it less pleasing to use than either capacitve or the old resistive touchscreens. I would avoid it.

 Reading Experience

First, I had no trouble installing other reading apps, so you should be able to use which ever Android app you like.

It’s been some time since I last tried the Nook Android app and it turns out to be surprisingly capable. It’s still not as good as the old Fictionwise eReader app, but it does offer a fair number of features, including direct control of the backlight, 5 font sizes, bookmarks, search, and a night reading mode.

But the Nook app is still disappointing with PDFs, so you might want to consider adding an app just for PDFs.

Given that this is a tablet, I won’t wax poetic about the app (you can download and try it) and instead discuss the experience itself. This tablet is a little too large and too heavy to hold comfortably in one hand. That means it needs a 2 handed grip, which is okay because it makes it easier to tap the screen to turn the page.

But I’m finding that I much prefer a longer and less wide 7″ screen. The screen on the Nova (4:3) is a little too wide for one hand, and I feel that if the screen is slightly too big to hold in one hand then you might as well go for a 9″ or 10″ screen.

Video & Audio

The Nova actually ships with 3 video players, not one, and they all seem to have their own strengths. I primarily used just the one labeled “VideoPlayer” because it worked the best at playing medium and high resolution video. The other 2 apps kept dropping frames and couldn’t keep the audio in sync on an HD video.

The general video quality is good  both in terms of color, resolution, and lack of artifacts. The viewing angle is narrow, but  To be honest this is about as good of a screen as I expected on budget tablet. Audio quality was so-so, but the tablet has just the one speaker on the back. It’s not nearly loud enough for the Nova to be used as a media tablet.


It ships with a decent suite of apps, including the standard Android apps, the Nook app, a file manager, office suite, and more. Basically, everything that I wish had been included on Android tablet last year is now on this tablet. It also comes with GetJar, a dictionary app, Youtube, Facebook, and a news app called InTouch.

I installed the Amazon Appstore quite easily and I had no trouble downloading and installing apps from Amazon or from Freeware Lovers. The Kindle, Kobo, and other apps worked just fine. BTW, you might want to scroll up and note the problem I found with Angry Birds.


  • 7″ 800×600
  • 800MHz CPU
  • 4GB Flash storage
  • MicroSD card slot
  • Mini USB Host/OTG
  • WiFi (n)
  • VGA & 1.3MP cameras
  • Speaker, headphone jack, and microphone
  • HDMI out
  • g-sensor
  • Power button, volume buttons, backlit Android buttons
  • Dimensions: 7-5/8″ x 5-1/8″ x 1/2″
  • Weight: 14.4 ounces

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

1 Comment

  1. RobBrown9 October, 2011

    At 14.4oz, I would have thought that this was pretty light, especially compared to (say) the iPad 2 at 21oz. Is there something about it that makes it seem heavier, or perhaps has someone been a bit creative with the spec?
    Of course, Even aside from the weight, it still looks like a piece of junk.


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