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Nook HD review

The lightest, highest resolution 7-inch tablet, but is it any good?

Our Verdict

The Nook HD is a sturdy, well-built tablet with an impressive screen and weight, but the cheap plastic bezel does make it painfully clear that this is a budget device, and when you put it side by side with the competition the HD struggles to look 'grown-up'.

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1024 x 600

View full specification

For

  • Lightweight
  • Fantastic screen
  • Simple to use
  • Multiple user profiles

Against

  • Sluggish
  • Limited interface
  • Questionable design

At its core the Nook HD is running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but you'd be hard pushed to see any sign of Google's operating system here.

Similar to what Amazon has done with its Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD interface, Barnes and Noble has rebuilt its Nook OS from the ground up, giving a completely different feel to the Nook HD than other Android tablets.

Nook HD review

This also means that the Nook HD won't follow the Android upgrade lifecycle, so don't expect a Jelly Bean, or Key Lime Pie in the future, update to land on the tablet anytime soon.

Instead Barnes and Noble will constantly assess the Nook ecosystem and supply software updates as and when it sees fit.

Running the show is a 1.3GHz dual-core processor and 1GB RAM, which isn't quite the quad-core chip found inside the Nexus 7, but slightly beefier than the Kindle Fire HD and iPad mini.

Although the power seems to be there, the Nook HD doesn't seem to make particularly good use of it, with the whole system feeling slow and unresponsive.

We wouldn't go as far as to say it was lagging, but that second or so wait for the screen to wake after the power/lock is pressed was a little frustrating.

A nice feature on the Nook HD is the ability to set up various profiles, with the choice of adult and child options – perfect for adding all the family on one device.

Nook HD review

This allows you to filter content across accounts, with kids only seeing child friendly apps, books and movies, while adults can divulge in 50 Shades pleasure without fear of little Timmy asking awkward questions.

Adult accounts can be password protected, ensuring prying eyes can't creep in, and the lock screen displays all the users set up on the Nook HD – allowing you to easily select your area.

Once into your area you're greeted by a homescreen, with five in total. The main attraction is an animated carousel which shows your most recently used items.

Press and hold on a blank space and you'll pop up a menu window, allowing you to populate the panels with apps, books, magainzes and movies, pin bookmarks and change the wallpaper – giving you a personalised interface.

The drag and drop system is intuitive, as is the simple navigation bar towards the bottom of the screen, providing five options; library, apps, web, email and shop.

Nook HD review

This additional level or personalisation is nice, as it offers a better set up than the in-your-face content of the Kindle Fire HD, and for first time users it's a lot less complex than the pure Android experience on the Nexus 7.

Below the menu options is the search bar, allowing you to quickly find a particular book, app or other piece of content without having to flick through a vast library or collection, while in the right corner is Nook's answer to multi-tasking.

It shows your recent activity, allowing you to hop between apps without having to return to the homescreen via the physical Nook button - flick up over an app in this menu and it will be removed from the list.

The Nook manages to switch between apps relatively quickly, but it does come a little unstuck if you want to switch users.

Nook HD review

Return to the homescreen and press your image icon and a panel will slide down showing you everyone who is set up on the tablet, as well as giving you the option to add more if you haven't filled the quota of six accounts.

Tap another person's profile and the Nook HD takes a couple of seconds to load their personalised homepage, sometimes longer if both profiles are heavily populated.

It's easy to forget that the Nook HD has Android at its core, albeit very well hidden, but it does mean there's a notification bar of sorts – instead of the traditional pull-down motion we're used to, you'll need to tap the centre of the bar at the top of the display.

You can then easily remove alerts one by one by swiping across them, or hit the clear all button to completely flush out the panel.

Prod the sticker icon which says "Your Nook today" on the homescreen and you're taken to a pane which shows the weather in your current location, along with recommendations for various content based on your recent activity.

It's in short, a very basic Google Now feature, which is handy to check the weather, but we didn't find ourselves returning particularly often.

Apart from rearranging your homescreens and moving around the limited menu items, there's not a lot more to do on the Nook HD which will frustrate power users who are familiar with the openness of the Android operating system.

We are disappointed at the lack of zip the Nook has, even with the basic day to day tasks of unlocking and navigating around – it was noticeably slower when compared to the lightning-quick Nexus 7 and iPad mini.

Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Flash Memory Capacity8 GB
Processor ManufacturerTexas Instruments
Graphics Controller ManufacturerImagination Technologies
Graphics Controller ModelPowerVR SGX530
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time8 Hour
Product FamilyNOOK Color
Operating System PlatformAndroid
Processor ModelOMAP3621
Operating SystemAndroid 2.2 Froyo
Brand NameBarnes & Noble
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed800 MHz
Processor TypeOMAP 3
Screen Size17.8 cm (7")
Screen Resolution1024 x 600
Standard Memory512 MB
Weight (Approximate)440 g
Memory Card ReaderYes
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyVividView, In-plane Switching (IPS) Technology
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Height205.7 mm
Width127 mm
Depth12.2 mm
Screen ModeWSVGA
ManufacturerBarnes & Noble, Inc
Product ModelBNRV200
Product NameNOOK Color BNRV200 Tablet Computer
Product LineNOOK Color
Aspect Ratio128:75
Manufacturer Part NumberBNRV200
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.barnesandnobleinc.com
Marketing InformationWorld's Most Advanced VividView™ Touchscreen

Ultra-responsive 7-inch multi-touch screen displays 16 million colors ultra-bright. Specially designed for remarkable clarity and minimal glare so you can enjoy the ultimate reading and entertainment experience.

Read Your Way

Make the text bigger, choose the font you like, even read in portrait or landscape. Enjoy your favorite reading in your favorite way.

Limited Warranty1 Year