Nook Tablet hands-on impressions – Barnes & Noble is on Fire

B&N Nook Tablet unveiling - Tablet homescreen

Barnes & Noble wants you to know that it invented the market for the e-reader tablet and its new tablet is a helluva lot better than the Amazon Kindle Fire. At its Nook Tablet unveiling today, the retailer pounded Amazon’s new Kindle to a pulp, arguing that the new Nook Tablet (sequel to the Nook Color, which is the best selling tablet outside the iPad) is better in almost every way. The funny thing is, it’s probably true.

It’s hard to argue with the facts. The Nook Tablet has a much brighter IPS LCD screen, double the storage capacity at 16GB (more if you count its SD card slot), double the RAM at 1GB, a larger app catalog, a larger book catalog at 2.5 million, a larger magazine catalog at 250 different periodicals, full Netflix & Hulu Plus integration, and better battery life. Did we mention that it looks nicer, utilizing the same unique design as the Nook Color. Barnes & Noble made sure to point out that the Kindle Fire’s body design was borrowed from the BlackBerry PlayBook–it’s true, not that it matters since so few people bought or even knew about the PlayBook this year (it’s still on the market!). But there is one big hitch to this big war of words: the Nook Tablet will cost you $250, $50 more than the $200 Kindle Fire. So the question is: how much does $50 mean to you? 

B&N Nook Tablet unveiling - Marvel Comics

We’ll need to fully review the Nook Tablet, but we must admit, it is a snappy little 7-inch tablet. The refined user interface seems to take some cues from the Kindle Fire, but feels uniquely Nook and allows a lot more customization than Amazon’s tablet. Instead of trying to sell its own music, TV, and movie collections like Amazon, B&N is working closely with streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, MOG, and Pandora, offering very competitive movie services to its users. We assume that the retailer may dip its feet in the media waters eventually–it sells CDs after all–but until then Nook owners may have more entertainment options than those who buy Amazon’s tablet. 

The screen looks a lot brighter than Amazon’s. Seeing it up close, I thought it might be an AMOLED screen of some kind because of how deep its blacks and rich its colors. This is supposedly due to a new airtight laminating process for the screens. It’s all a bit technical, but the results are there. B&N may have just set a new standard for tablet screens. Magazines, comics, and childrens’ books looked especially rich on it. One standout feature is the ability to record over kids books. You could actually record yourself reading each page of a book like Winnie the Pooh and then your kid could listen to you read it to them. This feature is great for parents who like to plan ways to not spend time with their kids, or parents that actually can’t be with their kids as much as they’d like. The built-in email and browser seem to have improved as well. 

B&N Nook Tablet unveiling - Read and Record kids books

Supposedly, this beautiful screen and streaming content won’t cost you much in terms of battery life either. B&N claims that the Nook Tablet will get 9 hours of battery life while playing movies. While we think streaming movies over Netflix may harm battery life significantly since it uses data as well, Amazon has never claimed more than 8 hours of battery life for its tablet. If you’re reading a book, the Nook Tablet should last you 11.5 hours.

The only thing it’s missing is Amazon’s services. One of the biggest draws of Amazon’s Kindle Fire is that it connects to the Kindle services. The funny thing is that the Nook devices may be the only tablets on the market that don’t have Kindle, AmazonMP3, or any Amazon services. Amazon has been employing a dual strategy with its services, pumping out its own Kindle devices and also making its services available on every competing product…except for the Nook Color, that is. Giving the Nook Tablet some Kindle services doesn’t seem like a wise move, but we hope Amazon does it. That would make us happier choosing Nook this holiday season.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Features

Netflix’s latest price increase heralds the end of streaming’s golden age

Netflix’s recent price rise is just the latest in a string of signs that streaming’s golden age is nearly over. As more services enter the fray, content will be further partitioned, signaling the end of streaming’s good old days.
Home Theater

Here’s what’s new on Hulu and what’s leaving in February 2019

Our complete list of what's new on Hulu for February 2019, our personal favorites, and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on all the site has to offer -- and ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming…
Home Theater

Want to mirror your smartphone or tablet onto your TV? Here's how

A vast arsenal of devices exists to allow sending anything on your mobile device to your TV. Our in-depth guide shows you how to mirror content from your smartphone or tablet to the big screen from virtually any device available.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Mobile

Verizon 5G rollout: Here is everything you need to know

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it will also begin deploying mobile 5G in the coming months. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network and when it will be in your town.
Computing

Yes, you can use Android apps on your Chromebook. Here's how

You can now get Android apps on your Chromebook! Google has enabled the Google Play Store app support on its Chrome OS and Chromebook hardware, so to get you started, here's our guide on how to get Android apps on a Chromebook.
Product Review

It may be basic, but the TicWatch E2 is all the smartwatch you need

Want a smartwatch that can track heart rate, has GPS, and interact with notifications — for cheap? Mobvoi’s Google Wear OS-based TicWatch E2 can do it all, for just $160.
Mobile

Is 5G as fast as they’re saying? We break down the speeds

We take a look at the kinds of speeds you can expect from 5G when the networks roll out. Find out 5G compares to the last generation of network technology, what the minimum and maximum speeds will be, and what it means for us.
Mobile

Tizen 4 arriving on Samsung’s Gear S3 and Gear Sport smartwatches

Samsung is updating the Gear S3 Classic, Gear S3 Frontier, and the Gear Sport to the newest version of Tizen 4. Along with of some little tweaks to usability and quality-of-life, Samsung has added some new features.
Mobile

Mobvoi’s TicWatch E2 and S2 are the most affordable Wear OS smartwatches yet

Quality smartwatches don't have to be expensive, and Mobvoi's TicWatch is the proud paladin of that philosophy. Mobvoi's new TicWatch S2 and are both available for low prices from Amazon and Mobvoi's website.
Deals

Save up to $950 with the best smartphone deals for January 2019

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $950.
Product Review

Honor schools other phone makers on design with the hole-punch View 20

The Honor View 20 is Honor’s best phone to date. Why? Just look at the punch hole screen, the striking design, and the exciting 48-megapixel camera for evidence. Here’s our review.
Wearables

With weeklong battery life, the new Honor Watches are a real Dream to wear

Honor has unveiled the new Honor View 20, one of the best smartphones of the year. Alongside it, however, the company also took the wraps off of the new Honor Watch Magic and Honor Watch Dream.
Mobile

2019's 10 best dating apps to help you find the perfect companion

Everyone knows online dating can be stressful, time-consuming, and downright awful. Check out our top picks for the best dating apps, so you can streamline the process and find the right date, whatever you're looking for.