Barnes & Noble Nook HD Review
If you're a fan of apps, widgets, streaming content, or games, this is a tablet to skip.
The software may be bad, but the hardware is... also bad.
High pixel density, but poor all-around performance
The Barnes & Noble Nook HD is built around a 6 x 3.75-inch screen with a resolution of 1440 x 900 pixels, giving you a PPI of 240. While this screen is on the small end, you will be able to view HD content on it without as much rescaling issues as older tablets had.
Unfortunately for the Nook HD, its screen leaves something to be desired in terms of contrast performance. Despite its very high peak brightness of 489.28 cd/m2, its black level is also very high at 0.87 cd/m2, giving it a poor contrast ratio of 562:1. A wide contrast ratio is important to have on a screen, as it allows the display to reproduce far more values along the greyscale, and therefore more detail in shadows.
Like many of the older Android tablets, the Barnes & Noble Nook HD has a terrible color gamut. Not only are reds, greens, and blues severely undersaturated, but the blues are shifted so far towards cyan that you'll notice it right away. Unsurprisingly, this will cause you consternation if you are a videophile, or the color balance on your photos is important to you.
Fairly decent battery life
Hardly a check in the negative column, the Nook HD has above-average battery life—just enough to last for a short intra-continental flight or commute. With all additional processes disabled and the backlight cranked to 11, we were able to wring out 6 hours and 24 minutes reading an eBook, and 6 hours, 43 minutes watching some of the most horrible acting ever.
Considering the fact that the Nook HD really doesn't have much in the way of apps to rip down your battery's charge, there's not going to be a ton of things besides leaving the wireless going or adjusting the screen brightness that will alter your battery life. Still, your experience may vary from ours depending on a slew of factors, so our results are more of a ballpark than hard limit.
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