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

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.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

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.

Editorial standards