Customer Reviews: Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet 16gb (Color, BNTV250)
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on December 31, 2011
Initially I was happy with my Nook Tablet (NT). I downloaded some of my pdf files, checked my email, got on the web, and got a couple of reading materials from the Nook store....then I looked at the apps selection of the B&N store -- jeeze, very limited. I had read multiple enthusiastic reviews talking about downloading third party apps, went online and was very happy to download several of the same apps I use on my smart phone that are not available on the B&N store. I got a few apps, sideloaded them, and was happy. At this point I would say I would have given 4.5 stars if I reviewed it right then and even told my friends and patients the same. Then I turned on my NT right before Christmas, and the third party app capability had disappeared. I discovered that the 1.4.1 firmware update that was pushed to us unsuspecting users had disabled the capability of third party apps. Talk about disappointed -- The main reasons I got the NT (instead of a Kindle Fire) were #1 the android OS that allows you to run literally thousands of apps, and #2 the memory card expansion slot. Now, with third party apps locked out, the NT in my eyes has significantly lost value, in fact it really isn't much more than an eReader now -- and I could have spent a lot less and got either a black/white version or nook color if an eReader is all I wanted. It was marketed as a "Nook Tablet" and that is what I expected when I bought it. Now I am really thinking hard about taking it back. Nook "tablet" my foot - without decent apps, this thing is basically a nook color that costs a lot more. This is a totally bone headed move on B&N's part, and very draconian. I understand that they want users to buy content from them instead of a competitor -- OK, fine, but how about offering some content in terms of apps that I want or need? What about free apps from other sources that you wouldn't make money on anyway? What about the apps I already paid for via the android store that I use on my smart phone, that I am allowed by their EULA to put on more than 1 device, say my NT plus my smart phone? I would love to put some of those apps on my NT, but either B&N wants me to buy another copy from them now just to use on my Nook, or I am just SOL if they don't have it available in their store. How many times do I really need to pay for Angry Birds? Do you think people buy MP3s from iTunes, then turn around and buy the same MP3s from Google, then turn around and buy the same MP3s from Amazon? Well, then why should B&N insist that you do? I don't have a huge issue with them steering customers back to them, if they just offered more selection in their app store. Have a look at the android market - I think they have over 50,000 apps, Look at the Amazon app store -- over 24,000 apps (many free) -- I know that is their competitor, but they need to improve their own selection if they want to keep me as a customer. They have basically said to their customers you buy from us, or you buy from no one. You lock people down, you tell them you only buy from one source (B&N) and then offer a pittance when compared to your competition, and even charge for some apps that are free elsewhere, or charge for apps the customer has already bought somewhere else previously, then don't be surprised when customers leave you for other products. The Nook has superior hardware, but it doesn't mean Jack if you can't have the software you need/want in order to utilize the hardware -- like I said I'll probably take it back to the store. I'd rather have a Kindle Fire or true android Tablet so that I can use the software I want to use. And now when my friends and patients ask, I am now telling them to buy something else where you can actually use the software you want - I have totally came around 180 since the B&N "update" stripped one of the best capabilities out of the Nook Tablet. Totally disappointed in B&N for this move.
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on December 29, 2011
I bought a Nook Tablet based on the principle that it was much more than an eReader and was backed by an upstanding company in Barnes & Noble.

At the price point the hardware is truly magnificent with a wonderful screen, fast processor, good storage capacity and an SD card. I didn't need the GPS and cameras that are 'missing'. The 7" form factor turned out to be ideal for my purposes.

The selection of eBooks from Barnes & Noble is excellent and even the magazines I bought are more than readable. Netflix video quality, while not High Definition, is certainly High Quality and is simply stunning with the right movie and since I am a Netflix streaming subscriber already, was 'free' to me. So far so good.

Here's the rub. The selection of apps from B&N is truly pitiful. I mean, worse than you can imagine. Now combine this with the fact that the standard email client as installed on the NT is very basic and limited and the standard web browser is little better. There are no replacements in the app store. None. What you see is what you get.

And something else makes it even worse. You can't add your Google accounts in order to sync with Google services such as contacts, calendar, reader etc.

