First look: Barnes & Noble Nook in color for $249

First look: Barnes & Noble Nook in color for $249

Summary: Barnes & Noble unveiled its colorized version of the Nook e-book reader today, and I was lucky to get a hands-on look of the device. Let's take a look.

TOPICS: Tablets

Barnes & Noble unveiled its colorized version of the Nook e-book reader today, and I was lucky enough to get a hands-on look of the device. Let's take a look.

Let's start off with an unfortunate caveat. No one was really allowed one-on-one access time with the color Nook. Basically, B&N reps held up eight copies of the colorized versions of the Nook to the general public, who were allowed to snap photos and ask question from a distance a few millimeters to centimeters away.

[Image Gallery: Barnes & Noble's Nook in Color]

Let's go over some basic notes. The Android-based, 15.8-ounce device certainly felt portable once in my hands. There aren't many controls and buttons around the sides, leaving most of the decisions up to the Nook owner. Side buttons included power on/off, volume controls, the headphones jack, and a micro USB power jack. Other than that, the user decides how to control the colorized Nook via the 7-inch VividView color touch screen.

One of the best and immediately noticeable upgrades was page turn speed. This was known to be major problem with the original B&W Nook, which was known to have dragged-out page turrns compared to say, the Amazon Kindle. But thanks to a software upgrade for the original version plus some noticeable upgrades to the colorized edition, B&N has obviously been working on the problem. For actual page turn navigation, a user swipes the screen left to right for basic page turns in novel mode and then up and down in magazine mode. And if you want something to go from portrait to landscape mode (particularly for children's books), that shouldn't be a problem. When viewing the PR rep practice these steps, the function seemed relatively normal and straight-forward.

If this sounds like the e-book reader for you, know that it is will be available for the general public to pre-order on November 19 for $249, the familiar price for the original Nook before the grayscale version took a serious dip. Pricing for titles is centered around and based at $9.99 per title. Remember that the new Nook includes 8GB of storage space, equating to 6,000 Nook Books. That means numerous magazines, newspapers and colorized Nook books. But if that's not enough for you, don't forget about the microSD card slot that should expand storage exponentially for you.

Personally, I know that I won't go through that many titles - at least not any time soon. But the option of color is certainly enticing - especially when it comes to the option of magazines. Yet, there is still something holding me back from picking up a colorized Nook in general. I have a number of magazine subcriptions to begin with, and I certainly don't want to pay double, which would be required if I subscribed to the same magazine via Nook and print. Just because I already have a subscription for Elle doesn't mean I can view the magazine on an e-reader. I'd have to pick up a new subscription on the new Nook, which is costly and annoying.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of other pre-loaded options to pass the time like Sudoku, crossword puzzles, and the option of surfing the web via Wi-FI when the device launches on November 19. Because I don't want to pay for even more 3G and wireless provider fees, I find the Wi-Fi version to be a reasonable deal. Yes, $249 (plus shipping and taxes) is certainly a pretty price to pay for an e-book reader, but you'll certainly get more out of the edition than anything you've seen in the past. I'm still not sure if I'd pay that price (especially before any Black Friday sales), but this e-book reader is certainly better than most colorized version we've seen in the past for a reasonable price.

Topic: Tablets

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    You should check for facts before publishing... The 3G version of the nook includes the coverage for free. There are no additional fees or contracts. The coverage is included in the device.
  • RE: First look: Barnes & Noble Nook in color for $249

    It looks to me like NOOKcolor is going to be WiFi only. No 3G. And they are available to pre-order now. I did so this afternoon. Stores are expecting them "on or around November 19th" so if you reserve one in store, you can pick it up as soon as it gets there. Whether you order in store or online, shipping is free.
    • RE: First look: Barnes & Noble Nook in color for $249


      Given that there is a browser included and that since it is in color people will be more likely to use it frequently, it makes sense to not include 3G because people will not be using it to buy books and magazines anymore.
      Michael Kelly
  • RE: First look: Barnes & Noble Nook in color for $249

    It will be great if it increases reading among kids.

    Nevertheless, what I really hope for is that it will also motivate parents to read more to their kids, as now it will be more manageable to have a larger home library of children's books- even it you don't have the space.

    And that can only be applauded.

    Read Aloud Dad

    Read Aloud Dad
  • There are color alternatives available now.

