Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ Tablet Review
It might work in a pinch for an uncomplicated tablet, but the Nook HD+ falls flat.
The largest of Barnes & Noble's new offerings, the Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ has a 7.5" x 5" screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1280 pixels, making it more pixel-laden than your average HDTV. In fact, this is largely the main selling point of the tablet, though it really has little need for a screen pixel-dense, as the content simply isn't there for it to be eminently useful. With high reflectivity and low performance, this isn't a great option for watching movies.
Indoor & Outdoor Use
Taking a tablet outside is almost never a fun experience on a sunny day, but the Nook HD+ certainly doesn't do a whole heck of a lot to mitigate this bad experience. Not only does it have high reflectivity, but the backlight still isn't quite where it needs to be in order to overpower a bright lighting condition.
NOTE: The images above are shot with a variety of lighting sources, which may cause some color shift.
Due to the very high pixel density of the Nook HD+ and the nature of human eyes, the text on the screen of the tablet will look more or less like it would on a printed page, as the pixel density is very high. Unless you have better than 20/20 vision, you’re probably not going to notice any “stair-stepping” or pixels doubling up.
By reflecting 13.1% of light shone on the screen at the user, the Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ has a relatively high reflectivity, but there are worse tablets out there. Still, the reflection pattern is very sharp and annoying, and this will definitely cause consternation in the outdoors.
Screen Size & DPI
As the branding alludes to, the Nook HD+ has a relatively pixel-dense screen, though it doesn’t really quite compare with the highest end of tablets. Occupying a real estate of 7.5″ × 5″ screen with a resolution of 1920 × 1280 of tiny pixels, the Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ has a density of 256 pixels per inch (PPI). This is cruising close to an ideal density, but still a little ways off from being an actual “retina” type display.
Blacks and Whites
Offering a passable contrast performance, the Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ has a black level of 0.6cd/m2, and a peak brightness of 481.03dcd/m2, giving the tablet a fairly wide contrast ratio of 802:1. This is important, as the wider the contrast ratio is, the more values along the greyscale you can see well, and the more detail will be evident in different lighting in your image.
While this ratio isn’t bad, per se, it also means that cinephiles out there will probably not like the Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ for movies. But then again, very few tablets do well in this category. What actually makes the Nook HD+ net a poor score here is what’s called greyscale gamma, or how evenly and dramatically the screen transitions from greyscale value to value. If we were to plot each value on a graph, we’d ideally expect to see a line with a slope of 2.1, but that of the Nook HD+ was 2.3, meaning the transition of the values is a bit more dramatic than you’d expect.
Another poor result, we’d normally like to see a color gamut (the range of colors the screen can produce) conform to the internationally agreed-upon range of colors that a screen should produce: the rec. 709 standard. Unfortunately, the Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ not only undersaturates reds and greens, but wildly shifts the deepest blues to a more cyan-ish color.
Overall, the battery life of the Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ is fairly average, but with the lack of bluetooth, apps, and other more power-intensive options, the variance in battery life will depend mostly on how high or low you set your backlight. With it cranked to the max in our labs, we were able to coax out 5 hours and 43 minutes of reading an eBook, and 6 hours and 10 minutes watching a horrible video file.
Overall, this is a fair enough battery result that would make the Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ a serviceable option watching videos or reading eBooks on a short flight or commute, but it’s not exactly where it needs to be in order to work well for a long, intercontinental flight. However, our lab results aren’t necessarily what you’ll get with a Barnes & Noble Nook HD+, as doing things like turning down the backlight or running more apps will extend or shorten the battery life of the tablet.
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