backtop


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.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

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.


"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki