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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Reading Books

We found the Nook Color to be a very decent eBook reader device that shows sharp, clear text and is easy to use. However, the LCD screen can be somewhat hard on the eyes, especially given the lack of an auto brightness adjustment. If you want to turn the brightness down to use the device in a darkened room, you have to go into the display menu to do it yourself.

Once you get the brightness setting right, the Nook Color is easy to use, with page turning quickly (and without the annoying dip-to-black effect of the Kindle) and the text looking sharp and clear. You can also customize the look: the display menu that appears when you touch the bottom of the screen offers 6 font and text size choices and 5 color scheme options. There are also 6 options for page layout, with different margins and line spacing. That provides a lot of options, which would be particularly useful for those with sight issues: the different font sizes and color schemes provide a good range of options for making the text more readable.

Reading Books Image
The book interface of the Nook Color is highly customizable

You can also skip around a book pretty easily, with a search feature and a content menu available from the display menu. The Contents menu provides a list of chapters, and also allows you to search for notes & highlights in the book. Custom bookmarks can also be created: a useful feature for flagging pages for later reference.

Buying Books

When you are in range of a WiFi network, the Barnes & Noble eBook store is just a few touches away. We found this to be quick and responsive, and a search feature is immediately available. Barnes & Noble also offers previews of the books, which usually gives you the first 30 or so pages to read before you buy. These previews can be read offline, and a handy "Buy Now" button appears at the top that takes you to the store page to buy the full book.

One useful feature here is LendMe. With this, you can lend books to other Nook users for up to 14 days. After this time has expired, the book is automatically reloaded onto your device. A book can only be loaned once, though, so you won't be able to pass it around friends and family like you can with a printed book.

Buying Books Image
The Barnes & Noble online bookstore is easy to navigate

eBook Retailer Guide.

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eBook Formats

The Nook Color supports a limited selection of eBook formats. Although the proprietary ones (Amazon, Apple and Sony) are not supported, the Nook Color can read books in ePub, text and HTML formats. Unusually, Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint files are also supported, so you could use the Nook Color as a stand-in presentation device for a small group if required. These files can be read only, though: they cannot be edited.

Newspapers & Magazines

The Barnes & Noble store offers a reasonable selection of newspapers and magazines: there are 24 newspapers (with prices ranging from $6.99 to $14.99) and 98 magazines, ranging from $4.99 to $8.99 a month. The content of both newspapers and magazines are reworked from the print version to fit the screen, but the conversion seems to loose a lot less with the Nook Color than it does with the Kindle. Magazines in particular look a lot more like the originals than the Kindle versions, especially photo-heavy ones like National Geographic, which really pops out of the bright, large screen.

Newspapers & Magazines Image
The ArticleView mode in action, reading National Geographic

eBook Battery Life

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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