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  (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.


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").


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.


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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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.

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