Sep 26 AT 10:23 AM Taylor Wimberly 13 Comments

Barnes & Noble goes toe-to-toe with Amazon, refreshes Nook tablets with HD displays


Today Barnes & Noble released a new lineup of Nook tablets that are meant to compete directly with Amazon’s Kindle Fire family of products. The Nook devices are already available for pre-order, and customers will be able to enjoy the new devices in early November. A quick comparison of the specs reveal that Barnes & Noble might have topped Amazon, but it’s too close to tell which device is a better buy right now.

First up we have the Nook HD, which B&N claims is the world’s highest resolution display ever on a 7-inch tablet. The Nook HD starts at $199 for the 8 GB version and $229 for the 16 GB model. Both models feature a screen resolution of 1440 x 900, which is 243 pixels per inch (ppi). Compared to the Kindle Fire HD, it offers a slightly faster processor and also includes a microSD slot for expandable memory.

Compare Nook HD to Kindle Fire HD

Highlights of the Nook HD include:

  • 7 inch display 1440 x 900, 243 ppi
  • 1.3 GHz Dual-Core processor (TI OMAP4470)
  • 8 or 16 GB internal storage, 512 MB or 1 GB RAM
  • microSD slot
  • Weight: 11.1 oz

Next we have the Nook HD+, which is billed as the lightest, lowest-priced full HD tablet ever. This larger device starts at only $269 for the 16 GB version and $299 for the 32 GB version. Both offer a 9-inch display with 1920 x 1280 resolution, 256 ppi.

Compare Nook HD+ to Kindle Fire HD 8.9

Highlights of the Nook HD+ include:

  • 9 inch display 1920 x 1280 resolution, 256 ppi
  • 1.5 GHz Dual-Core processor (TI OMAP4470)
  • 16 GB or 32 GB internal storage, 1 GB RAM
  • microSD slot
  • Weight 18.2 oz

Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Nexus?

Even though the Nook HD offers some impressive specs for a 7-inch tablet, I would much rather have the Nexus 7 for its pure Android experience and access to the Google Play Store. About the only major advantage I see to the Nook is that Barnes & Noble offers in-store support for their devices. If you plan to gift a tablet to an out-of-town relative, that might come in handy when they have questions or need help.

We haven’t played with the Nook HD yet, but Barnes & Noble did hand out some review units to select sites. If you are interested in purchasing one, then I would head over to The Verge and read David Pierce’s hands-on impressions.

Are you impressed?

Source: Barnes & Noble

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • jaxidian

    These look pretty sweet! LOVE the look of the little one! And I REALLY hope the bootloaders are unlocked on these!

    Way to go, Barnes & Noble!

    • ajonrichards

      I still have a Nook Color, and it’s great because:
      1. You can throw a custom ROM on it
      2. There’s a buttload of accessories for it, both from B&N and 3rd party manufacturers.
      3. There’s an SD Card slot on it.

      I can’t vouch for the Nook Tablet, but the digitizer is not very accurate. This had something do with it being primarily an e-reader, so super-accurate touch wasn’t a priority. Hopefully, this won’t be the case on the HD and HD+. A crappy digitizer would make using it as a full-fledged tablet problematic.

    • Annabelle

      That looks like the ipad mini. I can see Apple sueing them for stealing their designs just like Samsung did.

      • jaxidian

        How could they have stolen the design for something that technically doesn’t exist yet?

  • Bpear96

    Come on google , where’s our nexus 9 ( or 10 ).

  • ranwanimator

    If they are locked down to the BN Store like the last tablet offering then I don’t really see these selling well despite the hardware stats.

    • ajonrichards

      I found the Nook Color frustrating, because I couldn’t justify paying for an app through their store when I had already paid for it through the Play Store. Certain apps that were free on Android were paid in Nook Store, and other apps were more expensive than their Play Store counterparts. Loading CM7 on the NC fixed those issues for me, though.

      • Bpear96

        This nook better have a unlocked bootloader. Unlike the NEA kindle fires..

  • kwills88

    These looks really good..just hope they can give it some JB love, because the UI looks pretty laggy.

    • ajonrichards

      The 7″ is a really good-looking device. People who complain about bezels probably haven’t spent a lot of time using a tablet. Accidental edge touches are frustrating, and if B&N, Amazon, or Asus wanted to make a tablet with minimal bezel space, I’m sure they could.

  • ajonrichards

    Am I the only one who noticed that if you took the bezel off the Nook HD, it looks way similar to an iPod Touch?

  • MoSDeeb

    These are some fairly good looking tablets. Can’t wait to see what the developer/hacker community releases for these.

  • thekaz

    They look nice, but I’d almost rather have a Nook that does strictly ebooks and does them extremely well (and hopefully cheaply, since it is a single-purpose device) and spend the savings on something like the Nexus 7 for everything else.

    The reason I say this is that my wife has a 1st gen Nook and it is very easy to wake it up and start reading and then put it down. When I try to read my ebooks via the Nook app on my tablet (granted, it is an older tablet), I have to wait a bit for it to wake up, then start up the Nook app… it just seems more tedious, and so I find myself reading less than I would think.