Saturday, April 20, 2024
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A Column On Assistive & 'Boomer' Friendly Technology


When I was 30 years old the warranty on my body ran out. Systems started failing and tech support wasn't a whole lot of help. Re-booting wasn't an option and calls to the manufacturer.... Well let's just say the‘answers' are still a point of discussion. It's not like it was the‘blue screen of death' or anything, but it is chronic... (Multiple Sclerosis). It has caused me to have a different perspective on most things because where I sit.... is in a wheelchair.

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Pandigital Novel 9" Color Multimedia eReader

Beam Me Up a Book, Scotty


As I stated earlier, the PandigitalTM Multimedia eReader lets you do a whole lot more than just read books. For this reason we had to keep modifying  our expectations, but we were rarely disappointed. Let's start with the basics.



The PandigitalTM Multimedia eReader  utilizes the Barnes & Noble eReader app. This gave us access to their complete library of books including hundreds of free classics. We had chosen the WiFi only version of the eReader for our tests. Connecting to the Internet was no problem through our network or to public networks outside our offices.


I immediately downloaded several of the free books available (I'm a big Jane Austen fan) and selected one from the bookshelf format provided by the app.


This was my first real experience with an eReader and I suddenly found myself remembering  when I saw characters on Star Trek Jean Luc PicardThe Next Generation reading and working from a "tablet".  I thought it would never happen; and if it did, it wouldn't catch on.  How could an electronic device ever equal holding a book? It can't, but in many ways,  it's better. I don't struggle holding it, it's not heavy or bulky and I don't worry about making room for it when I travel. The ability to turn pages with an easy swipe or a simple press of the forward/back buttons at the bottom of the screen and it's own backlit light source (day read & night read) let me read anytime without disturbing someone else.


It Doesn't Make Coffee


Some of my favorite features are the virtual keyboard that is displayed whenever a text entry field is selected (a standard feature of Android) and the different font sizes. The option to use a built-in dictionary, highlight or make notes, as well as do word searches and have multiple bookmarks is a great asset.


Connecting to the Internet browser is easy - enter a URL/search request on the main screen or  select B&N and SHOP B&N. NOTE: You will need to create an account on Barnes & Noble site.


The WiFi connection to the web gave us easy access to emails, AndroidTM apps, books, newspapers and magazines. We were able to play music, games, videos and view photos. The alarm clock works well but the calendar is somewhat limited (we downloaded an app we preferred). 



It comes with a small built in speaker and a headphone jack for audio. The switches on the side of the unit make it easy to control the volume. This comes in handy for audio books or listening to PandoraTM  while you read. The PandigitalTM supports ePub, eBooks, PDF, Audio -MP3, video, Images - JPEG, BMP PNG, GIF, and MPEG4 Video.


In our tests, the battery lasted about 6-7 hours with constant use. We made it a habit of turning off the wireless connection when we were reading to prolong the battery life.  Recharging is done with the supplied A/C charger or via the USB cable.

But It Does A Lot


The ability to cram books, notes, emails, schedules and more into an easy to hold and transport device is indeed a joy to use for anyone and especially if you're in a wheelchair or if your abilities are challenged.  


I had to keep readjusting my perceptions to understand that as a Super eReader it does not do everything a tablet does but it did everything we needed, and more, for the price. If you want to spend $500 or more plus a data plan for an ultra fast tablet, they're out there. But if what you're looking for is one of the most capable eReaders available, the PandigitalTM Multimedia eReader for around $200 will not disappoint.


PandigitalTM Multimedia eReader (MSRP $219.99); A   (MSRP$39.99) -the front cover folds back into a stand- is also available.