How does the NC compare to other tablets?

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  1. DillonBladez

    DillonBladez Member

    Now, I've just gotten into the Android game. I have a HTC Desire, but I want more (no surprise, :) )

    The Nook Color.
    This eReader attracts my attention for several reasons,
    1) It's cheap. Half the price of usual tablets
    2) People say that it can out-perform the iPad in certain areas.
    3) I love hacking stuff! There seems to be quite a bit of development going on, correct me if I'm
    4) The size seems to be just about right, a good compromise between portability and legibility

    Now, I don't really need all the features that other tablets have, namely the 3g/4g wireless connectivity. I was just looking to use this at home, or at my grandparent's place (Where the computers there are absolutely ancient!) just for web browsing, facebooking, and the occasional game of Angry Birds.

    Now, to the question. How does this stand up to other tablets of today? (Examples would be iPad, maybe iPad 2, XOOM, Galaxy Tab (7 inch and 10 inch)
    I know that the Nook Color can be overclocked to 1Ghz, and more (1.3 - 1.6 ghz?) which puts it to the same clock speed as most of today's tablets, except for they have dual core processors. How much of a difference would it make? Also, It can play a lot of high end android games when overclocked (Tegra 2 games?). However, I'm sure all the rooting and overclocking is bound to kill the battery. The original battery is said to last 8 hours with WiFi off. If Overclocked, and with WiFi, can I expect to have 5-6 hours of constant usage? Also, assuming it does last about 5 hours overclocked, I know that there are some kernels that allow for the Nook Color to be a USB Host, meaning keyboard, camera, and (maybe) mouse support. But such devices require power to be used, so can I expect 3-4 hours?

    So, to wrap this whole thing up:
    If anybody with a rooted Nook Color as well as a mid-high end android tablet could post their opinions, that would be great. (Keep in mind I just need to do lots of web browsing and possibly watching videos) I also hear there are going to be quad core tablets? If that's the case, this single core 800mhz tablet won't do much in the long run, will it?

    The reasoning behind the question, is that even if the Nook Color is cheap, I don't want it becoming obsolete any time soon.

    Also, how lively is the community for Nook Color? I'd like to have lots of community updates (I care about these more than manufacturer updates), so that I'll still be getting support long after B&N stops giving a shit.

    Thanks for your help,


    (Pretty much Copy&Pasted from my question on Yahoo Answers! I thought that maybe the pros over at could help me out more than they could.)

  2. colchiro

    colchiro Well-Known Member

    The NC can typically be OC'd to about 1300. Anything over that and you have to crank up the voltage, making it not worth it. Some people claim the cpu can do 1300, but the gpu peaks at about 1200.

    Hardware acceleration is coming soon.

    If you need bluetooth, you might want a different tablet, since that's one of the weak points. I have not tried usb peripherals, which requires a custom-made cable. You need to power your devices externally since the NC will not power them.

    An active dev community with daily builds is a plus. I have more fun updating it than playing with it. :D

    Screen is nice and nice size and pretty good battery life. I have no experience with other tablets, but it does everything I want it to.
    DillonBladez likes this.
  3. DillonBladez

    DillonBladez Member

    Bluetooth is not really necessary, I don't really have any bluetooth devices anyways xD

    How is the web browsing? Smooth, choppy? (Like as in scrolling)
    And how is the keyboard, most importantly. I'd like to get USB host functions working properly on it so I could use a keyboard and/or mouse, but I don't think I can lug a keyboard with me everywhere :p
  4. TheAmazingDave

    TheAmazingDave Well-Known Member

    Well I don't have another tab to compare it with, but some answers to your questions.

    NC stands up well to other tablets in the hardware department, and since you're willing to work with the software, it doesn't matter much that out-of-the-box the Nook isn't a "tablet" at all. You'll have no issues, however, installing a full version of Android from Cyanogenmod. I'm aware that there's others, but the truth is Cyanogenmod is the only active ASOP release and anything else is currently based on it. (Besides HC ports which are built on SDKs and not meant for daily use) I think the single-core vs. dual-core argument is pretty moot this early in the tablet game, and here's my analogy why. Pentium 4 made its debut during the turn of the millenium. Featuring Rambus memory and wicked-high clocks for the time, Intel promised the best performance for your buck. AMD laughed at them, and gave us the Athlon XPs that outperformed the P4s, even with traditional RAM, at the slight cost of higher power usage. You may remember these chips; an Athlon XP 1,700+ ran at 1.46 GHz, yet was named as such because it would easily run with the P4 1.7 GHz and even outperform it in some areas. My point? Nook's single core has plenty of power, and you won't find much advantage to a mobile dual-core unless you're playing the latest intense 3D games. Angry birds, Age of Zombies, Fruit Ninja, Speedx 3D, and others all play very well, and even fully 3D-rendered games like the Cordy demo play decently on the Nook's single-core ARM and its older GPU. The NC has so much power, in fact as you mentioned, that custom drivers will even allow it to play dual-core Tegra2 games, sometimes flawlessly.

    Nook Color has a true 7-inch 16:9 display, and in my opinion a 7" tablet is the perfect form factor. The screen on this thing is amazing, and should be the benchmark for all other 7-inchers, high- or low-end. While it falls just short of true 720p resolution, it still displays media crystal clear, and razor sharp. The viewing angles are amazing.

    The battery is also great, all things considered. The screen backlight is by far the largest consumer of power, and if I'm stuck glued to mine all day, I can expect about 6 hours of constant use. However, a lot of the time I use it to play Pandora radio, and with the screen off, but system running with WiFi, I get hours and hours of playback from the battery. It will play at least two full-length features on NetFlix with a full charge, or one movie with several hours of web browsing.

