Though Barnes & Noble’s earnings call appears to have turned up sour for the most part, the NOOK lineup may have saved the book company from going Borders way. Having tested the original NOOK Color out back at the start of 2011 when it was released, giving a run down through and through, I can comfortably say the following: $199 for an upgraded version in the NOOK Tablet is quite the deal. You’ve got a high quality tablet that interacts with the Barnes & Noble store like no other, it costs the same as its biggest competitor, and it’s not the same shape as the BlackBerry PlayBook.
NOTE: the following piece is heavily opinionated – that said, it’s my set of opinions, so you can take them or leave them. Having also tried out the Kindle Fire, I can easily guarantee you you’ll be more satisfied with the NOOK Tablet or even the much cheaper NOOK Color when it comes to how great the device feels to work with and how nice the display is. These tablets sit next to one another at Target and you can see the quality difference from an aisle away.
Hold the Kindle Fire at a 30 degree angle and you’re suddenly in flipped colors world. Don’t get me wrong, the Fire does have its perks – like it’s ability to get a wide variety of applications right out of the box from the Amazon app store. But for the price, I feel like one should be getting something a bit more unique, and not just in software build.
The NOOK Tablet presents a fully unique experience for Android as well as tablets, a proposition that absolutely does not exist anywhere else. Android tablets are for the most part clones, and the Kindle Fire is what happens when Amazon wanted to differentiate but couldn’t bring themselves to create a whole new ecosystem, so put the Android operating system in a blender and shook it out like dice.
Where on the other hand, Barnes & Noble’s NOOK line fits the display size perfectly, and is clearly made for people wanting to not only read books, but play the occasional game or two and watch a movie. And read one whole heck of a lot of comic books.