Barnes & Noble Nook Color: A Review

nook-colorUnconditional love – that’s what I give my lovely Nook Color.  I’ve now had it for three weeks, even though the device has been out since November, and I’ve got a fairly good idea of its capabilities.  First, it must be said that the NC is a very specific device.  It’s a color touch screen tablet that’s still, first and foremost, a device for reading books.  When it comes to reading, the NC mostly succeeds.  In other areas, not so much.

The Looooove

  • Reading Library Books: This is the most important reason that I got an eBook reader, and I have no complaints.  Adobe Digital Editions, that’s another matter.
  • Size:  I deliberately chose a larger size that more closely resembles (so it seems, anyway) the dimensions on a paper page, and I love the 8” x 5” dimensions with a 7” screen.  I’m all in favor of fewer page turns.
  • Internet: I am spending so much time on the Internet, it comes a very close second to my reading on the NC.  The WiFi is perfectly adequate for my needs, and although the touch screen causes a few issues (more on that later), generally I find the browsing comfortable and easy.
  • Battery Life: I’m currently on my fifth day of intermittent reading and Internet surfing, and I still haven’t hit 50%.
  • LED Screen: I love seeing illustrations and graphics in their full technicolor glory.  You can tap the edges or swipe to turn the page, and there is also a variety of settings (font, size, and background) that I haven’t really explored, because I usually keep it on the publisher’s default.  So far, I haven’t had any issues with eyestrain.  The night mode does exist for those who like it; I hate it.  But since paper books require lights anyway, I’m not fussed at all.
  • Appearance: I really like how the NC looks and feels, compared to other devices that look a bit utilitarian, and I like the home screen, which is designed as a movable desktop with your most recent books lined up at the bottom.

Crappy Things I Can Live With

  • Glare: Yes, it definitely exists.  But I rarely read in full sunlight, and it doesn’t really cause me grief to tilt the device ten degrees.
  • Weight: The NC comes in at half a pound, which is considerably heavier than E-Ink devices, and I’m certainly not capable of holding it in one hand while reading.  However, I don’t do that anyway with paper books.  And it’s still small enough to fit in my handbag, cover included.
  • Price: It’s almost twice as much as the Kindle WiFi and the Kobo.  But hey, I bought it.
  • Landscape Mode: It only works on the Internet and for PDFs.  This has unfortunate consequences when I’m on the Internet in landscape and I want to adjust the settings, which brings me back into portrait, which means I have to rotate the device.  I’ve gotten real good at changing my settings at a 90-degree angle.  That being said, a paper book stays perpetually in portrait mode anyway, and I’ve adjusted.

B&N: Please Fix ASAP

  • Touch Screen: The NC touch screen is a capricious mistress – it’s absolutely dandy when reading, but can throw minor hissy fits on the Internet, where it varies in sensitivity and accuracy.  I have to surf the Internet in landscape, which makes things larger to ensure accuracy, and even then I sometimes have to enlarge the screen again.    Close to the edges of the screen, touch is downright unreliable.  Pinch and zoom can get spotty, and when I’m using the NC while charging, man, it goes nuts.  The iPad, it is not.  Sure, I deal with it.  Sure, I’ve learned to be patient.  But it can definitely see some improvement.
  • Nook Library: It’s a pain.  The “official” NC library only shelves books bought from B&N and personal files you’ve transferred to the Nook App.  Because I don’t buy from B&N (long story), and because all of my eBooks (personal and library) go through Adobe Digital Editions, I use ADE as my main cataloguing software, although, believe me, I wish this wasn’t the case.  Because of this, all the non-B&N books appear in a separate folder called My Files.  This doesn’t look nearly as nice as the library, and doesn’t permit organizing into shelves and whatnot.  And I really, really hate ADE.  But I’m stuck.

I know nothing is perfect, and I do recognize the NC’s shortcomings.  I also haven’t explored the audio side, not being a big audio book listener and not bothering to load songs onto the device.  But I love the instantaneous page turns.  I love reading The Bernstein Bears and The Redemption of Althalus with equal fidelity to the hard copy.  I love being able to take 700-page books that normally I’d have to confine at home and read them on the subway.  And I sure love taking the Internet outside of the house.  In short, the Nook Color fits my needs almost perfectly.

– Jean AAR

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments