New-look Nook HD aims to be 'home of digital magazines'

New Barnes & Noble device just launched in UK 'matches up well' to Amazon's Kindle HD

LAST UPDATED AT 15:34 ON Fri 23 Nov 2012

A NEW player has entered the crowded tablet market with the launch of the Banes & Noble Nook HD and HD+. The US bookseller's latest devices went on sale in the UK this week and have been given a warm welcome.

The 7.7 inch Nook HD goes up against Google's Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD, while the HD+, which is a larger device with a 9.5in screen, is taking on the iPad and Nexus 10.

With the main players in the tablet market having already established their relative specialities, the Nook is seeking to set out its stall as "the home of digital magazines", says Matt Warman in The Daily Telegraph.

The interface, which allows users to flip pages, is "not new but it's neatly done", although some might feel as though it is not "sufficiently interactive".

Another selling point is the way the Nook HD is set up for multiple accounts. The idea of multiple users is a "key feature" says the Telegraph, which allows individual users "to personalise their tablet, or crucially to restrict it so that children are kept safe from the wider internet".

The tough casing and "rugged" design make it acceptable for kids as well. It is even a selling point in its own right. "It's the design that stands out," reports Channel 5's Gadget Show. "This really is nothing like an iPad: its plastic casing doesn't ooze sophistication, but it stands out, and feels almost friendly - like anyone is welcome to use it."

But the screen is also high quality, and is only just inferior to Apple's retina display. CNet UK describes the display as "bright, clear and colourful, and likely to do justice to high-resolution video or glossy digital magazines".

The Nook HD runs a "tweaked" version of Android, so it doesn't have full access to the Google Play app store. "If you want a small tablet with a full working version of Android, you're better off with something like Google's Nexus 7," says Preston Gralla of Computerworld.

But the new device is a marked improvement on previous Nook models and it matches up well against Amazon's Kindle HD. "Nook HD's screen is superior and overall the device is a much better and smoother performer," according to Gralla.

CNet UK concludes that it is more than a match for the Kindle Fire HD and HD+ but could come up short against Google's Nexus devices.

It occupies the same price bracket as its rivals. The 7in HD is available for £159 with 8GB storage or £189 for 16GB, while the HD+ is priced at £229 for 16GB and £269 for 32GB. · 

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