back to article Barnes & Noble Nook HD and HD+ hands-on review

Giant US book retailer Barnes & Noble is coming to the UK, setting up shop here to sell e-books online rather than finding a foothold in the High Street. Its weapons against established retailers and arch-rival Amazon: the Nook Simple Touch GlowLight 'backlit' E Ink e-book reader and a pair of new tablets able to take the fight …

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  1. Bart Tyszka

    "There's room for improvement, for sure..."

    On a tech site you can't leave a comment in the air such as the one above without backing it up.

    What are the deficiencies of the Nook GlowLight?

    Specifically, it would be useful to know how it compares with it's competitors: Kindle Paperwhite and Kobo Glo.

    As the Kindle Paperwhite will not be released in the UK until next year (spring?), the Kobo Glo is the main UK competitor.

    Other than the Glo having better resolution and the Glowlight having physical buttons, how do they compare?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "There's room for improvement, for sure..."

      It means that the light on the screen isn't completely even, but that it does the job. (The previous sentence said that the light lit the screen as evenly as possible) Do a Google Image search for 'Nook Glowlight" and the pictures will give you a better idea than words.

      You ask how it compares to a product that you noted yourself isn't yet released in the UK, and is delayed in the US. OK.

      http://www.techfragments.com/1632/kobo-glo-kindle-paperwhite/ - apparently the Kobo's batteries only last half the time of the Kindle Paperwhite's.

  2. Greg 16

    Kobo?

    "Amazon has, at last, some very strong competition on its hands."

    Kobo's are pretty popular in the UK - no where near as popular as kindles, but their products compare very well.

    1. Monkey

      Re: Kobo?

      Then they aren't strong competition for the Amazon Kindle are they if they are no where near as popular!

  3. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    But what about Kindle books?

    Surely without a way to protect your investment in Amazon ebooks its missing a trick? A fairly major one if you have a significant investment in Kindle coded eBooks?

    No Im not talking about offline conversion via Calibre. Im talking about something seamless that happens on the device that consumers not geeks can use. Just like when I swap between the same kindle ebook on my iPhone and iPad.

    Other than that they look like great piece of kit - especially if they are rootable to jellybean.

    1. Rich 2
      Mushroom

      Re: But what about Kindle books?

      And therein lies the rub. Not just with this, but with the Kindle, anything with 'i' at the start of its name, and several other offerings.

      I really do think we've gone backwards - back in the 70's there were the Unix wars and other such events which basically revolved around big companies trying to lock-in their customers. Everyone sighed with relief when this all came to an end with the open architecture that was the PC. Even when MS got its claws on it, it's Mickey Mouse OS's were still pretty open and you could pretty much do what you liked.

      Since Apple started to rise from the ashes, we have (and still are) inexorably falling back into a culture of lock-in. Except it's arguably even worse now because what is being locked-in is stuff that has previously been open and freely available (and no, I don't mean pirate-able), like music, and books and other media. I'm guessing it will go on for a few years (maybe a decade or so) before someone comes up with another "PC" and suddenly everyone will be sighing with relief at the "new" open architecture that we can pretty much do anything we like with. Until then, it looks like walled gardens (gilded prisons) , lock-in and general control over what we do and what we don't do with stuff we've bought will continue for some time.

  4. Haku

    If you can't root it you don't own it.

    Having such capable tablets being locked into the parent companies own app store means you can't use the vast Google Play store without rooting the device, which is like buying a Ferrari that has been speed limited to 40mph with a satnav which doesn't have the motorways in its database - a sad trend indeed.

    .

    sent from my rooted Nook Tablet

    1. I'm Brian and so's my wife

      Re: If you can't root it you don't own it.

      I'm interested to hear what you've gained by rooting your device. I have a Sony PRS-T1 and I'm wondering about doing stuff like downloading a book off my NAS via FTP, while I'm out and about. I just want to wait until I'm out of the warranty period before I root it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If you can't root it you don't own it.

        one thing you appreciate immediately when you root, is that you can block those (...) ads. And other communications between you, third, fourth and fifth parties, all carefully selected - for milking your wallet, directly and indirectly.

      2. Haku

        @I'm Brian

        In my case it enables you to take control of the device instead of being an extension to the store, cutting ties & automatic updates etc, allowing you to have USB host capabilities to connect a USB keyboard or memory stick etc.

        The B&N app store isn't that big and doesn't hold all the apps the Google Play store does, so a rooted device allows you to get all those apps B&N don't want you to have. And if for some reason an app is pulled from a store and you can find the .apk to download you can still install it (but like computing in general: beware of rogue programs)

        The Nook Tablet allows you to boot from the micro SD card enabling you to boot CyanogenMod7 without needing to root the device so you can try another OS and see if you want to root the NT and install that OS on its internal storage. I wonder if the new Nook HD will allow you to do this or if they've locked the devices down even more than the Tablet.

