Look and feel
We love the Barnes & Noble Nook HD+’s chunky, rubbery design, which suits all ages. It’s solidly constructed but not too heavy, and the lanyard hole sets it apart from rivals.
Ease of Use
Android has been tweaked with the Nook interface, which provides a simple and clean way of accessing all of your media and other bits. The ability to add individual profiles is a great addition.
There aren’t any cameras on the Nook HD+, but we didn’t miss them. The sharp HD screen and Google Play support are major reasons to splash out on this tablet.
A dual-core processor keeps things running nicely, although we did notice a couple of performance quirks.
The Nook HD+ will keep going all day with restrained use, or a full five and a half hours of constant video streaming.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,7/15/2013 10:30:32 AM
Ease of use
Sharp HD screen;
Google Play support;
Clean OS with profile options;
Decent battery life
Screen could be brighter;
Some little glitches
We’re big fans of Barnes & Noble’s Nook HD tablet, which packs a surprisingly sharp seven-inch screen and a friendly interface, allowing users to set up individual profiles and download books, mags, apps, movies and more – all for under £150. The Nook HD+ is a new nine-inch version with a boosted HD resolution and full Google Play access, making this a true bargain and one of the best value tablets you can bag right now.
Fun for all the family
As with the original Nook HD, the Nook HD+ runs Android but skins it up with Barnes & Noble’s brilliant, clean and friendly interface. The interface is designed to provide fast access to all of your content: for instance, the Active Shelf shows you your most recently purchased and used items. This can be customised in the Nook HD+ settings menu, so for instance it only shows you apps and not books, games etc.
Unlike most tablets, you can actually set up a number of different profiles if more than one user claims ownership, so you don’t have annoying siblings, kids or parents rearranging your desktop every day. The lead user can also set up access levels for other people – useful if you don’t want your kid accessing the Google Play Store or dodgy internet sites, for instance.
Besides that, you get the standard range of Android features. You can add widgets to any of the five available desktops, so you can quickly check your mail, calendar and so on without opening an app. The ability to download apps and games from Google Play was strangely missing from the original Nook HD tablet at launch, and one of the main reasons we didn’t score it higher, but thankfully the Nook HD+ comes with Google Play access from the off. That means you can download hundreds of thousands of apps, games and more.
The Nook HD+ also comes with a variety of apps pre-installed, including the excellent reader app which allows you to comfortably read digital ebooks, and quickly search and skip. You also get the full range of Google apps as usual, such as the Chrome browser and Maps.
If you’re after a tablet to keep you entertained on trips and the daily commute, you’ll appreciate the solid battery life of the Nook HD+. We got a solid five and a half hours of video streaming from a single charge, which is very respectable for a tablet this size (although the likes of the Apple iPad Mini still puts it to shame). Limit yourself to more basic use and you’ll easily get a full day between charges.
A dual-core processor powers the tablet and provides enough oomph to run the latest games, whatever you’re into. We did experience a mini melt-down at one point after quitting a video, where the touchscreen was unresponsive for a short period, and occasionally the Nook HD+ would have a funny turn. For instance, our Gmail widget occasionally flickered like crazy when updating, and a couple of times we’d open a book only for the pages to skip back and forth on their own for a few seconds. Aside from these funny little glitches, however, the Nook HD+ ran fine.
One of the best features by far is the Nook HD+’s high-res nine-inch screen. It’s comparable in size to Apple’s iPad display, and while it can’t match the Retina display for clarity, it’s still impressively crisp with a 1920 x 1280 pixel resolution. HD movies look marvellous, with none of the usual graininess you expect from a sub-£200 tablet.
Our only complaint is that the screen could be brighter. If you’re stood outside or in a brightly lit room, the glare can make things difficult to see, not helped by the screen’s tremendous ability to pick up dust and muck.
The Nook HD+ retains the same rubbery, chunky appeal of the original Nook HD, but this time there’s a funky lanyard hole in the bottom left corner. Chances are you’ll never use it, but it gives the Nook HD+ a cool and distinctive look. At 515g it’s not so heavy that it aches your wrists, and there’s enough of a bezel to make it comfortable to grip.
The one thing the Nook HD+ is missing is a camera, something found on almost every tablet we review these days. Personally we’re not disappointed, as we hate wielding a tablet to take photos (that’s what the camera on our phones is for). However, we can understand why that might be a deal breaker for some.
You do, however, get a microSD memory card slot for expanding the built-in 16GB or 32GB of storage – definitely a good thing if you download tons of apps. Unfortunately Barnes & Noble has gone with a proprietary charger port, so you can’t reuse old USB cables or borrow a friend’s if you lose the bundled charger.
We’re big fans of Barnes & Noble’s latest tablet, the Nook HD+, which offers bagloads of value for its sub-£200 price tag. This nine-inch beauty boasts a beautiful 1920 x 1280 HD screen and a slick, family-friendly OS, making it a great little gateway to a world of apps, books, movies and more. Google Play support is a great addition to the Nook brand, pumping even more value into this nifty tablet.