Living with the Nook HD+

On 2013/01/27, in Review, by Greg Woods

So, I got rid of my Kindle DX, which I decided was unsuitable for technical manuals. And due to Amazon’s culling of the product I made a nice profit on it on ebay, and snagged myself a 9″ Nook HD+ (used) for £135. How have I found using it for the last few weeks?

My Use Case

Although I did once find myself jealous of iPad-wielding friends with their fancy games and apps, this soon passed. I wanted a device for reading programming books. One that could handle PDFs as well as ePubs, and one I could look up additional info on the web before returning to the book. In summary, the Nook HD+ is a superb device for this. In some ways, not having access to the Apple or Android app stores is a good thing. There are less distractions. As to value for money, even at it’s full price of £239, it is great value. A little used one on ebay is unbeatable.

Strengths

  • The ‘retina’ class screen resolution
  • The large 9″ screen
  • Magazine-page-ratio is pretty good for books
  • Excellent PDF support, including table of contents
  • Good web browser
  • Locked down, so little temptation to tinker with it
  • ‘Resume reading’ icon always available
  • ArticleView on web pages is a nice touch

Weaknesses

  • Occasional browser bugs. Google Reader doesn’t always render well
  • Locked down, so tinkering with it is just more of a challenge (must resist temptation to root it)!
  • Most books show with black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. Usable screen is actually 8.2″ for many books
  • (The best aspect ratio for programming books is probably 4:3 – an iPad)
  • Pinch-zooming-in on a PDF doesn’t shrink those black bars. You instead immediately get a vertical scroll bar. A poor implementation of zoom
  • The only icons I use on the home screens are ‘Library’ and ‘Web’. It would be nice to be able to show entire folder contents on a home screen to cut down on navigation taps

Overall

It’s a great experience. I’m reading more, which is the real benchmark of success. Being able to quickly flit back and forth between different book pages, and the web is making the learning stick. An e-ink reader is totally unsuited to this form of reading.

How long will I keep it? Unknown. The more suitable aspect ratio of the iPad is tempting, but I will never shell out £399 for a reader. A iPad mini could win me over, if the screen resolution were  better. When the iPad mini with retina display comes out – as I’m sure it will –  it could sway me to the dark side.  The only problem then will be the temptation to use it for 1001 other things rather than catching up on all my nerdy reading.

 

 

 

2 Responses to Living with the Nook HD+

  1. Paul says:

    Hey,
    What about code samples? How it looks in Kindle and Nook HD+?
    Can these device fully replace laptop or paperbook for reading?

  2. Greg Woods says:

    Sorry about the slow reply, I’ve struggled getting emails sending from WordPress.
    Anyway, code samples look great. It will replace all but a handful of paper books. Those which are always open on my desk, and a few books where the subject doesn’t date.

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