Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ review: a great alternative for Amazon Kindle tablets

Written by B Johnson June 07, 2014
Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ Specs
Hi guys, welcome back to this site!!

Many of the tablets you see around the market to date are mostly dominated by regular media-consumption tablets.

From the most popular 'definite choice' iPad – along with iPad mini -, Sony Xperia Tablet Z, LG G Pad 8.3, Google Nexus 7 & 10 and of course, the other best selling Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX tablets.

(Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ Specs)

And all of these tablets are pure media-consumption tablets, unlike other productivity-specialized tablets (like Asus Transformer line, Microsoft Surface or other Windows 8 Pro tablets) – although you can still transform these media tablets into productivity devices using the separate third party keyboard dock, or even gaming tablets given their monster specs inside.

Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ benchmarks and gaming performance

However, when it comes to real eReader tablets, then all of our eyes will definitely be centered to one tablet.

And that is Amazon Kindle Fire. I’m not saying that other tablets like iPad, Google Nexus 7 or Sony Xperia Tablet Z are not ideal as reader tablets.

Well, they are actually – besides great for gaming or do some simple productivity tasks, all of these tablets can also be great for reading books or even digital magazines.

However, all of these tablets are not mainly intended by their makers as pure reader tablets, just like Kindle Fire.

I mean, if you already watched some of Kindle Fire commercial around the YouTube, then you’ll know that this tablet is always bragged by Amazon as a reader tablet.

And that’s not shocking because the first-ever-gen Kindle (without Fire) – launched before the first-gen iPad – was actually the first reader device that looks like a tablet (although it was not using touch screen technology yet).

So no wonder if Amazon wants to continue the legacy of its revolutionary Kindle on all of its new Kindle Fire line.

Anyway, besides Kindle Fire from Amazon, there’s another tablet that is originally intended by the manufacturer as a reader tablet – actually, there are 2 tablets: the one i’m about to show you right now, and the other one is Kobo tablet, which i’ve already reviewed a couple of months ago.

And the one i’m about to show you right now is Barnes & Noble Nook tablet.

Maybe, many of you here are not really familiar with the tablets made by this company, right?

Well, to be perfectly honest, i myself also never saw any of Barnes & Noble Nook tablets – like, ever.

Although - I actually already knew that there was one tablet brand called Barnes & Noble Nook, but i just never saw the actual tablets, even around the net or YouTube (maybe its name doesn’t sound too interesting for me. lol).

Barnes & Noble actually has some pretty good tablets available to buy on the market to date.

But it’s probably pretty hard to find any tablet from this company – i even haven’t seen any of its tablets in my own country.

Even so, there are some Barnes & Noble Nook tablets that i’m pretty interested to bring up to this website. The first tablet that i want to show you today is Barnes & Noble Nook HD+.

As a matter of fact, this tablet is actually the most advanced-generation model from this company – while the other tablets are Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet and Barnes & Noble Nook HD (which i want to show you in the next reviews).

Well, if you’re interested – as interested as i am – to get to know with this tablet, including its performance and even gaming capability (actually there’s not much to talk about it given that this tablet is intended as a pure reader and media tablet, not gaming tablet), then here you go, my personal review of Barnes & Noble Nook HD+.

But, as always, before you start reading the review, i want to say that, if you feel this review or this website is really helpful and informative to you (hopefully entertaining as well), then it would mean a lot to me and this community (really) if you could spend some few seconds of your time to share this post to your friends or family using the social media icons on this page.

I would really appreciate your contribution here. Thanks.

Okay then, without further ado, here you go, my personal review of Barnes & Noble Nook HD+.


Barnes & Noble actually has some pretty interesting tablets under the flag Nook series.

From the old-gen Barnes & Noble Nook reader with some old-school-looking black-and-white interface (similar like the first-gen Kindle), Barnes & Noble Nook tablet, Barnes & Noble Nook HD and the one i’m about to show you today, Barnes & Noble Nook HD+.

And given that Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ is probably the most advanced model from this company, then you’ll get a plenty of great goodies under its hood.

Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ - Full tablet specifications/SPECS

And that means, - besides great as a reader tablet -, Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ could indeed be great as well for playing games – Android games.

But then again, you might want to switch to other tablet options because the gaming performance is not the most important priority for Barnes & Noble when making this tablet, in fact, all of its tablet.

And that’s cool because we should always appreciate what tablet manufacturers offer to the consumers.

And that’s also good because what Barnes & Noble offer to the market will enrich the Android tablet ecosystem, adding more tablet category for specific markets and consumers who are only looking for a reader tablet or any other tablet according to their own needs.

Around the reader tablet market to date, even tablet market in general, interestingly Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ still stacks up against many of its rivals, especially the closest one – Kindle Fire -, in terms of specs and even performance.

And that’s amazing because i personally didn’t expect such an under-the-radar tablet manufacturer like this could deliver a good solid tablet with some high-grade specs.

I thought Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ was just some kind of Kindle Fire rival but with some low-end specs inside – given its unpopular brand awareness.

