Amidst knuckle-breaking competition from tablet makers such as Google, Amazon and Apple, Barnes & Noble boldly released the Nook HD+ tablet along with its sibling the Nook HD during the past holidays. So far the Nook HD+ looks better than its sibling in being a good value for money and having a larger display (9 inches). With prices starting at $269 (16GB) and $299 (32GB), Nook HD+ is definitely going to make its own place in the market. Let us have a closer look at Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ in this review.
Feautres Of Barnes & Noble Nook HD+
The most striking aspect of the design of Nook HD+, as in the case of other Nook tablets, is the unique gray matte plastic at the bottom left edge. It also flaunts a silver circle at the corner. Although there is no practical use of this silver circle, it adds elegance and uniqueness to the tablet. For a $269 tablet, Nook HD+ feels adequately sturdy and solid.
At the top right edge, the tablet sports power button, headphone jack and volume controls. The awkward placement of volume controls fail to deliver an intuitive experience to the users. However, in landscape mode, increasing or decreasing volume levels becomes easier. But placement of the Home button requires the user to hold the tablet in portrait mode.
Nook HD+ weighs a little above a pound and flaunts a 0.5-inch thick body. Boasting its dark-gray Slate appearance, Nook HD+ is quite handy and offers strong grip. It also sports a large bezel around the screen to enable the users to comfortably rest their thumb on it.
The display dominates the tablet like in the earlier Nook tablet. Nook HD+ flaunts a generous 9-inch display with 1920x1280p resolution.
Owing to a superior quality LCD panel, similar to the iPad’s Retina display, Nook HD+ renders bright, crisp and accurate picture output with 256ppi pixel density. Laminated panel offers tactile feedback to the users in addition to preventing glares.
Nook HD+ is based on Nook OS, which is a slimmed-down version of the latest Android 4.0. Nook HD+ offers much simpler user interface and departs with the not-so-easy customization options of Android. Barnes & Noble has put in every possible effort to make Nook HD+ a great tablet for reading books – something that other tablets forget. Users can customize the way they read and organize their books by creating multiple user accounts.
However, these customization options are not enough to beat the FreeTime Unlimited offer launched by Amazon on its Kindle Fire tablet. Nook HD+ also offers tabbed browsing to enable seamless connectivity. In short, UI of Nook HD+ is dominated by movies and books.
The Favorite button allows quick launch of frequently used books and apps. But the big size of the Barnes & Noble store may account for slow loading. The web browser does not offer smooth scrolling. It takes some 15 seconds to switch user accounts and the fact that the current account shows before switching to the new user account may not look private to some users.
Nook HD+ runs on 1.5GHz TI OMAP 4470 processor. This dual-core processor renders a power-packed performance even while playing intensive games. Being based on Nook OS, instead of simply Android 4.0, Nook HD+ suffers from the inaccessibility to Google Play store. Barnes & Noble has tried to compensate with some of the finest apps but it does not seem to suffice.
Superior display with accurate and detailed picture output do justice to the movies and videos played on Nook HD+. But the tablet supports very few multimedia file formats.
It supports MP3 and AAC file formats but misses out on WMA and OGG file formats. It is better to stream content on apps like Spotify.
The Nook HD+ comes in two versions – 16GB and 32GB. Users can expand storage up to 64GB via microSD cards.
One area in which the Nook HD+ stands out is its battery life. It survives three days of intensive use without asking for re-fuelling.
Price Of Barnes & Noble Nook HD+
The 16GB version of Nook HD+ is priced at $269 while the 32GB version costs $299.
The Nook HD+ faces tough competition from Kindle Fire HD priced at $299 and Google Nexus 10 priced at $399. At just $30 more, the Kindle Fire HD offers a little smaller screen (8.9 inches) but much better performance than the Nook HD+. The iPad Mini, which does not cost much more than Nook HD+, offers access to the Apple Store.
Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ is a pretty decent tablet and is definitely better than the previous Nook tablets. Its strengths are its superior display quality, chic and sturdy design, exceptional readability and great affordability. However, it suffers from a persistent performance lag, weak speakers and lack of Android OS.