Kindle vs Nook Color

The Kindle 3 faces competition from a Nook Color that is more Android Tablet than Dedicated eReader. Before we jump into Kindle vs Nook Color let’s list a few disclaimers –

  1. Kindle 3 and Nook Color are completely different devices. Kindle 3 is the best dedicated reading device and Nook Color is, unexpectedly, the best Android Tablet under $300 and a passable eReader.  
  2. Nook Color doesn’t come out until November 17th – So this Kindle vs Nook Color review is based on information and photos provided by B&N.
  3. This is a Kindle Blog and a blog focused on dedicated reading devices. Please factor in the unintended but implicit bias against a do-everything, LCD screen, mini-iPad device like the Nook Color.

Let’s start by looking at the Nook Color’s advantages.

Kindle vs Nook Color – Nook Color wins a lot of areas

The Nook Color is pretty impressive and it clearly wins some areas –

  1. You can do more than just read – video, music (Pandora’s preloaded), color photos, games.
  2. 7″ color touch screen with 1025 by 600 pixels. That’s a slightly bigger screen than the Kindle 3 with color and touch.  
  3. If both color and touch are important to you consider the previous benefit as two benefits.
  4. Value for money – If you’re looking for an Android Tablet or an eReader that can do more than just read $250 is a really good price.
  5. Supports ePub and library books.
  6. Android 2.1 so you get the promise of Android.
  7. Android based App Store that might get more apps than Kindle App Store since there are so many Android developers. For the moment Nook comes with Sudoku, Crosswords, and Chess.
  8. Retail – It’s sold through WalMart (which doesn’t sell Kindle) and through other stores that do sell Kindle (such as BestBuy).
  9. 8 GB Memory and a microSD card slot.
  10. It’s a LCD screen tablet so web browsing, games, and apps work much better.  
  11. You can use QuickOffice to create, edit, and view Office files. This is a very impressive feature.
  12. It looks very good. Supposedly Yves Behar or some fancy design company designed it. It has a slot at the bottom left where you can add charms and stuff. Just the sort of thing to let you make it uniquely yours.  
  13. Thanks to color and B&N’s new-found focus on kids and magazines the Nook Color is a very good choice for children’s books and for magazines and newspapers.
  14. Features you can access at B&N’s stores like reading any book for free for up to an hour a day.

B&N has certainly done well with what it had to work with – it’s positioned Nook Color very uniquely and it has created a surprisingly good Android Tablet.  

Kindle vs Nook Color – Apples and Oranges

It’s worth pointing out that Kindle vs Nook Color is an almost pointless comparison.

  • Kindle is a dedicated reading device for people who love to read. It’s an uncompromised approach to reading.
  • Nook Color is B&N’s attempt to reframe what an eReader could and should be. It’s a reading device that is not as good for reading but offers the ability to do a lot more. It’s what the iPad Mini threatened to be – a $249 Tablet that tests the resolve of book lovers and caters to casual readers.
  • It’s very likely that you will clearly prefer one – If you read less than a book a month and can’t afford the iPad then Nook is your dream device. If you love to read books and read often enough to justify a dedicated reading device (a book a month or more) then the Kindle is your dream device.

Depending on how much you read and how much you would like to read Kindle vs Nook Color is a very easy decision. If you would like to read more or if you already read a lot pick the Kindle. If you read once in a while pick the Nook Color.

Kindle vs Nook Color – Areas Kindle wins

The Kindle does very well in some areas –

  1. Kindle is 100% focused on reading.
  2. The eInk screen is great for reading. It’s readable in sunlight and easy on the eyes as it reflects light.
  3. You get the Kindle Store which is better than other stores in both book availability and price. B&N’s store isn’t bad but it’s a clear second.
  4. Great battery life. 10 days with wireless on. 3 weeks with WiFi on. Up to a month with wireless off. The Nook Color lasts a paltry 8 hours.
  5. 3G connectivity in addition to WiFi. This is pretty useful – especially as it bundles in free Internet browsing.
  6. Kindle 3 is $60 cheaper. Kindle WiFi, at $139, is $110 cheaper.  
  7. Much lower weight – Kindle 3 weighs 8.7 ounces while Nook Color weighs a painful 15.8 ounces. The weight of the Color Nook will be a deal breaker for a lot of people.
  8. More compact and thinner – Kindle is 7.5″ by 4.8″ by 0.335″ while Nook Color is 8.1″ by 5″ by 0.48″.
  9. Kindle is available now. You don’t have to wait till the 17th of November.
  10. Kindle App store is further along than Nook App Store. There are 3 free games and 3 paid games and by the time Nook Apps arrive (early 2011) there might be dozens or hundreds of Kindle Apps.
  11. Kindle’s Read to Me feature reads books to you. This can be turned off by Publishers – However 50% or so of books have this enabled and it’s a very useful feature.

