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Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review

Posted: , by John V.

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Interface and Functionality:

Well, if you’ve handled the Nook Color already, you won’t find anything particularly new with the Nook Tablet since it’s the same software experience as before. Of course, it’s Android 2.3 Gingerbread running the show underneath it all, but considering that this isn’t a “with Google” device, it doesn’t offer things like Gmail, YouTube, or the Android Market.

Naturally, the Barnes & Noble ecosystem is flourishing with enough content consisting of books, newspapers, and magazines, but what it’s lacking to deepen its tablet functionality, is the limited amount of apps available with its app store. Surely you get some of the more popular apps out there, like Angry Birds, Pandora, Netflix, and Hulu Plus, but its depth of selection is a far cry from what’s available with your typical Honeycomb tablet – even worse, its selections pale in comparison to what Amazon already has with the Kindle Fire. At least straight out of the box, as we are already seeing hacks that allow you to load the Amazon App Store on this one, albeit app sideloading is officially restricted.

Regardless of that, the customized Barnes & Noble UI is a tad more appreciative than the Amazon Kindle’s offering namely because it offers better personalization – like the ability to place content on its 3 homescreens, resize those icons, and changing the background wallpaper.
 
The customized Barnes & Noble UI on the NOOK Tablet - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The customized Barnes & Noble UI on the NOOK Tablet - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The customized Barnes & Noble UI on the NOOK Tablet - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The customized Barnes & Noble UI on the NOOK Tablet - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review

The customized Barnes & Noble UI on the NOOK Tablet


Cramped in layout due to the 7” display, the messaging aspect with the Nook Tablet is rather challenging – albeit, we do like its responsive nature. Presenting us with the most basic of layouts, it’s straightforward with its approach, however, we find it easier to use the portrait option for the simple reason that our thumbs are able to encompass the entire layout with ease.

In attracting people to its potential, the Nook Tablet features an uncomplicated email app that presents us with the bare essentials. Although it might not impress power users, it’ll nonetheless appease a broad audience seeing that it gets the job done – though, it’s lacking some deeper functions.

Email - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
On-screen keyboard - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review

Email

 

On-screen keyboard


To keep it up with the times, the Nook Tablet is outfitted with a newer 1GHz dual-core TI OMAP processor and 1GB of RAM, which combine to together to offer a tolerable performance that doesn’t seemed too bogged down. Far from exhibiting the most fluid responses with its movements, we do notice a subtle choppy feel with basic operations like scrolling – though, it’s not terrible to the point of being totally unusable. Obviously, there’s no hiding the fact that it’s not as gracious as some other tablets out there in the market when it comes to its operation, but it’s nevertheless acceptable enough to handle most things with decent output.

 
Camera:

Keeping it firmly as an eReader first before anything else, the Nook Tablet doesn’t pack along any sort of cameras, so you will not be able to use it for video calling.


Multimedia:

Seeing that Barnes & Noble doesn’t offer its own kind of music service, much like Amazon’s MP3 Store, we’re left to rely on getting music the old fashion way by putting it onto the device’s internal storage or microSD card slot. Checking out the music player, it’s mostly very generic looking with its presentation, and at the same time, its speaker pumps out some average tones that are pleasant to the ear.

The music player is mostly very generic looking with is presentation - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The music player is mostly very generic looking with is presentation - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The music player is mostly very generic looking with is presentation - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review

The music player is mostly very generic looking with is presentation


Aside from using things like Netflix or Hulu Plus to satisfy our video watching needs, the Nook Tablet handles playing high-definition videos with no problems at all. Loading our test video that’s encoded in MPEG-4 1920 x 1080 resolution, it comes to life with plenty of vibrancy, detail, and smooth playback.

Netflix - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
Hulu Plus - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
Fandango - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review

Netflix

Hulu Plus

 

Fandango


At the core of the Nook Tablet, priority number one is to offer a resounding eBook reading experience, and of course, it does exceptionally well in that area thanks in part to its bountiful catalog. Whether we’re reading a book, magazine, or newspaper of some sort, its VividView display charismatically showcases its worth – but then again, we can say the same about most tablets out there. One new feature worth mentioning found with the Nook Tablet, is the new Read and Record feature available with children’s books, which allows you to make a recording for future playback when the book is read. It’s nice and all of course, but in the greater scheme of things, it’s not something that has a profound presence.

