Pros Relatively snappy performance. Physical home button is convenient. Wide range of formats. Decent web performance. Beautiful display. Expansion slot.
Cons I wish there were a page-flip graphic when flipping pages on books. Expansion slot a little funky to get to (but I haven't actually put anything in it yet).
Summary I'm reviewing this as a reader's tablet, which is how it's marketed and what I wanted when I bought it. It's not an iPad and doesn't claim the same functionality. For the price, it does what it claims to do extremely well, which is why I'm giving it 4.5 stars.UPDATE: After more use, here are some more observations. First, Moxiematt, the pdf files look very good. It is like reading a pdf on a computer. Sometimes the zoom can be hard to get just right, but there is a "fit width" button, which looks pretty good in landscape. I downloaded pdfs on the web browser from journal websites without any problem.
The LCD screen is beautiful and reading on it is not a problem, though I have never owned an e-ink display device so I can't make a direct comparison. About that - I don't read in the sunlight, I read at home, typically when it's dark out, so the LCD thing is actually a positive for me. The pre-loaded magazines look awesome, and the special magazine display works well and makes reading the text easy. Wi-fi performance is good; books download in seconds. The marketplace seemed easy to use and the size of the device makes the little keyboard that pops up very easy to use with the thumbs in portrait mode. I think this is an advantage over larger devices like the iPad. I haven't tried looking at office docs yet, but I'll update this in a few days with any impressions. The web runs pretty well. It's not your laptop, so don't expect to be playing games or anything, but for poking around, reading blogs, checking email, it actually works well. The youtube channel on it seems to have sacrificed resolution for playback speed. I've heard that some sites with heavy flash content will crash the browser and device, but it hasn't happened yet. The included apps are nice (pandora, crossword, sudoku, chess, others). I'm a scientist, so I read A LOT of pdf files which is why this is the only reader that would suit me. That being said, it has so far beat my expectations. If you're in the market for an ereader, you should definitely consider it. I'll try to update this in a week or so with more impressions.
Updated on Nov 29, 2010
As another reviewer noted, the edge of screen can be difficult to activate in the "crossword" setting and occasionally the screen is a bit touchy. Pandora runs great, and you can listen while reading or doing other tasks but the sound is small. Earphone sound is decent. It does require more frequent charging than a dedicated e-reader, but I'm willing to do that for the extra features. I haven't noticed any eyestrain from the LCD screen. Still very happy with it and reiterate the 4.5* review.
Updated on Dec 9, 2010Last update, written on the nook. Office docs can be viewed but not edited. They look pretty good, e.g. it's easy to read word docs, and xls files with multiple sheets can viewed, even with graphs, although they are often wonky. I've gotten more used to the touchscreen. Very few problems with the browser, although sometimes a link won't go through, it is very rare. Epubs from google editions work well. Easily viewable in sunlight if you turn up the brightness, but is definitely more finger-printy. I'm charging every other day or so. Arrow keys on the keyboard would be nice. Still impressed.
Updated on May 9, 2011Some thoughts on the software update: Youtube and other flash-containing websites run much better. Battery life also seems to be improved. App store has a few decent apps, but hopefully that will expand. Of note is the news reader, which is great (and free). Strangely, the "back" function on the browser seems to have disappeared. Overall, an improvement. It's still a reader's tablet, but certainly has more functionality. Mine has developed a white pixel, so I'm going to try and get it replaced, though I'm not sure i that's covered.
Pros It's a new kind of device IMO. The magazine reading is great, so is the ePub and side-loaded PDF/Doc etc content. The display is beautiful, brings magazines to life. The fonts are crisper compared to the iPad, probably because of the denser display.
Cons From what I saw during beta-testing, there's a fair lot of things B&N can improve on. The Magazine reading experience is a bit sluggish, apps like Pandora are there and good, but there needs to be better integration with the whole reading experience.
Summary At $249, this is a fair deal. Don't vilify it for what it doesn't say it is - I don't understand the criticism for the lack of Android Marketplace, no Flash (which is not entirely true - the kid's books are Adobe AIR apps), or battery life. OK maybe you expect more battery juice for an e-reader. I saw forget Android or whatever is under the hood and experience the UI, which hardly smells of Android.
