I purchased a Nook Color tablet around September 2012. The device is very good. The Nook Color has decent hardware specs. 16 Gb memory plus external memory via microSD card. I installed a 32Gb version. Its graphics are clear and sharp is fast and its size is just in the comfort zone. Browsing the internet is decent with this tablet and can downloading videos with an app called Maxthon, a web browser not provided with the Nook. Love watching movies with it. Battery life is good, lasts close to 8 hrs of normal use.
The Nook hardware is fast and hardy.
Well.... Am not happy with it. =?
Imagine being married to Catherine Zeta-Jones but on the condition she would have to talk to you no more than 1000 words an hour, wear a burkah even to bed. And you could only take her out to MacDonalds. Could not french kiss her, Unless you were at a B&N store.
What?! YES, The problem is the modifications made to the basic Android OS[Operating System] and superimposing a skin by that I mean Barnes & Noble OS [skin]. A person can do more with a Commodore 64/ Atari 800 than a NOOK chained to B&N's OS/skin. The Nook OS is that restricting, there are some happy apps that make using the Nook a real joy but right now they are very few. The sad part is that this OS is based on Android OS good =) but B&N has shackled it >=(
OK lets play a devil's advocate. The Nook is not a computer is meant to read e-books Newspapers and magazines only. Well, to me that argument is even worst. Because B&N search engine behaves like if it was bought at the Dollar Store, it has a hard time finding the book content that you want or Apps for that matter. There is a book that I looked for in the eBook version when I first bought. I happen to see it by accident while perusing their library contents searching for an APP!! =D few days later i went to check it out and it gave me a hit content = 0[nothing]. It could only be found ...accidentally.
Their Barnes and Noble only apps are atrocious on the average. They interact poorly with other apps supplied with the nook at point of purchase, like the contacts manager.
The B & N rack containing your purchased magazines, books and Apps seems to be designed by someone with great nostalgia for the looks of the Atari ST or the first mac back 1987. I exaggerate for effect but not by much. As utilitarian a design as could be found in 1980's Soviet era. If you are used to an iPod Touch or Android App you will feel the let down.
My daughter has a Kindle Fire and functionally is vastly superior to the Nook for now, Nook Color hardware is based on OMAP-7 from Texas Instruments OMAP technology, Kindle and Google's Nexus all have under the hood Android as OS but B&N has modified the Nook Color restricting the user to limit purchases, searches and Apps to the Barnes & Noble eco-system, a very poorly strategized design when you consider that the competition offers a competitive device for roughly the same price and not that many restrictions. Hopefully B&N will remedy this problem.
I tried to root my Nook and failed 3 times, am not giving up yet.
Do i recommend it? 4 reasons for buying one:
1- if you want to break into the electronic Pad scene and price $$ is a consideration AND expandable memory is a must requirement.
Reading e-Mail, taking notes, reading PDF files, creating Docs and spreadsheets, finding recipes and browsing the web are a joy.
2- if you are fiercely loyal to Barnes and Noble and would reject anything else.
3- if you will root the Nook to unlock the beast under the hood. The price is right.
4- if you LUUV gadgets no matter what ;-)
That is for now, have a great week.
Other sources of reviews to try for a balanced opinion.
Youtube: OS tour part 1