US bookstore giant Barnes & Noble has announced two brand new Android-based tablets to replace its successful NOOK tablet. The two new slates are the NOOK HD and the NOOK HD+, and represent two different sizes.
First up we have the NOOK HD, which is a 7-inch tablet gunning for the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD in the smaller tablet market. Both its rivals have impressive displays, but B&N have blown them away with the highest resolution 7-inch display we’ve seen to date: a high resolution of 1440 x 900, with a sharp pixel density of 243ppi and support for 720p HD video playback.
At 315g, the NOOK HD is a good deal lighter than its two main rivals. It’s narrower than the Kindle Fire HD too, with a width of 127mm. The back of the tablet is covered in a lovely soft-touch plastic too, which will make it much easier to grip comfortably.
Power is provided by a 1.3GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, which will run a customised version of the Android operating system. Storage is expandable thanks to a micro SD card slot, which allows you to add to either 8 or 16GB of internal storage, depending on which model you go for. There’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, along with a large 4,050 mAh battery, which according to B&N, will see you 10.5 hours of reading or 9 hours of video playback, if you have Wi-Fi switched off.
The NOOK HD will be priced competitively in the UK, at £159 for the 8GB and £189 for the 16GB – the latter of which undercuts its Google Nexus 7 equivalent by a tenner.
For those who want something a little bigger, a little better perhaps, Barnes & Noble have the NOOK HD+. This is a 9-inch tablet with a stunning Full HD IPS display, boasting a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, and an incredibly sharp pixel density of 256ppi, which comes very close to the iPad’s Retina Display quality – that’s 264 pixels per inch.
Brilliant screen aside, the HD+ runs the same processor as the NOOK HD, although it’s clocked up to a faster 1.5GHz and paired with 1GB of RAM. Storage is doubled in the form of 16 and 32GB options, and the option for a micro SD card slot is still there to expand on this.
Also tightly packed in to the sleek matte black shell is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, stereo speakers with SRS sound and a port that offers HDMI out with the use of an additional adaptor.
Overall the tablet measures a very handy 240.4mm long by 162.8mm wide and a slim 11.5mm thick. At 515g it’s also a fair whack lighter than the latest iPad, which should make it plenty comfortable to hold for extended periods of time.
Finally, there’s a large 6,000 mAh battery inside that should be good for up to 10 hours of reading and 9 hours of video from a single charge, again with the Wi-Fi off for the best results.
B&N uses Android as a base for the software but adds its own look, feel and services. The NOOK HD+ will allow up to 5 users to be added, with options to switch accounts easily to view your own personal content – it’s got a very family-orientated feel to it. You’ll also have access to cloud storage, apps and books courtesy of both Google and Barnes & Noble.
The 16GB will set you back £229, while the 32GB version costs £269 – that’s £170 and £210 less than their iPad equivalents, respectively.
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