Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ Review
Whether its the screen or this tablet's performance, the Nook HD+ falls flat.
Hitting stores at the same time as its smaller compatriot, the Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ offers a step up in the screen department, but not much else. Despite the hullabaloo surrounding the release, both Nook tablets fall far short of being competitive, and offer very few reasons to buy.
Design & Usability
There isn't much that can be done with the Nook HD+ as a tablet.
Instead of adopting the strange philosophy that "thinner is always better," the Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ is actually fairly thick compared to competitor tablets, and gives you something to grab onto. Given that the unit is also quite light, there isn't a ton of levering force on your thumb when you hold it with only one hand, so handling the tablet is quite easy no matter how you do it.
There aren't any physical controls outside of a volume rocker and power button, so you'll be using the capacitive touch screen to control most of your tablet's functions. Most of these functions are straightforward, and it even keeps some of the universal controls from Android, but overall the tablet's interface is clunky and inconsistent. Given that there isn't much that can be done with the Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ as a tablet, this may or may not frustrate you if you're using it primarily as an eReader or Netflix device.
Unlike the top flight tablets on the market, the Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ doesn't have fancy Bluetooth options or an IR blaster. However, its proprietary connector is HDMI and USB compatible if you go out any buy the correct cables, but that's still kind of a pain. Given that the software support isn't exactly where it needs to be with this tablet, you're probably not going to get this working well. Like all tablets, it can connect to the internet via its onboard 802.11n wireless card.
Few features, mediocre to bad performance
The largest of Barnes & Noble's new offerings, the Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ has a 7.5 x 5-inch 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 pixel-dense screen, 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.
Taking a tablet outside is almost never a fun experience on a sunny day, but the Barnes & Noble 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 bright lighting conditions.
Overall, the Nook HD+ has a fair enough battery life that would make the Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ a serviceable option for 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.
You're paying a premium for low performance.
In a tablet world where content exists across all platforms, and there are high-end tablets coming out at a more affordable price, there's very little reason to pay too much for a unit that offers you so much less for only a couple dollars cheaper. It would be one thing if there was a concrete advantage to buying the Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ over an iPad Mini or Nexus device, but there really isn't.
Not only can the other top-flight tablets do everything the Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ can do, but they can also do much more for a comparable price point. Maybe that's why Barnes & Noble added a microSD card slot and the ability to easily hack the device. Who knows?
With comparably poor performance across the board at a similar price point to its main competitors, there is very little reason to buy the Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ if you're not looking for a project, and still want access to the wealth of media available to iPad or Android tablet owners. While it might work in a pinch for a crowd that wants an uncomplicated tablet, you may or may not want to wait for a sale to grab this one, if at all.
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