But the question is, despite having some great specs, does Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ have what it takes to challenge all the media-consumption tablets out there, especially in terms of performance – like Kindle Fire?

Well, we’re about to find out about that in this review.


Unlike other regular Android tablets around the market in 2011, the design of Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ actually kind of looks interesting for me.

It has that unique hole on one of its front-side corners – the left below position in vertical mode -, which probably is intended as the hole for some kind of rope or chain – similar just like a key chain.

So people can feel secured when holding this tablet without thinking whether this tablet would fall to the solid ground.

Talking about its overall design, Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ actually has nothing to write home about. It looks just like any other Android-powered tablets out there.

Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ Review and Gaming Performance

Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ Review and Gaming Performance

But it probably looks closer to its real rival – Kindle Fire -, given its same bezel size around the front side and especially the feel and look of its UI, which is the forked-version of Android UI – similar like what Amazon did on its Kindle Fire through Fire OS.

So it makes it look more like a dedicated media-consumption tablet than regular Android tablets with stock Android UI – with widgets, homescreen, etc.

And that’s the reason why Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ should be compared head-to-head with Amazon’s tablet than other regular Android tablets. They both use the simplified version of Android UI.

But that’s great because it makes it clear for us to see where this tablet will be positioned on the tablet market – which is a reader tablet category.

Overall, i’m personally not really impressed with the design of this tablet.

Compared to Amazon’s latest HDX line, it’s pretty obvious that Kindle Fire HDX tablets look much better and more elegant than this Barnes & Noble latest tablet.

Even the UI of this tablet doesn’t look as interesting as Amazon’s Fire OS, which now has more matured UI that looks simple but still elegant for a reader and media-consumption tablet.

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  • Announced 26 Sep 2012
  • Weight: 18.17 oz (515 g)
  • 9.0 inch IPS LCD display, 1920 x 1280 pixels (-256 ppi pixel density)
  • Dual core, 1.5 GHz, ARM Cortex-A9 TI OMAP4470 Processor
  • 384 MHz PowerVR SGX544 GPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 16 GB internal storage
  • microSD, microSDHC card slot for up to 32 GB
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11 b, g, n
  • USB 2.0
  • microUSB
  • HDMI
  • Accelerometer
In terms of specs, Barnes & Noble actually did a great job on this tablet. Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ features a full HD 1920x1200 pixel display, PowerVR SGX544 MP3 GPU, 1GB of RAM, a dual-core TI OMAP 4470 processor and some other great goodies, including the microSD card for up to 32GB, which can’t be found on its closest rival – Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9. So as a reader tablet, Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ is definitely a good-spec’d device.


I think it’s really amazing to see a full HD 1920x1200 pixel display on this tablet.

I personally didn’t expect to see that kind of sharp display on a tablet that i rarely heard around the tech world.

So in real world quality, everything that you throw on this tablet will definitely look insanely sharp and crisp.

But given that this tablet is packing a 9-inch screen, then its sharpness might not be so great compared to other 7-inch tablets with the same exact full HD display, like Google Nexus 7, Kindle Fire 7 HDX or LG G Pad 8.3.

But it’s still really good for enjoying contents like movies, books/magazines, web pages or even HD games – although it might make this tablet run laggy especially when deploying some graphics-related tasks on the screen, due to its less powerful processor than other rivals aforementioned above that mostly already adopt quad-core Snapdragon 600/800 or S4 Pro.

User Interface and Features

Similar just like Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet, Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ also has its own simplified UI of Android OS.

So if you’re a big fan of stock Android UI, then you might want to stay away from this device.

However, if you’re okay with that simple UI and the lack of Android complete features, then Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ can still be a good choice for you.

It has a really sharp full HD 1920x1200 pixel display, it has good set of hardware specs and it has that microSD card slot for up to 32GB, the sector that Amazon Kindle Fire tablets always lack of.


As a reader-dedicated tablet, i’m actually impressed with how this tablet is packing some pretty good quality specs under its hood.

Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ features a dual-core 1.5GHz TI OMAP 4470 processor, coupled with PowerVR SGX 544 GPU.

Not to mention, 1GB of RAM is provided to keep all its system and also give you more space for multitasking many apps at once.

Talking about the mobile graphics card inside this tablet, it’s actually the same one found inside the iPhone 5 (while iPad 4th-gen gets the PowerVR SGX 554 MP4).

So when deployed with some graphics-related tasks, this tablet definitely has no problem executing them all in good and smooth performance.

However, given that this tablet is mainly intended as a reader-tablet, not some kind of hardcore gaming tablet – and besides, its dual-core TI OMAP processor is not dedicated and not powerful enough for playing games -, then it’s probably not a good idea to use this tablet as a main gaming tablet.

Yes – you can play some graphics intense games on this tablet, but they definitely won’t deliver a decent gaming performance that you’d hoped for.

