Most helpful positive review
57 of 63 people found the following review helpful
DON'T BELIEVE THE NEGATIVE REVIEWS re: NOOK COLOR COMPATIBILITY!!!
on September 2, 2012
First of all, I have no personal connection or interest or even knowledge of the company that manufactures this charger, so please rest assured that this is indeed an objective review.
Second, much of this review details the rationale I use to debunk the claims made by the negative reviewers. If you're not interested in this, just scroll down right now to the part of the review between the rows of asterisks below.
Furthermore, I rarely write product reviews but I felt compelled to do so for this product, because, from what I can tell based on the numerous 1-star reviews for it (some of which are barely literate, which automatically begs the question of how thoughtful or reliable their authors are), it is being unfairly panned not because of product defectiveness but due instead to a confluence of two factors: (a) poor product design on the part of BARNES & NOBLE, not the manufacturer of this charger (whose name I don't even know; I'm guessing they're making these things on the cheap somewhere in the hinterlands of China), and (b) mental laziness / lack of faith on the part of the above-mentioned 1-star reviewers.
Just as importantly, it really rankles me that B&N is literally raking in at least 1000% profit on these chargers, as demonstrated by the fact that this dinky $2.99 (INCLUDING shipping, mind you) charger, happily charging the Nook Color on my desk as I write this, works just as flawlessly as the official B&N charger that came with my Nook Color (which I somehow misplaced during a recent move), which they are charging $30 + shipping to replace. What rankles me even further is the fact that the clever people over at B&N clearly designed these chargers purposefully to discourage OEM manufacturers from mimicking them, since they could have easily gone with a simple micro-USB charging system, instead of this slightly-almost-micro-USB-but-not-quite version that is absolutely-definitely-positively not compatible with your run-of-the-mill, dime-a-dozen micro-USB charger.
Combine that with the oft-cited customer complaint that these B&N chargers have a habit of crapping out prematurely, and you have yourself a tidy little money-making scheme, as far as I'm concerned. Not quite fraudulent, since of course they have the right to design their device any way they please, but decidedly underhanded. Granted, to their credit they do offer replacements for these free of charge if the device is within the one-year warranty period, but how many people are throwing away their Nook Colors after only a year of use?
Bear in mind that what I describe below is a hypothesis, since I have no proof that the reviewers leaving negative reviews did not, in fact, all receive defective chargers, while the sizable contingent of 4 & 5-star reviewers all received working ones. While this is theoretically plausible, it seems much less likely than the hypothesis I am about to propose, for the simple reason that these chargers clearly do not require an MIT-trained faculty of electrical engineers to produce. They are just plain old micro-USB chargers with a slightly longer male connector (the shiny metal thing at the small end of the cord) than normal, which is the modification B&N made to their charger design *precisely* to render their Nook Colors incompatible with run-of-the-mill micro-USB chargers.
Which brings me to the first part of my argument, which is that all the reviewers who contemptuously dismiss the charger out of hand and "toss it in the junk drawer because it looks like an old cell phone charger" are missing the point entirely. THIS CLEARLY **IS** A MODEL BASED ON AN OLD CELL PHONE CHARGER, JUST WITH THE CONNECTOR SLIGHTLY ELONGATED TO FIT THE NOOK COLOR. That's why it's so cheap!! So you can dismiss the negative reviews based on this rationale as entirely baseless & irrelevant.
The thornier issue is: why are there so many people claiming that they tried using the charger but it didn't work? I believe I can provide some insight into this, because I was nearly fooled myself. The problem lies in the design of the Nook Color itself. Back when I had the standard-issue charger, I relied on the handy little green-glowing "n" at the end of the charger to tell me that an electrical current was in fact being delivered. Since these OEM knock-offs don't have that feature (though it does have the old-school-cell-phone-charger little red LED on the plug end), you have to rely on the Nook Color itself to tell you that it's charging. Here's where the problem lies, at least when you've got a Nook Color that has completely drained its battery, as I did.
[A side note: human nature dictates that 'completely drained' is probably the condition of the Nook Colors (Nooks Color?) belonging to most if not all of the purchasers of this or any replacement charger, especially if you've lost yours, because you're probably going to hold out hope that "it'll turn up somewhere" before shelling out money for a brand-new one.]
So the problem is as follows: when your Nook Color runs completely out of juice, its screen will go completely black. Then, if you try to turn it on, it will display a dim, barely perceptible image of a battery symbol & plug symbol, which is obviously its way of telling the user that it needs to be plugged in & re-charged. However, the image that's displayed when it IS plugged in & charging, BUT BEFORE IT'S DRAWN ENOUGH POWER INTO THE BATTERY TO FULLY TURN ON, is almost identical. There's nothing that says "unit is currently charging, please wait until battery is sufficiently charged before attempting to turn on" or anything to that effect. So, unless you're paying close attention, you will plug in this OEM charger, see this image, reasonably conclude that the Nook Color is not charging, which will immediately confirm your already high index of suspicion that the price was too good to be true & the knock-off charger is in fact a piece of crap.
However, I did notice this slight difference, which persuaded me to give the charger the benefit of the doubt instead of tossing it straight into the trash as I probably would have done otherwise (after all, it only cost me $2.99, so what have I really lost?). So, I instead left the Nook Color plugged in overnight & attempted, still admittedly skeptical, to turn it on the following morning. Lo & behold, the Nook Color was fully charged! I have since used this charger many times & it always works like a charm.
IN CONCLUSION, if your Nook Color is totally drained, give this charger the benefit of the doubt! If you have a Nook Color with a completely drained battery, this is how to tell if it's actually charging when you plug it in:
When you try to turn it on & it's not charging, it will briefly flash (in white against an otherwise black screen) a battery symbol with a line drawn through it, and underneath this will be a small plug symbol with an arrow pointing to a small lightning bolt symbol. Then it will automatically shut back down. This means the battery is drained & you have to plug it in to charge it before it will work again.
HOWEVER, if you try to turn it on when it's plugged in BUT BEFORE IT'S CHARGED ENOUGH TO TURN BACK ON, the Nook Color displays a slightly different symbol before it shuts back down automatically: you will see the same small plug, arrow & lightning bolt, but instead of the battery, you will see an exclamation mark inside a triangle, kind of like a "yield" traffic sign. This means the battery is charging, but doesn't have enough juice yet to turn the device back on.
DEAD BATTERY SYMBOL = NOT CHARGING & not enough battery to turn on.
TRIANGLE EXCLAMATION MARK = CHARGING & still not enough battery to turn on.
Thus, if you see the triangle exclamation mark symbol when your Nook Color is plugged in using this OEM charger, that means THE CHARGER IS WORKING, just be patient! Give it enough time to charge & eventually you will be able to turn the Nook Color back on. Once you've charged it up enough to turn it on, I've found you can operate it while it's plugged in, even with a mostly drained battery. Might help to turn down the brightness a little bit to conserve energy in this case.
Okay, good deed done for the day. On to finding some other way to procrastinate....