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Nook HD+ review

Significantly lighter and cheaper than an iPad, but is that enough?

Our Verdict

The Nook HD+ is a well constructed tablet with a fine screen and an appreciable weight advantage over its rivals. It may not look the prettiest, but we'd back it to go a year or two without picking up any noticeable bumps or nicks.

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1440 x 900
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Lightweight
  • Impressive 9-inch HD screen
  • Google Play access

Against

  • Poor custom UI
  • Ugly design
  • Sub-standard Nook Shop

The Nook HD+ is an undoubtedly flawed device that, at launch, looked like a poor proposition relative to its rivals.

But Barnes & Nobel has since adapted its offering, to the point where the Nook HD+ is now seriously worthy of your consideration as a budget full-sized tablet.

At £229/US$269 for the 16GB version, its full price matches that of its closest competitor, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9, while offering the same performance, a slightly superior display, expandable storage and - crucially - access to the Google Play Store. Currently reduced to £179 in the UK Nook Shop, it's now cheaper too.

We liked

The Nook HD+ sports a truly excellent screen that brings high definition media content to life.

It's also extremely light for a full-size tablet, making it as easy on the arms as its crisp picture is easy on the eye. If you're after a cheap but high-quality media player for a long journey, these two factors alone make it a serious contender.

We also applaud B&N's belated inclusion of the Google Play store. While it might muddy the user experience ever so slightly, it more than makes up for it by massively expanding the range and quality of multimedia content available for the tablet.

There are also a couple of original features that we approve of, including the possibility of setting up multiple accounts. Tablets are often shared among multiple family members, and this thoughtful touch increases that feeling of ownership - not to mention security and parental control.

We disliked

Screen aside, the Nook HD+ isn't a particularly pretty tablet to look at. Its bulging bezel makes it look like a much sleeker tablet has been slipped into a cheap case.

For all the improvements that access to Google Play has brought, the Nook Shop is still at the core of the Nook HD+ experience, and it's sorely lacking. For apps and movies it's now practically redundant, and even its book offering has been compromised somewhat.

Beyond that, the Nook's custom UI continues to leave us cold. It's sluggish, sparse, and the potential for personalisation is severely limited compared to other Android tablets.

Ultimately, in general use it's bettered by any 'normal' Android tablet you care to mention.

Final verdict

We found the 7-inch Nook HD to be uncompetitive in a crowded field, but the Nook HD+ may well have carved out a niche for itself as an ultra-affordable full-sized tablet.

Its custom UI is clunky, its own media store is a bit of a write-off, and it won't win any awards for its looks. But for HD multimedia kicks on a budget, there aren't many better-value alternatives out there.

It's far from the best Android tablet experience available, but with its recent UK price cut, fine HD screen and all-new access to the Google Play Store, the Nook HD+ has somehow suddenly become worthy of consideration - certainly above the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9, at any rate.

Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Flash Memory Capacity16 GB
Processor ManufacturerTexas Instruments
Graphics Controller ManufacturerImagination Technologies
Graphics Controller ModelPowerVR SGX544
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Maximum Battery Run Time10.50 Hour
HDMIYes
Product FamilyNOOK HD
Operating System PlatformAndroid
Processor ModelOMAP4470
Operating SystemAndroid 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich
Brand NameBarnes & Noble
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed1.30 GHz
Processor TypeOMAP 4
Screen Size17.8 cm (7")
Screen Resolution1440 x 900
Standard Memory1 GB
Weight (Approximate)300 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Memory Card ReaderYes
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Height195.6 mm
Width127 mm
Depth10.9 mm
Screen ModeWXGA+
ManufacturerBarnes & Noble, Inc
Product ModelBNTV400
Product NameNOOK HD BNTV400 Tablet
Product LineNOOK HD
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part NumberBNTV400
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.barnesandnobleinc.com
Marketing Information

Highest Resolution 7" HD Tablet

NOOK HD's display is best-in-class, with brilliant color, ultra-crisp definition, and minimal glare. Pictures and video look spectacular from every angle and each word is crystal clear.

Massive Selection

Shop over 3 million books, magazines and newspapers - including 1 million free titles - and get them in seconds with built-in Wi-Fi.® Sample books free before you buy.

Limited Warranty1 Year