Today, I had the opportunity to test Pandigital's latest Android eReader/tablet, Nova. At first site, it looks small/short compared to typical 7" tablets. Compared to other 7" tablets, the Nova is short in length 7.63" compared to the average of slightly over 8". The width, 5.25", is about average so the length/width ratio makes the Nova look smaller.
The 7" screen has an 800x600 resolution resistive screen which looked bad. It is one of the worst looking 800x600 screens that I have seen. The app icons look large or least larger than what they should be. It may be great for someone who has poor vision but definitely not the average consumer. Also, the screen was not very responsive.
The Nova has speakers on the back, which we are not fans of. We prefer them on the front so the sound projects towards you. The Nova sports 512MB of RAM with 256MB internal memory and 3GB of storage. There is a micro-SD slot so it is expandable. The Nova does run Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) which is good. At this point in time, no tablet manufacturer should run Android 2.2 (Froyo). There are no Google apps but does include GetJar. There is a FaceBook icon but it is only a shortcut to the website not the actual FaceBook app. Although the Nova sports a Cortex A8 processor (apparently it runs at 800MHz), it seems slow. Unfortunately, I was not able to test any games. It did play a sample video well and displayed pictures without an issue (although without using my test pictures, I cannot tell how off the colors were). However, typing on this tablet was painful. It was very slow in registering the keys. If you type fast, the Nova will fall behind. Hopefully, this was specific to my test unit and not the norm.
Overall, I was not impressed with the device in the limited time that I used it. With a poor looking screen, very apparent plastic body and very slow typing responsiveness, it would be tough to recommend the Nova even at $170 to individuals considering a tablet. However I will say this (although many may not agree), I would actually recommend this tablet if you are considering buying one for your teen or even younger child. Unless you have money and do not mind giving a teen a $500 tablet, this would be the perfect "first tablet" that your child/teen can use. The same way that you do not buy (or at least most people) a teen a brand new car as their first car, this tablet would be ideal as a "first tablet". $170 is a good price if you are looking to spend the least amount of money. Of course, our recommendation in the lower price range is the Nook Color but at $250, in this economy, that may still be a little high for some people.
Update: Developers have rooted the device and one can install Google Apps. Info available at SlateDroid.com.