Kindle 3 and Nook Color are suddenly competing in completely different markets. B&N has done a great job of reinventing the Nook as a device that will steal casual readers from the Kindle and will also appeal to people who can’t afford the iPad or want an alternative.

It’s a stroke of genius. B&N has decided to create an entirely different market – It’s a market that is much larger than the market for a dedicated reading device and as long as a $300 mini-iPad doesn’t materialize B&N ought to do very well. Quite frankly, if someone had told me the best Android tablet would come from Barnes & Noble it would seem absurd but that’s exactly what Nook Color might be – the best Android Tablet, the best value for money Android Tablet.

Let’s see if the actual device lives up to the promise.

Kindle vs Nook Color – They’re totally different devices

It seems B&N has decided it can’t beat Amazon at its own game so it’s trying to change the game. The Nook Color is a very, very different device from the Kindle –

  1. You should get the Kindle 3 (or the Kindle WiFi) if you want – a dedicated reading device, the best reading experience thanks to eInk, the best range of ebooks at the lowest prices, free Internet browsing, amazing battery life, the text to speech feature, lightness and compactness, immediate availability.
  2. Basically, the Kindle is the best device for people who love to read or want to read more.
  3. You should get the Nook Color if you want – color screen, touch, a device suited to magazines and newspapers, color children’s books, the promise of Android, the ability to do more than just read, ePub and library book support, expandable memory.
  4. The Nook Color is, arguably, the best Android Tablet and much better value for money than something like the iPad.

Kindle 3 is the best device of its type (dedicated reading device) and the Nook Color is, rather surprisingly, the best device of its type (tablet you can also read books on). As long as you prioritize your needs and pick the one that better suits your top needs you can’t go wrong with your Kindle vs Nook Color decision.

53 thoughts on “Kindle vs Nook Color”

  1. For me personally, depending on reviews and apps I may buy one of these strictly for reading comics. But that is just the kind of nerd I am.

    Will still keep my Kindle around for novels around the house, because it certainly will be superior.

    1. i read my manga on my kindle, and I see no big incentive to move to a nook color that cost $60 more, consume more energy (8hrs vs a week on the kindle) and no free 3g internet access

    1. If it were an open android device you could, but everything tells it isn’t. B&N will create its own app store, so surely they will ban any amazon app…

  2. I doubt someone could tell that it is the best android tablet. It could be it if it weren’t a locked down android device (nobody knows right now) like the previous nook.

    If we had real technical specs (I can’t find the processor speed in b&n site, i suspect they are hiding them because they are not amazing), we could compare with another ones.

    We should wait & see ….

  3. The 8 hour battery life is a deal breaker for me to use it as a e-reader, maybe as PDA but not as a dedicated reader.
    I charge my kindle maybe once or twice a week.

  4. I’m not sure about B&N created an “entirely different market”. I think they are mixing things and telling it is a new market. Nook color is a tablet, but they are sponsoring it as “The Ultimate Reading Experience”, i.e., an “ereader”. It is like selling a pickup and telling it is a compact car. That is not a new market, it is just confussion.

    Think this: ereader users are confused about the screen and battery life (they do not meet their needs) and tablet users are confused about the android capabilities (they seem to not meet their needs).

    Selling a product in a market where it does not belong is not a new market.

    1. What about the market for a $250 Android Tablet that focuses on magazines, and children’s books, and doing a bit more than just reading.

      I think this is a sleeper hit. There are lots and lots of people who dislike Appl but want a Tablet. Nook Color is a very reasonably priced tablet and if it’s here by end November it well sell a lot. $250 isn’t a very high price.

      Kindle/Nook 1 vs iPad suddenly becomes Kindle vs Nook Color vs iPad. It’s going to hit iPad sales. The surest sign will be if Apple lowers iPad prices in December or January.

      1. Switch,

        To really ‘hit’ IPad sales would require full access to the Android Market. In other words, a non ‘locked down’ tablet that could run the Kindle app.

        This is a new solo venture tablet that is but isn’t an android. Some people will like it, but by locking out most of the available software (if that is indeed the case), than the Nook tablet is going to have trouble against the Samsung Galazy tablet that will be $400 over at Sprint…

        I like the idea… not the execution.

