Nook Tablet Review: First Impressions

The Nook tablet is in stores a bit early and customers who pre-ordered theirs should receive delivery today.

If you’re still trying to decide if Barnes & Noble’s new device is right for you, I’ll be posting my thoughts today as I use it for reading, surfing, and watching video.

My preliminary thoughts are pretty simple: the Nook Tablet is the Nook Color, but better. It’s faster, lighter, and a pleasure to use. If you liked the Nook Color and are ready to trade up, you’re not likely to be disappointed. Want the full story? Read the Nook Tablet review.

Nook Color and Nook Tablet

As you can see from the pictures, the Nook Tablet looks similar to the Color except for the lighter color. They’re the same dimensions — 8.1 x 5.0 x 0.48 inches — which means Nook Color covers and cases will fit it. This is great news for case manufacturers as well as those who already own the Color.

The only other difference to the chassis beyond color  is that the Nook Tablet weighs less (14.1 ounces) and you can really feel the difference when you hold them both. The Nook Color has always been just a bit too heavy and the Nook Tablet fixes that.

Nook Tablet

The Nook Tablet has the newest version of the Android-based software, which is built up from Gingerbread. The basic user interface is the same, though B&N did tweak things a bit.

On the Home screen there’s now an additional bar at the bottom that calls out the main functions of the device: Books, Newsstand, Movies, Music, Apps. In each little bubble you’ll find both pre-loaded content and other thematic apps. Otherwise, it appears to be mostly unchanged from the Nook Color’s software. Again, this is a good thing since the UI was another of that device’s strengths.

Nook Tablet Screens

The UI is basic, yes, and hard core Android fanatics will probably root it right away. However, this is one of the few Android devices that truly doesn’t require tech-savviness to grok.

Inside there have been some changes, including a dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. Performance-wise, the Nook Tablet is definitely snappier than the Color. You see the difference most when switching between apps and playing games. Web pages also load a tad faster. I’m going to test it’s multitasking prowess today, but so far I’m pleased.

Watching both SD and HD content via Netflix was great. The speaker on the back pumps out decent sound, though I’d be more likely to plug in some headphones when watching. Colors popped, I didn’t see any hitching or obvious dropped frames, and even older shows appeared crisp.

Nook Tablet Screen

And let’s not forget books. I immersed myself in a few chapters of N. K. Jemisin’s The Broken Kingdoms and liked it as much as reading on the Nook Color. Better, actually, since I didn’t feel the weight much.

My next step is to sideload some video and music, read a children’s book, and see what new apps are available. What else do you want to know about the Nook Tablet?

Read: Nook Tablet Full Review

20 Comments

  1. Gachooch

    11/16/2011 at 9:49 am

    Great report.  Can you root the device through a SD card?  Thanks,

    Reply

  2. MauchLS

    11/16/2011 at 11:05 am

    I’d really like to know what format movies need to be in to side load them.On brief inspection of my library, will it run .WMV?

    Reply

    • K. T. Bradford

      11/16/2011 at 2:43 pm

      Looks like no. It says on the Dev site: Video formats: .3GP, .MP4, .3G2, .FLV
      Video Codecs: H.263, H.264 (High, Main and Baseline profiles), MPEG-4 (Simple and Advanced), xVID

      Reply

  3. Sean Phillips

    11/16/2011 at 11:09 am

    Can you install the Amazon App Store app on this device?

    Reply

  4. Joycequilts

    11/16/2011 at 12:46 pm

    how is it compared to the kindle fire?

    Reply

  5. Gerry

    11/16/2011 at 2:53 pm

    Why should I buy a NOOK Tablet instead of a Kindle Fire?

    Reply

  6. Anonymous

    11/16/2011 at 6:27 pm

    can you play 1080p .mkv?

    Reply

  7. Strikey08

    11/17/2011 at 7:51 am

    how is the screen in outdoor settings? will i be able to read this in sunlight or at the beach/lake?

    Reply

  8. Dcwinans

    11/17/2011 at 7:58 am

    I just purchased a Nook Tablet but have not used it yet.  Can you expand on the use of the Tablet for email and web search?  How easy is it to use the Tablet on my existing email provider (baja broadband provider who uses the gmail servers)?

    Reply

  9. justcurious

    11/17/2011 at 9:08 am

    Have you heard anything about another new nook tablet being released on Black Friday, 8-10 inch for $349 ?

    Reply

  10. Ken Skier

    11/17/2011 at 11:28 am

    Can the Nook Tablet display a book properly when the Tablet is in the landscape orientation?

    (The Nook color could display a book only in portrait mode.  If you rotate the NC to a landscape orientation, the text does not reformat to fit the wider display.  The text just displays on its side!)

    Reply

  11. Robin Ashe

    11/17/2011 at 10:51 pm

    When you have a sunny day (not sure how frequent those are for you as I don’t know where you live), can you take it outside and take some pictures showing how the screen handles direct sunlight? Thanks!

    Reply

    • K. T. Bradford

      11/19/2011 at 9:40 am

      sure, i can try. Though it may not be a completely accurate representation of how it looks.

      Reply

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