This 7in model, known simply as the Nook HD, weighs about the same as an iPad mini and is comfortable to hold in one hand. There’s choice of two bezel colours: slate and snow (or white and grey to you and me). There are two capacities, 8GB for £159 and 16GB for £189. Although that doesn’t compare well to the Kindle Fire HD, a micro SD slot means you can add more for a few pounds. See also Group test: what’s the best cheap tablet PC?
The Nook HD is has its sights set clearly on the Fire HD and Barnes & Noble is quick to point out that you won’t get bombarded by adverts on the lock screen and that there’s a mains charger in the box. That’s two of the Kindle’s flaws dealt with then.
It’s also thinner and lighter than the Fire HD but it’s the screen that’s the star of the show. This IPS display has 1440×900 pixels, giving it a pixel density of 243ppi – almost as high as the Retina iPad. In fact, it’s hard to tell the difference in terms of clarity and the colours and contrast of the Nook HD’s screen are excellent, as are viewing angles.
One annoyance is the proprietary dock connector, which means you’ll have to carry the charge/sync cable around with you, or buy spares in case you lose or break the one you get in the box. An HDMI adaptor cable is said to be in the works, but we far prefer the Kindle Fire HD’s industry-standard micro USB and HDMI connections. [Update: Following extra testing, we discovered that the Nook won’t charge from any other USB charger, nor a USB port, so you’ll have to carry the charger around with you as well as the USB cable.]
It’s also a shame there’s no camera for Skype but this is a device purely for content consumption, and B&N makes no bones about that.