B&N has wowed all, but they need to make the UX slicker, first reading, then graphics and video and audio. This product proves that it's not bleeding edge (read color e-ink), but an existing technology well packaged and positioned. Much like the iPad, but again I'd not step into that comparison - both product positioning and price wise.
Pros The reading experience combined with the web browser and media made this the perfect device that sits comfortably between a dedicated e-reader and a tablet. Exactly what I was looking for and at a great price.
Cons Battery life, possibly. Keep in mind the juice it takes to keep that beautiful LED backlit display looking oh so pretty. Worth the trade off in my opinion.
Summary Very happy with the purchase. Would do it all over again.Multiple "big name" websites are reporting that there will be an OS update to android 2.2 come January. With it will flash support. While that has been confirmed by B&N, the rumour that the update will give users access to the android market has not....and I would doubt it due to the fact B&N has gone through the trouble of developing and launching their own app programmer limiting developers to put together apps with the reader in mind. B&N claims that apps will be available early '11. The NOOKcolor is one of the hottest gadgets on the market right now amongst tech geeks that have the time and the knowhow to hack into devices like these. There are many reports out there of NOOKcolors running 2.2 OS already with access to the android market giving them a device that is now equivalent to tablets more than double the price. As the potential of the NOOKcolor is slowly being realized by critics the desire to have one has increased dramatically since they came out last month.
Updated on Dec 14, 2010
Updated on Dec 14, 2010Multiple "big name" websites are reporting that there will be an OS update to android 2.2 come January. With it will flash support. While that has been confirmed by B&N, the rumour that the update will give users access to the android market has not....and I would doubt it due to the fact B&N has gone through the trouble of developing and launching their own app programmer limiting developers to put together apps with the reader in mind. B&N claims that apps will be available early '11. The NOOKcolor is one of the hottest gadgets on the market right now amongst tech geeks that have the time and the knowhow to hack into devices like these. There are many reports out there of NOOKcolors running 2.2 OS already with access to the android market giving them a device that is now equivalent to tablets more than double the price. As the potential of the NOOKcolor is slowly being realized by critics the desire to have one has increased dramatically since they came out last month.
Pros Color books look great.
Screen is easy to read once you turn down the default brightness setting a bit.
Web browser is pretty good, but not easy to use compared to iPad. Difficult to select input fields (even when enlarged) on the small screen.
Cons Contrary to review, it doesn't charge via the USB port of a computer, only when plugged into the wall outlet.
Onscreen keyboard is touchy; in the Crossword, I had trouble getting a response for letters such as "P" near the edge of the screen.
Summary Overall, I'm happy with the purchase and look forward to OS upgrades which should improve the overall experience. The battery life is certainly a concern in some instances. I recently took a trans-Pacific flight and read 2 1/2 books on my Kindle without making much of a dent in the battery; that wouldn't be possible on the Color Nook.
Lack of 3G connectivity can be annoying when you are used to having it on a Kindle or iPad. For example, I use the Kindle's 3G (free!) connectivity to access my LibraryThing account when shopping in used book stores to make sure I'm not buying something I already own.
Haven't been able to download and access books quite as easily on the Nook as I can on the Kindle, either. I need to spend a few more minutes figuring out how the Libraries work in conjunction with the directory structure. Some books I download or copy from my PC are hard to open unless I press down on them for a few seconds, whereas other books open with a tap.
Pros WfiFi connection and downloads are automated.
Easy to read and the user interface is largely intuitive.
Cons Customer service is a misnomer. There is no customer service unless (good luck), you can get them on the phone. Otherwise, their responses are cut/pasted from their FAQ. They don't appear to read your email either.
Summary Getting through to customer service via phone is next to impossible. Using email will get you a canned response that, in my cases, were irrelevant to the problem I had submitted. They apparently don't bother to read your email because it's faster to just cut/paste a canned response and tell you to call the phone line if you have any further problem. Very frustrating.One really good question to ask your Nook salesperson is "Where are the thousands of free ebooks you claim are available?" If you look on the B&N site under free eBooks, you'll see 5 pages of maybe 15-20 books per page. That's hardly "thousands".
Updated on Feb 4, 2011