It’s been a few years since Barnes & Noble released a new Nook tablet. It’s been nearly 10 years since the first Nook hit the market and while the Nook hasn’t exactly taken over the tablet market, it’s always been a good affordable option. For the first time, Barnes & Noble is partnering with Lenovo on their newest Nook 10″ HD tablet. I took it for a test to see if this budget friendly tablet is a good option for your family.
My first reaction to the new Nook 10″ when pulling it out of the box was good! It’s a very solid tablet that feels high-end. You’ll notice the back of the tablet is a grey metal. This is a nice change from most tablets in the price category that use plastic on the back. The Nook 10″ HD feels more solid than most comparable tablets.
You have your standard power and volume buttons on the right, USB-C charging/data port on the bottom, some type of POGO charging contacts on the side and a standard headphone jack on the top. The headphone jack is important for many families and it’s nice to see.
The speakers are placed on the right and left side of the tablet when the device is in horizontal orientation. This is clearly designed for watching TV shows and movies. The tablet also claims to offer Dolby Atmos sound. In my testing, it sounded fine but I wouldn’t exactly call it surround sound. Expect typical tablet sound from the Nook 10″ HD.
The 10.1″ screen on the Nook looks great with a 1280×800 resolution. The screen is bright and colorful. There are also two cameras on the Nook. a 5 Megapixel front-facing camera for video calls and a 8 Megapixel camera on the back. Both cameras took decent pictures and video. You won’t be replacing your phone with these cameras but they’ll do a good job especially for video calls and quick videos and snapshots. I would say these cameras are good enough and exactly what I would expect in a tablet at this price.
The really nice thing about the Nook 10″ HD is that Barnes & Noble and Lenovo pretty much left Android alone. There are a few user interface tweaks here and there but the software is very close to stock Google Android. This is a good thing! It means you’re getting the Android experience very close to how Google intended. It also means that you can usually install most 3rd party Android apps without any problems. For example, the Amazon Fire tablets are great but not every app is available in the Amazon app store. The Nook, on the other hand, offers the standard Google Play store and most Android apps will run on this tablet without any issues.
You will notice that the Barnes & Noble bookstore software is baked into the tablet, as expected. The default home screen has a few widgets that show the book you are currently reading, your recent purchase and quick links to various sections of the online bookstore. As with any standard Android home screen you can re-arrange or remove these widgets to your liking. I found them to be great quick links to the Barnes & Noble offerings without taking over the tablet.
The e-reading software is a polished experienced. Page turns give you that cool page flip animation, the interface is simple and intuitive. It’s exactly what you would expect from a company like Barnes & Noble. The high-resolution 10″ screen works well for reading. There is also an “eye protection mode” that blocks the blue light in the screen.
What’s the catch?
A solid tablet with a good screen, reliable software and a metal back… what’s the catch? Well, there isn’t really a catch but in my testing it just didn’t feel as “snappy” as I would like. This tablet runs most apps well but it felt slight underpowered. The tablet has an octa-core 2.3 Ghz processor and 2GB of RAM although Barnes & Noble doesn’t say exactly which processor that is. Everything worked great but you can feel the need for a faster processor, more RAM or a combination of both. Problem is, those cost more money and the price tag of this 10″ tablet would have to be higher for that to happen. There is your typical give and take for a budget tablet.
For the price, it doesn’t get much better than this. The Nook 10″ HD feels great with a metal back and glass front, looks good with a nice 10.1″ HD screen and is a pleasure to use with a nearly stock Android experience and some unobtrusive expected Barnes & Noble widgets. If you’re not looking for the fastest, snappiest tablet in the world but want something that will be reliable for reading books, surfing the web and watching video, you won’t be disappointed. Just know, it’s not a $400 powerhouse and doesn’t promise to be.
You can buy the newest Nook tablet built by Lenovo directly from Barnes & Nobile right now for $130.