Nook HD review

The lightest, highest resolution 7-inch tablet, but is it any good?

Nook HD review
It may look good on paper, but that doesn't always translate

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Thanks to the recent update Barnes and Noble has pushed out to the Nook HD you now get the Google Chrome browser as standard.

Nook HD review

This provides you with the familiar surroundings you find on most Android devices and offers users a cleaner, fresher version of the stock browser which was present pre-update.

Tabbed browsing is still found at the top of the display, but this along with the URL bar have been condensed from the previous version giving more screen real estate to the web pages themselves.

There's a menu button to the right of the URL bar which gives you access to your bookmarks, browsing history and deeper web settings, but it's not all good news here.

On the original Nook browser we were given features such as offline reading, dedicated reader mode in the form of ArticleView and a quick link to the email client to share a particular site with others.

There are plenty of sharing options in the menu of Google Chrome, but the missing reader and offline modes are a real shame.

Nook HD review

The lovely high definition 7-inch display on the Nook HD means that text and images are pin sharp – making websites easy on the eye.

In terms of speed the Nook HD impressed us, which was pleasing especially after the sluggish performance we'd experienced in the general interface.

The full-fat version of TechRadar finished loading, banner ads and all, in five seconds, while mobile sites were done in two to three seconds.

Panning, scrolling and zooming were smooth for the most part, but we did find that the Nook HD didn't always pick up our gestures, which led us to feverishly pinch and flick the screen, resulting in zooming in too far or scrolling down way past the point we wanted.

The ailing Adobe Flash platform may be on its way out, but many sites still use it, and the good news on the Nook HD is that support is there, with the plugin available to download from the store.


The Nook HD comes with its own email client as well, and as with the browser this is your only choice when it comes to managing your mail – unless you use your provider's website.

It's easy to set up your accounts, just type in the email address and password, select the sync options you want and the Nook HD will do the rest.

Nook HD review

You can view all your accounts as one unified inbox, or if that's all a bit cluttered, tap Mailbox at the top of the screen and select the one you wish to cast your eye over.

The client itself is well laid out, with your various folders displayed in a column down the left, and your list of emails on the right.

Nook HD review

Select an email and it will fill the whole screen, allowing you to easily read your messages and view fancy-looking HTML newsletters.

It's a no thrills service which provides you with all the basics required to send and receive emails in a simple, intuitive package.

The keyboard on the Nook HD isn't anything special, but it is functional for the odd email here and there.

The dainty dimensions of the tablet mean that you can easily reach all the keys with your thumbs when held in portrait although things are a little trickier if you opt for the landscape view.

It is relatively responsive and accurate, and while not the best keyboard we've used, it's by far not the worst.

Unfortunately there's no option to download a third party 'board, nor is there any fancy swipe or voice input methods which we've become accustomed to on purer Android tablets – no big problem, but it may irk some.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.