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New Review: Nook HD+ is the Best Large Budget Tablet – Assuming You Plan to Hack it

I realizedNOOK-HD+[1] the other day that I have never read a review of the Nook HD+ as a budget tablet, so I set out to write one.

When Barnes & Noble launched the Nook HD+ in late 2012 it was a very different device from the one you can buy today. Sure, the hardware is the same, but the HD+ is no longer an enhanced ebook reader with a high price ($270) and a limited supply of apps (no Google Play).

As a result, the many positive reviews garnered by the HD+ last Fall don’t actually reflect what a customer would be getting today. This 9″ tablet is selling for $149. It has the best screen found on any device with a similar price tag, but how well does it work?

Read the review and find out.

P.S. In case you are wondering, I do not plan to review the 7″ Nook HD. While it might have an amazing screen I don’t think that tablet is worth buying. There are other tablets that come with similar performance at a lower price. They also have full Android and not the locked down version of Android found on B&N’s hardware, which I think outweighs the Nook HD’s high resolution screen.

P.P.S. My thanks go out to Juli and Chris of Teleread for providing feedback on this review.

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steve December 28, 2013 um 10:34 am

I’m not sure how much longer B&N is going to make them. My perception is that they’re just cleaning out inventory. They would have stopped a long time ago, but they’re on the hook with their contract manufacturers to take a certain amount of shipments..

Chris Meadows December 29, 2013 um 2:09 am

If you’re talking about the Nook HD 7″ at its list price, sure, there are better for cheaper. But if you can get it when it goes on sale for $80 to $90, and plan to hack it with CyanogenMod, it’s hard to get a better tablet at that price.

Nate Hoffelder December 29, 2013 um 6:33 am

And after all that work you’ll end up with a tablet with a high resolution screen, possibly better battery life, and performance that is about on par with other budget tablets. I don’t think it’s worth the work.

Chris Meadows December 29, 2013 um 10:43 am

If the main thing you want to do with it is watch HD streaming video in at least 720P, your options are a cheap Nook HD, or paying a lot more money for something else with a better screen. I’ve never thought that "performance" really matters in an Android tablet anyway. Maybe it launches your apps faster, but I’ve never run into any app that ran "too slowly" on my Nook. Even Plants vs. Zombies 2 chugs right along.

(Also, when I ran an AnTuTu benchmark on it, it performed almost as well as the Sero 7 HD. The Sero was in the 12,000 range; the Nook HD was in the 11,000.)

Nate Hoffelder December 29, 2013 um 10:57 am

The Nook HD might have performance on the same level as the Sero 7 Pro but the same can be said for most dual-core tablets – including some that cost only $80 at retail. In fact, the $99 HP Mesquite is in some ways better performing than the tablet from Hisense.

And if streaming high res video is the only use case which justifies the screen on the Nook HD then I was right; there’s not much of a reason to get it.

Scott Atkinson December 29, 2013 um 7:52 pm

Let me rise in (limited) defense of the Nook HD. Going back a bit, at the time B & N cut prices last summer it was the hands down best budget tablet. As you point out, some good budget alternatives have emerged.

However, here’s one thing the Nook HD has that makes it worth $130 to me – a good dock, with a decent analog audio output. I use the Nook HD for one thing only, as an online radio tuner at my office, wired to a decent set of speakers (Audio Engine 2s). It makes for a splendid radio, and the Nook’s custom interface – which has rightly been criticized as pokey – works pretty well in this context.

Paul December 29, 2013 um 9:01 pm

I would add that my biggest problem with it, is the speed of typing on the device. If you don’t have to do that, then its a pretty decent tablet (and the screen is great, especially for reading or videos as stated above).

Once issue to watch for is that their magnetic covers are lousy. I’m always draining the battery by not closing it properly. This doesn’t seem to be an issue with the iPad users I work with.

At $169, is the Surface RT a Viable Budget Tablet? – The Digital Reader January 24, 2014 um 10:03 am

[…] P.S. Or, and just to give you a left field suggestion, you could get the Nook HD+ for $149. I didn’t much care for the quirks B&N introduced but the screen quality and battery life were impressive. […]

lesco 423 July 12, 2015 um 9:44 pm

cannot get started

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