VIDEO: Taking a Look at the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet

Posted by · November 30, 2011 5:16 pm

Last week I got hands-on with the Amazon Kindle Fire.  (You can watch my experience and read my overall impressions here.) Today, I spent some time using Barnes and Noble’s new Nook Tablet.

The interesting thing about the Nook Tablet is that Barnes and Noble is not the name I think of when I think tablet.  So, in my opinion, the first thing Barnes and Noble is going to have to fight is public perception.  Why should people buy an electronic device from a company that specializes in books?

That being said, the Nook Tablet is easy to use and does have two major advantages over the Kindle Fire: web browsing speed and touch responsiveness.  While the Kindle Fire took 2-5 seconds to load new web pages, the Nook Tablet loaded pages faster than I could blink.  Additionally, the Nook Tablet had significantly fewer problems recognizing my touch than the Kindle Fire did.  Swiping the screen to turn the page on a book or typing in a URL was much easier—and less frustrating—on the Nook Tablet than it was on the Kindle Fire.

There is one big drawback to the Nook Tablet: Barnes and Nobles doesn’t have a store for purchasing web content like movies and music.  It does have a Hulu, Netflix and Pandora app, but when it comes to native shopping, it’s all books, all the time. (And even then, Barnes and Noble makes you pay 99 cents for books that are traditionally free online like The Art of War and Aesop’ s Fables). So, you’ll need to use Amazon or iTunes to purchase and download other web content on your Nook Tablet.

Barnes and Noble is asking $249—a price point that’s high enough to make people think they’re getting more than your average device and low enough to be affordable.  If you’re still on the fence about which tablet to ask Santa for (I know I am), here are a few more technical specifics about the Nook Tablet:

Height: 8.1 inches
Width: 5.0 inches
Depth: 0.48 inches
Weight: 14.1 ounces

Display: 7-inch VividView™ Color Touchscreen; 16 million+ colors, IPS2 display; 1024 X 600 high resolution display, 169 pixels per inch (PPI); Fully laminated with no air gaps for remarkable clarity and reduced reflection & glare-read indoors or outside.

Web Browsing: Enhanced Web browsing with video via Adobe® Flash® Player3; Check & send email all from one inbox (i.e., POP and IMAP webmail, including Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, AOL and others); Parental controls to easily disable the Web browser.

Supported File Types: Load EPUB (including Adobe DRM or DRM free) or PDF file types from your computer or microSD card; Other documents: XLS, DOC, PPT, TXT, DOCM, XLSM, PPTM, PPSX, PPSM, DOCX, XLX, PPTX; Watch videos in MP4, or Adobe Flash Player format, 3GP, 3G2 MKV, WEBM (Video Codecs: H.264, MPEG-4, H.263, VP8); Supports Netflix video up to 720p and sideloaded video up to 1080p; renders at 1024 x 600; Load photos and create personal wallpaper: JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP; Play audio on built-in mono speaker: MP3, MP4, AAC, AMR, WAV, OGG (Audio Codecs MP3, AAC, AMR, LPCM, OGG Vorbis).

Device Speed: 1GHz TI OMAP4 (dual-core) processor with 1GB RAM

Battery Life: Up to 11.5 hours of reading or 9 hours of video without recharging5; Installed rechargeable battery; Charge from a wall outlet using the in-box Power Adapter and USB Cable (charging time: approximately 3 hours from wall outlet).

Memory: 16 GB6 (up to 10,000 books) built-in memory (13 GB for content; 12 GB reserved for B&N content); Add up to 32GB with microSD™7 memory card.

Sidenote: After looking both the technical specs of the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet, I realized that neither of them explicitly state that they support HTML5. If HTML5 is the future of web development, it could prove to be a problem for the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet.

*Follow me on Twitter: @jennprentice