It all began with the iPad. Apple's beloved tablet may not have been the first "more powerful than a cell phone, more mobile than a laptop" computer device to hit shelves, but after selling nearly 15 million of them in the first year of its 2010 release, Steve Jobs and his pals opened the floodgates to what was then a largely untapped market. Just two years later, nearly one-third of all internet users currently own a tablet and, if you believe researchers at the Online Publishers Association, nearly half of all surfers will ride the net with an iPad, Kindle or the like in 2013 [sources: Apple, Moscaritolo].
These days, every technology manufacturer worth its salt is hocking its own version of the device. While the iPad remains the hottest-selling tablet, some competitors have carved out a niche with lower-cost handheld computers. Checking in at around $200, low-end tablets are more affordable than top of the line versions (the iPad 2 goes for about $400), but their quality -- unlike the late Jobs' selection of black mock turtlenecks -- varies widely [sources: Apple, Moscaritolo].
Even Pandigital, the Dublin, Calif.-based maker of low-cost digital photo frames and other electronics goods, is joining the scores of companies dipping their toes into the shallow end of the tablet pool. Pandigital offers four versions of its tablets -- the SuperNova, Nova, Star and Planet -- each of which retails below $200 and offer a number of common features [source: Pandigital].
This line of tablets is certainly affordable, but in technology, as in life, you get what you pay for. So do Pandigital tablets provide enough bang for the bucks? Read on to find out.