You might recall that the new Pandigital Novel ereader was announced a couple weeks ago, and that it is the first in the US market with a Sipix screen.
Sipix is a screen developer whose product is just beginning to get on the market. They are a subsidiary of the screen manufacturer AUO. Everyone I know has been cheering for Sipix because we wanted someone to compete with E-ink (it was supposed to drive the price down).
I bought one of the new Novel on Sunday after I found it in the advert for Kohl’s, a department store chain. They’re selling it for $165 (with a $15 rebate).
If I were you, I wouldn’t buy it just yet. The new Novel has what could be the worst epaper screen on the market.
NOTE: If you want to see how bad it is, click on the picture above to see a larger version.
I was shocked when I saw the screen on this ereader. Do you recall that old complaint about the Kindle (dark gray text on a light gray screen)? That’s what I’m seeing. Look at the picture. You’ll see that the original Kindle has a whiter screen than the Novel. I assure you, it’s not a trick of photography or a flaw introduced by the digital camera. The Novel’s screen really is that gray.
Also, the letters aren’t nearly as sharp as on my K3 or original Kindle (anti-bold is the word that comes to mind). When you look at the photo, you might have trouble reading off the Novel’s screen. It’s not a flaw introduced by the digital camera. The letters simply aren’t that sharp.
BTW, I’m not the only person who saw this. I have confirmation from a couple sources. One is the editor of The Ebook Reader blog (the other Nathan). The other is an industry source that I can’t name. He’s had an ereader with a Sipix screen since January. He also has a Hanlin V3 (Vizplex screen),and he thinks the V3 has the better screen.
I’m not going to recommend that you avoid ereaders with this screen (like the Novel or the Bookeen Orizon), but I do think the screen quality should affect your decision. I’m unhappy with the grayness of the screen, and I find it difficult to read. If I’d known ahead of time what the screen looked like, I would not have gotten this ereader.
Update: I’ve heard a similar complaint about the Thalia Oyo (it also has a Sipix screen). Someone even took a picture which shows the grayness of the screen.