Barnes and Noble Nook HD
Barnes & Noble have yet to produce a truly essential device and nothing that they have thus far released can hold a candle to the iPad or the Kindle Fire. The Nook HD is here to change that.
By Chris Messenger | Published 04/12/2012
Long lasting battery
Simple to use. Ideal for all ages
Ideal for familys. Multiple user profiles
No cameras (front or back)
An empty app store. Very limited
Limited entertainment options
Barnes & Noble are, principally, a bookseller. However, like a lot of other companies lately, they have moved ably into the world of consumer electronics and produced some interesting results in the process. Having said that, I should now point out that Barnes & Noble have yet to produce a truly essential device and nothing that they have thus far released can hold a candle to the iPad or the Kindle Fire.
However, the Nook HD is here to change all that.
The Nook HD’s outer design is smart and stylish, but not overly flashy. It isn’t going for the cutthroat cool of some designs, but nor is it gunning for the overly utilitarian looks of others. The Nook HD is a little chunkier than its contemporaries, especially with the ‘love handles’ at either side; however, these wide plastic bezels serve a very nice purpose indeed, because you won’t end up with your thumbs in the way of the screen when you hold it.
In addition, you really get the feel that this exceptionally light (yet still durable) outer casing was designed to be held in one hand and is not unlike a well-thumbed paperback in that respect.
The screen is a 1440 x 900 display and actually features one of the best HD screens ever seen on a tablet PC. It is honestly amazing. Less impressive, however, is the completely rubbish 5GB of storage space (although this can be boosted to a respectable 32GB via MicroSD).
Barnes & Noble have their own OS, which is based on Android 4.0 but is a totally unique creation at the same time.
£159 is not a lot to ask, in fact, it puts the Nook HD right up there with the Kindle Fire HD (not counting the need for Micro SD), if only it could measure up to Amazon’s MVP on more than just price...
I have to say that my expectations were high for the Nook HD going in. Once I saw the beautiful screen in all its dazzling HD glory, I felt sure that I was onto a winner. When you navigate the apps and the menus, (despite there being bugger all apps to choose from), the design is so meticulous that you feel as if you’d upset someone if you customized things too heavily. Still, the Nook HD is fit to bursting with innovative ideas, features and apps; it really feels fresh and exciting at times, which makes the rest of this review all the more tragic. You see, the Nook HD is probably the worst case of ‘missed opportunity’ in tablet PC history.
It’s such a shame when the apps and features don’t quite live up to their promise and an even bigger shame when it crashes for the fiftieth, or sixtieth time. The poor thing lags and ponders almost everything you do, stopping and starting before finally tumbling into a self-generated crash-coma in the place of a viable solution.
The Nook HD is beset by more nagging problems than any other tablet in its price range, in fact, there are far too many to list here.
Sadly, despite all of its early promise, the Nook turns out to be a better idea than a product. Its as if some real genius designer was forced to use student labour (and first year students at that) in order to realize her masterpiece.
I am sad to say that there is a veritable laundry list of problems with this tablet: the speakers are just dreadful, gaming is so slow as to be utterly pointless, web browsing is annoyingly lag-heavy and the constant crashing is really inexcusable.
Overall, the Nook HD is a very frustrating product, at once so close to greatness and yet so very, very far from it.
This tablet could have been something really special, but somewhere, somehow, someone messed up. Big time. The end feel is akin to a Hollywood blockbuster with a good cast, a respected director, a great trailer and a massively crappy ending.
I can’t even say it works well when it does work, because the times when it does work without incident are so few and far between as to be negligible. This is a decent eReader, but it really isn’t anything other than that. If you were to buy one, you’d be wasting money that could be spent on a (far, far superior) Kindle Fire HD.
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