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Print 31 comment(s) - last by hereone.. on Nov 18 at 11:49 PM


  (Source: Barnes & Noble)
Nook covers most of the bases at a very low cost, but it doesn't do anything great

Launching at $250, the Nook Color, a new e-book reader from America's largest book retailer, Barnes & Noble, is an interesting proposition.  It lacks apps, but otherwise offers most of the features of a tablet, albeit crippled to various degrees.  The 7" E-Book Reader's closest competitors are the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Apple iPad -- the latter of which sells for $399 in 3G form on Sprint, and the former of which sells for $499 in Wi-Fi form/$629 in 3G form on AT&T.

The device just started shipping and the early reviews have come in.

Hardware

The Nook Color packs a 7-inch 1024x600 in-plane switching (IPS) LCD display.  IPS have been around since 1996 when Hitachi invented them.  Many argue that IPS displays are harder to read that E Ink displays, such as the display in the Kindle and the original Nook.  Part of this is due to increased reflectivity.  

Versus a traditional tablet like the iPad, Barnes & Noble has employed a new full-lamination tech called "VividView" which decrease unglued areas that catch light and cause glare.  Reviews at
Gizmodo and Engadget both complain, though, that the glare is worse than traditional e-book readers.

Inside, the Nook Color is powered by a TI OMAP 3621 CPU clocked at 800MHz, 512 MB of RAM, and 802.11b/g/n WiFi.  There's no 3G.  There is 8GB of flash storage, a microSD slot, micro-USB connector, and 3.5mm headphone jack.

The device is slightly thicker than the Galaxy Tab (0.48-inches, versus 0.472-inches), and weighs slightly more (1 lb versus 0.84 lb).

Battery is 8 hours without Wi-Fi.  That comes partially thanks to a light sensor that dims the screen when its under light.

The Nook Color's big secret is that it is Android device.  Hidden inside it is Android 2.1 ("Eclair").

Software

While magazines and newspapers are reportedly inferior to a 10" format, due to size issues, the tablet reportedly handles e-books better than the iPad or Tab.  
Gizmodo writes, "[I]t's arguably the first seven-inch device that's been designed to be one from the beginning, rather than a puffed-up phone."

However, problems also abound.  The music player is reportedly hard to use and doesn't automatically recognize newly added songs until you reset.  The web browser doesn't support pinch-zoom and breaks on many sites (including those that use Flash).

Supported audio and video formats are limited.  The device can play movies on YouTube -- but only at the lowest resolution.

Reviewers praised the inclusion of an Microsoft Office-document viewer (.ppt, .doc), which was a bit slow but got the job done.  They also said the PDF reader was superb.

Despite being an Android tablet, the Nook Color does not support the Android Market.  Reviewers were baffled by this.  
Engadget recalls playing Angry Birds seamlessly on a demo unit.  Clearly this would have multiplied the value of the tablet greatly, but perhaps Barnes & Noble was afraid of muddling a cohesive e-book reader experience.  Whatever the justification, the reviews agree that the lack of apps greatly hurt the device.

Conclusion

The Nook Color is a jack of all trades and master of none.  Its also unbeatable at its price point -- because there are no other tablets at its price point.  Thus the value of the device is quite debatable.

You could say that the Nook Color represents the rise of the long-awaited budget Android tablets.  On the other hand, its software is reportedly so crippled that certain activities become painful.  At the end of the day, if your main goal is to read books digitally the Kindle (or original Nook), seems a better buy.  If you have $500, the Galaxy Tab would be a better buy.  But if you only have $250 and you have to have a tablet, the Nook Color is really the only solution out there, so it's your best bet for now.



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Meh
By KoolAidMan1 on 11/16/2010 5:45:49 PM , Rating: 1
A far inferior e-reader than the Kindle 3 and a far inferior tablet than the iPad.

The only advantage this thing has is the price, but why pay less money for total crap? I don't get it.




