Editors' note: Thanks to the release of recent, high-quality tablets, the overall score of the SuperNova has been adjusted down from 5.3 to 5.
With the Kindle Fire's $200 debut upon us, it's a good time to take stock of the tablet market and ask some questions. Is $200 a low-enough price to turn what might be an unappealing tablet into a product that would sell enough to turn a profit?
My answer is no. What's more important than price is value. Specifically, what do you get for that $200? Which brings us to the Pandigital SuperNova, a $200 tablet with a low-resolution screen, running a non-Google certified version of Android 2.3 that...well, I think you can see where this is going, but keep reading to confirm your suspicions.
If you're getting a $200 tablet you're hoping, at the very least, that it won't feel like one. The good news about the SuperNova is that it doesn't feel like it costs $200. The bad news is that it actually feels cheaper.
The SuperNova has a dark-gray chassis and a very plasticky feel, reminiscent of a cheap toy. The body is relatively thin, measuring 0.5 inch in depth, but overall its dimensions are in line with what you'd expect from an 8-inch tablet and it's only slightly smaller than the Archos 80 G9.
The SuperNova feels comfortable in our hands, with no pointy corners or jagged edges, and a thin, light, and smooth chassis. However, as light as it is, it feels hollow and, well, cheap. Other tablets, like the BlackBerry PlayBook, are lighter, and yet somehow feel more substantive.
|Pandigital SuperNova||Archos 80 G9||BlackBerry PlayBook|
|Weight in pounds||1.08||1.08||0.96|
|Width in inches (landscape)||8.4||8.9||7.6|
|Height in inches||6.2||6.1||5.1|
|Depth in inches||0.5||0.5||0.4|
|Side bezel width in inches (landscape)||0.9 (left), 1.1 (right)||1.2||0.75|
When you hold the SuperNova in landscape mode, its microSD card slot adorns the bottom edge. On the right edge is the headphone jack, and on the left edge are the power connection port and the Mini-USB and Micro-HDMI ports. On the top sit the power button and volume rocker.
On the front bezel, the top right corner holds a front-facing camera with two status lights to its right. At the bottom of the front bezel are four Android navigation buttons: home, settings, back, and search. Each button is about an inch wide and delivers a snappy feedback when you press it. To the right of the search button is a small microphone pinhole. On the back, in the top right corner, are a single speaker and the rear-facing camera.
The Pandigital SuperNova supports 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The speaker delivers fairly high volume, albeit with tinny sound that lacks bass. Also, because of its placement on the back, the sound gets muffled when the tablet is laid down flat. The SuperNova's processor is a 1.06GHz Samsung S5PV210 Cortex CPU.