With reportedly 3 million units sold since its launch in the fourth quarter of 2010 and despite the inundation of new 7-inch tablets in the market, the NOOK Color has retained its appeal for a more particular type of crowd.
Most of the world knows that the NOOK Color is an E-book reader, and as such, it does an exceptional job–even unparalleled by newer 7-inch tablets. Yet, it also bears tablet-like features, although Barnes & Noble hardly use them as primary selling points. And, for this latter reason, the NOOK Color tends to be glossed over and overlooked by may tablet seekers.
Yet, there are several reasons why the NOOK Color is still worth looking at, even if reading E-books is not your primary reason for buying a tablet. Here are 4 reasons why:
Because it is being marketed as an E-reader, ease on the eyes is the NOOK Color’s most outstanding quality. The display is bright and sharp at 1024×600 resolution. Even when used under bright lighting conditions (e.g., indirect sunlight), the display stays eye-friendly. The back-lit VividView Color Touchscreen displays more than 16 million colors, producing text and images that are crisp and clear.
Part of the easy reading experience is the NOOK Color’s ability to let you organize your home page and your bookshelves so that your books are easy to access. You can choose from 6 different font sizes, you can change the font style and line spacing, and you can shift to a different background color. All these are part of the NOOK Color’s grand plan to make your e-reading enjoyable and easy.
Even the physical aspects of the NOOK Color are designed to give you that familiar feel of reading off a page of a paper-based book. It’s 5 inches by 8.1 inches and weighs less than 1 pound. Holding it in your hand is just like holding a paper-based book. Compared to the large screen sizes of the 10.1-inch tablets, the NOOK Color feels and looks more like a book than a tablet in your hand.
Reading is a time-consuming activity. While some texts are easy to digest, others require deep concentration and longer reading time. What good will your reading be if it is frequently interrupted by battery drain? In this area, the NOOK Color won’t fail you–until 8 hours after full charge, which is the approximate amount of time before the NOOK Color’s battery goes completely empty. That’s quite a big stretch of uninterrupted reading. Most other 7-inch tablets will last anywhere from 3.5 hours to 6 hours.
Flash and CyanogenMod
In short, rich-multimedia and hackability. Much of the Web today uses Flash in one way or another. Some sites are completely run on Flash, others use it only marginally. The whole point is that not being able to render Flash content can practically leave your tablet out from a lot of delicious multimedia content. NOOK Color, however, supports Flash, which started when it was recently upgraded to Android 2.2 Froyo.
But, there’s more–especially with CyanogenMod, which unlocks more of the NOOK Color’s tablet-like capabilities than Barne & Nobles would care to allow you to enjoy. The official NOOK Color is stuck with Android 2.2 Froyo, but lately others have succeeded in putting Android 2.3 Gingerbread into it and make it run games and more apps quite well. Others have also succeeded in bumping it up to Android 3.x Honeycomb.
That’s a really great price deal for a tablet with such great potential. The 10.1-inch Motorola XOOM commands a whopping US$ 500-600+ (though it has a superior processor and Honeycomb). Another 10.1-inch tablet, the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer (TF101), has an entry-level price of US$400. Still pretty steep. Even other 7-inchers like the Samsung Galaxy Tab or the Dell Streak 7 start at US$400.
At best, the NOOK Color is Barnes & Noble’s “almost-tablet.” Although you can argue that it, indeed, is a tablet with limited functionality, much is still left to be desired in the NOOK Color. But, at such a great price, perfect e-reading functionality, hackability, and battery longevity, the NOOK Color is worth taking a second look, don’t you think so?