    2. Great Bu

      Re: If you can't root it you don't own it.

      "a satnav which doesn't have the motorways in its database" - a Ferrarri running iOS 6 then ?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you can't root it you don't own it.

      With that title I didn't know whether you were talking about your tablet or your other half

  5. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Nice

    Hopefully a bit of competition will encourage Amazon to get its finger out & make the Kindle paperwhite available in Europe sooner rather than later.

  6. algoc
    WTF?

    Radians

    "a patent-pending array of angles" ??

    You can patent angles?

    1. nichomach
      Joke

      Re: Radians

      Don't be obtuse. Though if you can patent rounded corners...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Who would of thought it ?

    Microsoft selling Linux. It had to happen one day ;)

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303916904577375502392129654.html

  8. frank ly Silver badge

    re. multiple user profiles

    " ...drag down from the top of the screen and tap a photo icon to activate one – allowing a tablet to be easily shared among family members."

    I assume a profile/user password is required to protect kids from fifty shades of bad writing?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: re. multiple user profiles

      I did like the way the Google Play store placed 'Fifty Shades' in its 'For you' list... Based on what? All I had done on the Play store was to look at and download some Android games and apps that would be suitable for pre-teens, and yet it recommends Fifty Shades of Grey to me!

      1. Archimedes_Circle
        Devil

        Re: re. multiple user profiles

        You know, the average bodice ripper has the equivalent of a us 3rd grade reading level of difficulty.So actually, the profile is more accurate than you'd think.

  9. Glostermeteor

    All this competition is great for the consumer, anything thinking of buying a tablet now should hold off until Christmas at least as prices are going to plummet! The only problem I see with this is you are not going to convert people like me who already have bought loads of Kindle books without some kind of incentive, or a way of loading up the Android Kindle app on to the device so I can at least read the books I've already bought!

  10. nichobe
    Pint

    Android Tablet Profiles

    When this arrives i will buy.

  11. zedthegreat
    Go

    User Profiles

    This product isn't for me....but the user profiles are definitely interesting. I own a tablet that is wi-fi only and never leaves the house. Between me and the significant other there is a constant battle over favourites, single sign-in apps / websites etc. But am I shelling out £hundreds for a tablet each? Nup. I am Scottish after all.

    The sooner this is a standard features the better.

  12. The New Turtle

    If the HD+ is rootable then that would be serious iPad competition.

    For those who view KOBO as competition for Amazon, we have a Touch, and it is often painfully slow and with the latest software 'updates' inclined to freeze randomly. Compared side by side in a store, the basic kindle and the touch seem to perform similarly, but out in the real world (after adding books and being forcibly ugraded) there is no comparison.

  13. mrmond

    Bluetooth or GPS

    Does this have either ?

    I use my phone for satnav but want to get a tablet soon.

    Not nothered if it doesn't have GPS but if it has Bluetooth I can connect an external unit, something I do with the phone so I can save battery and have the phone anywhere in the car with voice instructions.

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Bluetooth or GPS

      From what I've seen on slashgear, BT yes, GPS no. The deal breakers for me are no 5 GHz wifi and custom cables to drag around for USB and HDMI. Someone please build a tablet with 802.11abgn and standard ports.

  14. Magnus Ramage

    Authorised users only

    Do Julie and Emma know that you borrowed their Nooks?

  15. JCB
    Happy

    I'm with Android

    On my own experience, I would suggest sticking with a straight Android tablet. I've been reading The Times (Pressreader app), New Scientist (Zinio app), library books, Kindle books, TV listings, etc. on mine for several months now. I'm not bothered by the LCD display, 1024 x 768 resolution on an 8 inch screen seems fine. Battery life could be better, but meets my needs. As it is a straight forward tablet, I don't need to root it. I don't see any need for a dedicated e-book reader. I can stick in microSD cards, I can attach USB devices, including mouse and keyboard via a hub and a 1TB external HDD, if I want to (I don't really). A backlit screen is great for reading in bed and I can look things up on Wikipedia or the web if I feel like it. I don't see any need for a dedicated e-book reader. But then I read books on a CRT screen under DOS in the olkd days (but not in bed). And as the tablet's not tied to a publisher, I can upgrade to a newer faster one in a year or two if I like.

    I think the upgrade I would really like to add is windscreen wipers to automatically wipe away the finger smears.

    1. Lallabalalla
      Thumb Up

      Re: I'm with Android

      For me the big advantage of a simple ereader is - quite apart from battery life and easy-on-the-eyes display - that it is not in demand by the rest of the household for web browsing, game playing, movie-watching etc. That has to be done on some *other* device, leaving me able to simply *read a book* - in peace!

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