If you loved the Nook Color, which quickly went from e-reader status to beloved hacker tablet, you're going to love the new Barnes & Nobile Nook Tablet. And make no mistake, boys and girls: It may be a be an e-reader at its heart. But with beefed up specs, it's got the teeth of a full-fledged tablet.
We took it for a spin this morning at Barnes & Noble's store in Union Square in New York City. At first blush, you might think you're looking at the Nook Color. The exterior design hasn't changed a bit. The power and volume buttons are all in the same places, it's got that iconic Nook button -- it even feels the same, only lighter.
But once the Nook Tablet's 7-inch IPS display comes to life, you know you're dealing with something different. With casual use, the screen was as bright and vibrant, with deep blacks, as we'd expect on something that costs twice as much. And any sort of lag you've been putting up with on the Nook Color is gone. It's got a 1GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM -- plenty for the customized version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread that's at the core of the tablet. The UI was as smooth as you could hope, and video playback was without stutter.
Of course, content is key, and BN's ramped things up with deep Netflix integration -- which Netflix itself tells us is "deeper" than on any tablet before it. Which could just be that your recommendations are fed directly to the UI. There's also tons of music and, of course, reading materials to keep you occupied for days, which is also what you have for battery life. Figure an hour of reading a day, and you'll be going for weeks on a single charge. Or so we're told.
We've still got a ways to go before anyone (outside Barnes & Noble that is) declares the Nook Tablet King of the Winter Carnival. But from even our brief time with it, it's most definitely a contender at $249.
Check out our hands-on pics and video after the break.
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