Nov 21 2012 - Barnes and Noble's tablets retain the closest feel to the dedicated ereaders than most of the other tablets. They are certainly affordable like the Kindle but appeal more to those looking at the tablet most for reading. If you happen to know someone who owns one of the NOOK tablets, check out my suggestions for some gifts that help complement the device.
©Barnes and Noble
Unlike many companies that offer a single style of case for their tablets, Barnes and Noble offers a huge number of options. For the original NOOK Tablet, I like the simple Horizontal Stand Cover. With its dark color and shape, it almost makes the device look like a Moleskine notebook. Of course it uses a synthetic leather so it isn't quite the same but it does a good overall job. When the cover is opened, there is a small flap on the inside flap that can be folded out to allow it to prop up the tablet as well. Priced at $40.
©Barnes and Noble
With a slightly different look from the original NOOK Tablet, the NOOK HD also has a different style of cover. It still has a black exterior but with rounded corners to match the tablet and a groove on the front cover. This allows the cover to be folded over to function as a horizontal stand for the tablet in either a viewing or typing angles. The cover also enables the tablet to wake and sleep as the cover is used. It is constructed entirely of polyurethane plastics so it doesn't have as nice of a feel but it is very functional. Priced at $35.
©Barnes and Noble
In many ways, the NOOK 360 stand for the NOOK HD+ is very similar to the Horizontal Stand for the original Nook. When closed up, it has a similar look but it uses a plastic exterior rather than a synthetic leather. The difference is when it is opened up and used as a stand. In addition to allowing the tablet to sit in the landscape mode, the tablet can be rotated within the case to allow it to stand in the portrait mode. The extra ability also means that the price is a bit more expensive at $45.
One of the big limitations of the NOOK tablets has been the amount of storage space that is available for users to store data on the tablet. Unlike its competitors, Barnes and Noble did provide a microSD card slot so that users could expand the overall storage space. Through a simple mircoSD card, it is possible to add 32GB of extra space for books, programs, music and video to the tablet. That's four times the base storage of the NOOK tablets and all for just $21.
While the NOOK makes for a great tablet to read on, it also can be used for so much more thanks to its touchscreen interface. The downside is that frequent use of the screen with ones finger will result in a large amount of grease and grim that builds up on the display. The smaller screens can also be difficult to accurately touch for those that have larger hands. A stylus is a convenient way to help keep the screen clean while being more accurate. They are available in a wide range of styles from standard style pens to fancy brushes. Prices can be as low as $10 all the way to $100 but most are around $30.
Using a touchscreen without a stylus can quickly lead to a dirty screen. The grease and grim can obscure the text and images especially if it is being used in sunlight. Most people will just wipe it with a shirt or any cloth that is handy. To properly protect that screen and get it as clean as possible, a good cleaning cloth can be invaluable. The 3M microfiber cloths are an excellent choice for this as they are designed to use with high quality camera optics. Prices for the cloths range from a few dollars to $15 depending upon their size.
One of the great abilities of a tablet is being able to use them as a media viewer for TV shows and movies. The problem is that Barnes and Noble has a very limited options compared to Apple with iTunes or Amazon with its Prime membership. Thankfully, Netflix is available for the NOOK tablets to allow users access to the largest video streaming service. In order to use it though, you do need a subscription. The company does offer gift subscriptions in one, two, three, six and twelve month increments. Each month of the streaming only service costs $7.99/month and can be used on other devices but only one at a given time.
As with just about every tablet manufacturer, Barnes and Noble offers a specialized store for buying books, music, movie and applications for their NOOK Tablets. In fact, this is a bit more restricted than some of its competition. If you aren't quite sure what to get someone with a NOOK tablet, then a gift card for Barnes and Noble is always an excellent option as it allows the recipient to pick just about anything from the companies store front to use on their tablet. If they want something a bit more physical, the gift cards can also be used in their physical or virtual storefronts.