May 072012

Since its release in November 2011 the Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet has received high acclaim from both users and industry pundits. The tablet does not have a camera, GPS, or Bluetooth. Their absense may disappoint the casual reader seeking a multifunctional device. But for dedicated readers, none of these features are essential for its primary intended purpose: reading interactive multimedia books. In fact it could be argued that the Tablet appears to be highly optimized for reading. Many consider the Nook Tablet to be the best Readers Tablet currently available.

Reading on the Nook

Although text based eBooks can be comfortably read on the Nook Tablet, the device is ideally suited to interactive multimedia books. There are lots of “enhanced” eBooks available from the Nook Book Store: how-to books with videos, new fiction and non-fiction editions with audio introductions, classics magazines and comics with exclusive bonus content such as photos, videos and related documentation. Of particular interest to parents with young children is the impressive collection of eBooks for kids. These eBooks will read aloud like audio books but with some images displayed. Parents, who are ultra-busy, travel a lot, or work unusual hours can record their own voice on “Read and Record” nook books. I adore the feature of recording my voice reading my kid’s favorite book. This then keeps my three year old happy when I am working on the computer or on a long drive.

Music & Video on the Nook

Barnes & Noble relies heavily on partnerships to provide access to movies, TV shows and music content, principally with Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora. Additionally user’s content can also be accessed directly from the Tablet. Whilst video looks impressive, the screen resolution of the Nook Tablet is not strictly high definition. You can play DVD or CD content you have already paid for by ripping a DVD or CD on your computer and then copying it to the Nook via the USB cable. If your video or audio content is already digital, it is more straightforward. Just copy the files over.

Nook Apps and Games

The Nook app store has decent selection of add-ons and although it is steadily expanding, the range of games lags behind that available for the Amazon Kindle Fire or the iPad, and individual apps sometimes cost more. Barnes and Noble appear to be more selective about the games they put on their app store – a large proportion of the games are educational.

Nook Web Browser and Email

The email and browser app on the Nook Tablet has basic functionality. Display of web pages is somewhat limited by the 7-inch screen.

Nook Tablet Specifications and eReaders Comparison

See the eReader Comparison table for full specifications of the Nook Tablet, and compare with other tablets such the Nook Color, Kindle Fire and Apple iPad. For your convenience here is a rundown of the hardware and system highlights provided on the Nook Tablet.

Nook Tablet Buttons

The Nook Tablet has physical buttons for power on/off, volume control, and has a nice big home button. The volume controls in particular a very useful and convenient for adjusting the volume, instead of having to interact with a touchscreen interface, as is the case with the Kindle Fire. The position of the home button makes it very easy to wake up the Nook and put it to sleep.

Nook Tablet Content Storage Capacity

The 16 GB version of the Nook Tablet has 13GB reserved for content, whereas the 8 GB version offers 5GB for content. Both versions reserve some storage for NOOK Store content, 1GB and 2GB for the Nook 8GB and Nook 16GB models respectively. If you want more storage, however, you can expand it. And all of the 32GB can be used to hold the users content.

Multi-Tasking Performance

Both versions are responsive with upto half a dozen applications running simultaneously. However , the Nook 8GB has 512Mb of internal storage, about half as much as the Nook 16GB. The RAM however is not expandable and has an impact when running a dozen or more applications simultaneously, something that is completely avoidable for most types of users. Real user experience indicate that the Nook Tablet is a little bit more responsive than the Kindle Fire, and much faster than the Nook Color.

Nook Tablet Battery Life

The Nook Tablet battery offers 11. 5 hours of reading or 9 hours of video. To maximise the battery life turn off the Wi-Fi, and turning down the screen brightness.

Things That You May Miss

Compared with Apple iPad and Kindle Fire you may miss the following features on the Nook Tablet:

  • No camera, GPS, or Bluetooth. None of these are essential for its primary intended purpose: reading interactive multimedia books. In fact it could be argued that the Nook appears to be highly optimized for reading.
  • Very limited parental controls on the internet – you can only disable internet access rather than control access to particular sites.
  • No autocorrect when entering text.

eBook Reader Guide Recommendation

The absense of a camera, GPS, or Bluetooth may disappoint the casual reader. But for dedicated readers, none of these features are essential for its primary intended purpose: reading interactive multimedia books.  In fact their absense helps to the make Nook the lightest weight Tablet with a 7 inch screen and has the longest battery life. The Nook is probably the best Readers Tablet currently available. Since the Nook Tablet is principally an eBook reading device for viewing multimedia content, availability of the type content that you want to read is an important factor. The main competitor to the Nook is the Kindle Fire and the iPad, and each has exclusive partnerships with several publishers. So it may be a good idea to check if your favorite author is listed in the respective eBook store. Incidently if the type of books you read is mainly textual, a E Ink reader may be a better choice because of the superior display of static text.

Easy touch interface for text entry, eg annotation.
Self-illuminating, do not need reading light in a dark environment.
Suitable for all types of books: textual, color and interactive.
Not as light as dedicated ereaders but multifunctional may replace other gadgets.
Difficult to read outdoors in sunlight.
Difficult to hold in one hand for long periods, may require a Nook Tablet cover with stand.
Back lit display not ideal for long duration readers.

The Nook Tablet is considered to be the best Readers Tablet currently available. The absense of a camera, GPS, or Bluetooth may disappoint the casual reader. But for dedicated readers, none of these features are essential for its primary intended purpose: reading interactive multimedia books.
Price $249. Read more Nook Tablet reviews.

Individuals who decide that the Nook Tablet is the best choice for their requirements, the eBook Reader Guide recommends that you should consider purchasing the following accessories at the same time as purchasing the Nook, or very soon after.

Nook Tablet Covers and Cases

As a new Nook Tablet owner you will certainly appreciate the greater convenience and built-in reading tools, but you will also realize that having an ereader is not as carefree as having a paper back or hard cover book. In fact, the eReader is perhaps the most vulnerable of all portable electronic gadgets due to its large screen and slightly awkward handling and stowage when not in use. A protective Nook Tablet cover or case helps to reduce the risk of damage. A Nook Tablet cover has the advantage providing extra handling options allowing the ereader to be held in one hand like a paperback book, or in two hands like a hard back book. Some Nook Tablet covers can also provide the Tablet with stand functions allowing hands free display of content. However, some users may feel that added weight is unwelcome and significantly reduces comfort of handling the eReader. In this case, a Nook Tablet case may be a better choice than a Nook Tablet cover. When the Tablet is not in use, it is simply stowed away in the Nook Tablet case, and when it is desired to use the Tablet, it is simply removed from the case and held by itself. An equally important advantage of a Nook Tablet case is that the case protects your Nook Tablet better than an Nook Tablet cover. The simple reason for this is that the Nook Tablet case fully encloses the Nook Tablet and it is impossible for small object such as coins and keys to come close to the delicate Nook screen. A Nook Tablet cover on the other hand has open sides which may allow small objects to slip between the Nook Tablet cover and the delicate Nook screen.

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