    CRUZ Reader, $199 through Borders
    Augen Reader, $99 through K-Mart
    Augen Tablet, $149 through K-Mart

    These are all available right now at a significantly lower pricepoint. All are resistive touch colors screens, android based and offer tablet functions as well as expandability via integrated SD or MicroSD card slots. These come in well under the $249 price point listed in this article. And before all the RESISTIVE SCREEN complaints start these devices average 1/3 the price of an iPad with its capacitive screen and if a capacitive screen is a must the CRUZ Tablet will be available at Borders bookstores on 15 Nov for $299.
    • RE: First look: Barnes & Noble Nook in color for $249

      Thanks for the linkage. Im going to check them out.
    • 800x480


      :-( (nook is 1024x600)
    • RE: First look: Barnes & Noble Nook in color for $249

      I've been looking into the Cruz Readers and Tablets for a friend of mine. I had to steer her away from the Cruz Tablet. I am not very impressed with the company. Apparently, the processor is a "secret". They are NOT telling anyone what processor is in it until its released, yet they want your money! That's like ordering a new car and not being told what engine is in it. Ridiculous. It is only going to have Android 2.0, not 2.2, and that matters a lot. Android 2.2 supports Flash, and a few other enhancements. There's currently no access to the Android market on any of the tablets. That's Google, not the manufacturers. The community has a "hack" for most of them.

      My friend is going with the Archos 101 instead. It's a little more, but it's a multi-use device with a 10" screen. Even the 7 inch version will only be slightly more than either the color Nook or the Cruz Tablet.

      Anyone who wants a single-use device to read novels is better off with a regular e-ink reader. Color is nice for text books and any kind of computer book. Internet access is good for those type of books too, because there is often links for mor information. How often will you use the internet reading a novel?
  • RE: First look: Barnes & Noble Nook in color for $249

    It's nice to have a color option but I'll stick with my e-ink Nook. It reproduces the printed page so well it keeps the feel of a traditional book reading experience.
  • And there is also the Pandigital Novel

    The Pandigital Novel is a full color 800x600 resistive screen eReader which is also Android based, includes a browser and several applications out of the box like email, video player, etc.

    It has also been hacked by folks at with several different options (including the Cruz UI as the hardware of the Cruz is a virtual clone of the Pandigital hardware).

    These hacks turn the Pandigital into a 7" full color Android tablet computer which - because of the retail outlets selling it - can be obtained (after coupons and rebates) for around $100-$125.

    I have two and they are, in my opinion, the best price performer piece of computer gear out there right now.
  • RE: First look: Barnes & Noble Nook in color for $249

    Another step closer to an AAA Convergence device (AnyThing, AnyTime, AnyWhere).
  • RE: First look: Barnes & Noble Nook in color for $249

    It is backlit I assume. If yes, it's more like a tablet than a reader. My primary reason for getting a kindle was the e-ink screen. I'm already fixing backlit screens all day long. But it is always good for consumers to be able to choose the device that fits better their needs.
  • RE: First look: Barnes & Noble Nook in color for $249

    Battery Life?
  • RE: First look: Barnes & Noble Nook in color for $249

    I don't think I like the idea of a color eBook reader. Takes away from the e-Ink thing. I already read books on my iPhone, which strains my eyes horribly after awhile...which is why a Kindle is so appealing. If I wanted to read books in color on a bigger screen, I'd read them on my computer.
  • It's a cheap tablet!

    1. Page turns on the nook were due to limitations on the display, not the processor.

    2. It's a complete departure from e-Ink, which is to say, it weighs TWICE as much as a Kindle, gets 1/50 the battery life, and has lower contrast.

    3. This devices entire position appears to be for reading magazines and children's books. I can't imagine how that model can succeed when it's the most expensive ereader on the market.
  • Pros but still some WTF cons

    Pros: Color. Cool.

    Cons: Page turning requires different swipe gestures based on what mode you are in? I don't want to remember "Oops, that's right, I'm in this mode, I need to gesture the other way" - I just want to do the damn page turn gesture.
    Anticipation of that frustration alone would honestly keep me off of it. I want to enjoy my reading, not potentially have my blood pressure raise each page turn because I happen to be reading a magazine and I'm used to reading in book mode... epic failure. And good to know about, because otherwise I might not have known until I purchased it and had to suffer with it.
  • RE: First look: Barnes & Noble Nook in color for $249

    Great, now I can get my ebooks and files deleted in FULL COLOR!
  • Readability?

    How is the screen's readability compared to e-ink?
  • RE: First look: Barnes & Noble Nook in color for $249

    8 hour battery life kills it for me. I would rather have the Nook WiFi.
  • How deceptive - this wasn't a first look but a glance

    Nu? Tell us about the device. How does the screen compare to traditional e-ink, how does it perform in bright light, etc.? I have a nook and doubt that I would dump it in favor of a color, ipad like screen. You really didn't provide much information at all.