There isn't much that can be done with the Nook HD+ as a tablet.
Instead of adopting the strange philosophy that "thinner is always better," the is actually fairly thick compared to competitor tablets, and gives you something to grab onto. Given that the unit is also quite light, there isn't a ton of levering force on your thumb when you hold it with only one hand, so handling the tablet is quite easy no matter how you do it.
There aren't any physical controls outside of a volume rocker and power button, so you'll be using the capacitive touch screen to control most of your tablet's functions. Most of these functions are straightforward, and it even keeps some of the universal controls from Android, but overall the tablet's interface is clunky and inconsistent. Given that there isn't much that can be done with the as a tablet, this may or may not frustrate you if you're using it primarily as an eReader or Netflix device.
Unlike the top flight tablets on the market, the doesn't have fancy Bluetooth options or an IR blaster. However, its proprietary connector is HDMI and USB compatible if you go out any buy the correct cables, but that's still kind of a pain. Given that the software support isn't exactly where it needs to be with this tablet, you're probably not going to get this working well. Like all tablets, it can connect to the internet via its onboard 802.11n wireless card.
Few features, mediocre to bad performance
The largest of Barnes & Noble's new offerings, the has a 7.5 x 5-inch screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1280 pixels, making it more pixel-laden than your average HDTV. In fact, this is largely the main selling point of the tablet, though it really has little need for a pixel-dense screen, as the content simply isn't there for it to be eminently useful. With high reflectivity and low performance, this isn't a great option for watching movies.
Taking a tablet outside is almost never a fun experience on a sunny day, but the certainly doesn't do a whole heck of a lot to mitigate this bad experience. Not only does it have high reflectivity, but the backlight still isn't quite where it needs to be in order to overpower bright lighting conditions.
Overall, the Nook HD+ has a fair enough battery life that would make the a serviceable option for watching videos or reading eBooks on a short flight or commute, but it's not exactly where it needs to be in order to work well for a long, intercontinental flight. However, our lab results aren't necessarily what you'll get with a , as doing things like turning down the backlight or running more apps will extend or shorten the battery life of the tablet.
You're paying a premium for low performance.
In a tablet world where content exists across all platforms, and there are high-end tablets coming out at a more affordable price, there's very little reason to pay too much for a unit that offers you so much less for only a couple dollars cheaper. It would be one thing if there was a concrete advantage to buying the over an iPad Mini or Nexus device, but there really isn't.
Not only can the other top-flight tablets do everything the can do, but they can also do much more for a comparable price point. Maybe that's why Barnes & Noble added a microSD card slot and the ability to easily hack the device. Who knows?
With comparably poor performance across the board at a similar price point to its main competitors, there is very little reason to buy the if you're not looking for a project, and still want access to the wealth of media available to iPad or Android tablet owners. While it might work in a pinch for a crowd that wants an uncomplicated tablet, you may or may not want to wait for a sale to grab this one, if at all.
Great specs can't save bad software.
High pixel density, low image quality.
As the branding alludes to, the has a relatively pixel-dense screen, though it doesn't really quite compare with the highest-end tablets. Occupying a 7.5 x 5-inch screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1280, the has a density of 256 pixels per inch (PPI). This is cruising close to an ideal density, but still a little ways off from being an actual "retina" display.
Offering a passable contrast performance, the has a black level of 0.6 cd/m2, and a peak brightness of 481.03 cd/m2, giving the tablet a fairly wide contrast ratio of 802:1. This is important, as the wider the contrast ratio is, the more values along the greyscale you can see well—more detail will be evident in different lighting in your image.
While this ratio isn't bad, per se, it also means that videophiles out there will probably not like the for movies. But then again, very few tablets do well in this category. What actually makes the net a poor score here is what's called greyscale gamma, or how evenly and dramatically the screen transitions from greyscale value to value. If we were to plot each value on a graph, we'd ideally expect to see a line with a slope of 2.1, but that of the was 2.3, meaning the transition of the values is a bit more dramatic than you'd expect.
We'd normally like to see a color gamut (the range of colors the screen can produce) conform to the internationally agreed-upon range of colors that a screen should produce: the rec. 709 standard. Unfortunately, the Nook HD+ not only undersaturates reds and greens, but wildly shifts the deepest blues to a more cyan-ish color.
By reflecting 13.1% of light shone on the screen at the user, the has a relatively high reflectivity, but there are worse tablets out there. Still, the reflection pattern is very sharp and annoying, and this will definitely cause consternation in the outdoors.
Nothing amazing here
Overall, the battery life of the is fairly average, but with the lack of Bluetooth, apps, and other more power-intensive options, the variance in battery life will depend mostly on how high or low you set your backlight. With it cranked to the max in our labs, we were able to coax out 5 hours and 43 minutes of reading an eBook, and 6 hours and 10 minutes watching a horrible video.
Meet the testers
Staff Writer, Imaging@cthomas8888
A seasoned writer and professional photographer, Chris reviews cameras, headphones, smartphones, laptops, and lenses. Educated in Political Science and Linguistics, Chris can often be found building a robot army, snowboarding, or getting ink.See all of Chris Thomas's reviews
Checking our work.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.Shoot us an email