New Nook HD vs. Kindle Fire HD and the iPad

Yes, there are two new tablets in town: Barnes & Noble’s NOOK HD and NOOK HD+.  The broadening family of Nook tablets is a clear move to compete with Amazon, which already has an HD tablet on the market.  If you ask B&N, their new Nooks are the fastest and lightest on the market, but are they the best?  Let’s see how the new Nooks compare to the Kindle Fire HD, the iPad, the Google Nexus 7 and the Microsoft Surface.

What sets NOOK HD apart from the others?

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But first, let’s look at some of the differentiating features the NOOK HD/HD+ tablets have that their rivals are missing.

For example, the NOOKs have the ability to create up to six different profiles so everyone in your family have their own personalized profiles when they use it.  And your NOOK Today lets you enjoy a daily selection of quick reads, cool apps, new titles and even a weather forecast.  There’s also NOOK Scrapbook, which lets you “tear” and save magazines and catalog pages you love in one spot so you can go back and enjoy them later.

Then there’s the free storage on Nook Cloud, which comes in handy when the Nook Video launches next month.  The NOOK HD tablets also come with a wall charger, and you can read NOOK books for free in B&N stores via their free Wi-Fi.

And the best part about B&N’s new tablets is that they’re ad-free, even if they’re as cheap as Amazon’s new Kindle Fire HD tablets. The NOOK HD/HD+ tablets will be available on November 1st but you can already pre-order them on Barnes&Noble’s site.  Price starts at $199 for the Nook HD and $269 for Nook HD+, comparably cheaper than other leading tablets that offer similar features.

Let’s compare….

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Screen Size and Display

NOOK HD/HD+: 7” 1440 x 900 pixel resolution, 243 PPI (pixels per inch), Supports 720p; 9” 1440 x 900 pixel resolution, 243 PPI (pixels per inch), Supports 1080p Full HD; Fully laminated screen with no air gaps reduces glare and provides extra-wide viewing angles.

Kindle Fire HD series: 7” 1280×800 resolution , 8.9” 1920×1200 (254 ppi) – HD display with polarizing filter and anti-glare technology for rich color and deep contrast from any viewing angle

iPad: 9.7” Retina Display with 2048×1536-pixel resolution (256ppi) with Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating, LED-backlit
Surface Tablet: 10.6” ClearType Full HD Display

Nexus 7: 7” 1280×800 HD display (216 ppi), Back-lit IPS display, Scratch-resistant Corning glass

Weight

NOOK HD/HD+: 315 g/515 g

Kindle Fire HD series: 7” 395g, 8.9” 575g

iPad: WiFi 652g, WiFi+cellular 662g

Surface Tablet: RT 676g, Pro 903g

Nexus 7: 340g

Memory

NOOK HD/HD+: 8 and 16GB / 16 and 32GB; Add up to 32GB5 with microSD™ memory card

Kindle Fire HD series: 7” 16 and 32GB, 8.9” 16 and 32GB, 8.9” 4G 32 and 64GB
iPad: 16, 32, 64GB

Surface Tablet:  RT will be available in 32GB and 64GB while the Pro will be available in 64GB and 128GB.

Nexus 7: 8 or 16 GB, 1GB RAM

Battery Life

NOOK HD/HD+: Up to 10.5 hours of reading and Up to 9.5 hours of video / Up to 10 hours of reading and Up to 9 hours of video.

Kindle Fire HD series: 7” 11 hours continuous use, 8.9” Up to 11 hours of continuous use

iPad: 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video or listening to music

Surface Tablet: RT features a 31.5 W-h battery while the Pro features a 42 W-h battery.  No data yet as to how long these batteries last

Nexus 7: 9 hours of HD video playback, 10 hours of web browsing, 10 hours of e-reading, 300 hours on Standby

Processor

NOOK HD/HD+: 1.3 GHz Dual-Core, OMAP 4470; 8GB: 512MB RAM, 16GB: 1GB RAM
/ 1.5 GHz Dual-Core, OMAP 4470

Kindle Fire HD series: 7” Dual-core 1.2GHz OMAP4460, 8.9” Dual-core 1.5GHz OMAP4470

iPad: Dual-core Apple A5X custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chip with quad-core graphics

Surface Tablet: Nvidia Tegra ARM chips for the RT version and Intel Core i5 for the Windows 8 Pro version.

Nexus 7: Quad-core Tegra 3 processor

Wireless

NOOK HD/HD+: Wi-Fi® (802.11b/g/n)

Kindle Fire HD series: Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO) for faster streaming and fewer dropped connections than standard Wi-Fi. Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or hotspots that use the 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n standard with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication; does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks

iPad: WiFi Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 4.0 technology; WiFi+Cellular Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0 technology, UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), 4G LTE (700, 2100MHz) US and Canada only, Data only

Surface Tablet: 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)

Nexus 7: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth

Camera

NOOK HD?HD+: None

Kindle Fire HD series: Front-facing HD camera

iPad: 5-megapixel iSight camera, VGA FaceTime camera

Surface Tablet: front LifeCam for chatting and the rear LifeCam angled at 22⁰ so users can flip out the Kickstand and record meetings and events hands-free.
Nexus 7: 1.2MP front-facing camera

Input/Output

NOOK HD/HD+: Universal 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack, Charging port, Expandable microSD slot, HDMI port, Dual stereo speakers

Kindle Fire HD series: USB 2.0 (micro-B connector) port for connection to a PC or Macintosh computer or to connect to the Kindle PowerFast charging accessory. Micro-HDMI (micro-D connector) port for high definition video output to televisions or A/V receivers, 3.5 mm stereo jack and integrated stereo speakers with exclusive Dolby audio engine. Stereo Bluetooth (A2DP) support for streaming audio to compatible headphones and speakers. Built-in microphone.

iPad: WiFi 30-pin dock connector port, 3.5-mm stereo headphone mini-jack, Built-in speaker, Microphone; WiFi+Cellular 30-pin dock connector port 3.5-mm stereo headphonemini-jack, Built-in speaker, Microphone, Micro-SIM card tray

Surface Tablet: RT features microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae while the Pro features microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae.  Both features speakers and dual microphones tuned for Skype. Multi-touch screen, Touch Cover, Type Cover and the Surface Pro comes with Pen with palm block

Nexus 7: Micro USB, Microphone, NFC (Android Beam)

Sensors

NOOK HD/HD+: No Information

Kindle Fire HD: No Information

iPad: Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, Gyroscope

Surface Tablet: Gyroscope, Accelerometer

Nexus 7: Accelerometer, Magnetometer, Gyroscope

Location

NOOK HD/HD+: No Information

Kindle Fire HD: No Information

iPad: WiFi Wi-Fi, Digital compass; WiFi+Cellular Wi-Fi, Digital compass, Assisted GPS and GLONASS, Mobile

Surface Tablet:

Nexus 7: GPS

Operating Software

NOOK HD/HD+:  Custom-designed Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Kindle Fire HD: Customized Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich

iPad: iOS 5

Surface Tablet: Windows 8 and Windows RT

Nexus 7: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

Conclusion

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Though there are a lot of features missing from the new B&N tablets, you must not forget how cheap the tablets are.  They’re lacking front and rear cameras, so if you love video chatting, then the B&N tablets may not be for you.  But if having access your e-mail account and internet browsing is all you need, then look no further.

About Mellisa Tolentino

Mellisa is a staff writer for SiliconAngle, covering social and mobile news. She is fascinated by technology and loves imparting what she learns through her journey as a writer. Got a news story or tip? Send it to mellisa@siliconangle.com