RE: Meh
By Netscorer on 11/16/2010 6:04:29 PM , Rating: 2
B&N only ray of light is that this holiday season there are still no formidable tablets on the market besides overpriced iPad and Galaxy. This may sway some buyers who want more then eReader but are not techie enough to understand that Nook Color is not a full-fledged tablet. Which is mainstream customers anyway. The price at $250 is also just right for a Christmas present. After New Year though, B&N is better come up with an update that can open up this Nook to the Android marketplace or they would see their sales dwindle to the ground.
For anyone who is reading on this site and is looking for a moderately priced yet brand-name and feature rich tablet by Christmas, should take a look at the 10" Archos 101 (or 7" Archos 7o). They both have been already released in Europe and are launching in US on Nov 18th. The only caveat, of course, is that it is Archos - company that has been at the bleeding edge of consumer technology for the past 10 years and yet to score a single hit product or have one product that is supported past it's release.


RE: Meh
By hereone on 11/17/2010 10:19:24 AM , Rating: 2
Many pro reviewers on other sites (CNET, AllThingsDigital, etc.) mentioned that it tested to be pretty fast for apps and PDF's, the screen is beautiful, and the price makes it a great value for the holiday season.


RE: Meh
By omnicronx on 11/17/2010 12:04:54 AM , Rating: 2
I'm going to make a stab and say that this device is not marketed to 99% of the users on this site.

The device does what it is suppose to do, while being very close in price to traditional e-readers that can't do anything else. Anything else is just extended functionality to position their e-reader over others.. Now of course I've read the reviews and complaints, and there do seem to be some issues, but as long as the e-reader shines, it seems like a winner for Barnes and Noble. Especially at that price point.

This is not suppose to be an iPad/Galaxy tab competitor..


RE: Meh
By KoolAidMan1 on 11/17/2010 2:41:15 AM , Rating: 2
It isn't a Kindle competitor either. $140 for a dedicated e-reader that is better than anything that Sony or B&N makes, you can't beat that.

The Color Nook doesn't shine relative to other book readers because it uses an LCD instead of e-paper. It is the same reason why the iPad is terrible for reading books while being better for everything else. The problem with the Color Nook is that it is also inferior to the iPad in terms of covering the "everything else" column.

It is like B&N engineers were challenged to make something worse than the Nook that they introduced last year, pretty unbelievable.

The only thing it has going for it is price, but I don't see the point of paying less money for something that is inferior, on a hardware platform that is doomed to be irrelevant.


RE: Meh
By theapparition on 11/17/2010 10:18:34 AM , Rating: 2
Depending on some more information, I'd consider picking one up. ROMs might be out soon that get rid of some of the software limitations.

I'll wait and see for developer interest, but this could be quite the attractive platform.

For a dedicated reader, you're right the Kindle3 is hard to beat, but the 10" iPad is overpriced and too big to be portable. I like the 7" form factor for what I'd like to use it for. We'll see.


RE: Meh
By hereone on 11/17/2010 10:22:19 AM , Rating: 2
Many pro reviewers on other sites (Engadget, PCmag, CNET, AllThingsDigital, etc.) mentioned that it tested to be pretty fast for apps and PDF's, the screen is beautiful, and the price makes it a great value for the holiday season.


RE: Meh
By KoolAidMan1 on 11/18/2010 12:33:38 AM , Rating: 2
Are you going to shill every subthread as well as shill every website? They must be paying you moderately well.


RE: Meh
By hereone on 11/18/2010 11:49:06 PM , Rating: 2
it's gotta be less than Amazon pays you for Kindle promotion


You're doing it wrong
By Smilin on 11/16/2010 3:00:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The Nook Color is a jack of all trades and master of none. Its also unbeatable at its price point -- because there are no other tablets at its price point.


Exactly.

When you find yourself alone in a field it's either because you are so innovative that nobody could possibly come up with that idea before you or it's such a stupid idea that nobody wants to.