But for doing some other basic tasks outside gaming – like watching movies, reading books/magazines of course, browsing the web, listening to music or checking out photos -, then Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ is perfectly prepared for that matter, all of these basic tasks can be executed perfectly without any problem whatsoever.

Besides, it’s already got that 1GB of RAM, which is pretty big enough to keep many of your favorite apps running at once.

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As i mentioned already above, even though Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ is powered by one great GPU – PowerVR SGX 544 GPU (the same one found inside the iPhone 5) -, i don’t think this tablet is powerful enough for playing games.

As i’ve already seen on some video reviews on YouTube – about its gaming performance of course -, this tablet really suffers a lot when playing one of the latest graphically demanding games, Asphalt 8: Airborne.

Even though this game can be played in full high graphics setting on this tablet, unfortunately, it doesn’t run smoothly, with many lags and framedrops here and there in the gameplay.

And it’s definitely not the kind of gameplay you would want to experience in the real life – unless you’re living in the slow-motion world (lol).

So if a game like Asphalt 8: Airborne just cannot be played smoothly in full graphics on this tablet, then it’s really obvious that other latest games like GTA San Andreas, Modern Combat 4, N.O.V.A 3 or Modern Combat 5 (which is about to arrive in the next few weeks probably) will not perform well on this tablet, especially in full graphics.

This probably really contradicts with its closest rival – Kindle Fire 8.9 HD -, which also shares the same exact internals just like this Barnes & Noble Nook HD+.

That Amazon’s tablet has the same dual-core TI OMAP 4470 processor, 1GB of RAM, PowerVR SGX 544 GPU and even the same 1920x1200 pixel display.

Amazon – as we all know already – is one huge online retailer across the world, not just internet.

Not to mention, its Kindle Fire line (including Kindle Fire 8.9 HD) has always been the best seller on its website, with millions units shipped every year.

And that makes many Android game developers become convinced to well-optimize their games for every Kindle Fire tablet.

So that’s the reason why Amazon app store always has some of the best popular iOS and Android games available to play in high graphics on Kindle Fire tablets, including Asphalt 8: Airborne.

So even if Amazon Kindle Fire 8.9 HD has the same exact specs just like Barnes & Noble Nook HD+, this Amazon’s tablet will still be capable to play games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Modern Combat 4 or N.O.V.A 3 – in smooth performance and in high graphics.

The good news is, Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ is still a pretty good gaming tablet (but not that good), and it’s still capable to play games like Dead Trigger 1, Blood and Glory, FIFA 2014, Frontline Commando or any other older games released in early 2013 or before that year – all in smooth performance and full graphics -.

However, if you’re looking for a much better reader tablet with better gaming performance, then you probably might want to check out Kindle Fire 8.9 HD, which also shares the same exact specs just like this Barnes & Noble tablet, from its display, its processor, GPU, RAM and some other more.

The only downside of Amazon’s tablet is its lack of microSD card slot, while Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ has it and can be expanded up to 32GB.

So you’ll get an extra “harddrive” space if you decide to buy this tablet.

Battery Life

Unfortunately, i found no information about the battery capacity nor battery life of this tablet.

So i can’t tell anything whether this tablet will have great battery life or sadly, horrible battery life.

However, given that Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ is mainly intended as a media-consumption tablet – mostly for reading books or magazines, then it’s safe to say that this tablet could probably last much longer for doing some basic media-consumption tasks, like reading books/magazines, browsing the web, listening to music, playing some casual games or watching full HD movies – of course with screen on and off time combined.

But if you’re type of power user and would like to use this tablet for doing some heavy graphics-related tasks without resting the screen at all, like for watching full HD movies in marathon or playing games in the row, then you can expect to see this tablet last around 3 to 5 hours, especially given its full HD 1920x1200 pixel display – which is a really high resolution display that requires a lot of pixels for its processor to execute.

My Personal Opinions

So my final conclusion about this tablet is, despite being an under-the-radar tablet, i personally think that Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ is still a pretty decent tablet, especially if you’re only looking for a media-consumption or reader tablet.

However, compared to Kindle Fire 8.9 HD – which both have some same exact hardware specs -, then it’s pretty obvious that Amazon’s tablet is a clear winner here.

It has a more matured and elegant design, more complete database of well-optimized Android apps and games, much better UI and better experience than Barnes & Noble Nook HD+.

The good thing found on Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ - that can’t be found on Amazon Kindle Fire 8.9 HD - is the expandable microSD card slot, which lets you add up to 32GB of microSD card into this device.

And this is probably the thing that would impact your decision in choosing between these 2 similar devices.

Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ is definitely great as a media-consumption device, especially as a reader. However, as a gaming tablet, this tablet is definitely not so great for that matter.

It has sluggish performance (especially when playing the latest graphically demanding games like Asphalt 8, Modern Combat 4, N.O.V.A or GTA San Andreas) and it lacks well-optimized games, although you can still play many older Android games released in early 2013 or before that year.

But then again, if you’re only looking for a reader or simple media-consumption tablet, then Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ is still a pretty good choice for you, but not so great.

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