Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nook Color Review.

I've been a Kindle owner since the first one came out.  Although Amazon makes a fine piece of hardware, I think they've got their work cut out for them now if they want to stay on top of the e-reader game.  Why?  Color.  More specifically Barnes & Noble's new color touchscreen Nook.
The new Nook is $249, and you won't find a nicer gadget for that price.  Mine arrived Friday 11/19/2010. You get WiFi, a Web Browser, the ability to (above) play music (MP3 and AAC), videos (MP4), photos (JPG), and a few games on TOP of the ability to display almost every document format there is. The screen is beautiful, and the same IPS technology as is used on Apple's iPad. No color shift when viewed from an angle. 16 million color capable. Rotates to be viewed in landscape or portrait. 1024 x 600 resolution for sharp crisp text rendering. The size is about right at 8.1 x 5.0 x .48 inches and just less than one pound in weight. It come with approximately 5gb of memory space for your own content, and a microSD card slot for up to 32gb more.
Reading: The color nook will display EPUB (including Non or Adobe DRM), PDF (above), XLS, DOC, PPT, PPS, TXT, DOCM, XLSM, PPTM, PPSX, PPSM, DOCX, XLX, and PPTX files. There are 6 font sizes and you can select from 6 font styles, background color, line and margin spacing. Switching pages is as easy as a tap on the left or right edge of the screen, or you can give it a left or right swipe. Is there color in that document?  You'll love the Nook's screen then.

You also have access to magazines, newspapers, and Alive Touch™ children's books that can be interacted with and read aloud by the Nook.  No simulated voice, either.  Voice actors do the reading.

Apps: The Nook also comes with Pandora® internet radio, a Chess game, a Sudoku game, and a Crossword Puzzle app.  In addition you can lend ebooks to other Nook (or nook software) owners, as well as share book titles and lines from books to your Facebook and Twitter friends.
Pros:  The touchscreen is very sensitive, responsive, and unlike several other tablet devices I've tried hasn't induced any frustration in me yet. The industrial design is top notch as well. The back is a matte finish soft-touch surface. The intriguing notch in the lower corner (above) hides the microSD slot. The built-in speaker is plenty loud. The top edge includes a standard 3.5mm stereo jack that should fit the plug on your favorite headphones. The wide range of supported document formats is fantastic. I plan to keep copies of all my class syllabi on board.  With access to the web I also have access to my web based email. So long as any information you need with you can be saved as one of the document formats the Nook supports, the Nook could easily take the place of a laptop or netbook for content access.  The screen is also multi-touch, and a pinch or spread with two fingers will zoom out or in on most content other than movies.

Cons: There are a few glitches with the media apps that hopefully can be fixed with a firmware update. When looking at photos using the gallery application, all your photos appear in one long unsorted array. They even get mixed with the movies you have on board.  If you approach your media through the library and MyFiles option you can find them by folder.  You can only open them one-at-a-time though, and no slide show option is available there. If you have a multi-page PDF open the normal left/right tab or swipe doesn't work.  Only a vertical swipe will change pages.  With DOC files all pages are reduced to one single long page.  Only a vertical scroll will get you through the text. There is also no on-board way to delete files from the Nook.
MP4 Video Support
Conclusion:  Barnes & Noble has a winner here.   Any disadvantage (battery charge duration) is more than offset by the touchscreen interface and color screen. With a great color display, the Nook Color becomes far more than an e-book.  Not restricted to just text, the music/videos/photos you can bring along mean you won't grow tired of it.  Don't get one if you don't have WiFi access to the internet though.  WiFi is your access to the B & N bookstore, as well as the world wide web and all that can bring.  This model has no 3G connection.


1 comment:

  1. Bought one of these and I think they are pretty good for the money paid. I did have a hard time finding a sleeve for it. However, found a small company that makes a pretty good sleeve for this unit and sells them for only $8.95 with free freight at

    By the same token, if anyone knows of where I can buy a good cover (not a sleeve) that is not too expensive for the Nook Color, please let me know.