Current contenders for a low cost 9 or 10 inch tablet basically comes down to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (US$329), Kindle Fire HD 8.9 (US$299) and Nook HD+ (US$269). There are cheaper tablets yet of course, but those are probably not worth considering given the typical poor specifications, low build quality and lack of after-sales support.
You would have guessed by now that i have cast my vote on the Nook HD+, since this review is on the Nook HD+. Here’s a summarized comparison of the tablets:
|Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1||Kindle Fire HD 8.9||Nook HD+|
|Resolution||1280 X 800 TFT||1920 X 1200 IPS||1920 X 1280 IPS|
|CPU/GPU||1 GHz TI OMAP 4430 Dual-Core / PowerVR SGX540||1.5 GHz OMAP4470 Dual-Core / PowerVR SGX544||1.5 GHz OMAP4470 Dual-Core / PowerVR SGX544|
|Weight||1.28 pounds (580g)||20 oz (567g)||18.2 oz (515g)|
|Battery size and life||7000 mAh (9 hours of video)||6000 mAh (10 hours continuous use)||Unknown (Up to 10 hours of reading, Up to 9 hours of video)|
|Other features||microSD card slot, front and rear cameras, GPS, Bluetooth, USB 2.0 Host||Front camera, Dolby audio, dual stereo speakers, dual-band dual antenna Wi-Fi, Bluetooth||microSD card slot, Bluetooth|
The choice is very much dependent on the feature one is after. If GPS navigation is a must, then only the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 fits the bill. If video conferencing or photography is required, then the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 can be considered. Otherwise, all 3 tablets can be used for general browsing and media consumption.
Hardware wise, the Nook HD+ is sleek, and the screen is truly beautiful to behold. The quality of the screen, to me, is the main consideration when choosing a tablet. The high resolution of the Nook HD+ display allows you to read webpages or documents one page at a time without having to zoom in or to scroll about, which you may have to do on a lower resolution display. Performance wise, the responsiveness is more than adequate, with occasional sluggishness. The battery need only to be charged every 2 days with 2-3 hours of usage per day. Software wise, well, the Nook HD+ is practically useless if you don’t mod it (it’s easy to do so by the way). Having done the mod, you’ll be able to install Apps without being forced to go through the Barnes and Noble ecosystem. The skinning done by Barnes and Noble do come with some bugs (e.g. the button for clearing the notification events does not always show up and the recent activities list is always empty) but these minor shortcomings are quite bearable.
All in all, a nice tablet for daily use (great for reading in the loo), at a very low price!