Is there a good Android tablet that doesn’t cost my first born child? I’m glad you asked this question at the exact same time as you started reading this article because that is the exact question it aims to answer. Coincidence? Ok, probably not, but read on for my thoughts on the B&N NookColor.
The first thing there is to say about the NookColor or NC is that out of the box it is a fantastic addition to the ereader market. Its color touch screen and great battery life make it perfect for reading magazines (a feat that only the iPad has been “ok” at). If you only want to read books and absolutely nothing else I would suggest you get the regular Nook (I own one of these too and they are a very good piece of hardware), however, if you want the ability to read in full color or the ability to turn your ereader into something more the NC is where it’s at.
So, does the NC in fact make a good Android tablet? In short, yes it does. Let me tell you why. After the NC is rooted (which is an easy process with these instructions) it has basic android functionality like the market and basic android apps, but to really see it shine you need to put a third party launcher on the NC and get ready for a surprise…
The NC is fast!
While the NC is no faster than most Android cell phones it does boot MUCH faster than a Galaxy Tab and loads most websites faster as well. The NC has more than enough horsepower to run most of the games on the market including the uber-popular Angry Birds. So on the power side of things the NC gets a “B” for being fast but not without a split second lag here and there.
For all of you who think the iPad’s screen is pretty, take a close look at the NC’s screen. The NC uses the same screen tech as Apple uses for the iPad and as such the NC has a great, easy-to-read, resolution that looks great for games, pictures, and movies. At the highest setting I found the brightness of the NC screen to be way too much; for night reading I take the brightness slider all the way down to the bottom of its range. So, as far as the NC screen is concerned it gets an A- because while it looks as good as that other tablet’s screen it is only 7-inches (this doesn’t cause me issues but I’m sure some people with give it crap for it).
Will there be anything on the NC that you can use? Well of course. Here are a few screens of what I’ve been doing on the NC.
What kind of battery life can a person expect on the NC? That would depend on what you are willing to do after you root the NC. If you want to root the NC and then install apps and go you will probably get 10 hours or so out of the NC’s battery. If you are willing to input a few commands or use a program like “Root Explorer” to erase or rename two specific system files (TelephonyProvider.apk and Phone.apk, instructions here) you can get 20 hours or more out of you new NC. I removed these files and with wifi on 24/7 I get 18 hours of use.
Does the NookColor make a good Android tablet? Does a one legged duck swim in a circle? Of course it does (on both counts). If you are looking for an Android tablet that’s not going to cost you a lot of money the NC is a great choice. Even with all of the Honeycomb tablets we saw at CES I still think that all of the new tablets are going to cost $500 or more and in that aspect the NC beats them by price alone for me. If you’re in the market for an ereader then go ahead and get the NC to get an Android tablet free of charge.
The Nook Color’s overall score as an ereader (unrooted): 6.5 out of 10 Due to a slight lack of features out of the box.
The Nook Color’s overall score as an Android Tablet (rooted): 8 out of 10 Not as blazing fast as some tablets but for $250 it is almost impossible to beat on the price point.