The Nook HD+ has been my primary tablet for about three weeks now. I have used it extensively for reading and web browsing purposes. The beautiful 1920 x 1280 (256 ppi) display is more than adequate for long form reading. As I mentioned in my review, even at the highest brightness setting, there is absolutely no eye strain. The light emitted from the display is soft and illuminating, not harsh and beaming, as I have found with every other tablet. If I’m reading on the HD+ and the sun goes down, I simply lower the brightness setting a bit; I never find myself compelled to get up and turn on a room light. The hardware feels sturdy in the hand, the material build is of the highest quality, and the back of the device is coated in some sort of soft touch layer that makes it very comfortable to hold.
I have had a few issues with the touch display being slow to respond to taps, especially the notifications icon located in the tiny menu bar at the top of the screen. I swear I have to prod it like twenty times before it registers. The volume buttons are a little fickle as well. A simple, brief press often inexplicably launches the volume from its lowest to its highest setting. I do enjoy having a physical home button at the bottom-front of the display though. The HD+ is a nice looking tablet, and I love the 9″ screen size (perfect for reading eBooks and PDFs).
Above all, my greatest complaint would have to be levied against the Nook HD+’s Reader Application. This is the official Nook Tablet version of the B&N Android app, not the one found in the Google Play or Apple App stores, so I would expect its features to be more integrated and stable. This really isn’t the case; I have never had the frequency of glitches on the Android app that I am now having on the HD+.
The picture above shows just how well the Reader App takes to reading side-loaded eBooks. Anytime I add a Kobo eBook or an .epub file from Project Gutenberg, I have about a 40% chance of this distorted text bug occurring. When viewing PDFs, the app either instantly crashes when it prepares to open or it waits till I start to scroll down the page. I’ve tried opening them from Dropbox and saving them directly to my device’s SD, but either way, PDFs crash a few times before the Reader App gets used to them. Both the text distortion bug and the PDF crashes tend to recede into the firmware after I put the HD+ to sleep and wake it up again. Strange.
All of the app issues that I mentioned in my initial review have persisted. The page-back/font change combo adds some excitement to my reading; I never know what page I will end up on after switching from serif to sans. The Nook Web Browser refuses to permit me to download eBooks from other websites, giving me a “download failed” message every time. ManyBooks, FeedBooks, PG, and other sites just aren’t allowed. I asked another user about this and they said they haven’t had this issue. Oh well, the Dolphin Browser has come to my rescue in this situation.
I still miss having access to all of my Play Store applications, especially the alternative reading apps. Cool Reader has a great text-to-speech feature. Speaking of, I just found out that the Nook HD+ also has TTS. The voice is very mechanical and there are no controls as the feature is in BETA. Hopefully something better will come along soon (like N2A cards for the Nook HD+).
Despite its flaws, the Nook HD+ is definitely a contender in this year’s new tablet market. There are “no annoying ads” to distract from its use, and once Nook Video and the Nook Appstore become more developed, it will match up to the competition.