Congrats on combining the worst of both worlds instead of the best: The lack of non-reading functionality of a dedicated device. The weight, short battery life, and crappy display of a multipurpose device.




RE: You're doing it wrong
By DanNeely on 11/16/2010 3:30:03 PM , Rating: 2
They're not exactly alone. There're assorted chinese import tablets in the $150-200ish range that are at least nominally competitors.

Also while the nook is a much lower level device than an iPad or Galaxy Tab; poorly performing celeron laptops outside their betters by a large margin despite offering a poor user experience. The lack of an appstore will probably torpedo any hope that this has of going mainstream, but that's not to say a low end marginally performing tablet won't end up with a large chunk of the market once it stabilizes.


Galaxy Tab Pricing
By aj28 on 11/16/2010 5:42:05 PM , Rating: 2
WAAAAAYYYYY off on the Galaxy Tab pricing... $399 is with a two-year contract, which is a minimum of $29.99 per month for just 2GB of data. Non-contract price right now is more like $600, making it a non-starter compared to the Nook unless you are really going to use it for... Well, things you would never dream of using a Nook for to begin with!




RE: Galaxy Tab Pricing
By VoodooChicken on 11/16/2010 6:50:57 PM , Rating: 2
They mixed up their latters and formers


By therealnickdanger on 11/16/2010 2:05:19 PM , Rating: 2
Just FYI, Google 2.1 is Eclair, 2.2 is Froyo, 2.3 is Gingerbread.




Colour me unimpressed.
By Alchemy69 on 11/16/2010 8:49:18 PM , Rating: 2
I have hundreds of books and the one thing they have in common is that they're all in black and white. Stopped reading picture books forty years ago.




By hereone on 11/17/2010 10:05:58 AM , Rating: 2
It looks like it should be better for reading than iPad (with anti-reflection coated screen) and better for web browsing than dedicated eInk readers like Kindle. Might be a pretty good middle ground between eReaders and tablets. Pro reviewers on other sites mentioned that it tested to be pretty fast for apps and PDF's, the screen is beautiful, and the price makes it a great value for the holiday season.




By hereone on 11/17/2010 10:30:03 AM , Rating: 2
Nook Color has been picked as the editors choice by PC Magazine.
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2371554,00.as...




By Inspector2211 on 11/17/2010 4:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
...it would take only one buggy (or one rogue) app to root the device.
Then, once you have rooted it, you could bypass the copy protection of electronic books (and put them up on Torrent sites).
Thus, once you think it through, it is quite logical that they don't allow apps.

The big question is, will someone find a way to root it as-is?




Nook Color is better for $249
By hereone on 11/16/10, Rating: -1
RE: Nook Color is better for $249
By quiksilvr on 11/16/2010 4:22:44 PM , Rating: 3
The final spec is the nail in the coffin. If this was a 4" 850x400 screen, then an 800 MHz would be more than enough for smooth transitions, quick load times, and quick applications.

But when you up the resolution to 1024x600, its more pixels, more complexity, and more processing needs. 800 MHz just isn't enough.


RE: Nook Color is better for $249
By DanNeely on 11/16/2010 5:09:45 PM , Rating: 2
This is a low cost device, it has an 800hmz CPU for the same reason that $300ish (no contract) smarthphones only have 500mhzish CPUs. They're both studies in compromises because they had to cut costs to the bone almost everywhere.

To get a faster CPU at the price point they'd probably have to drop the IPS screen; and for the nominal target market a better screen is more valuable than knocking a fraction of a second off each page down; especially since at this price it's competing against eInk readers with even slower refresh rates more than full power tablets.


RE: Nook Color is better for $249
By omnicronx on 11/17/2010 12:13:53 AM , Rating: 2
Does anyone even attempt to research what they are about to post anymore?

Do you really think the CPU is the main bottleneck when it comes to resolution?

