Nook Color eReader Review

Design - Weight and Dimensions

Dimensions: 8.1 in x 5.0 in x 0.48 in
Weight: 15.8 ounces
Color: Available in black

The appearance of the Barnes & Noble Nook Color was clearly inspired by current-generation tablet computing devices, perhaps the iPad most prominently. Its rounded edges and black frame, combined with its semi-glossy appearance, give it a sleek and Apple-like look that will appeal to a wide audience. In Nook Color reviews it's been noted that its weight is a bit hefty, and almost twice as heavy as the original Nook eReader, but this is because of the more powerful processing components and the full-color display. Overall, it's a compromise worth making.

Display - Resolution and Reflectiveness

Display Type: 32-bit full color LCD display
Resolution: 1024x600
Color Depth: 32-bit full color

The Nook Color is miles ahead of competing eReaders (except for the Kindle Fire), in that it comes with a full color LCD display. Many cheaper models prefer to ship with TFT displays, which are of lesser quality and aren't nearly as easy on the eyes for periods of prolonged use. The Nook Colors display is big; it's longer than the average tablet or eReader's display, allowing it to display more lines of text. And its support of full color, 32-bit images, makes it great for displaying images, videos, or books with pictures. It's great for reading to children, also -- nothing entertains quite as well as full color.

User-friendliness and Interface - Touchscreen vs Keyboard

The Barnes & Noble Nook Color has always preferred an on-screen touch keyboard as opposed to a physical keyboard mounted at the bottom of the device. As this is the third Nook device produced by the company, they must be relatively sure that this decision has been a success. Because the keyboard is on-screen, it is able to adapt to the situations a user puts it in, and can even auto-complete words. This makes it far more user-friendly than a competing physical keyboard would be, even if it takes a little bit of time to adapt to. Overall, Barnes & Noble has perfected their on-screen input over three generations of Nook devices and this one should be considered the best yet.

Memory - Internal and External Storage

Flash Memory: 8GB internal memory
Flash Cards: Expandable up to 32GB using SD removable media

The very first Nook device produced by Barnes & Noble offered just 2 gigabytes of internal storage and did not offer the option to expand that storage using SD cards. Times have changed, and the company's Nook Color eReader now offers more internal storage than any Kindle device on the market, and far more than any non-Amazon competitor like the Kobo or Pandigital Novel. Expandable up to 32GB, the Nook Color recognizes its place in the world as a color eReader and tablet that may end up doing far more than simply displaying books on the screen.

Formats - Doc, PDF, ePub and Third-party DRMs

Supported Text Formats: EPUB, PDF, TXT, DOC, PPT
Supported Image Formats: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP

Another area where Barnes & Noble has vastly improved its Nook performance is in the number of file formats the device supports. While the original Nook supported only two file formats, the Nook Color comes with support for all of the majors: Adobe's PDF, Microsoft's DOC, and the general TXT format. It can also display PPT files -- also known as PowerPoint presentations. And its support of EPUB opens it up to many bookstores. The image support included with the device is robust and increasingly standard, and users will be able to open most any image they transfer or download to the device.

Web-browsing and Applications

The Barnes & Noble Nook Color eReader comes with WiFi connectivity support, using either the 802.11b or 802.11g wireless protocols. This makes it able to download books, images, and even music files without being directly connected to a desktop or laptop computer via USB. And it enables the device to perform advanced functions, like web browsing, thanks to the inclusion of the Android mobile operating system.

Battery-Life

A color screen with WiFi connectivity and touch input does come at a price, and that is largely a price paid in power: the Nook Color lasts a mere eight hours on one charge, and takes three more hours to fully regain its charge. That's not terrible battery life, by any means, but it is relatively weak when compared to the multiple-day battery life promoted by traditional eInk models.

Pricing

The Nook Color eReader is available for just $249 direct from Barnes & Noble, and that's a competitive price even when compared to eInk models in grayscale.

Additional Features and Accessories

Like all Nook devices, the Nook Color is powered by Android under the hood and that means it can be spiced up with real-web browsing and Android applications as available from a limited market of apps. Its music player and image viewer are taken directly from Google's Android code base, and that means users will have access to more robust features than those who use non-Nook eReader devices in full color.

The Bottom Line

The Nook Color is a robust, fully-featured, WiFi-enabled eReader with a stunning color screen and a mere $249 price tag. It's easily one of the best eReaders on the market, at least up until the release of the new kindles in november. Stay tuned for comparisons on Nook Color specs, Kindle Fire specs and Kinde Touch specs.

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