$249 NOOK Tablet Hands-On and First Impressions

Barnes & Noble has finally unveiled their NOOK Tablet and it’s just as everyone expected based on last week’s leaks. Read on for our first impressions and hands-on with the NOOK Tablet. The new NOOK Tablet looks just like the original NOOK Color, but under the hood the device has been revamped with significant upgrades. For starters, the device is packing in a 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 11.5 hours battery life for reading or 9 hours of battery life for video. Speaking of video, the device can play back 1080P video without a hitch.

As far as storage is concerned, the NOOK Tablet comes with 16GB of internal storage plus it’s expandable via microSD for another 32GB.  It also comes preloaded with Netflix and Hulu out of the box. The device still weighs under a pound, making it comfortable to hold for a long time. Plus they have also thrown on a VividView display with full IPS lamination. B&N says that with this display, the NOOK tablet has the least reflection and glare of any tablet.

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B&N has also created some new additions to the NOOK software platform. For example, Read and Record is a new feature that makes it easy for parents to record their favorite reading of their favorite children’s books for their kids to listen to later. Their new NOOK Comics section will offer the largest selection of comics from Marvel, IDW, Archie and Dynamite comics.  Other new features like thumbnail views for PDFs have also been thrown in.

The NOOK Tablet goes on sale on the 18th for $249, and it’s already available for pre-order. This price makes it priced higher than the Kindle Fire, but B&N is justifying the higher price tag based on the fact that the NOOK Tablet is a better device. At least, hardware wise, that definitely proves to be true.

We also got a brief hands-on with the NOOK Tablet and on the surface, the device of course looks more or less like the NOOK Color. That said, the NOOK Tablet does look to perform more fluidly than the original NOOK Color. HD Movies played back without a hitch and the overall user interface experience seems more responsive.

Speaking of the NOOK Color, B&N has also announced that they are dropping the price on the NOOK Color to $199, which in many ways makes the NOOK Color more of a direct competitor to the Kindle Fire.

B&N has also dropped the price on the NOOK SimpleTouch to $99. That includes free in-store gift wrapping. Plus they have replaced its e-Ink display with a superior e-Ink display which features sharper text, and faster page turns at 450 mlliseconds. They have also increased the battery life on the SimpleTouch to up-to two months on a single charge, based upon reading on the device for an hour a day. Alternatively, it can last up-to 150 hours straight on a charge. The NOOK SimpleTouch is available now for $99.


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