The sad thing is the hardware is MORE THAN capable of running all these services but is being prevented from doing so by the B&N tablet software and their 'walled garden' approach - similar to that adopted by Apple but without their huge app store and connected services to create the illusion that you are not in an ecosystem prison.

There were originally two ways that NT owners could enhance the tablet but B&N are now attempting to close both of these paths with their latest operating system 'upgrade' (version 1.4.1) that is automatically installed on your Nook Tablet when you connect to the internet. They issued this 'bug fix' release on December 23rd. Bah humbug is right.

1. 'Sideloading' of applications was possible on version 1.4.0 and this let you install applications from sources other than B&N's paltry selection. So, for instance, you could install Dolphin Browser for tabbed web browsing and gesture input or Skitmail for a real email experience. Now that's all gone and you get no option to add apps that B&N don't have - which is most of them. My guess is that for most users, sideloading would have resolved the issue of the inadequate B&N app store. had they been smart, B&N would have delayed implementing the blocking until they could dramatically increase their selection of apps.

2. 'Rooting' the tablet is a way to bypass the B&N controls and open up the tablet to the full Android experience which not only means access to the Google market and Google apps but also to 'superuser' functions to enable enhanced control of the operating system. This is not for novices and requires some technical understanding of the Android operating system so likely only a very small number of advanced users would ever attempt this. B&N have attempted to block this too. Really? What exactly is the point B&N?

So, what we have here is a truly excellent piece of hardware with a fantastic eReader infrastructure capable of doing so much more than it is permitted to do by Barnes & Noble. Their motivation is to force users to buy only from them - which as Apple have proved - is perfectly okay if you make the selection big enough. Problem is, the selection is totally, hopelessly, unbelievably inadequate. Barnes & Noble will still have a huge hit on it's hands because many people have relatively simple needs. The pity is it could have been a massive home run in their battle to stay alive in the space they compete for with Amazon.

So what to do? With a heavy heart I will likely return my gorgeous Nook Tablet and spend just a little more for a real 7" tablet upon which I will install a Nook app and be very happy. I simply don't have the time, patience or inclination to fight a company that has proven it just doesn't 'get it'.

Know what you are getting into before you buy.
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on November 29, 2011
I bought the Nook Tablet yesterday. It took less then five minutes to set-up since I already have earlier version of the Nook (Nook Color) and an account with B&N. It quickly synced with my purchased content & downloaded the magazines I subscribe. The tablet is amazingly fast & easy to navigate. I watched a two hour movie from Netflix on it without interruption. It streamed the movie flawlessly. The picture quality was as good as the one on an HDTV. Only complaint I have is the sound volume but I understand that this is not an entertainment device, it is an e-reader. Sound quality is acceptable while streaming music via Pandora. The new tablet is bit lighter and screen is little brighter as well. And finally, the main function, reading experience is as good as on the older Nook color. I definitely recommend this reader.
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on January 2, 2012
Update 2-Sep-13:
Put on CM 10.2.2 (Android 4.2.2) last week. I've got to say, it's nice. Fonts are small, though one could choose dpi if they had visual issues (google this). Netflix works, and the UI is really quite nice - pretty much no need for Button Savior, battery life is same as CM7. In general I like it better than CM7. My major hardware dislikes are headphone jack requires a little wiggling sometimes, no BT, no GPS. Seems to charge fine with a normal cable.

At this point I lean toward Samsung tablets - I like the IR and the microSD slot.

Update Jul 2012: I've installed Cyanogen 7, which works with button savior. I had trouble installing from .zip booting into recovery but was able to install without a hitch using a bootable microSD card. Fonts are sometimes a bit big, as is line spacing, but in general, CM7 frees you of the B&N walled-ness, even as somewhat mitigated below. Netflix doesn't work, and Google Chrome won't run on Android 2.3. Headphone jack a bit intermittent - need to wiggle wire sometimes.

