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Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review

Posted: , by John V.

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Interface and Functionality:

Looking at it from the beginning, most people would be hard pressed to believe that this is running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich underneath it all, but it is! However, as we’re well aware upon turning it on, it’s running a heavily customized interface on top of it, which is updated from last year’s model. Initially, there’s a bit of learning required to navigate around it, however, we really appreciate that it incorporates some of the elements that make us love Android – like how it has multiple homescreens, the ability to change the wallpaper, and a multi-tasking pane to quickly jump between open apps. Even better, it offers support for multiple users so that each account has their specific content and settings.

The Barnes & Noble NOOK HD is running a heavily customized interface on top of Android 4.0 - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review
The Barnes & Noble NOOK HD is running a heavily customized interface on top of Android 4.0 - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review
The Barnes & Noble NOOK HD is running a heavily customized interface on top of Android 4.0 - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review
The Barnes & Noble NOOK HD is running a heavily customized interface on top of Android 4.0 - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review
The Barnes & Noble NOOK HD is running a heavily customized interface on top of Android 4.0 - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review
The Barnes & Noble NOOK HD is running a heavily customized interface on top of Android 4.0 - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review
The Barnes & Noble NOOK HD is running a heavily customized interface on top of Android 4.0 - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review
The Barnes & Noble NOOK HD is running a heavily customized interface on top of Android 4.0 - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review

The Barnes & Noble NOOK HD is running a heavily customized interface on top of Android 4.0


As a whole, we like it more than the UI of the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, but it’s still not quite as comprehensive and complete as stock Android. Moreover, as it lacks the core Google apps, including the Play Store, it has limited third party apps catalog, which might dissuade some people. On the other end of the spectrum, though, it centers around the Barnes & Noble ecosystem. Therefore, if you’re most interested in reading books, magazines, newspapers, and comics, it’s no doubt going to appease your taste. Although it has a modest multimedia collection, which consists of buying/renting TV shows, movies, and music, it doesn’t seem as connected when compared to what Amazon provides with its services.

Multimedia collection - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review
Multimedia collection - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review
Multimedia collection - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review
Multimedia collection - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review

Multimedia collection


On the surface, we’re presented with some basic organizer apps that offer only the bare essential functions. Still, we appreciate that the email app is laid out in a typical two-panel interface so that we’re able to see our inbox while simultaneously reading emails.

Basic organizer apps - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review
Basic organizer apps - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review

Basic organizer apps


Since this is a 7-inch tablet, using the portrait style keyboard is more ideal, seeing that our thumbs are able to encompass its entire layout with minimal stretching. Furthermore, we’re able to maintain a steady rate with few mistakes since it’s very responsive. Unfortunately, you’ll probably want to stay away from using the landscape option because its layout is cramped – and more akin to a smartphone keyboard.

Virtual keyboard - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review
Virtual keyboard - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review
Virtual keyboard - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review

Virtual keyboard



Processor and Memory:

In terms of processing power, the NOOK HD is outfitted with a dual-core 1.3GHz ARM-based TI OMAP 4470 CPU coupled with only 1GB of RAM. Certainly, it doesn’t pack the most horsepower, but it’s effective enough to handle most basic tasks with little fluff. However, we do notice some prominent lag and sluggishness with tasks that are more processor intensive – such as using a graphically intensive live wallpaper.

Well people, there isn’t much of a surprise that the NOOK HD is available in either 8GB and 16GB capacities, but unlike some of its highly-esteemed colleagues, it offers expandability with the aid of a microSD card slot.


Internet and Connectivity:

Showing off its worth in the tablet-like category, the NOOK HD provides us with a very acceptable web browsing experience. Surely, it loads up pages quickly, coughs up proper rendering on the fly, and moves swimmingly with various navigational controls. Frankly, it gets the job done, even more with its super detailed display, but it’s missing out on some functions that would make it a well-rounded offering – like having some sort of sharing functionality integrated with the web browser.

Web browsing on the Barnes & Noble NOOK HD - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review
Web browsing on the Barnes & Noble NOOK HD - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review
Web browsing on the Barnes & Noble NOOK HD - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review
Web browsing on the Barnes & Noble NOOK HD - Barnes & Noble NOOK HD Review

Web browsing on the Barnes & Noble NOOK HD


As it stands, the NOOK HD is only available in Wi-Fi only form – with no word on possible cellular connected versions in the future. Even though it features Bluetooth and an 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi radio, it’s lacking other connectivity features such as aGPS and NFC.

3 Comments
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posted on 18 Dec 2012, 07:13

1. sheik (Posts: 249; Member since: 12 Sep 2012)


Good review, Heck! Nook HD is not available in India

posted on 18 Dec 2012, 19:48

2. ceepyou (Posts: 33; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)


My wife loves her NOOK HD and is reading on it all the time. There are several pertinent news apps (even Flipboard) and with the screen brightness down she can get two days of usage.

On my 32GB NOOK HD+ (the 9" big brother) I have to say that this is a pretty darn good tablet. Is it as fast and fluid as my iPad 3. Certainly not but I was able to sell that and buy each of these and pocket some change so it is really hard to be unhappy with these tablets. Hulu, Pandora, Spotify, and Netflix are supported out of the box. There is a Revision 3 app for catching up on my nerd shows, and it has Dolphin web browser! Plus Quick Office pro is only $4.99 for it right now!

I also love the developer attention these are getting at XDA. Jellybean is in the primary stages of being ported over (only SD card at the moment). In a few months, I will have a daily driver 9" 32gb tablet with microSD card expansion and a 1920x1280 display and Android 4.2 for less than $300! Brilliant!

On both these devices, I highly recommend a matte screen protector as they don't seem to have much or any oleophobic coating on them. The screen is a finger print magnet without one.

Great review John. Now if PA could review the 9" HD+ we could then have a Kindle Fire HD vs NOOK HD vs Nexus 7 as well as a Kindle Fire HD 8.9 vs NOOK HD+ vs __________ comparison article.

posted on 28 Dec 2012, 06:15

3. jscipher (Posts: 4; Member since: 30 Jun 2012)


nice,great new years gift option.

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Display7.0 inches, 1440 x 900 pixels (243 ppi) IPS LCD
Hardware
TI OMAP4470, Dual core, 1300 MHz, ARM Cortex-A9 processor
1024 MB RAM
Size7.65 x 5.00 x 0.43 inches
(194.4 x 127.1 x 11 mm)
11.11 oz  (315 g)

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