Barnes & Noble has recently introduced a less expensive version of its Nook Tablet that’s positioned to be more directly competitive with Amazon’s Kindle Fire. The new Nook has a smaller 8GB of storage space and 512MB of RAM (which matches Fire). It’s also priced at $199 (which also matches Fire). So now the choice between the two is even more evenly matched. Which one to choose now?
Here’s a link to a preliminary review about the new Nook Tablet. The article outlines some of the changes between the versions of the Tablet, as well as comparing to the (newly discounted) Nook Color and the Fire. The bottom line is that it really depends on what exactly you want your eReader to do. (Another article, although comparing the original Nook Tablet to the Kindle Fire, still gives a creat comparison of the two.)
Basically, it all comes down to what features you want. Nook Tablet has a slightly nicer screen, physical buttons for volume and the home screen, longer battery life, and a microSD card slot (which is a huge selling point for me). Kindle Fire has cloud storage and tight integration with Amazon Prime, which gets you lots of “free” books, movies, and other things (for $79 a year). Kindle’s features, of course, are only available if you’re connected to the Internet through the built-in wi-fi connection. Then again, wi-fi is available almost anywhere these days, so that’s not too much of a restriction. And, if you don’t already have a Netflix account (or even if you do), Amazon Prime is a pretty good deal if you’ve got a Kindle to use to access all that free and discounted multimedia.
Personally, I think this gives Nook Tablet an even bigger edge over the Kindle Fire. In addition to dropping the price, Barnes & Noble has said that the new Tablet will have more space allocated for personal files and apps loaded onto it, and that the original can be tweaked to balance storage as well. Originally, only 1 GB of the whole 16 available could be used to store files not purchased from the B&N website. Customers complained, and now that restriction is being lessened to half the available storage (4GB for the 8GB Tablet, and 8 for the 16). Of course, there’s always that SD card slot to add more storage, too.
In getting ready to write this, I looked around for fully functional Android tablets that might compare to these two. While I found a lot that are cheaper, none offered the same RAM or the same screen resolution (1024 x 600 for both Nook and Kindle compared to 800 x 480 for most tablets). Still, it’s a tradeoff to go for one of these: cheaper price and a real tablet in exchange for unknown reliability and customer support.
Overall, the tablet market is certainly becoming much more mainstream, and better things are sure to come. What are your thoughts? Please comment and let me know!