Nook Color – Think I’ll Pass

So on May 25th I used a $25 off Nook Color coupon to purchase a Nook Color. I figured, what the heck I’ll try it out. I asked about the return policy before I purchased it so I would know my time limit for deciding I was keeping it. (It’s 14 days.) Of course I also got a screen protector, a cover, and an extra year warranty. I was reassured by some sales associates that I would love it.

And I had such hopes..

The problem started when the Nook Color was, well, started. There’s an introductory video showing you how to use the Nook Color. The video stuttered and it soon was obvious that the audio and video were no longer in sync. Uh, that’s not a good sign. I shrugged it off as maybe it’s because the Nook Color was starting up for the first time and was busy loading things.

The next thing I noticed was that my Nook Color didn’t have an apps icon on the bottom menu like the one in the store did. I dug through the Nook Color over and over, in and out of various menus looking for it. After some research online I came to find out that my Nook Color didn’t have the most recent software update on it, the one that allows the apps. . . . No one at the store told me about this and that I would have to install it. So manual install/upgrade it is to the OS.

Okay so that was solved. Annoying but solved.

Next was searching for apps. Now there weren’t that many, so I could easily pull up a list of all of them. I could even sort by price and see the free ones appear on top. The problem came up when I tried looking for particular apps and kinds of apps. First there was no Dropbox app, even though Barnes and Noble mentions it by name. “Conveniently ACCESS files remotely from your Google® Docs, Dropbox, Box, Huddle™, SugarSync, and MobileMe™ account.” I had noticed that in the store and the sales associate had no idea what Dropbox even was. I basically confirmed it again and guessed I’d have to access my Dropbox by the browser. Though the lack of app for the Nook Color was annoying, especially since the app exists for Android tablets already.

Then I tried looking for a Twitter app. At the time there wasn’t any. Unfortunately the search looks in all of Barnes & Noble’s store. Which means I got a lot of results on ebooks about Twitter. Nothing for the app. And this is a big drawback. Search for any app and you also get ebook results. There was a way to access categories, but it doesn’t limit your search to those categories. It just opens that category and lists everything in it on the screen. So looking for a Twitter app, then going to the App category just brought up the list of all current Nook Color apps again.

So onward to the browser.

And here’s where the next big drawbacks lie. When you scroll down a long web page, the URL bar disappears. The URL bar stays at the top of the page as if it was some sort of image banner. So when you want to go to another website, you have to scroll your screen all the way back up to access the URL bar. Next strike against it: The back icon is only on the URL bar. There is no icon or menu option for it on the bottom. So when you want to go back a page, again you have to scroll your way back to the top of the web page you are currently on. So if you’re reading a long news article, or long forum posts, you have to scroll alll the way back to the top. The URL bar should stay locked on top so you can always access it at any time, especially if there’s a back button only available there. How this was missed I do not know.

Next. The processor is slow. I loaded up a video on Twitcasting and again it stuttered just like the opening Nook Color video. The video could not keep up with the audio at all. It was awful.

It had a few Nook only options like sharing a passage on Twitter & Facebook, or seeing my Nook Friends’ books. However the only other person I know of that has a Nook (1st gen) is my husband. So the Nook Friends thing is not a useful feature for me, and certainly not for this price. Anything else: highlighting stuff, looking up words, I can do on the Android Nook app.

The one good thing about the Nook Color, it felt right in my hands. It was just the right size to hold and the right size to type on it in portrait mode. Typing in landscape mode wasn’t too bad either. Before now I felt bigger size of tablet would be better. I couldn’t imagine having a 7 inch tablet. But here it was just the right size. I was surprised.

So after all these issues I decided to see what was out there for a Wi-Fi Android tablet to do some comparison. Meaning was it worthwhile to keep the Nook Color, maybe make it a full tablet, or just get a real tablet. After all with the cost for everything I was over halfway there. ($224 Nook Color price with coupon + $30 for cover + $25 for screen protector + I think $52 for extra warranty = $331 + tax.) I ended up finding the HTC Flyer, a 7 inch Wi-Fi only Android tablet, and tested that out at a Best Buy store.

In the end I returned the Nook Color on Memorial Day weekend and got a Flyer. I didn’t even have the Nook Color for a week.

This experience surprised me in every way. I fully expected to love the Nook Color. Instead I was disappointed. I was even able to put it down and leave it at home (for my husband to play with), and I didn’t miss it. I didn’t want to really pick it back up again. It had its issues and that took the enjoyment out of it.

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