B&N Introduce NOOK HD and NOOK HD+, Hands-On

Come on, you had to know it was coming. Hot on the heels of Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD announcements, B&N has two new Nooks to introduce – the 7″ NOOK HD and the 9″ NOOK HD+. The Nook HD+ is being touted as an iPad competitor and with its 1920 x 1280 display that offers 256 PPI, yet it costs half the price of the iPad 3. Meanwhile the Nook HD also sports an amazing Retina-like display with a 1440 x 900 resolution and 243 PPI. So the Nook HD is actually offering the HIGHEST RESOLUTION DISPLAY EVER on a 7-Inch Media Tablet. Both of these tablets displays are designed for consuming magazines, comics, catalogs, and HD video, in all of their high-res glory. They promise to hold up well under direct sunlight too.

NOOK HD Offers World’s Highest Resolution Display Ever on a 7-Inch Media Tablet. Starting at Only $199. NOOK HD+ is Lightest, Lowest-Priced Full HD Tablet Ever Starting at Only $269

So both of these new Nooks have impressive displays that can really go head to head with the iPad’s Retina display. But it’s not just their excellent displays that make them stand out, but also their weight. The 7″ NOOK HD weighs just 315 grams, so it’s actually the world’s lightest full featured 7″ tablet. And that makes it lighter than both the Google Nexus 7 and the 7″ Kindle Fire HD. The result is a more comfortable one-handed reading experience that is less strenuous on your hand.

Both NOOKS are running on Dual-Core CPU, with the NOOK HD running on a 1.3 GHz OMAP4470 which they claim is faster than the processor inside the 7″ Kindle Fire HD. Meanwhile the Nook HD+ is running on a 1.5 GHz OMAP4470 processor.

The user interface on the new NOOKS is being called Paper by B&N, since it’s designed to pay homage to real paper. That means that its U.I. is complete with engravings and paper like textures. Furthermore, keeping in mind that the Nook HD will be used in a household with many family members, B&N has developed a multi-user system on the NOOK that comes with extensive parental controls. This way parents don’t have to worry about little Timothy discovering their copy of 50 Shades of Grey, fifty years too early. Furthermore, B&N has just introduced the NOOK Video service which lets Nook customers download or stream HD movies right to their NOOK. They have also added a NOOK Catalog section which offers an easy way to download high res catalogs to the device. And finally, B&N has developed channels which offer a new way to discover book, video and app recommendations based on your own interests and reading habits.

First Impressions

During our hands-on time with the NOOK HD, we were impressed with how much lighter the NOOK HD is in comparison to the Kindle Fire HD. It also offers a better grip and is easier to hold in one hand than the Kindle Fire HD. The NOOK HD will be available in a choice white or charcoal grey. The NOOK HD+ on the other hand, takes design cues from its predecessors with similar design aesthetics to the original NOOK Color and NOOK Tablet. Both tablets sport amazingly rich and sharp displays that can go head to head with Apple’s Retina display.

The NOOK HD will retail for $199 for the 8GB model and $249 for the 16GB model, while the NOOK HD+ will retail for $269 for the 16GB model, and $349 for the 32GB model. That pricing significantly undercuts the new Kindle Fires. On top of that, all of the new models are ad free, and unlike the Kindle Fire HD, they come with a wall charger. Finally, both devices are expandable via memory cards.

The new NOOK HDs will be available for sale at major retailers like Target, Best Buy and Walmart. So yes, now we know why Walmart has recently cleaned off their shelves of Kindles. The new NOOKs will also be available in the U.K. right away. The devices are set to ship at the end of October.

So lets do a quick recap of the new NOOK HD and HD+. Both offer a Retina-like display, really competitive pricing, an original design, and they are lighter weight than their competitors. Plus, unlike the Kindle Fire HD, they don’t come with ads and they DO come with a charger. It certainly seems like B&N’s new NOOK offerings are turning out to be a better value than what Amazon just introduced.

Apple, it’s your move.