I was lent a Barnes and Noble nook HD tablet to review a couple of months ago, and subsequently given a nook HD+ to use. You can read my full thoughts on the tablet in my nook HD review, but in summary I thought it was a good tablet, excellent hardware for the price, the best profile system I’ve seen for multiple users, but let down by the limited app selection since Barnes and Noble were running their own (small) App Store.
So I must confess the nook HD+ has been languishing on the side in the kitchen whilst I’ve stuck with my iPad mini, and the the geekdaddy has been using his Nexus 7.
Well, last Friday that all changed. I think the nook HD just became the best Android tablet on the market today…
Last Friday Barnes and Noble rolled out a patch to the nook HD and HD+ which granted full access to the Google Play Store. They simultaneously reduced the price of both tablets aggressively for a limited time to tie in with the “get reading” event. This means the nook HD and HD+ are now fully functioning Android tablets, with the benefits of Barnes and Noble’s gorgeous hardware (the nook HD, for example, has the best resolution screen and is the lightest 7 inch tablet on the market today) and their user profile system.
When I reviewed the nook HD I had the chance to have an audio conference with a nook spokesperson. I told them that I thought the one “killer app” they should get on their platform was Amazon’s Kindle app. I wondered if I was being cheeky, but I felt it needed to be said. After all, a lot of people have invested in Kindle content because it is available on so many different platforms, and people don’t want to buy the same books all over again if they change tablets. The spokesperson made a very non-committal answer, and I got the feeling nothing could be done.
So that’s why the first app I tried to download from the Google Play store after updating my nook HD+ was the Amazon Kindle app. And I’m sure you can imagine my delight when I saw it was available! So now I can enjoy all my Kindle content on my beautiful nook hardware – it really is the best of both worlds.
One of the things I commented on in my original nook review was the lack of BBC iPlayer. Whilst you can now install the BBC iPlayer app from the Google Play store, it requires the additional BBC Media app to be able to play anything, which feels a little clumsy. But it works, and you can watch iPlayer content on the tablet now which you couldn’t before.
What tells me that this is now a great tablet is that I have noticed the geekdaddy is starting to use it in preference to his Nexus 7. Yes, since the update he’s started picking it up more and more (although he’s pretty much only playing Miniclip 8-ball pool on it – his new favourite game!). I reckon that’s the best recommendation I can give. The nook HD+ is £20 more expensive than the Nexus 7 at the moment, but that extra £20 gives you a 9 inch tablet instead of 7, and an SD card slot for additional storage. It’s a great buy. And if your finances won’t stretch that far, how about a nook HD for just £129?
I think the tablet market just got really interesting… 🙂
This blog post is also available in enhanced audio format – you can listen in the player below, or, if it’s not available, click on this link to listen on the Audioboo website.
Disclosure: I was provided with a nook HD+ for review purposes