tablets

Barnes & Noble Nook HD Tablet Review

If you're a fan of apps, widgets, streaming content, or games, this is a tablet to skip.

December 07, 2012
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.

Screen

Cramming a 1440 x 900 resolution into a 6" x 3.75" screen, the Barnes & Noble Nook HD certainly lives up to its name, as it's capable of displaying content at or above 720p. Unfortunately aside from pixel density, it's a rather poor performer in the other tests we subjected it to, namely in color gamut. That's not to say that the very high peak brightness is anything to shake a stick at: it's very good for use in the outdoors.

Front Image

Indoor & Outdoor Use

The Barnes & Noble Nook HD 's high peak brightness allows it to be seen in a broader range of lighting conditions than most tablets, but as its reflectivity is also higher, you'll notice a very distracting and sharp reflection pattern even when you're not in direct sunlight. This tablet will be able to be used outdoors fairly well, but see what you can do to get away from direct light sources.

indoor-outdoor.jpg

NOTE: The images above are shot with a variety of lighting sources, which may cause some color shift.

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Legibility

As the Barnes & Noble Nook HD has a pixel density of 240 pixels per inch (PPI), you’ll notice that your text is crisp and legible, and without much artifacting noticeable to the naked eye. Sure, it’s not quite one of those fancy displays that Apple and Google have, but it’s still fairly good. Keep in mind, though, that content such as photos that are of a lower resolution will still look bad, as there is nothing a screen can do if the source material is of low quality.

legibility.jpg

Reflectance

There isn’t much of an anti-glare coating (if at all) on the Barnes & Noble Nook HD, so you’ll probably notice the 9.6% of all light on the screen getting reflected back at you. This is at the low end of average for a tablet’s reflectivity, but it’s still not all that good by any stretch of the imagination.

Screen Size & DPI

The Barnes & Noble Nook HD is built around a 6″ × 3.75″ screen with a resolution of 1440 × 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. Still, some people do not like the tiny size of the tablet, and may opt for a larger option.

Blacks and Whites

Unfortunately for the Barnes & Noble Nook HD, its screen leaves something to be desired in terms of contrast performance. Despite its very high peak brightness of 489.28cd/m2, its black level is also very high at 0.87cd/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.

Blacks and Whites Chart

Color Gamut

Yikes. 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 cinephile, or the color balance on your photos is important to you.

Color Gamut Chart

Battery Life

Hardly a check in the negative column, the Barnes & Noble Nook HD has somewhat 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 Barnes & Noble 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.

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. Email & Web Browsing
  8. Internet Apps
  9. 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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