Barnes & Noble's latest Nook launched today, and it is everything we expected. Based on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7.0, the new Nook tablet has all the same specs as the Galaxy Tab 4 7.0, including the quad-core 1.2GHz Marvell CPU, 1.5GB RAM, and the 7" display with a screen resolution of 1,280 x 800.
The specs have been endlessly discussed on this blog and can be found listed elsewhere online, so I won't relist them all here, but I do want to share a few details about the tablet I bought this morning. (For the sake of brevity, I will call it the new Nook tablet.)
On a related note, if you have a question please do leave a comment. I will try to answer all of the comments on this post.
Update: Rather than write a full review, I have updated this post and fleshed it out with a few of the details I noticed after having the Galaxy Tab Nook for 10 days.
If you are looking for a review, I rounded up 5 different ones.
As I reported yesterday, B&N does have the new tablet in stores today, and they are selling it for $179. I'm told that is the sale price; the regular retail price is $199. I got one, and it is sitting on my desk. Here's what I have noticed so far:
- There's only 4GB of storage available, out of the 8GB promised. The rest is taken up by the OS and bloatware.
- The new Nook tablet refused to accept the standard microUSB cable that I keep on my desk; I had to get the one that came with this tablet in order to charge it. In other words, don't lose this cable.
- Based on what I have seen I think this is a standard Galaxy Tab 4 7.0, only with some optional software added. Mine is set up, and I was not required to set up a Nook account or a Samsung account - just log in to my Google account.
The Nook software is given a special place on the home screen you can choose to ignore it or remove it. So if you dislike the idea of shopping at B&N, you do have the option of avoiding them. I am not suggesting that you do so, just making sure that you know there is an option.
But I'm not sure how many people will skip the Nook registration; B&N is promoting the new tablet with a $200 bundle of content. It's a tempting offer which includes ebooks, episodes of tv shows, and more:
- three free bestselling ebooks: Freakonomics, The Wanderer, and I Am Number Four,
- an episode each of three hit TV shows: HBO’s Veep, NBC Universal’s Hannibal, and BBC America’s Orphan Black, and
- up to four 14-day free trial subscriptions from a selection of 12 popular magazines – including Cosmopolitan, Sports Illustrated, US Weekly and more, and also receive the previous 12 issues of each title at no cost.
B&N is also including the $5 credit to new customers which they already offered with hardware purchases.
All in all, the content bundle was a smooth move for B&N. The tablet is going to face fierce competition in terms of hardware specs and price, so B&N decided to fight the competition laterally - by adding a bundle of content that most tablet makers either cannot or will not match.
That bundle could be the new Nook tablet's strongest selling point.
I ran the Antutu benchmark test, and the Galaxy tab Nook scored 13,833. There are $99 and under tablets that can beat that – including models that came out last year.
My hands on time with the tablet confirms that it has average performance for a $99, and disappointing performance for a $180 tablet. (You can find a 2013 Nexus 7 for less.)
The screenshot at right shows you what the Nook half of the home screen looks like after i logged in to my Nook account. It’s a little cluttered by Nook widgets but that’s not a bad thing.
There are a bunch of icons in the app drawer for the Nook apps, including highlights, search, library, and the ebookstore. Some of the apps have also been placed on the home screen, and I can also see that Samsung added a tiny book icon in the lower left corner of the home screen (this takes you to the Nook reading app).
Just about the only Nook app that is new is one called Nook Today. This is a discovery engine which suggests what you might want to read next.
In hardware terms this is a Galaxy Tab 4 7.0, no more and no less. It is a very polished design which is sleek, thin, and nice to hold. Or at least that's what I thought at first. I found the thin bezels to be a hassle; I kept accidentally hitting the screen.
The Galaxy Tab Nook has a 7" display with a TFT screen, which is lower quality than the IPS screen found on many current tablets. But in spite of the weaker tech, it's still a decent screen.
I compared my Kindle Fire HD next to the Galaxy Tab Nook. I know that the KFHD has a better IPS display while the new Nook has a TFT display, but I can’t see an obvious difference in screen quality. The KFHD does look a little sharper, but the new Nook has better colors. This is strange because the screens are supposed to have the same resolution.