tablets

Barnes & Noble Nook Color Tablet eBook Reader Review

The Barnes & Noble NOOKColor costs $249, but you get quite a lot for your pennies.

March 07, 2011
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Controls

There are only a few physical controls on the Nook Color, with a power button on the left side and two volume controls on the right side. Below the screen is an n-shaped button that takes the device back to the home screen, which shows the books on the device. Everything else is controlled through the touch screen interface.

Controls Image
The volume controls are on the right side
Controls Image 2
The n shaped home button is below the screen

We found that the touch screen interface worked well, with the screne accurately detecting the touches and a logical layout. Those with familiarity with Google's Andriod operating system will feel instantly at home, because the Nook Color runs a version of this OS tweaked for eBook use. Books are easy to control: a touch on the right side of the screen goes to the next page, while a touch on the left side goes back a page.

Text is entered into the device through an on-screen keyboard. This is acceptable for entering short pieces of text (such as book titles or author names), but it is too small for long-term use. It does offer an audible click for feedback when it detects a key touch, but this often seems to lag from the keypress by a half second or so, which is extremely disorientating.

Connectivity

The Nook Color includes a WiFi connection (802.11n) that can be used to both browse the web and buy books within range of a wireless network. It does not include a 3G data connection to use elsewhere, though. One interesting thing to note here is that the device allows for free use of WiFi at Barnes & Noble stores, and you can also use this to read books for free: Barnes & Noble allows you to read any eBook they sell for an hour a day for free in their stores.

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Battery Life

We found mixed results in our battery tests on the Nook Color. While the LCD screen gives it the ability to play back video, we found that it also made the battery life shorter when reading an eBook or listening to music. With the device set to the default settings for screen brightness, we were able to read an eBook for just over seven and a half hours. When playing a video, this battery life fell to five hours and 42 minutes.

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The eBook battery life in particular is a concern: this is just enough for a transatlantic flight (if you grab a nap somewhere over Iceland), but it doesn't leave much in reserve. And it definitely won't work for longer trips away from a power source. Contrast this with the Kindle, which can run for many days constantly away from a power source.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Product Tour
  3. Screen
  4. Battery & Controls
  5. eReader
  6. Music & Audio
  7. Movies & Video
  8. Email & Web Browsing
  9. Internet Apps
  10. Apple iPad Wi-Fi (16 GB) Comparison
  11. Amazon Kindle Keyboard Wi-Fi Comparison
  12. Sony Reader Daily Edition Comparison
  13. Conclusion
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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