The Nook Tablet offers a resounding eBook reading experience - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The Nook Tablet offers a resounding eBook reading experience - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The Nook Tablet offers a resounding eBook reading experience - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The Nook Tablet offers a resounding eBook reading experience - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The Nook Tablet offers a resounding eBook reading experience - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The Nook Tablet offers a resounding eBook reading experience - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The Nook Tablet offers a resounding eBook reading experience - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The Nook Tablet offers a resounding eBook reading experience - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The Nook Tablet offers a resounding eBook reading experience - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The Nook Tablet offers a resounding eBook reading experience - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The Nook Tablet offers a resounding eBook reading experience - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The Nook Tablet offers a resounding eBook reading experience - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review

The Nook Tablet offers a resounding eBook reading experience


The Read and Record feature for kids - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The Read and Record feature for kids - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The Read and Record feature for kids - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review

The Read and Record feature for kids


Quickly glancing over things, we’re undeniably thrilled to know that it boasts 16GB of internal storage – plus, it will also accommodate a variety of microSD card sizes. However, that 16GB of memory is broken down to 3GB for the operating system, 12GB reserved for Barnes & Noble content, and a measly 1GB leftover for other content – like photos, videos, and music.


Internet and Connectivity:

The web browsing experience on the Nook Tablet is tolerable enough to accept wholeheartedly. Having support for Flash content is nice, as it provides that near desktop-like experience to render complex web pages properly in a decent amount of time. Meanwhile, its operation isn’t as smooth compared to other devices, which exhibits a subtle amount of choppiness, but it’s nonetheless adept at offering us an acute experience that’s downright satisfactory.

The web browsing experience on the Nook Tablet - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The web browsing experience on the Nook Tablet - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The web browsing experience on the Nook Tablet - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review
The web browsing experience on the Nook Tablet - Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet Review

The web browsing experience on the Nook Tablet


Just like the Kindle Fire, the Nook Tablet only has Wi-Fi as its main source of connectivity to grab data from the clouds. Compared to competition, it’s missing out on certain things that make other tablets more equipped at handling demanding needs – like having Bluetooth, aGPS, and cellular connectivity.

8 Comments
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posted on 21 Nov 2011, 05:37 3

1. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


If only these tablets had a front facing camera at least.

posted on 21 Nov 2011, 09:12 1

4. ardent1 (Posts: 1991; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


This is really an enhanced e-reader as opposed to a stripped down tablet. These devices are blurring the lines between traditional tablets and e-readers.

These devices are price sensitive meaning they have to omit key features to save on the price. You aren't going to find cameras on these. The Amazon Fire has no volume rockers, no GPS, no bluetooth, no camera so that Amazon can hit the $199 bogey and that consumers feel they are getting a great deal since the iPad is $500.

posted on 21 Nov 2011, 06:16 2

2. deacz (Posts: 148; Member since: 02 Nov 2011)


why? i dont think i taken a single picture with my xoom's. and who wants laggy video chat? cuz thats what your getting with a tegra 2 andriod tablet at 1ghz

overal cameras on tablets are waste. and i much rather take a cheaper tablet or more battery juice

posted on 21 Nov 2011, 07:13 3

3. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


video chat only and for fun stuff dude. things you get to show off with friends with apps.

posted on 21 Nov 2011, 11:34 1

6. dirtydirty00 (Posts: 248; Member since: 21 Jan 2011)


eh.... ive learned my lesson with buying things to 'show off with friends'

they are things like buying a new iphone to ask a stupid computer funny questions to show ur friends. then u never use them again.

rather just save the money.

posted on 21 Nov 2011, 11:03 2

5. chris0314 (Posts: 4; Member since: 06 Aug 2009)


this tablet has already been rooted. you can do an exploit to get amazon app store on here if you don't want to root. this is a nice tablet if your looking for something basic and for reading and doing simple surfing. it's not meant to take over the tablet market but give you a option. a very good option if i think so. who needs a camera on a tablet. they all suck anyway. there is not one tablet out there that takes good pics. and if you need to video chat. the best is still your personal computer. this is an e-reader that can be modified to allot of what a tablet can do. so if your looking for a full fledged tablet go get the galaxy tab or apple. which is the only one that has the screen to actually read on without allot of eye strain.

posted on 21 Nov 2011, 17:40 2

7. beruit17 (Posts: 7; Member since: 16 Jun 2011)


Actually not proprietary charger. I use my Pantech Crossover charger or old Blackberry or motorola chargers and they all fit.

posted on 22 Nov 2011, 10:16 1

8. kingston73 (Posts: 2; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


The great thing about the nook that the author doesn't mention is it is bootable through the sd card. In other words, you can burn CM7 to an sd card, pop it in the nook and boot right into CM7 without making any changes at all to the actual device. If you have a problem and need to take it back to the store, just take the card out and you're back to stock OEM immediately. If burning cm7 to a card scares you, you can even buy cards with the OS pre-installed. As far as I know there isn't anything even remotely as easy as the Nook to root and install a full android system.

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Display7.0 inches, 1024 x 600 pixels (170 ppi) IPS LCD
Hardware
TI OMAP4, Dual core, 1000 MHz
1024 MB RAM
Size8.10 x 5.00 x 0.48 inches
(206 x 127 x 12 mm)
14.10 oz  (400 g)

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