B&N Nook Color Review

DSC03530 520x312 B&N Nook Color Review

The old forms of media have seen better days.  Newspapers are losing subscribers daily to internet blogs and internet media that provide up to the minute information impossible to be delivered in the classic format.  No longer do people need to wait for the paper to be delivered in the wee hours of the night to their doorstep.  Barnes and Noble (as well as others) has noticed this trend and is focussed on bringing content to users the way they have become accustomed to.  Over a year ago they launched the first Nook, an e-ink reading device to deliver books, newspapers and magazines to their customers in an instant.  The device sold well and launched B&N into the emedia segment. But, using the e-ink display had its drawbacks.  Page load times are noticeably slow, magazines and newspapers looked disappointing at best, and there was still a vast amount of information and content to be consumed that an e-ink display simply cannot bring to the table  Fast forward to today and they decided to give users another choice in the market, the Nook Color ($250).  How does the new ereader fair in this increasingly intense market?  Is the lcd screen trade-offs worth it while reading books?

update: Barnes & Noble just launched version 1.1 which adds pinch to zoom in the web browser among many other things.  In real life use, the pinch to zoom does not equal the smoothness of the iPad or other Android phones.  Hopefully it will get ironed out when they update with Android OS 2.2 which brought many performance enhancements to the Android platform.  The overall feel since the update has greatly improved.  The UI is more fluid and natural, while the web browsing has been improved when scrolling and general responsiveness.

Read the full review at our new site NothingButTablets and their Tablet Forums.

30 Comments

The Saxmaster on January 16, 2011 7:42 PM

I’ve been looking for a more detailed review of this thing. I like it. In fact, I may buy it (when I have the money).

thereddog on January 16, 2011 7:57 PM

I’ve had my NC for about a month now, this thing is awesome. Root it to get access to the Android Marketplace and you have a truly capable $250 Android tablet, with the B&N software still built in. Check out XDA….

robalog on January 16, 2011 8:16 PM

I’ve had my NOOKcolor for almost two months and find little fault with it. Reading late at night with classical music playing in the background is most enjoyable. I picked up a real book the other day and thought, “what is this?” Actually had issues with a physical book! How quickly we spoil. Great device.

Andre on January 16, 2011 8:29 PM

looks very nice this gadget, but i need something like this but with the sound power like a cowon player, but i’ll looking for this type of gadgets with android =)

confispect on January 16, 2011 8:38 PM

Nice review. Pro’s and con section??? O-o

Tds01 on January 16, 2011 8:44 PM

Nice review, but I’m holding out till Angry Birds can be installed natively. I mean, unless it’s just a quick sideload away??? Then it’s on my “must have” list.

buzz on January 17, 2011 3:30 AM

Bought this for my wife to do several things:
1. read books and magazines.. great/awesome
2. use gmail / igoogle web.. not so good.
3. update pics on shutterfly.. unable to perform without flash.

i am contemplating sending it back, but hear the update is coming out in January. she likes it, but it does not satisfy these three things.

Supporttekkie on January 17, 2011 4:40 AM

Not sure if you can call this an eReader. It is more of a BN tablet that is using an ARM processor and only 512 MB of RAM. This limits any 3D gaming possibilities, multi-tasking and I did not see if it had WAN (3G or 4G) wireless capabilities.

Also the use of the LCD screen really makes you dependant on being wired in order to use it for large lengths of time.

Finally, it has an LCD SCREEN. Reason eReaders are eReaders is because of the eInk technology. I can my Kindle for literally all day (12+) hours. My eyes get tired after reading a computer screen or a netbook screen after 3 hours. I have to walk away and take a break. With eInk I do not need to take a break and rest my eyes.

I will wait until someone can make an eReader that has color eInk instead of getting the Nook Color

akashkumar on January 17, 2011 8:28 AM

nice set…
I like it whats its price….

xCross on January 17, 2011 10:51 AM

No .djvu support?
I liked this device anyway. Thanks for this awesome review.

Yazad on January 17, 2011 12:55 PM

Nice Review

Sher on January 17, 2011 5:53 PM

I read the whole review, and still do not know if the screen is lit so I can read in the dark without an external light. Anybody know about this? It is the one reason I would get the iPad, which seems like a lot of extra function I don’t need, just to get a lit screen.

Emily on January 17, 2011 6:32 PM

I’m thinking about buying this, but I have some questions. First, can I use the internet anywhere that I have WiFi access, or only at Barnes and Noble? Also, several sites have mentioned that new software is coming out in January. If I buy it now, when the new features come out, will I be able to upgrade for free?

Martin Sägmüller on January 17, 2011 7:56 PM

Sher, of course it’s backlit, it’s an IPS TFT.

Emily, the Wifi works everywhere you can gain access.

Jim on January 17, 2011 8:06 PM

Sher – the screen has an adjustable backlight and can be read in the dark.

Emily – You can browse the web through any WiFi hotspot, including your home router.

rory on January 17, 2011 8:13 PM

Bought my Nook Color a couple of weeks ago and LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Wasn’t interested in the Kindle because of its limitations; iPad was more than I needed. I wanted an eReader plus, and this fits the bill. Also excited about the forecast Nook marketplace.