Just to put things in perspective, the iPad GPU is exactly the same GPU in the iPhone 3GS. Yet its pushing 4 times the pixels without breaking a sweat. Better yet, an iPhone at 960x640 has a resolution and it too is an 800mhz cortex A8 (its a derivative of)

Depending on the GPU, an 800mhz cortex A8 is more than enough to push that resolution.


By theapparition on 11/17/2010 10:14:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Does anyone even attempt to research what they are about to post anymore?

LOL, apparently not.

I was just about to post up similar.


RE: Nook Color is better for $249
By hereone on 11/17/2010 10:16:54 AM , Rating: 2
Pro reviewers on other sites (CNET, etc.) mentioned that it tested to be pretty fast for apps and PDF's, the screen is beautiful, and the price makes it a great value for the holiday season.


RE: Nook Color is better for $249
By snakeInTheGrass on 11/16/2010 4:42:51 PM , Rating: 3
I've read posts almost exactly like this one on various forums that have discussed the nook - basically a copy/paste - which really makes me think they're totally 'corporate spam' of this site and others. And lo and behold - the only 2 posts this user has ARE these copy/paste posts.

If you look around for other reviews, you'll see similar ones, and I'm guessing the user posting there has also just registered - and is probably on the B&N marketing payrole. To use a phrase that's no longer P.C. - how gay!

Anyway, to touch on some of those points as well - my Kindle DX has a bigger & better screen for reading books, which is what it's for, and you could probably pick just about any other tablet and get more apps. But thank you B&N for caring enough to spam this forum.

It's really pretty disgusting - 'hey, this is better than...' from some friggin' shill...


RE: Nook Color is better for $249
By DanNeely on 11/16/2010 5:03:23 PM , Rating: 2
It could be a particularly brain damaged fanboi; but you're right about this reeking of brain dead marketing.


By snakeInTheGrass on 11/16/2010 6:22:57 PM , Rating: 2
Same thing on cnet as well. Geez. I don't know how you could be a fanboi before it even came out (or is that how you define it? ;) ), but it was the same thing a few weeks back.


RE: Nook Color is better for $249
By hereone on 11/17/2010 10:10:11 AM , Rating: 2
It doesn't make everything that I said about Nook Color less true if it was already said somewhere else. You Apple/Amazon fanboys make me sick.


RE: Nook Color is better for $249
By snakeInTheGrass on 11/16/2010 4:51:25 PM , Rating: 2
And check out:

http://www.businessinsider.com/barnes-and-noble-no...

'googler' has exactly the same post there as 'hereone' here. Coincidence? You know, I sort of wondered but didn't go back to other sites to compare posts a few weeks back when I was looking at the features and looking for (p)reviews, but now I'm going to call it confirmed.

Wait, you say just $5 for that watch? I'll take 2!

Shill!


RE: Nook Color is better for $249
By hereone on 11/17/2010 10:14:16 AM , Rating: 2
Everything that I said about Nook Color is still true even if it was already said somewhere else. You Apple\Amazon fanboys are so obvious.


RE: Nook Color is better for $249
By john3k on 11/16/2010 6:24:03 PM , Rating: 2
I am so happy to see that the ease of reading on the screen is an area of focus. After all, in order to be an eBOOK, it must be easy to read...

I can totally see myself using the color Nook, though mostly for surfing the web in bed and not really using it as an ebook, which means if someone else comes up with a similar device without the ebook aspect of it, I would be okay with that.

The reason is that the ease of lengthy reading is often overlooked when it comes to the screen design. This is really a big part of why Amazon has loyal following for its Kindle.

Kindle's surface (also Nook non-color version's surface) is much better for long read and feels much more like paper, making them better and easier on the eyes, but I do totally see myself using Nook for non-ebook reading purpose.

Speaking of Amazon's Kindle, I came across an interesting table that details the discounts on Amazon.

It is at http://www.uberi.com

Maybe someone will find it useful too, or at least somewhat amusing...


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