Update: While the Nook HD and Nook HD+ only previously included a cherry-picked selection of top line apps, as of 3 May 2013 the Google Play store will now be available on both devices. Customers will also have access to Google Search.
Introduced along side the Nook HD and Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight, the new Nook HD+ is joining its ereader siblings on their UK debut, just in time for Christmas. Set to go head-to-head with the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and the Kobo Arc - has the new
Nook got what it takes to win the ereader/tablet hybrid crown?
As with the other Nook products, the HD+ has Barnes & Noble's strong retail heritage behind it - the brand has 1400 outlets in the USA and is the world's largest physical book retailer.
According to the maker, the Nook HD+ is the lightest full HD tablet available, weighing in at just 515g - a fair bit less than the new iPad 3.
Nook HD+: Design
The 9-inch screen means that the Nook HD+ is no pocket gadget. The 240.3 x 162.8 x 11.5mm chassis is close to the size of the new iPad, rather than any of its ereader brethren.
However, as it's lighter than Apple's tablet the Nook HD+ is easier to hold comfortably in one hand. This is also helped by the grippy finish and the small hole in the bottom left-hand corner which serves as a comfy spot for your thumb to sit.
Nook HD+: Features
The Nook HD+ has been designed for all the family to use, thanks to its individual profiles. This enables you restrict access to certain titles or services such as email on the kids' profiles while keeping your own reading material behind closed doors.
According to Barnes & Noble, you'll have acces to 2.5 million titles - including newspapers and magazines - which isn't a bad start at all for the Nook's first splash in the UK.
The titles on offer also include interactive children's books which are packed with moving features as well as the ability to record your own voice telling the story.
One new feature that Barnes & Noble has introduced is a scrapbooking function whereby you can 'tear' pages from newspapers and magazines and store them in a virtual scrapbook, with a couple of simple swipes on the screen.
Another new service that will be available is Nook Channels which groups together titles covering related interests in one place. For example, if you're a military buff then the relevant channel will include books from the likes of Andy McNab along with history books and biographies of related people. There'll be over 100 channels at launch, with more due in future.
As with the Nook HD, they'll be no direct access to the Google Play store - instead Nook's own app store will offer you a cherry-picked selection of Android apps that have been optimized for the Nook.
Like the Nook HD, the Nook HD+ runs on Android Ice Cream Sandwich, while the processor is a slighter faster 1.5GHz dual-core chipset. You can choose from 16 or 32GB, and there's also the option to expand, thanks to a micro SD card slot. You'll also get built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as standard.
Nook HD+: Screen
The 9-inch screen sports a full HD resolution of 1920x1280 and is full laminated so that there are no air gaps. That means that glare and reflection are reduced, for a brighter, sharper picture. You can also watch 1080p on the big screen by hooking up the HD+ to your TV panel.
At 256ppi, the screen isn't far off the resolution offered by the iPad's Retina display (264ppi), so the quality is excellent.
Nook HD+: Battery
Accoridng to Barnes & Noble, the Nook HD+ will give you 10 hours of reading or 9 hours of video (with the Wi-Fi turned off).
Nook HD+: Verdict
At first glance, the Nook HD+ looks like a great piece of hardware and Barnes & Noble has clearly thought very carefully about the content that it offers and how it's presented. Add to that the high-res screen, lightweight build and comfy grip and you've got one very compelling product. We look forward to testing it out in more detail for our full review.
Nook HD+ release date: November 2012 (pre-order from October)
Nook HD+ price: £229 (16GB), £269 (32GB)