Answers to questions:

LCD vs. eInk: Since it’s a backlit LCD screen, yes, you can read in the dark without external light. I’ve had NO issues with eye strain. There is a brightness control that allows you to dial down the backlight for when you’re reading in the dark; you can dial it up in brighter rooms. You CAN read books on this outside in bright light with the brightness control turned all the way up. As long as the glass screen is not pointed to reflect the sky, it’s no problem.

Internet use: You can use the Internet browser anywhere you can connect to WiFi. So at home, Barnes & Noble, or any other accessible WiFi connection.

Upgrades: Any current Nook software upgrades are free and automatic.

Emily on January 17, 2011 11:02 PM

Thanks for the answers! I bought mine today :)

pete on January 18, 2011 4:35 AM

I like it. My 13 year old does too, dito 10. 8, 5, and 3 yr olds. I especially like peace of mind drops spills warranty for only $50. No one can touch this yet. No monthly cost. Free trials samples and suggestions. I wish I could have one for all my kids. Great way to find new interesting books. My 13 yr old daughter’s first download was a pleasant surprise, “I am number four.” Enjoy. Stay home dad, 13 years.

orb9220 on January 19, 2011 4:36 AM

Yep had the nook classic. And the only downfall was magazines and photography.
But was fantastic to have 70-80 books on it.
Had 10 of the Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” series and many other series of books.
Never worried about what book to grab and take on the road.

Now saving and close to purchase. In fact writing this friend just stopped by to pay me back the 20 he borrowed.

As to the negative yep actual battery life is like 8hrs of reading. Of course web browsing or video would knock that down to about 5hrs. But can live with charging every day. It’s no different then doing that with a laptop,cell phone,etc..

And I have never read more than 2-4 hrs at a stretch and love to read in the dark also. So reading Photography Books & Magazines plus storing my photography on it from flickr is a big plus.

Then a couple of months from now will look into rooting it for more usability and features.
.

Nook convert on January 20, 2011 10:05 PM

I got this a couple of months ago, and I really love it. Perfect balance of ereader and tablet. I can read a book, check my email, listen to music and keep up on my favorite blogs. Haven’t run into many issues with the browser, just some websites that require flash, but that has been pretty rare. The screen is beautiful. Highly recommended if you’re looking for an ereader with lots of extras.

Pat on January 29, 2011 4:07 PM

Have had my nook color for about a month & love it almost beyond words; but of course that is pretty much why I chose it over other tabs & the iPad. B&N has one of the most efficient “sleepers” in the industry. I hope B&N continues to develop it & not abandon it for a newer hardware model like other tablets & mobile phone makers are doing. The nook color is truly the smart version of this type of technology & not a gadget to be marketed & forgotten.

Rusty on January 31, 2011 1:07 AM

Bought this for my wife for Christmas; then got one for myself. I started reading more and also enjoy the games that come with it. I also put some movies (mp4)on it with help from “Handbrake” and the quality is excellent!!! Can’t wait til the Android update. No desire to root this but nice to know it can be rooted.

Rob on February 1, 2011 8:52 PM

Bought one of these and I think they are pretty good for the money paid. I did have a hard time finding a sleeve for it.
However, found a small company that makes a pretty good sleeve for this unit and sells them for only $8.95 with free freight at http://www.nuvo-tek.com.

By the same token, if anyone knows of where I can buy a good cover (not a sleeve) that is not too expensive for the Nook Color, please let me know.

Thanks

Della on February 9, 2011 1:38 PM

Re: Rob on Feb. 1. Go to a Christian Book store and check out the book cover selection they have. I bought one for my Pandigital. My husband is buying a Nook. We will go to the Christian store to get a cover. My Pandigital novel was a gift from my husband. We are happy with my Pandigital novel, but the Nook does so much more.

Linda Abrams on March 28, 2011 10:25 PM

Bought the NC Jan. 29th but had an immediate “jumpy” screen problem that took me back to B&N for a new sync cord. In Mexico for in Feb. learned you can download books only while in U.S. and Canada, regardless of wifi availability. A week ago the “Shop” function stopped working – another trip to B&N where they returned CN to its factory settings. B&N has a “read from the script” robot customer service – no chance of a return after 14 days. Buyer beware!

Daisy on July 7, 2011 2:01 AM

My question is : If I can read my emails with the nook color, can I answer the messages when I traveling or just check the emails?
thanks

rtech on July 9, 2011 4:09 AM

yes, you can answer your email on the nook color. I love this thing…

Roy on July 14, 2011 6:14 PM

You can only answer emails when you have a wifi connection, like dropping into a barnes & noble, or many restauraunts have wifi now, even hotels, which the wifi tends to be free in the lobbys but not in the rooms. You can not respond to emails just driving down the road as it does not have 3g nor 4g capabilities.

Janice on September 14, 2011 7:32 PM

I am interested in purchasing to use as a music player – how does it compare to ipod?

Paul Echols on November 5, 2011 12:22 PM

Overall I am very pleased with my Nook Color – However!! I am on my second Nook Book – The page will freeze and you have to reboot for it to work or the pages will start scrolling and you have to get it turned off and reboot again. B&N replaced it with a new NC but this new one also has started with the same problem.. I am going to look at tablet..

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