Sunday, 23 December 2012

Barnes and Noble Nook HD: Review

I knew this would happen...

That's Charlie with the new Barnes and Noble NOOK HD®.

According to the blurb, this is 'the lightest and highest-resolution 7-inch HD tablet' and 'has the world’s highest-resolution screen ever on a 7-inch tablet...which makes magazines, films and apps look even better.'

That's what they say. What about me? Well, as I told them the other day when they phoned to see how I'd been getting on, I'd have more to say if I'd been able to use it but... well, the picture (above) tells its own story. 

Since then I have had chance to use it and...

Well, I can confirm the resolution is, quite simply, stunning. And they're not paying me to say that. And the Nook HD has to go back in another couple of weeks. But. Well. Although I haven't another 7 inch tablet to compare it with I'd say it was every bit the equal of the iPad’s “resolutionary” display. The clincher for us though - and, I'd say, for all families - is its multiple-user profiles, which means we can all set the device up and download and use what's appropriate to us - and parents can control what's appropriate for their children by keeping the account and download details secure in their - grown-up - profile. 

Oh and that account. You have to sign up to Barnes and Noble - just like you do to Amazon if you own a Kindle - but it's free. And you don't have to buy anything if you don't want to as there are over a million titles entirely free to download. But you WILL want to buy something - films, paid-for titles, magazines subscriptions - because the reading and viewing pleasure is so, well... pleasurable. 

You know that thing when you see an article in a magazine you want to keep and you just, well, rip it out? Well a two-finger swipe of the touch-screen as you're reading (as near as you'll get to ripping out the page made of paper) and you've got it in your scrapbook. It's that easy. And, you know, its fun too. (You'll 'rip out' a lot more than you intend to just because its such a good game!)
Anyway, back to the kids. Once they've gone to bed why not download one of the many 'read and record' titles available and, well, 'read and record' a bedtime story for them? It's like creating your very own audio book and - next evening, at bedtime - they can flip the pages, see the pictures, and hear you reading the story even though you're downstairs with a gin and tonic watching the television. 

Seriously, this is going to be invaluable for parents who have to spend time away from home. A stash of 'read and record' titles stored on the Nook and daddy can still read you a bedtime story even though he's thousands of miles away and in another time-zone. 
Earlier this year, after (inadvertently) standing on my ASUS EeePad (and before Tim at OneTone very generously replaced it for me) I took the plunge and bought an iPad3. I've been very pleased with my purchase - no regrets; it does what it says and it does what I want and - as a confirmed iPhone addict - it integrates well with all that. 

But... but. 

If the Nook HD had been around at the time I'd have had a very, very difficult job choosing between the two and may (tell it not in Gath!) ultimately have plumped for the Nook not least for it's family-friendly capabilities. 

In short, if you're pondering your options and have some Christmas gift money burning a hole in your pocket (£229 for 16GB; £269 for 32GB, both expandable) I can highly recommend one of these.

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