From Kindle Fires to iPads, tablet PC purveyors all tout their technology as the best. The Nook Tablet is no different, promising a lighter design, a faster processor and extended battery life.
Let's see how the device's claims stack up. Just 8 inches (203 millimeters) tall and 5 inches (127 millimeters) wide, the real kicker is the slim depth: less than half an inch (12 millimeters). It has an Android operating system and comes in a 16GB and an 8GB model. The display is 7 inches with a high-resolution, 1024 by 600-pixel display. It also boasts LG VividView technology, a supposedly sophisticated laminated display designed to control glare and maximize readability while you're, say, reading your trashy romance novel on the beach.
The Nook, like the Kindle Fire, is only WiFi-capable. With no 3G or 4G, the tablet has a lower price point, avoiding costly carrier data plans. However, Barnes & Noble realizes that while it's great to have a customer buy an e-book to read directly on their Nook, getting them into their stores to pick up an impulse paperback is even better. So, cleverly, they offer free WiFi in every Barnes & Noble location, allowing Nook users to download and read books for free (for up to one hour a day and only certain titles).
The Tablet's layout is also very adaptable to reading. Press the "Nook button" at the bottom of the screen to access a kind of contents page and slide a touch-screen icon to unlock the Tablet. Physical volume buttons (along with a microphone and headphone jack) let you adjust the sound level.
There's also a MicroSD memory card slot, which competition like the Kindle lacks. This might come in handy -- While the Nook Tablet boasts 8 or 16 GB of storage, there's limited space for personal stuff. The 8GB version offers 5 GB for personal space, and 1 GB is reserved for Nook Store content. Oddly, the 16GB version gives you 12 GB for Nook Store content and a measly 1 GB for your own use. But according to the small print on the Barnes & Noble Web site, you can visit a store location to have someone reconfigure your space, freeing up 5.5 GB for personal storage and unshackling you a bit from the Nook Store. Note that RAM for the 8GB version has been reduced from 1 GB to 512 MB, which probably won't make a huge difference to the 8GB user.
As for its battery life, the Nook Tablet is rated for 11.5 hours of reading or 9 hours of video content, which is more than than its competitors the Kindle Fire and the Google Nexus 7.