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A $200 Tablet You Could Actually Consider Buying

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 25 comments

If you simply want to keep up with the tablet craze, but you aren't willing to shell out $500 or more for an iPad or a high-end Android tablet, there are some reasonable options, such as the Pandigital Supernova.

The new Supernova stays in line with previous Pandigital tablets and is offered as the company's flagship model with a street price of $200. There is the cheaper Nova ($190), which has the same industrial design as the Supernova, but it has just a 7-inch screen instead of an 8-inch screen and comes with a resistive instead of a capacitive touchscreen display (both displays have a 600x800 pixel resolution).

While the Nova has come a long way and shows just how good resistive touchscreens are today, it is the capacitive screen of the Supernova that provides a much more sensitive control and is the superior technology, especially in entertainment applications. Playing Angry Birds on a capacitive screen is obviously not as awkward as on a resistive device. The Supernova also comes with a Samsung 1 GHz processor that is notably faster than the Nova's chip.

After a few days with the Supernova, it is somewhat apparent that $200 tablets are beginning to make sense and offer a feature set that is likely to be perceived by a large user group as an acceptable compromise over a much more expensive high-end tablet. In the Pandigital tablet, you get most of the features of a high-end tablet, including front and rear cameras, an accelerometer as well as a lightweight design that is 16.6 ounces (the iPad 2 is 21.3 ounces). The design has evolved and looks much more classy in matte black than the previous shiny black surface of the Novel, the company's first-gen tablet.

The compromise you will have to make for the price is in some hardware features and platform value. The Supernova does not include a GPS chip, for example. Due to the hardware limitations, Pandigital did not get qualified for Google's Android Market, but is offering GetJar as a third party app market. You will be able to get productivity and entertainment apps, as well as essential apps such as Gmail or YouTube. However, there is no such thing as Google Maps for this device. On the upside, GetJar does offer a substantial portfolio of free apps, which should keep users on the Supernova occupied for some time.

In its competitive field, the Supernova is not so much a comparison to the iPad 2 as it is to other $200 tablets such as the Kindle Fire. It is unclear how the apps for the two devices will compare, but Pandigital offers Barnes & Noble integration on the Supernova and said that Netflix will be available on its device soon. Compared to the Fire, the tablet also offers a microSD memory slot as well as two cameras, which the Fire lacks. On the downside, Amazon may be offering the better platform value through its services on the Fire. Also, the Supernova's screen resolution of 600x800 is a bit on the skimpy side as the Fire provides 600x1024.

The Supernova, however, is one of the first $200 tablets I have seen that is good enough to be used on an everyday basis for web browsing, email and games. It misses the access to Android Market, which may only be resolved if Google scales back its hardware requirements with Android 4.0 (and if Pandigital updates its tablets with the new OS). Clearly, the Supernova is no iPad, but for $200 it carries impressive value that can hold its own against the Kindle Fire.

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Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    plznote , November 3, 2011 10:16 PM
    Why this if you can have a Kindle Fire/Lenovo IdeaPad K1?
  • 18 Hide
    tacoslave , November 3, 2011 10:16 PM
    if i would buy a tablet it would be the kindle fire but since nothing makes me want one ...
  • 12 Hide
    g-unit1111 , November 3, 2011 10:42 PM
    I'd either get a Kindle Fire (which I'm planning to do) or wait for Windows 8.
Other Comments
  • 20 Hide
    plznote , November 3, 2011 10:16 PM
    Why this if you can have a Kindle Fire/Lenovo IdeaPad K1?
  • 18 Hide
    tacoslave , November 3, 2011 10:16 PM
    if i would buy a tablet it would be the kindle fire but since nothing makes me want one ...
  • 5 Hide
    alidan , November 3, 2011 10:30 PM
    there needs to be a more tierd structure for tablets.

    i mean some of the tablet things, like a gps, would that really be nessassary for most apps, or how about cameras?

    there should be a
    low end, purely for intenet and some videos,
    mid range, that has the cameas and such, used for more than just internet browsing
    high end, the apple defacto standard
    ultra, whatever they want to include.

    and just not show apps that are not useable on a low end and only show them to the higher ones.
  • 5 Hide
    dalethepcman , November 3, 2011 10:30 PM
    or wait for windows 8...
  • 12 Hide
    g-unit1111 , November 3, 2011 10:42 PM
    I'd either get a Kindle Fire (which I'm planning to do) or wait for Windows 8.
  • -8 Hide
    Anonymous , November 3, 2011 11:08 PM
    A $200 Tablet You Could Actually Consider Buying If You Are Stupid