      2. Agree with Neil.

        To be succesful it should attract developers. But to attract enough developers you should have a device with millions of users. Nook color is not a “millions of users” device.

        They are hoping that Android developers will easily port to the nook. Let’s see if it happens … (Nook color could avoid this being a real android device, but it isn’t)

    1. Well, they might think they can compete using Nook 1.
      However, you’re right. They may have, in effect, bowed out of the eReader market.

      At the Nook Forum there are some very mixed reactions.

  5. Okay; B&N has announced a tablet for readers, and B&N main advantage to the Kindle is allows library books.

    Does anyone know if an app that allows library books to the iPad/iPhone is coming out? Something like an Overdrive App?

    Isn’t Mirasol suppose to come out in the early part of next year with a major eReader company? I wonder if that will be Amazon with the Kindle 4 or Kindle Tablet.

    1. My thought is that there will be a Kindle 4, and it will be color. Say what you will about black and white being just fine for reading but color will be a big seller even though most people don’t need it.

    2. Yup. Agree with you and Wesley. Kindle 4 will almost certainly be a Mirasol powered color Kindle. If that wasn’t the case today’s Nook color release guarantees it.

      1. Agree. There is only one possible next generation ereader: one with an e-ink color touchscreen. And the next one, could be the dual display (e-ink + LCD with touchscreen). That last device will be the winner on the tablet/ereader war: it will fit all our needs.

      2. John,

        I’m very much into the idea of a dual display tablet or smartphone. The screens and electronics are finally thin enough… I think a 4.3″ to 5.0″ diagonal screen Android phone with an LCD touchscreen on one side and the other side e-ink would sell well.

        People want to carry fewer devices. But I’m having trouble figuring out how this ‘Nook color’ will compete with dedicated Android tablets in the long run…


      3. Neil,

        I agree that a device with two screens will be great. But PixelQi already has a dual screen (one screen with two modes: eink and lcd). It will be better 🙂

        I can even imagine a phone with a rollable 9 inches screen … 🙂

  6. I’m unclear how your statement of the B&N store being a clear second is determined. At last count, the B&N store was around 2M titles for the Nook versus Amazon’s ~650k for the Kindle. Was the statement based off sales instead? Just curious, as the statement seemed biased without any data.

    1. Punkins, you’re falling for the B&N party line.

      They have around 1.5 million free Google Books that they count amongst their 2 million books. So they always say – Over 1 million free books. 2 million total books.

      Amazon store has 720K new books and via Internet Archive etc. has 1.8 million free books. I’m biased by truth.

  7. I think the new color NOOK will/should be marketed primarily to
    TEENS/College kids
    That’s the age group that thrives on the newest/latest/color tech-toys.
    Of course others will be drawn to it—I also know that my 20’s daughter (and her friends) would prefer this new mini-pad over a K3.
    There’s a market for both.
    I prefer the K3 because I have an 8.9″ netbook, which already does most of what the new color-nook can do.

  8. I’m not sure about a locked down Android device. The reason my latest phone is an Android phone is that I can (relatively easily) bypass my phone’s provider and manufacturer. That may be harder to do with the new Nook. (But never underestimate the Android hacker community.)

    Also, I take it that the only connectivity is through WiFi?

    I suppose mentioning that Android has already been on 2.2 for a while and the phone boards laugh at “new” devices that aren’t on the latest version of Android would be wrong.

    Other than pushing Amazon towards color in the medium term, I can’t find myself getting excited about the new Nook.

  9. I don’t think this competes against the kindle. I think it comptes more with the el-cheapo no-name readers they carry at borders: the velocity micro-cruz and the aluratek reader. Those are both 7″ LCD ereaders, and they sell at 160$ and 100$. I don’t see what in the nook color is causing them to think it’s worth 250$

  10. Thank you for another great analysis, very good read as always. I really enjoy reading your blog.

    As for the Nook vs. Kindle, I think Nook/Android has another plus – you could probably install the Kindle for Android app, so you don’t loose all the books you acquired through the Kindle store. So you can enjoy on the same device books from B&N, from Amazon, and public domain.

  11. And don’t forget the Augen 7″ LCD android tablet, the Maylong M150 7″ android LCD tablet, the Archos 7″ LCD android, the ZTE Light 7″ LCD android, the CherryPad America 7″ LCD android, all under $300, not to mention Dell, Samsung, Acer, LG with their upcoming 7″ android tablets (likely more than $300). In short, the color Nook has lots of competition, assuming these tablets can get the Kindle, Nook, or Kobo apps for Android!!

