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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pandigital Planet - 7" Android Tablet

Hi All...

I just grabbed a Pandigital Planet from Kohl's.  They have it on sale for $189.00 this weekend (you can find it cheaper online, about 170 to 175).  I grabbed it at the sale price with a 20% off coupon they sent Me by email and my wife gave Me $90.00 Kohl's cash.  So I only paid 84.79 with the tax and everything and I'll actually get another 15% off with my employee discount. 

I wanted to wait for the Nova, but we don't have that one in the store yet, and the Kohl's cash we had was only good until today.  They may well have the Nova when I go in for work tonight, though.  Oh well.

So far I can see that with only 2GB I have to get a big microSD card and be very conservative with the applications I install.  On My DroidX I have a 5GB memory bank for apps and I have lots of cool looking apps that act crappy and like to stay in memory and run absolutely all the time.  That's just not a possibility with a 2GB Planet.

What's there:
7" 800x600 resistive TFT LCD touchscreen tablet device with...
MiniUSB port (not MicroUSB like on a Droid X, but MiniUSB like most cameras).
HDMI port (accomodates DTV as well as 720p & 1080p HDTV playback to TV/device).
microSD Card SLOT (no card included) will accomodate up to 32GB cards.
Wi-Fi (The 802.11 B/G/N is very cheap and doesn't have much range).
Mini Stereo Headphone Jack.
Microphone.
Forward and rear facing cameras.  NOTE: NO Flash.
Power button.
Volume Up/Down buttons.
Android buttons.
Dedicated DC port (a dedicated power adapter port that doesn't use the miniUSB port).
Uses a rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery.
AC wall outlet power adapter (for recharging).
MiniUSB to PC USB cable.
Tablet miniUSB connection is compatible with Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7 and MacOS X computers.  Although not stated, it should be compatible with properly configured Linux computers as well since android is Linux based.

The 7" Planet uses a proprietary market place.  When searching at Google's App Market from the device, Google won't even acknowledge that you are on an android device. Apparently there is a hack for this, but you need to be careful with piling on some of the less memory friendly apps that never shut down from most developers out there (android has a big problem with this no matter the device, perhaps this may be pandigital's attempt to stop crappy apps from infecting everything with constant memory loss and consistent device reboots?).

After getting it and playing with it a bit there was a firmware update.  After the firmware update, parts of certain screens, such as the drag-down notification window and menu shrank in parts to a phone-sized screen.  Very unusual looking, but the thing still works just fine.

The 800x600 display is a little different from My Droid X in that it uses a 5 x 5 icon layout, as opposed to the 4 x 4 icon layout.  The Droid X has 3 additional screens on either side of home, where the Planet only has 2 extra screens to the left or right of home.

That said, I really like the bigger display.  I can read the 800x600 pretty well without My reading glasses, as opposed to the tiny screen on My Droid X device. 

Touch seems responsive until trashing or otherwise moving icons around.  Then, it just plain bites because I am not a real patient guy.  You have to pause quite a while once you select the icon and it grows, before you can move it somewhere else.  I am told that there is an issue with how the wi-fi antenna is positioned.  Moving it to a side location apparently helps touchscreen sensitivity.  Someone also says that using aluminum tape to do so has increased the wi-fi signal on theirs.

I really like that they switched the Home and Menu buttons around, and that they are physical buttons (when compared to My Droid X button positions or the lack of real buttons on My friend's Droid Incredible). 

I have downloaded an app, Nimbuzz, to use it for skype, but it seems that they only support skype on a phone?  Curious that these guys aren't supporting tablets, yet.  Maybe I'll find one that will.

I understand that the Planet can be rooted, now.  I'm surprised.  Glad, but surprised, as it hasn't been out long, has it?  I'm going to have to do that once I grab a microSD Card so that I can back it all up for reinstalling it all. 

The 7" Nova will have more memory (4GB), so some might want that one, instead.  As mentioned, we don't have it just yet in our store, but I might grab a Nova, or maybe wait for Pandigital's flagship tablet due out in September.

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