    There... corrected...
  • 8 Hide
    Anonymous , November 3, 2011 11:28 PM
    Maybe this will end up as Best Buy's house brand selling for $170 by April.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , November 4, 2011 12:26 AM
    And the Kobo Vox at 200 dollars is not in this article. I guess it was conveniently forgotten and on the Vox, Android market is available which makes a huge difference. Kobo Vox in this article = *tumbleweed*
  • 2 Hide
    sgtopmobile , November 4, 2011 12:33 AM
    i hope i am WRONG AS HELL but a 200$ tablet...... i dont expect to much out of it, not even for kindle fire, as i said, i hope i am wrong, but we will have to see it how it goes for the low-end tablets.....
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , November 4, 2011 12:49 AM
    How the hell is this gonna help me get laid?
  • 7 Hide
    Thunderfox , November 4, 2011 1:09 AM
    As an owner of a firesale Touchpad, I can see the usefulness of cheap tablets for web browsing and reading things or watching videos, as that is pretty much all any of them are good for. You aren't going to do serious work without a keyboard and mouse, so the differences in hardware amount mostly to a limit on multitasking and maybe a bit of difference in application launch speed.

    Anyone who pays $500+ for any tablet is a certified idiot, but cheap ones like this could make the tablet concept mainstream and useful.
  • 0 Hide
    nforce4max , November 4, 2011 1:59 AM
    I like this brand actually and own not one but three Pandigital Novels (white). They are built very well and unlike Archos or coby, amazon kindle, and others the lcd panel isn't going to crack. They need to improve the quality of the digitizer and a few others things but they are very solid. Most of them have the boot rom and internal storage separate unlike most tablets so it is less likely to fail due to normal wear on the land flash.
  • 3 Hide
    gokanis , November 4, 2011 2:04 AM
    CrapCantLogInHow the hell is this gonna help me get laid?


    Chicks dig tablets..... or you could go outside.
  • 1 Hide
    lockhrt999 , November 4, 2011 2:23 AM
    LMAO. Get a novo7. a lot better tablet with maali 400 graphics just under $150.
  • 0 Hide
    dalauder , November 4, 2011 2:40 AM
    If I had a use for a laptop--like if I traveled for work, then maybe I'd...well, I'd get a laptop. What are tablets for again? Unless that question gets answered, I have to say they will have a worse fate than the Ultrabook (which will eventually {read as in 6 years or so} replace laptops if the form factor survives).
  • 1 Hide
    de5_Roy , November 4, 2011 2:53 AM
    that tablet looks really cheap and plastic-y. at least it might make a good color ebook reader.
  • 1 Hide
    razor512 , November 4, 2011 3:25 AM
    dalauderIf I had a use for a laptop--like if I traveled for work, then maybe I'd...well, I'd get a laptop. What are tablets for again? Unless that question gets answered, I have to say they will have a worse fate than the Ultrabook (which will eventually {read as in 6 years or so} replace laptops if the form factor survives).



    Tablets are suppose to be devices priced under $200 the price point below the entry level netbooks

    a netbook is faster, has more memory and more storage at the $200 price point than a tablet or ipad has at the $500 price point.

    There is no benefit to getting a tablet over a netbook if you are spending $200 or more as if there is a location where you cant being a netbook due to the size, then you also wont be able to bring a tablet

    Also one of the most popular accessories for a tablet, is a bluetooth keyboard.

    That brings the price of a decent tablet to the price range of a gaming laptop

    I currently have a HP touchpad, which was well worth the $120 (with you include the shipping and tax)

    I will never spend more than $200 on any tablet

  • 0 Hide
    alyoshka , November 4, 2011 8:03 AM
    I think I'd like to try the Slate 2
  • 2 Hide
    tlmck , November 4, 2011 9:56 AM
    I'd like a sub $150 10" tablet with just a web browser, wifi, 4g, and pop up on screen keyboard. Resolution would be 1024 x 600 like my netbook.
  • 1 Hide
    bender3000 , November 4, 2011 12:08 PM
    My experience with Pandigital has been abysmal. Their products are cheaply constructed and support is almost nonexistent.
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