As a proud owner of the Nook Color, I was quite excited when I heard that Barnes and Noble was coming out with a new Nook HD tablet. It’s very obviously an attempt to compete with the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, but I was excited to see what it was going to offer anyway. There are two new tablets from Barnes & Noble that we’re going to be taking a look at below: the Nook HD and HD+.
The standard Nook HD has a 7 inch screen that seems as though its primary audience is going to be the people who want their tablets for reading. The bigger, 9 inch, HD+ version takes things a bit farther and tries to tackle a family market where media consumption and viewing space are key.
The Nook HD is currently the lightest tablet on the market (weighing in at just 11.1 ounces), making it the perfect candidate for a day at the coffee shop or for reading while walking around campus.
The Nook HD has a 1440×900 resolution, which is much higher than both the new Amazon tablet and the Nexus 7 that was released by Google. The HD+ takes it a step farther and ups the resolution to 1920 x 1280, which I’ll admit is a better resolution than my home computer’s monitor. While it’s purely anecdotal evidence, at first impression, the Nook HD+ looks stunning when compared to the newest iPad and Amazon HD tablets.
There’s a new focus over at Barnes & Noble; one based on the actual specifications of the device rather than what types of books or content it can offer to readers.
Processor: There is a dual-core OMAP 4470 processor that runs at 1.3GHZ on the Nook HD and at 1.5GHz on the Nook HD+). This is quite quick for a tablet.
RAM: Both models only come with 1 gigabyte of RAM.
Battery: While their claims seem to be a bit farfetched (as companies usually make them out to be), Barnes & Noble is claiming that both the HD and HD+ will get about 10 hours of battery life while reading and right around 9 hours of battery life when you’re watching video. If this is indeed true, it’ll be a pretty decent length of time.
Operating System: The Barnes & Noble operating system is built on top of Android 4.0. They have kept the scrolling book wheel that old users are probably familiar with and have added just a few new buttons to bring up things like the weather and some recommendations on what you might like to read or watch next. I haven’t used it enough to say whether or not it’s effective at judging my interests.
Note: What I loved about the Nook Color was that although it had Barnes & Noble’s basic operating system on it, I was able to load my own operating system onto the device to install the Google Play store and install third party applications as though I had a genuine Android tablet. While the Nook’s app store is fine, it is just very restricting when compared to what the Android marketplace is and can be.
Space: The Nook HD has 8GB of storage and the HD+ comes with 16GB of storage. Both of these options are upgradable to 16GB and 32GB respectively.
Price: The Nook HD 8GB model costs $199 and the 16GB version costs $229. The HD+ will cost $269 and the 32GB version will be $299.
During the release conference for the device, Barnes & Noble made very clear that these prices would be for “ad-free” devices and that you would get a charger for the device in the box. These were very obvious jabs at Amazon’s new device launch that raised a few eyebrows.
Overall, I’m very excited about the new device from Barnes & Noble. It’s a solid product at a solid price, which is what we all want, right? Well, sort of. While I get excited about new devices just like the next guy, this doesn’t really feel like an “upgrade.” My old tablet played Netflix just fine. I could listen to music and even read books as well. The battery life was even about 9 hours on it as well. So, that begs the question, why change?
I think the Barnes & Noble Nook HD tablets will sell quite well to those looking to enter into the e-reader market, but for those who already have a tablet, it may be a tough sell to fork over money for a device that does essentially the exact same thing it did before.