  12. I really love Nook kids. I have a 3 year old and one on the way and the option of reading with full color illustrations really tilts the scale for me. Something for the whole family. I haven’t read any comments on that so I thought i would pipe in. 😉

  13. I suffer from eyestrain. Kindle 3 is perfect for me and since nook is backlit its not even an option. I got eyestrain from reading on iPhone to much my face felt numb I went to the eye doctor and she told me don’t read on backlit screens. I can’t even watch TV for more than 10 minutes now without facepain/head ach my actual vision is fine though im happy about tht!!! But I think it’s more nook color VS Ipad, Kindle is a reading devise I can read on my new kindle 3 all day which is why I also hope they come out with a color E-INK device I’d like to be able to watch TV or browse the net without face pain.

    Everyone talks about Kindle being able to be read in sunlight, to me the health of our eyes should be a bigger issue! As my doctor said staring into a LIGHT cant be good for ya. but I guess that’s cuz they don’t have eyestrain yet from reading on iPad lol.

  14. I know that this is a pro- Kindle site, but still…
    Anyone who wonders who the Nookcolor is aiming for should compare reading the National Geographic on an LCD color screen with reading it on the Kindle gray-scale. Anyone who makes that comparison, even as a thought experiment, is going to immediately understand why a Nookcolor would be preferred.
    People who read mostly plain text may not get this, but there are millions of folks out there who read magazines, newspapers, comics, children’s books and illustrated books. For them, a Nookcolor would be way better than a Kindle for reading this type of literature .
    As to battery life, I do wonder where people who are so concerned about this live-because if they live in urban or suburban America, they will generally be in easy reach of an outlet. Most people who plug in the cellphones every night will simply plug in their color Nooks at exactly the same time. It really isn’t that big of a deal.
    The reviewer also didn’t mention the 8 gigs of storage space of the color Nook, expandable up to 32-compared with the K3’s non-expandable 4 gigs. That’s a significant advantage-especially if you plan to use your Nookcolor as your audio book device. Finally, you can play video on your Nookcolor-something you can’t do on your K3. Thus you can play a Youtube video of an interview of the author that you are reading. That’s a significant value added that the K3 can’t match.
    As for apps, I for one think you’ll see a lot more app development with the Nookcolor. They already have Pandora, and you will likely see various Google apps on it in short order. Android is Google’s baby and they have every reason in the world to port over Gmail, Gcal, Google Maps, etc.
    The devil is in the details, of course, but I think those who are selling the Nookcolor short are kind of like the same techno geeks who were sure that the iPad would flop because they looked at it from their viewpoint rather than that of the average consumer. Mind you don’t make the same mistake.

    1. Thanks for your comment. All intelligent comments are welcome.

      Yes, Nook Color will be better for magazines and comics.

      Battery life is still an issue because it’s up to 8 hours with wireless off. It might be just 4-5 hours with wireless on which means trips, or even all day outside the house, cause trouble.

      The post clearly states – 8 GB memory and SD Card slot.

      Video is a value-add if you are interested in video.

      Apps – NookColor may very well see more apps. All that has to be done is port over Android Apps. In fact, it isn’t even porting – it’s supposedly just tweaking things.

      Have you even read the review or this blog?

      “Mind you don’t make the same mistake” ?

      Here’s what I wrote in an earlier post –

      The unthinkable has happened – B&N has released the best Android tablet out so far. A nice bonus is that it is much better value for money than the iPad. It’s quite interesting that multiple Apple blogs have attacked the Nook Color viciously

      1. I apologize. You did mention storage. Didn’t see the earlier entry. While battery life may be an issue for the long car/plane trip, it probably won’t be an issue for the usual case. But hey, you are right-battery life should be better, and I for one would be OK with a heavier Nookcolor as a result.Maybe I’m a bit more muscular that those who think that 1 pound is “painful” to hold up. Who knew I was a hulk :-).
        You also should reminder readers that B& N hasn’t “abandoned” the e-ink market. Its still supporting Nook 1 and has promised a substantial update. While your Kindlers think that the K3 is ahead, B&N is still in the e-ink race.

    2. my thoughts are that I would one both. one for email, social networking, blog reading, and recipe/cookbooks with pictures, as well as the photo album and then the Kindle3 that I just got, for reading. I read more than I can afford though, so the fact that I can’t use library books on the kindle kind of sucks…I also wouldn’t purchase an ebook that had color pictures that needed color–like a cookbook.
      It would also be nice too if there were some way to trade an already purchased hard copy book for an ebook format to cull my book collection. 😉

  15. Don’t forget that the Nook 1 is no slouch. It has good Brick and Mortar support and with the new update coming may still stay pretty competitive. The battery life, screen, and weight aren’t as good as the K3 but that doesn’t mean it’s bad, it still has a few advantages and has worked great for me. Certainly better than anything Sony or Borders has to offer IMO.

