(Brief) Hands on with the new Samsung Galaxy Tab Nook

Samsung Galaxy Tab NookI wandered over to my local Barnes & Noble to play with the Samsung Galaxy Tab Nook and see what I thought. Nate at The Digital Reader actually bought one, so if you have questions or want to see what he has to say, pop over to his post.

I’ll start with the good. It’s a nice looking device, and the screen is better than I expected. The pixel density is supposed to be lower than the Nood HD, but in a side-by-side comparison, I didn’t notice a difference. The screen brightness is impressive. The store’s Nook was set at less than 50% brightness, and mine was at about 75%, and the new Nook was brighter.

The new Nook feels good in the hand and looks like a quality device. Don’t tell it I said so, but my HD looked kind of shabby beside it. If you aren’t a fan of the wide bezel around the HD line, you’ll prefer the slimmer profile of the new Nook.

That said, I’m still not going to recommend it. Why? Because looks aside, there’s a lot not to like about this new tablet.

Nate noted that it only works with the micro-USB cable that comes with it. All the Nooks have used proprietary cables, and it’s gotten old. He did, however, say that it will charge with any charging blocks, which is something. You’ll need the included cable, but at least you can carry around any old block. I also assume this means it can be charged with a portable battery, and that’s something.

It’s only an 8GB device and half of that is taken up with the operating system and pre-installed stuff. That’s awfully lean for a media consumption device. Sure, it’ll hold a lot of books, but there’s not much room left over for magazines or video. If you get one, make sure to purchase a micro-SD card. There is a slot for it.

If you’re interested in the complete specs, here they are. Because it’s basically the same as a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7.0, here are the specs of that device, which includes processor speed and other items missing from the Nook page.

The price is $179, sort of. I say sort of because it’s actually $199 with a $20 instant rebate. That’s the same as the current price for the Tab 4 7.0 but I don’t think that’s a good value.

Let’s look at the likely market for this device. With all the content promoted on the opening screen (which Nate says can be ignored or removed), this tablet is obviously aimed at content consumers and not people who want to do work on their tablets (though with Google Play access, that’s theoretically possible). However, with only 4GB of free space, that’s not much room for content.

On specs alone, the new Nook is comparable to a Kindle Fire HD, which costs less: $139 for 8GB or $169 for 16GB. If you’re looking for a content tablet, I’d advise going with the Kindle Fire, even though you lose access to Google Play. For content users, that’s not giving up much, and, assuming you’re a Prime user, you’re getting cool features like the ability to download Prime Video. (We are leaving for a camping trip on Friday, and I would love to be able to take Deadwood with us.) Then there’s the Kindle Fire HDX, which is $50 more, but it goes on sale regularly, and it’s a much better device.

Nate thinks the bundled content will be a selling point, but I don’t agree. While they say it’s a $200 value, look at what you’re getting

Content bundle includes three (3) NOOK applications: Doodle Farm, Astraware Crosswords Deluxe and Hidden Object – Home Makeover; three (3) NOOK Books: I am Number Four by Pitticus Lore, Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and The Wanderer by Robyn Carr; three (3) NOOK Videos: one (1) episode each of Orphan Black, Hannibal and Veep; and three (3) first-time NOOK Magazine 14 day trial subscriptions from the following selected titles, including the current and past 12 issues: Cooking Light, Cosmopolitan, Food Network Magazine, HGTV Magazine, Men’s Health, People, Real Simple, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, US Weekly, WIRED and Women’s Health. Previous subscribers of a particular NOOK Magazine are not eligible for the free trial and will be charged.

The bulk of that $200 value is the 36 back issues of magazines, but how many people will want 12 back issues of those particular editions? Most of them are news(ish) magazines and the back issues would be of little interest and no value.

Pretty or no, I just can’t get excited about the new Nook, and I doubt consumers will flock to buy it.

2 Comments on (Brief) Hands on with the new Samsung Galaxy Tab Nook

  1. As with any digital device, look at the apps your can run on it before you buy. Not being able to run one must-have app can sour you on an otherwise good purchase.

  2. I wonder how many readers would buy this simply because they are part of the anti-Amazon crowd and want to see B&N survive as a traditional bookstore chain. Way back in 1997 I was involved in software research and typically 20% of every room would not buy anything from Msoft even though objectively one could argue they offered better features and lower prices. As with that old war it could be Apple is the future benefactor in the anti-Amazon war, not Samsung/B&N. I will be interested to see what kind of distribution these get in Samsung’s channels, which are much bigger for general users, who are probably less interested in books than the B&N shoppers.

    Does anyone know the relative market sizes for all ebooks sold dollars versus music downloads versus movies? I suppose it reflects the same size as with older pre-download markets/media, in that books/reading may be too small at some point for the gorillas to care much about, and that could be good for B&N if they can hang on through the wars.

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