Ebook readers

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Nook Color Review

Nook Color

Reviewer: Stephen Qualtrough
Developer: Barnes & Noble
Ranked: 3rd
Overall rating:
Price: Free

Review summary

Good points

 Colour images and text

 Wi-fi enabled

 8GB storage & MicroSD card

 Web browser

 Audio & video playback

Bad points

 Pathetic battery life in comparison with E-ink

 User experience can be jittery

Our verdict

Reviewing this as an e-reader, and not a cheap tablet solution, we find the Nook Color has an incredibly vibrant and crisp screen, good industrial style design and features that you wouldn’t see on the average e-reader. The big problem is as it’s not an e-ink, battery life lasts a day and we found on more than one occasion speeds to be slow and erratic.

Full review

Before Barnes & Noble dipped their feet into the tablet waters, they want a bridge-way from e-readers to tablets, it seems the Nook Color did exactly this, allowed Barnes & Noble that little drizzle of wetness to tell them if the water was cold or not.


It seems like everything Yves Behar gets his hands on turns into a great design, he has worked on the Left Light for Herman Miller, Jambox and Ouya console and his elegant touch is apparent on the Nook Color too.

The 7-inch screen is slightly pushed to the back of the design, allowing half a millimetre gap for the chassis – this forces the gap between the screen and chassis.

A black matte finish to an industrial style e-reader makes the Nook Color look very impressive and very powerful.

Ease of use

We find that speeds on the Nook are acceptable – for a tablet, that is, for an e-reader, they’re substantially better than the Kindle. With an LCD screen and a more powerful processor though, we expect as much.

Getting around the Nook Color is pretty simple, you have a variety of options if you’re ever stuck and we don’t find anything wrong with the experience, we just find that the user interface can be a bit erratic in decision making at times and sometimes you’ll find the Nook unresponsive.


With this not being e-ink, PDF’s are needed to add that jolt of colour so that the Nook Color stands out from the rest. This puts the e-reader in competition with the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab, it fairs up against them, although the two are much more fast and powerful – the Tab 10.1 is also much brighter. For £300 more, you would expect this though.

In e-reader terms, they’ve got a good amount of content – Barnes & Noble are one of the biggest book retailers on the planet and they’ve a fine selection for any and all.

You can import your own Word documents on this too and read them, this is a neat feature. You may also use web-browsing with built in flash support, although the only videos you’ll be watching are ones M4V compatible.


Wi-fi is the average for most e-readers now, if they don’t have it, they aren’t worth getting, if they do, good. 3G is now surpassing this, and with the Nook Color trying to be the move from e-reader to tablet, we’d have thought that they’d at least put 3G in.


Battery life is sufficiently less than you’ll get on any e-ink e-reader, because of the outputs needed to display images. With this e-reader, you’ll get a solid 8 hours at best.

Compare this with the Kindle 3G, which can take about half a month before it needs charged – see the gap, it’s quite extraordinary.

While you do get a good vibrant colour, for core readers, it isn’t worth the loss of one week, six days and a few hours of pure reading, without charging.


We found that the Nook Color has adequate storage, with 8GB’s inbuilt, it’s enough to store a valuable amount of books, you also have a MicroSD card that you can use if you ever get overran.


Web browsing is obviously a big plus to an e-reader; it allows the user to get books from free website if they’re compatible and lets them browse the latest news, etc. Flash support is a good feature, but we feel it’s a bit unnecessary given the lack of compatibility with video.

Barnes & Noble have completely re-created the Android 2.1 interface, to the point you question whether it actually is the Android interface. They’ve made a superb book section and good options. We applaud the team that skinned this model.


Look at it this `way; you’re paying for a very good e-reader with extra goodies, and it still only costs a little bit more than the Kindle 3G. It’s up to you whether that lack of battery life turns your head to the Kindle or not.

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