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Nook HD Plus review

Sam Loveridge



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Nook HD Plus
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  • Nook HD Plus
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  • Nook HD Plus


Our Score:



  • Light and thin
  • Good quality display
  • New Google Play access


  • Feels cheap
  • Slow and sluggish UI
  • Non-standard screen ratio

Key Features

  • 9-inch, 1,920 x 1,280p display
  • 1.5GHz dual-core processor
  • microSD card
  • Google Play compatibility
  • 515g
  • Manufacturer: Barnes & Noble
  • Review Price: £229.00

What is the Nook HD Plus?

The Nook HD Plus is the Barnes & Noble equivalent of the Amazon Kindle Fire 8.9. A light and portable tablet and eReader hybrid that, despite being a little on the large side, claims to offer a custom Android UI with all the reading material and games you’ll ever need. Moreover, unlike the Kindle, it has access to the full Google Play app store. Does this lift it above the Kindle Fire and similar size rivals?

Nook HD Plus – Design & Build Quality

At just 515g in weight, the Nook HD Plus is light enough to hold for long periods of time, and the soft touch plastic back and large bezel mean you won’t accidentally press the touch screen at any point.

Large bezels aren’t always the most attractive, but the Nook HD Plus doesn’t look too bad. Its chunky design means it should survive a few bumps and knocks, too, which is good for families and regular commuters.

Nook HD Plus

So we can forgive the chunky bezel, but the large ‘keyring’ hole in one corner is another matter. We’re not sure what it’s for, as we can’t see how you would feasibly attach anything to it – it’s just an ugly eyesore.

The redundant keyhole aside, what really lets the Nook HD Plus down is the way the tablet creaks when you apply pressure to it. The rear of the case doesn’t seem to fit properly, so leaves the tablet making an ungainly cracking noise when handled with even a small amount of force. This may just be an issue with our particular review sample, but for the £229 RRP we wouldn’t expect such shoddy build quality.

Nook HD Plus – Screen Quality

The Nook HD Plus screen is a huge part of its appeal. Its 9-inch screen jams in 256 pixels per inch (1,920 x 1,280) which, though a little short of ‘retina’ quality, makes it very sharp, particularly for the price. The colour palette is a little warm, especially for those used to the coolness of Apple iPad screens, but the good viewing angle and decent visibility in bright light more than make up for that.

Nook HD Plus

Those in the know will have noticed the 1,920 x 1,280 resolution is slightly unusual. The benefit is the aspect ratio (3:2) is squarer and more comfortable for reading than the 16:9 of most tablets – i.e. it’s more like a book than a TV. One side effect, however, is some apps don’t fill the whole screen, leaving a distracting bar down one side.

Rabbi David Etengoff

June 4, 2013, 3:39 pm

I use Nova Launche Prime for my GUI and Go Taskmanager for memory management and the Tablet "screams." I simply couldn't be happier - and I have owned an iPad2

Alex Walsh

June 4, 2013, 3:56 pm

I second the Rabbi (never thought I'd type that!) I use Nova Launcher and can't fault the tablet. It also formats the microSD card in a file system that allows files to exceed 4gigs, which is brilliant and still fairly unique. Great screen, plays 1080p stuff with no issue, couldn't be happier at half the price of an equivalent iPad.


June 5, 2013, 3:06 pm

I'm also perplexed by this review. I don't find it slow at all.
I didn't like the built in launcher for various reasons, so installed one from the play store, also a more standard looking lock screen and it works great.
I'm sure some apps wont work with the tablet, but I'm yet to see one.
I'm also sure some give "bars" down the edge, but could someone give me an example - I'd like to see one.
The thing that tipped the scales for me to get the Nook HD+ was actually the screen ratio that makes books/magazines easier to read, Oh, and the price, as it 32Gb one from Currys.co.uk at the time for £180 - quite a bit cheaper than the £229 mentioned in the editorial, making the iPad mini £90 dearer, and smaller and a worse resolution screen.

Penacious H

June 25, 2013, 9:13 pm

Just bought this at an irresistible price in US (Nook HD Plus w 16 GB for $150) and thought I was having problems because I am new to Android...had trouble registering with BN, but that was solved quickly despite the VERY heavy accent of the tech support woman w/whom I spoke. When I asked her to repeat, eventually got it. (Maybe BN and others can do something to make off shore tech support on phone more easy to understand?). Used for about a week, and MY battery life is much worse than expected--it's halfway to empty after 2-3 hrs of reading and web browsing. Customizing the opening screen is harder too...accidentally figured out how to put icon links on screen...(and i've become pretty good on my iPhone 4). So battery life and ease of use are mediocre at this point...still hoping for best.

Alan Harvey

August 6, 2013, 11:33 am

Can't really agree with this review - the 5/10 is very harsh. If you stick on a new launcher it's pretty quick and has managed any game or app I have thrown at it.

kathleen mccrohan

September 11, 2013, 12:25 pm

I recently purchased nook hd + and I have no creaking on back and ui is zippy plus it runs icecream sandwich although she said in review an unknown android version .....its a customized version from b&n but still 4.0. I put my samsung tab 2 up against the nook plus,.processing speeds are.very close with the nook.faster at times,,plus it has a 1.5 gh processor which is very good ,,
I tested it on games temple run is as good as my nvid integra quad core no lag. I mean is it perfect??? None of them including ipad are perfect they all have issues ,,,but with a high resolution screen and awesome sharp clear texts,,expandable memory and its not slow,,,quick.response,,great wifi connection and good battery time ,,,I paid 149.00 its agood deal.especially with google play access..I think this review is slanted.

Will L

December 10, 2013, 11:36 pm

I disagree with this review totally. Mine is super quick and I notice no poor build quality. Idk what tablet these people were given...


December 11, 2013, 1:11 pm

We join the majority of comments below insofar that the reviewer must have had a bad night before reviewing the tablet. As a software house undertaking OSCE practical assessment examinations we needed a low cost but high resolution tablet for an online solution that could be programmed for use by inexperienced and mainly technophobe examiners. We chose the Nook HD+, after testing several others ranging from IPad's through Android to Windows tablets, due to its price, build and screen quality plus that eye that the reviewer hated (from our viewpoint the best thing invented as it means we use very lightweight wire strops to secure the tablets to stop them walking away at the end of examinations). We found battery life excellent as the tablet lasts a complete day (9 hours) without a recharge and the feedback from examiners is totally positive on all counts regarding the User Interface as well as the weight, which is all important if holding the tablet for long periods. Only small minus point is no rear camera but at the price you cannot have everything and we will be looking at purchasing another 30 especially as the price is now under £130 (nearly half the price of an iPAD Mini and a larger screen).


May 3, 2014, 8:37 pm

Seriously? Kindle Fire over the HD+ ? The author should see a doctor IMO or better switch careers.
Have the Nook since 11.2012 and it's one of the most satisfying gadgets I've bought ever.


May 21, 2014, 12:53 am

Thanks for the info. My book collection is something like 100 GB so this won't help me.

zaih jones

September 10, 2014, 2:17 pm

I have had 3 Nook HD+ and had to return all because they work for a few months and then they won't charge. Very unhappy. I have tried different outlets and chargers even going to the barnes and noble store but still will not charge. Very frustrated customer

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