Barnes & Noble Nook Color vs Nook vs Kindle vs iPad

By Wesley Fenlon

The second-gen Nook ditches the e-ink display and goes full tablet with a 7" color touchscreen.

Last week, when we heard a new Nook was coming from Barnes & Noble, we laid out a few things the Nook 2 would have to do to compete with Amazon’s Kindle. Our chief concerns were size, price and that little old touchscreen--as the one thing really distinguishing the Nook from the Kindle, we figured B&N needed to do something big with that touchscreen. Well, they did. Barnes & Noble ditched the e-ink display altogether and turned the Nook 2--now Nookcolor--into a full-color tablet with a 7” touchscreen.

The Nook Color launch event revealed a few key features--there will be apps, but no Android app store. B&N will be the app gatekeeper. There’s also no Flash playback, and no 3G model this time around. For that reason, the Nook Color won’t benefit from AT&T hotspots like its predecessor, but B&N Wi-Fi  (802.11 b/g/n) is still free. The Nook Newsstand should offer over 100 magazines at launch, and Barnes & Noble is calling this the first device to offer over 100 mags and newspapers in full color. They’ll cost money, of course, on a single-issue or subscription basis--but there’s a nice 14-day trial for new subscribers.

Now let’s get down to some specs.

3rd Gen Kindle 1st Gen Nook Nook Color iPad
Screen size 6” diagonal 6” diagonal 7” diagonal 9.7” diagonal
Screen specs 600 x 800 at 167 ppi, 16-level grayscale 16-level grayscale 1024x600 IPS at 169ppi 1024x768 IPS at 132 ppi
Battery life 1 month wireless off; 3 weeks Wi-Fi; 1 week 3G 10 days wireless off 8 hours wireless off 10 hours on Wi-Fi, 9 hours on 3G
Storage 4GB Internal 2GB Internal; microSD 8GB Internal; microSD 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
Dimensions 7.5" x 4.8" x 0.335" 7.7” x 4.9” x .5” 8.1” x 5.0” x 0.48” 9.56” x 7.47” x .5”
Weight 8.5 ounces Wi-Fi, 8.7 ounces 3G 11.6 ounces Wi-Fi, 12.1 ounces 3G 15.8 ounces 1.5 pounds Wi-Fi, 1.6 pounds 3G
Wi-Fi price $139 $149 $249 $499, $599, $699
3G price $189 $199 N/A $629, $729, $829
Touchscreen N/A 3.5” color 7” diagonal 9.7” diagonal
OS Kindle Android Android 2.1 iOS

Unfortunately, we can’t dig up any data on the Nook Color’s processor or RAM. At $249, we’re guessing it won’t measure up to the iPad’s A4 chip, and that this is still primarily a reading device, not an all-purpose tablet that doubles as a video player.

Images via Barnes & Noble