    People talk as though B&N is abandoning the e-ink market but I don’t think that’s the case (otherwise why would they update Nook1?). They are expanding their product line and that’s a good thing. The Nook Color is pretty much exactly what my wife is looking for: Great for magazines, light reading, children’s books, and web browsing, all for less money than an e-ink reader cost just a few months ago.

    While I will reserve further judgement until hands-on reviews come out, so far the specs have exceeded my expectations. It has a pretty fast processor (800MHZ) and about as good of a color screen as you can get right now. You can’t diss B&N for not using technology (color e-ink, pixelQI) that isn’t available, especially at $250. I’m looking forward to trying it out when it hits local stores later this month.

    1. One other note: My wife says “that will fit in my purse!” This is her main objection to an iPad. My main objection to an iPad is that it is a Steve Jobs’ Closed Proprietary World device. I may have a similar objection to Nook Color.

  16. The Nook Color will not run apps straight out of the Android Market, but that does not mean it cannot run them. In fact, they have done a lot of tests on apps from standard Android smartphones and they pretty much run on Nook Color, which has Android 2.1 under the hood. (The Nook native interface and apps are just standard Android application layers.) Barnes & Noble special Nook SDK runs on top of the standard Android one and gives developers access to exclusive extensions and APIs for the Nook and its interface. So porting Android apps is not difficult. B&N says it is more like optimising them for Nook than porting them. Nook Color screen is supposed to be better (less reflective) for reading than iPad as it’s using a new LG screen with anti-reflection coating.
    It allows to play video, listen to the music, view Office documents and PDF’s.
    If you prefer eInk screen, original Nook is still available.

  17. As a college student, I’ve been waiting for something like the Nook. Most of my reading are PDF’s with color charts and images that don’t work well in B/W. Add in basic office app support, web and email and I could leave my laptop at home. Even with the Nook weighing a pound I’m 3 pounds lighter by not taking my laptop.

    The iPad is off my list due to the closed ecosystem and no Flash on the web.

  18. I’ve been researching e-readers for a couple of months, wanting one for myself for Christmas. Everything I’ve read says Kindle doesn’t support library books, which is a deal breaker for me. If Kindle is truly the better product, why don’t they open up to library books and wipe Barnes & Noble out of the market?

  19. Once you’ve seen and used the color Nook you will know which is preferable. I work in a store that sells them now, and despite what Kindle owners say (or anyone who already spent money and wants to feel good about their choice)…when you see how 99% of customers react to the color Nook and what you can do with it…so far it’s only seconded by the iPad and you save half the money to get a reader +Pandora, games, web access, and ePub books, etc. Seriously, I don’t own any of these, just an EVO…but the color Nook is the top choice so far for a reader (and more) at $250.

    1. JT, if you read a few of the other posts you’ll notice that I’m pretty strong on the Nook Color.

      If you don’t own any of these, then you really wouldn’t know how each is when you actually own it, and read on it.

  20. My husband and I have a two year old who loves “reading” colorful books and playing “Angry Bird” and we enjoy reading magazines and books so the Nook color meets our family’s needs.

  21. My husband got me the Nook Color for our anniversary and we researched both the Kindles and the Nook and it was a hands down decision. I am a very avid reader as is my nephew, a grown man. He said I would like the Nook color better as he had the Kindle and I do. It is great for reading, going online and you can read it while it charges and my batter life has been way more than 8 hours both with and without the WiFi on/off. I read in bed and it does not keep my husband away from the bedside lamp because it has the built in light. I also have read out in the sunshine and had no problem. Just made it a bit dimmer and read with no problem. I would never by the Kindle products now and I did get a few of the Amazon books on my Nook Color so it does read or download great from sites other than just BN although I love BN’s $5.00 and under selection of books.. It has so many you can read forever on .99 cent books.. I haven’t played the games on it, I read read read so yes I recommend the Nook Color all the way for anyone that loves reading, going online or games, magazines, childrens books or what ever you want to do.. I LOVE it and I have also got a lot of FREE books from BN.. No comparison in my opinion.. I love it and the fact that you can get a cover that opens like a book. You don’t have to unzip anything and remove, just open turn on and start doing what ever you want… My opinion and I love it.. From an avid reader of novels.. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *