The original Nook made use of a large e-Ink display on top of a color LCD panel. Although it was an extremely popular device, the split screen wasn’t perfect for everyone. Enter the Nook Color: this is the color alternative to the Nook Touch, for those who prefer a few extra features of a tablet computer, and a better platform for viewing images. But does it stand up to its competition?
Nook Color eBook Reader Key Features
Average Price: $250 Release Year: 2010 Battery Life: 8 hours reading Screen Size: 7 inch Screen Type: color touchscreen Weight: 15.8 oz Storage Size: 8GB (expandable by 32GB with SD card slot) Internet: Wi-Fi Main eBook Format: ePub
Pros Of The Nook Color
7 Inch Color Touchscreen: The 7 inch screen on the Nook Color is larger than you’ll find on many other eBook readers. What this means is bigger screen real estate that makes it easier to get lost in a book – which is exactly what you want from an eBook reading device.
Aside from the size, the touchscreen performs very well. It’s very responsive thanks to the technology employed (the same technology used by the Sony Reader and Kobo Touch Edition), and getting to where you want to go is fast and intuitive. A touchscreen is useful on an eBook reader – it makes it easy to highlight memorable passages, select a word to look up in the dictionary, or press menu items without having to slowly scroll through the page.
The fact that it’s an LCD backlit screen means you can read it in the dark, and view images in all their glory. Many users are much happier with the full color screen than they were with the split panel of the original Nook reader, though of course it doesn’t look great in the sunlight like e-Ink will.
Interface: Barnes & Noble have done well with the interface on all their Nook devices, and the Nook Color is no different. Although it doesn’t use physical buttons, it does have just one: a home button. This makes it easy to get to the home menu when you need to. Once you’re there, you’ll find it easy to use without the need for a big instruction manual.
Internet & Web Browser: The Nook Color comes with Wi-Fi as standard, meaning you can connect to the internet whenever you’re around a Wi-Fi hotspot. This is great for buying books from the Barnes & Noble Store right from the device, but it’s even more useful for those who want the ability to connect to the internet from a portable device. Because of the LCD screen, the web browser is better than what you’ll find on the e-Ink Kindle, but the Kindle Fire does offer an excellent browsing experience.
Android Tablet Features: Android is the operating system you’ll find on the Nook Color: a favorite in the tablet computer world. What this means is that you get access to a very wide range of functions, from the ability to browse the web, to playing your multimedia files, checking emails, streaming music and reading documents/ PDFs.
Although you cannot access the full Android Market app store, Barnes & Noble have included their own store with a range of apps available to download. Although you don’t get thousands of apps, there are still plenty of features here that make the Nook Color an excellent value tablet computer.
Memory: 8GB memory isn’t massive for a tablet computer, though it is bigger than what you’ll find on most rivals to this device. It means you can store a large number of books, though it’ll fill up a little more quickly if you use it for movies and lots of music files. The good news is that, unlike many of the top tablets such as the iPad 2, the Nook Color does feature a memory card slot, allowing you to expand the storage capacity if you need to in future.
Cons Of The Nook Color
Price: Because the Nook Color is a cross between a tablet and an eBook reader, it makes sense that it should cost more than the e-Ink Nook Touch and other eBook readers. Coming in at around $250, it’s certainly a bigger expense than the cheapest $79 Kindle, and also the $199 Kindle Fire. That said, it still offers far more functions than an e-Ink reader (mentioned in this review), and costs far less than a full-blown tablet computer.
Weight: The Nook Color weighs more than the Nook Touch and the Kindle, making it slightly less comfortable to hold. However, the size and weight will still suit most users, and it’s a lot lighter than tablets like the iPad 2.
Glare: The good news is that Barnes & Noble have added an extra layer to the screen on the Nook Color to help prevent the issue of glare in bright lights. The bad news is that no technology can ever completely get rid of glare on an LCD eBook reader. This means it’s not comfortable to read in sunlight, unlike the Nook Touch.
Battery: Another problem with the LCD screen on the Nook Color is the fact that the battery life is greatly reduced. Compared to the two months battery life of the Nook Touch and other readers, eight hours on the Nook Color really is nothing. You’ll have to be willing to charge your device often if you opt for a tablet-eReader. Eight hours is around average for any such device.
Is The Nook Color Worth Buying?
The Barnes & Noble Nook Color really has taken their original Nook to the next level. Still an excellent quality eReader, it comes with the features you may have loved about the original Nook: an excellent bookstore, books in standard ePub format, and good reading functions.
However, it also crosses into the world of tablet computers with its many available apps and email functions. Yes, it costs a lot more than its eReader rivals, but for a tablet computer with this functionality it’s still extremely affordable. The question is, will they be able to compete with the even lower-priced Amazon Kindle Fire? Only time will tell.