So far, so good with the Nook Color e-book reader. The new Barnes and Noble device, which arrived in our lab (and in consumers' hands) this week, is the best e-book reader with a color screen we've seen to date.
That superiority even holds, at least in our limited tests so far, when it's compared to the e-book capabilities of the leading tablet computers. While the Nook Color is an “interesting hybrid of a tablet computer and an e-book reader,” as Paul Reynolds put it after attending Barnes & Nobles' launch event last month, it is not a tablet computer.
But the Nook Color's touch screen is made for reading: It beats even the iPad in the crispness of its type. And at $249, the Nook Color's price is much lower than the iPad's.
One con, though, is its weight: at 15.8 ounces, the Nook Color is relatively heavy compared with other e-book readers such as the (black-and-white screen) Kindle 3G + Wi-Fi, which weighs about 8 ounces. There's also no 3G version for people who want to download new content on the go. And the Nook Color costs about $100 more than the black-and-white Nook Wi-Fi, which remains on the market, or the Kindle Wi-Fi, though both are black-and-white models with slightly smaller screens that lack touch capability.
But do e-book readers really need color and video capabilities? Maybe not so much right now, but Paul says more compelling color and interactive content is on its way. So people who have been waiting for color and don't mind an additional $100 on the price tag will want to consider the Nook Color.
We'll continue to test the Nook Color and expect to add it to our Ratings shortly (available to subscribers).