Nook Tablet 10.1 Review – Innovative Gadget Great for Readers [2020 Update]

The Nooks are tablets designed with bookworms in mind. Originally a strong contender in the e-reader rat race, the Nook has revamped itself as a low-budget, regular tablet. Do the Nooks still make the cut in the crowded budget tablet market? Read our Nook tablet 10.1 review to find out:

Nook 10.1 Specs and FAQs

Scroll below for an overview of specifications for the Nook and answers to several frequently asked questions about this device:

Device Specifications:


 OS

 Android 8.1

 Display

 920 x 1200 IPS 224 ppi

 Nook tablet dimensions

 10.3 x 6.2 x 0.4 inches (262 x 158 x 9.6 mm)

 Storage

 32GB expandable

 Front Camera

 2MP

 Rear Camera

 2MP

 RAM

 2GB

 Processor

 Mediatek MT8163

 Weight

 16 oz (454g)

 Wi-Fi

 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac

Who makes the Nook?

The Nook is branded by Barnes and Noble, a bookseller, and is made by Southern Telecom, an electronics manufacturer based in New York City. Other brands this company makes gadgets for include Polaroid and Audio Republic. Yes, the manufacturer does offer support for this tablet, unlike most other budget devices made by unknown companies.

What is the Nook tablet used for?

Original editions of the Nook was intended as a gadget for readers. The idea behind it was for Barnes and Noble to capitalize on the rising e-book market. Nevertheless, the more recent versions function more like traditional tablets.

You can use the Nook tablet just as a regular tablet. Now that everyone can read e-books on most smartphones or tablets, Nooks have gone out of fashion as e-readers. Therefore, the latest edition is more like a tablet that can do most things, rather than a specific reader-based device.

Do Nooks have cameras?

Yes, the Nook come with two cameras. Refer to the table above for more details and read the review below to learn if the cameras are any good.

Barnes and Noble Tablet Review - The Biggest Positives

The Nook is not a powerhouse like an entry-level iPad. You can still enjoy the following major benefits:

Massive Screen Great for Reading Big Books and Comics

This Nook comes with the biggest screen this brand has offered so far—a 10.1-inch IPS display. Basically, the screen is highly reader friendly. Unlike smartphones, the Nook is great for reading e-books like actual books.

One often overlooked advantage—the Nook’s big screen is great for reading comics. Pictures don’t get cut off because of limited screen size.

The 920 x 1200 resolution isn’t much for watching videos. Still, it’s decent enough for web browsing and light gaming. You can expect video playback only at 720p or lower.

One of the Best Affordable Tablets

Possibly the biggest advantage of the Nook is its price point. You get a massive screen, customer support, and relatively decent specs for a super low-budget price. Prices of Nooks have gone down in recent years with newer low-budget products flooding the market. If you buy this used or refurbished, the Nook tablet cost would be even lower.

Decent, Non-Specialized Version of Android

You can buy the Nook with Android Oreo preinstalled. This may not sound like big news, until you compare the tablet to the competition. The similarly priced Amazon Fire HD, for example, comes with its own Fire OS. Unlike the Amazon OS, you can download Google apps, like the Play Store along many others, easily on the Nook. The Google documents suite is readily available and would be a great advantage for students or professionals on the go.

In-Store Support

The Nook comes with Barnes and Noble in-store support that allows users to buy e-books painlessly. This is in addition to the hardware support offered by the manufacturer. You may have to put up with a few branded Barnes and Noble apps, but overall the support is a good advantage to have.

Roomy Storage

This Nook comes with 32GB of internal storage. It’s not much in and of itself, but you can expand storage up to 256GB with a microSD card. The internal storage is plenty for essential apps, even some light gaming ones. With an SD card, there’s plenty of room even for bulky media files.

Good Battery Life

The Nook comes with a sizeable battery. You can expect up to 8.5 hours of battery life, which great for reading those un-putdownable books on the weekend. Even watching videos with maximum screen brightness can make the tablet last around 6 hours. All in all, battery capacity isn’t bad at all.

The Major Downsides

As with any budget tablet, the Nook comes with tradeoffs. Here are several notable ones:

Slow Processor

Performance wise, the Nook leaves much room for improvement. The biggest drawback of this tablet is its processor. The Mediatek MT8163 paired with just 2GB of RAM doesn’t get much done. The tablet overall is slower to perform. Booting up takes time and some apps may buffer before fully loading. While you can run some processor intensive stuff like light games, don’t expect the Nook to be a fast performer.

Not Good Enough Specs for Video

Video playback and recording is hindered on the Nook. You can play or stream videos at low-res rates. However, the frame rates are so low it’s near impossible to record video. If video is important to you, this tablet won’t make the cut.

Unimpressive Cameras

The Nook seems to have cameras for the sake of having cameras. Don’t expect to take great pictures with the low-res setup and video recording is totally out of the picture. I guess the manufacturer figured people would want the Nook mainly for reading and not taking pictures.

Other Comparable Devices to Consider

Nook Tablet vs Samsung Galaxy

The Nook runs into steep competition with the Samsung Galaxy Tab A. Overall, the Tab A comes with much better specs. It has a higher resolution display, an octa-core processor, and 2 to 3 GB of RAM. You can get it with more recent Android 9 or 10.

The Tab A has a better camera setup as well. Performance wise, the Tab A wins out. The Nook, though, is still cheaper. You should go with Tab A if multimedia is important for you. Otherwise, if you just want a tablet for reading, the Nook is probably better.

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Amazon Fire HD

The Nook’s biggest competitor is the Amazon’s proprietary tablet. Both are available at a similarly low-budget price range. The Amazon tablet is similarly sized but comes with a better display. It’s  a bit faster than the Nook too. However, you won’t have access to Google Play apps because Amazon insists on its own Fire OS. If you want somewhat better graphics, the Fire HD may be worth considering.

The Bottom Line

The Nook is a near ideal tablet for heavy readers. The 10.1 edition comes with more power than earlier versions so you can expect the Nook to function as a general low-budget tablet, and not just an e-reader in line of the Kindle.

You get a decent OS, good battery life, and a big screen. However, the Nook is seriously bottlenecked when it comes to performance. It’s pretty good for things like word processing or web browsing, but don’t expect to stream or game a lot.

As long as your needs are centered on reading and average computing tasks, the Nook would make a great, budget-friendly tablet. But if you want more processing power and higher graphics, you might want to look elsewhere.


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