updated 11:55 am EST, Mon November 7, 2011
Second-generation color Nook
As expected, Barnes & Noble unveiled its Nook Tablet at a special event held in the company's flagship store in New York City. Electronista had a chance to take an early look at the new device, which is marketed as the best contender in the market for seven-inch tablets.
The bookseller repeatedly boasted of the Nook Tablet's HD qualities, though this is a misnomer for a tablet that does not have an HD display and lacks any way to output the video to an HDTV. Nonetheless, users can load the device with 1080p or 720p content and watch the converted video at lower resolution.
Aside from the HD debate, the Nook Tablet also integrates a new "VividView" IPS display that eliminates an air gap between the panel components. Barnes & Noble claims the technology is a revolutionary step forward, helping to eliminate glare and improve color reproduction. Without a side-by-side comparison, it is hard to tell the difference between the Nook Tablet display and other IPS panels on devices such as the iPad, though the viewing angles are excellent.
The new dual-core processor easily kept up with a demonstration of the various UI elements, gaming and video playback. The hardware appears to be competitive with other tablets on the market, without forcing users to deal with hesitation or choppiness.
We did not have a chance to test the company's claims regarding battery life; the device promises 9.5 hours of continuous video playback. It also integrates 16GB of storage and a microSD slot, both points that CEO Bill Lynch used to directly attack the Kindle Fire.
Our initial impressions suggest the Nook Tablet is a competitive tablet in the seven-inch range, particularly with the $249 price tag. The device is not exactly as revolutionary as the company claims, however the numerous changes are welcome improvements over the original Nook Color.