Original review, Dec. 2011.
First I give a summary, followed by the details if U are interested. I hope people will read reviews here, as, if you say much at all on B&N's site, they don't post your review and don't allow you to modify it so that U can post it!:

A Nook Tablet could be quite good if you only want to:
- Read ebooks purchased from B&N
- Browse the web on a tablet
- Play a small selection of games, having to pay 3-4X normal Android/Apple prices

Get something else or modify it if U want to:
- Buy a full selection of games/apps
- Pay the same price for a game as U would on an iPhone/iPad, Android Phone buying from either the Android Marketplace or Amazon App Store.
- Play music where U can sort by artist, album, genre, etc.
- Play mpeg videos
- Watch YouTube

If U are willing to do a bit of work, you can do all this by modifying the device. I used it rooted with the modifications described below for 11 months, before installing Cyanogen 7.2 on it. This is a huge improvement over rooted with the below modifications - it's essentially a normal 7" Android tablet now.

The Details:
My daughter got a Nook Tablet for Christmas 2011. She'd been saving for an iPad (~$500) but at the rate she was saving, we took pity after a year and a half.

While she does read (and so do us parents), she also wanted to use it as a music player, and a movie watching device while away from wireless in the car, on a plane, etc, and she wanted to play some games.

I did my reading and we seriously considered an iPad for the family with each of our 2 kids putting in $150 or so.

I read about the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet - the Fire only had 8GB of onboard storage at the time, and no micro SD slot. A deal-breaker. This was pre Samsung GalaxyTab, Nexus, etc. Since the Nook Tablet has 16GB and a micro SD slot, we went to a store to take a look. Sales guy was good, and the device hardware shows well. Once we got it home and were doing more reading about setup, we found the first of our issues:

Issue #1: Onboard Memory
Of the 16GB of storage, you can only place your own items in 1GB. The rest is for B&N-purchased content. 1GB is not enough for a music collection, or any significant amount of video. A 32GB Class 4 micro-SD card was also in her stocking, having read about this ahead of time.

Once she unwrapped it and we set it up (easy enough), annoyance #2 showed itself:

Issue #2: App prices and quantity
2 Examples: Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja.
- BN Market: $2.99, $3.95.
- Amazon's Android Market: $0.99 (ad-free), with free ad-supported versions available
- Android Market, $0.99 for either, plus free, ad-supported versions available.
- Apple App Store, $0.99 and $0.99, plus free, ad-supported versions available.

YouTube: free/pre-installed on all Android/Apple phones/tablets I know of, not available on the Nook Tablet, not in the Nook store.

I didn't buy either game, but instead looked back to some of my pre-Christmas reading - U can load Amazon's Appstore without rooting the device, esp. if it's running v1.4.0 of the software. I got that working and bought $0.99 ad-free Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds. While I was at it, I side-loaded a few other apps by e-mailing them to myself and web-browsing to get them, and got usb drivers working on an XP laptop so I could sideload via adb over usb.

I wasn't home for Christmas, but I did have my work laptop which has music on it. I copied some over and began to use the music player....

Issue #3: Built-in Music Player Limitations
The built-in music player in Android is decent - has been since Android 1.5 - the first version I used. U can, generally, sort by artist, album, etc, and the UI has dark backgrounds rather than white. The Nook built-in music player doesn't allow sort. For this, I didn't want to buy a music player, so I went ahead and rooted the device and installed Honeycomb's (Android 3.0's) music player, which is free. Also put the standard Android YouTube app on since I could now access the Android Market. The problem wasn't quite solved, because changes to the SD card (adding files) weren't recognized. I tried Winamp, Songbird and Android 4.0's music player when ICS came out. They had the same issue. TTPod does work - you can manually refresh at any time. I now run Cyanogen, whose music player (modified stock android to add gesture support) works just fine. They were aware of tablets when they wrote it.

This is ironic - B&N had to do actual work to make it much worse than using the normal android version, plus they had nice opportunities to improve on the experience of a phone due to the large screen - Cyanogen 7 Android supports gestures for music - do an arrow to the left like "<", say, and it'll go back a track. This would be great while driving.

(Note that U can unroot by putting a copy of 1.4.0 on an SD card which, though I'm not sure, would probably allow you to return the device if U needed to).

Issue #4: Built-in Video Player Limitations
I'd also brought on my work laptop half a dozen videos I nabbed from our TiVos from which I stripped the commercials, saving them as mpg videos. These wouldn't play with the built-in player.

I solved this with MX Player, free version, which plays them fine. U can do this only if U've installed Amazon's App Store or rooted and can access the Android Market. People out there are selling PC software to convert videos to a format Nook Tablet can use. No need - just get another video player. MX Player Tip: brightness control is an up/down swipe on the left hand side of the screen, volume on the right.

Issue #5: UI Inflexibility
U can't add shortcuts to the desktop, and can't do much with the sliding apple-style bar either. For this, I installed App Manager (tough to find a .apk to sideload using adb, so I needed rooting and then got it from Android Market). This is a fantastic app and I don't use my GoLauncher screen much any more.

Also, there's one physical button. Standard android buttons such as menu (right-click) and back aren't always around in the UI, and holding home doesn't bring up a list of open applications as it does in carrier or stock android. They should have put those standard 2 buttons on the device. Update after a month rooted: use Button Savior, which gives soft buttons with a flyout. Once in a while, you have to use NT Hidden Settings to check USB Debugging unless you use Cyanogen. Update post Cyanogen: CM7 can have soft buttons (back, menu, home, etc) displayed all the time, if desired, and has Button Savior installed as well.

Issue #6: Can only charge with their charger/cable
Nothing more to say. BlackBerries and Android phones in the house all can charge in the car or at all the computers by just connecting a cable. It charge very slowly, even if it doesn't tell you it is, when connected to a PC because or other charger. With some irony, B&N has had to mail me both a charger and a cable this year due to breakage. If they could charge with any micro-USB cable, they wouldn't have to. Update post-Cyanogen: With Cyanogen, it charges with any micro-USB cable, though slowly unless it's the actual Nook stuff - there must be something in hardware.

Issue #7: OTA update breaks all the niceness I've achieved
An OTA update, v1.4.1, will break the ability to mail yourself .apks to be used to enable non-BN apps to install and to enable debugging. I imagine U could have done these steps while on 1.4.0 and gotten sideloading via PC/adb to work, but U can't disable OTA updates. U can if you root, though, so I did, then used SQLite to modify a setting to only update when done manually. It'll never auto-update. Update post-Cyanogen: irrelevant now.

Goodness #1: Hardware is pretty sweet
Snappy, installs apps fine, opens them quickly, videos are fairly smooth, scrolling is pretty good (but not as nice as Apple's).

Screen is great from angles, clear and bright.

It's lightweight and can be held easily in one hand.

Speaker is pretty loud - louder than any of our phones except maybe BlackBerry.

Goodness #2: the Reading Aspect
The reading end of the device is well-implemented, though I give Amazon's original Kindle and all subsequent ones and advantage - an order of a book on an original kindle appeared on the device in less time than it took me to back out of the purchase UI. Doing so from the web is also very fast. A web order using a computer of a B&N sample appeared about an hour later, but quite snappily when done from the device.

Goodness #3: Books with Videos/Sound
Yes, these are available on Kindle Fire and iPads. I know. I do like the talking kid's books (reminds me of a LeapFrog Tag pen, but without the ability to touch words and hear them), and the free cookbook sample had a video of making a chocolate sauce. This is good for cooking! U can see what each stage is supposed to look like.

Goodness #4: Good if U Root it, for $250
When rooted, it's a nice tablet + it has the B&N connection, and it cost $250. It isn't an iPad (no cameras or BT), and it's half the price. Update Nov 2012: There are now a multitude of 7" tablets (ASUS, Samsung, Google) which get my recommendation.
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on December 3, 2011
I'm someone who has never owned a tablet before or anything similar. I am used to hard copy books and not ebooks. In fact I dislike reading ebooks on computer having tried a few times. Regardless I purchased this Nook tablet for reading and found it to be enjoyable and have read and finished a few books though I only owned it for about a week. It's comfortable in your hand though you'll have to find the right balance for yourself. Also, it is easy to use since I'm bad with technology and has smooth and fast reactions, as well as easy to turn the page.

Reading however was not my only objective, if it was the ereader would be great too and much cheaper but I wanted to use this as an organizer, entertainment, and just for mundane things. The Netflix, browsing, and games are great. The volume is a little low but putting on headphones solves the problem or a quiet area. Organizers are fine as long as you find the right app.

The batteries however are lacking in my opinion since I use it to read or entertainment for long periods of time I have to charge the battery daily or at maximum in two days. I think I watched something on Netflix for about 20 minutes and drained almost 5% on my batteries or a little less than that. Another troublesome thing is that at times the browser or app I'm using force closes. Though it doesn't happen too often I get irritated easily. Also, the screen smudges very easily you would probably want to get a screen protector for that if nothing else.

Great product without the apple price.

Don't purchase the cover or anti-glare from Barnes and Noble store it's really expensive and Amazon is cheaper.
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on September 20, 2012
Ever since NOOK came out with the Color I knew I wanted an e-reader & Kindle just never caught my interest. Later I got an excellent deal on a Tablet & GOD I LOVE IT (now to get a custom skin & cover <3)!!! Originally I bought it mainly because of the e-reader part, but I use it for all sorts of things, & I also take huge advantage of any nearby WiFi.

I love that the e-reader part has all kinds of size & font settings & you can adjust screen brightness to your needs. In my case mine is set to white letters with gray/black background & max brightness. Everything is very bright & easy to see & read. I also like the fact that, in the long run, I read a lot so hopefully this saves a few trees :). Granted not every book I want is currently purchasable in E-book form, but there already quite a few books (OK at least 1 or 2 hundred :P ) in my Wishlist. Purchases are easy & I like the double check feature because im the queen of accidental touch screen tapping :). Plus since I do animal rescue & am on a low LOW budget usually there are quite a few good free books as well & an app you can download that helps you find some good free, low cost, & top pick books :).

WiFi & otherwise im still getting used to some websites having phone app settings, which ill admit im not all that fond of, but other than that I couldnt be happier! Pages are also easy to see & manage, though a few times Ive overloaded the poor thing which has required a force close :(. Pretty sure thats my bad though. This also happened twice in e-reader mode. I tap too many things at once too fast.

In general I wasnt using mine too much at first because I was terrified that Id drop it & or ruin the screen. Since then Ive bought screen covers & use it a LOT more :P. Settings are easy to work with & even the pictures ive added to the "My Media" folder are bright & clear. I take online classes, & since most of my tests are multiple choice I find test taking easier & faster on my NOOK. My only complaint overall is that I use some of those pics as wallpaper & since they need to be stretched out for the home page it makes them blurry up close/enlarged. I dont mind that much though. Ive gotten used to it, & not all of the pics turn out blurry if set as wallpaper. Overall I am BEYOND satisfied with my NOOK Tablet, & I HIGHLY recommend it! Long live the NOOK!!!
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on November 26, 2012
A very good tablet! Preferred over the Kindle Fire because of the Micro SD Card port. The B&N Nook Store, unfortunately, is quite small; lacking the apps available on the Google Play store. It's dual-core 1 GHz processor is more than enough to plow through any game I've been able to throw at it. The 1 GB of RAM is also more than enough to handle anything. The battery life is also very good, lasting all day even if I play some graphics intensive games. I've never had it die on me. The bezel around the screen is one of the few issues with this amazing tablet, it tends to collect dust around the corners and if you're a bit OCD like me, that will bug the crap out of you. Also, rooting is really the only way to unlock this tablets true potential. Thankfully there are many very easy options out there if you don't know what you're doing. If you don't want to risk anything, creating a bootable MicroSD card with Cyanogenmod 7 on it makes this tablet unstoppable. There's also active development on the XDA-Forum with Cyanogenmod 10 which, as-of-right-now, runs very smoothly with infrequent issues. I bought the device shortly before the Nexus 7 was announced, with the intent of using it for testing my apps that I'm developing (I knew I would have to root it). I really regret not waiting a few more weeks to get the Nexus 7, as it is more powerful (not that it matters) and better for developers (being Google's official tablet). I have yet to get the ADB drivers to work on my computer, there seems to be an issue where it installs drivers for a USB Mass Storage device on Windows 7.

Overall, an amazing tablet. Great battery life, more power than most people will ever need, the Micro SD card port is the best part over other tablets in the same market (Nexus 7, Kindle Fire, iPad Mini, etc.). If you have a lot of data (movies, books, music, etc.) this is currently the best affordable choice.
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on June 20, 2012
Hi folks,
I have just purchased a brand new Barnes & Noble 16 GB Nook Tablet. I've been wanting an eBook reader for quite awhile, so I was really excited when it arrived by FedEx this morning.
I'm a disabled American Veteran, and on a very limited income, so I receive a small allowance each month for my personal items. I had to save for several months in order to purchase an e-book reader. I did a lot of Internet searches, reading, and comparing features before choosing the "Nook". I also based my choice on past experiences with Barnes & Noble (book stores). I never expected them to "ROB" me as they did.
I bought the Nook with my own money, and it is mine. Shame on you B&N for stealing from a loyal (ex) customer. I trusted you and you stole from me.
If any of you are thinking about a Nook, "Be YE Forewarned", B&N has a nasty little bit of firmware just waiting for you, on the Internet. This little thief will lock up your Nook so you will only be able to download books and apps from Barnes & Noble.
You will buy only the things they sell and you will pay their prices. There are so many free apps and ebooks available, but you will not be allowed to have them, if you purchase a Nook. If I had it in my power, I would have everyone to buy some other brand and teach the "Big Guys" a lesson on how to treat people. Had I known about this "Hi Jacking" of my property, I would not have purchased it. I hate to sound like I'm pissed off, but I am pissed off.
With all the nice features, the Nook would be a great piece of technology, were it not for the stinking little virus waiting for you out there in Cyber land.
Tom Mullis
PS: For those of you who know how, you can do this thing called, "rooting", but there are many of us who are not able to do this procedure. And I'm pretty sure Barnes & Noble will soon write a piece of software that will take the Nook back, and prevent you from doing it again. The folks at B&N are not dumb, they will figure it out. They are not dumb, but they are crooks, willing to cheat and steal for that, "almighty doller". So beware.
By the way, are there any lawyers out there willing to take on a "class action" suit? I do hope so. Tom
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on July 15, 2012
I bought this for my husband for his birthday after trying it out in BN and seeing how amazingly responsive it is. I did a lot of research and put a lot of thought into it, almost buying him a kindle fire because I thought it was more "manly" looking. After much consideration and comparison of hardware, I opted to get this one. The big selling point for me the fact that it can boot from the SD card. I have seen the N2A (Nook2Android) SD cards here on Amazon and wanted him to have that functionality but didn't want to pay that much for one, so I did some googling and figured out how to make one myself. I purchased a 16GB micro SD card and in about an hour and a half, had the thing booting to CM7 from the SD card, and now it has full tablet functionality. It runs AWESOME, super smooth and very responsive, full tablet capabilities including running 3rd party apps and access to the google play store, and all without rooting or voiding the warranty. All he has to do to put it back to stock is remove the SD card (which he never does! It is pretty much useless in its stock form unless you only do light web browsing and read ebooks) My husband LOVES it and couldn't be happier with it. He uses it every day. The only thing it doesn't have that I consider a negative is a camera. MY tablet (Acer Picasso) has a camera and I do actually use it quite a bit, but my husband says he wouldn't use one on a tablet so it doesn't bother him anyway. He also dowloaded Kingsoft Office and now uses this for work as well. Unbeatable hardware at an unbeatable price.... and don't let the restrictive stock software stop you from buying it... just go around it!!!
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on December 2, 2011
As a faithful owner of the nook color, I went to my B&N just to try it out.. and was absolutely wow'd!!! I purchased it immediately and sold my Nook Color. This Nook Tablet is much improved and well worth every penny! It's been 3 weeks and I am still amazed at the super-fast responsiveness, the crisp and vivid screen, the overall build quality, and the small drop in weight does make a noticeable difference to me. The interface received some touch-ups that makes usability much more pleasant and more organized. This tablet is powerful and packs a mean punch. I don't go anywhere without it! I came across the Fire yesterday and immediately lost interest after taking a glance at the cloudy-blurred looking screen and swiped my finger across it which in turn revealed a sluggish interface.. this 10 second interaction simply solidified that I made the right decision to upgrade to the Nook Tablet :) Hope this helps!
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