    The internet performance is fantastic with Flash support. I am able to open just about any web page, and with Flash and Java, embedded media is no issue for Nook Color. It will open and play back most embedded media with ease in my experience. Sometimes an embedded video may start choppy, but it seems to be buffering and always catches up without issue. Operating the controls on the embedded players is more frustrating than opening up embedded media. Also, several games I've tried on (First-class Solitaire, Poppit!, etc.) have played perfectly on the Android browser.

    And finally, on the terms of hardware power, I had been running mine solid at 1.3GHz, but as Colchiro mentioned, and plenty of developers have confirmed, the GPU performs best with the CPU set at 1.2GHz. This is because OC'ing the CPU affects the FSB, and the GPU doesn't operate properly when the CPU is set at the FSB needed for 1.3GHz. I didn't beleive it at first, but benchmarking results confirmed it. I gained an average of 8 FPS in Nenamark by turning down to 1.2 from 1.3. I've been set there for several weeks now, with no other discernable system performance hits. Count on running 1.2GHz if you want to game.

    You have the right idea. Generally, you can expect most USB keyboards and mice to work without much issue. Some generic USB thumbsticks, and some digital cameras (for reading its memory card) can be connected directly to the Nook and mount successfully, but the NC can only provide 100mA of host power; this isn't even enough to tickle alot of the devices out there. I do however own a USB headset, a wireless mouse, a digicam, and several thumbsticks that work directly with my Nook without an additional hub or power source. I don't know if anyone has USB webcams working as a camera yet; I know there's a special build of CM7 nightlies to test this feature but haven't heard of anyone getting it to work.

    Bluetooth is my peripheral connection of choice, since I primarily am using a keyboard and/or mouse with my Nook. I have a Logitech BT desktop set with a Mx5000 keyboard and Mx1000 mouse. Although they both work great with the Nook, NC currently has very poor transmission range for BT, and the mouse looses sync after moving a few inches away from the Nook. For the most part, it works well enough that I have a hassle-free browsing experience when I set up shop.
    gsutton and DillonBladez like this.
  5. Sue7M3

    Sue7M3 Well-Known Member

    I think it's fantastic. I had a Coby Kyros 7105 before I got the NC and the NC blows it out of the water. When it's rooted it stands up proudly next to any tablet.
    tube517 and DillonBladez like this.
  6. colchiro

    colchiro Well-Known Member

    I too set mine to 1200, even tho I can get close to 1300.

    My recommendations all assume a recent CM7 build is installed. I'd never have purchased it if only the stock rom was available.
    DillonBladez likes this.
  7. DillonBladez

    DillonBladez Member

    I'd never purchase anything if it only had the stock rom. I previously had the Xperia x10 and without any custom roms available, I soon ditched it for the Desire.

    I've never heard of Pogo, but can I assume that they're flash games? I didn't know you could play flash games already! wow.

    A few more questions though.

    How is the keyboard on the 7 inch screen? (Either landscape or portrait) You say that the 7 inch screen tablets are the perfect size, but did you incorporate the keyboard into that? Is it big enough that I can use both hands while typing? I obviously don't expect it to be a full-sized keyboard, but I want something kindof comfortable when a USB keyboard isn't at hand.

    How is the multitouch? Some of the earlier android devices came with half-assed multitouch that was barely passable for even just pinch-to-zoom. Some games require multitouch, and I'm hoping that this could provide a better multitouch than my previous phone (Xperia x10).

    I have a earphone set that came with my Desire. It has a built in radio chip as well as a microphone. Would this work as a means of communicating via skype (or something similar)?

    And this one isn't really THAT important, but..
    What's your opinion on the new upcoming quad core tablets/smartphones and the Tegra 3 chip? I know you've stated your opinion on the single vs dual core CPU's, but I think that Quad core has quite a significant advantage over single core. The Tegra 3 chip is also interesting.

    Thanks for summing up all that information for me, Mr Amazing :) That post summed up the 4 hours of reading on the XDA forums and various other forums in two minutes, haha.

    Thanks for your help guys.

    Damn, I always manage to forget stuff in gigantic posts like these..

    When you said you got a few thumbsticks to work, do you mean like video game controllers?
    Could I possibly map the joysticks on them to onscreen controls?

    If I got a usb bluetooth dongle, would I be able to connect devices that way, or would that eat up more than 100ma?

    And lastly, are the nightly builds actually nightly (as in one per day) or are they just really frequent?

    Again, thanks for the help.

    As a broke kid that just turned 14, I'm yet to find a job so I think I'll wait on the NC until christmas or something, unless I somehow get money before then :p
  8. KendallParis

    KendallParis Well-Known Member

    I don't know what keyboard you are using on your phone, but if it happens to be SwiftKey X, then it's perfect for the Nook. DO NOT get SwiftKey Tablet. It would be a waste of money in this instance.
  9. colchiro

    colchiro Well-Known Member

    I use SwiftKey and like it a lot. The keyboard on my 4.3" DroidX is a good size. I imagine a 7" screen's keyboard is even better. :D

    Here's your nightly changelog with a new build about 5x a week: CyanogenMod nightlies changelog for Encore

    (#150 was a good build) Check out anything with "encore" in the name.

    The secret to usb devices when you can't power it from the device? Use a powered hub.

    Maybe you should swing by B&N and check out the screen and keyboard. Maybe have them pull up Angry Birds Rio. :D
    gsutton likes this.
  10. TheAmazingDave

    TheAmazingDave Well-Known Member

    lol Yea, Pogo is a Flash games site.

    I feel 7 inches is the perfect size for me. I don't like the full size of the ~10 inch tablets; I couldn't imagine holding it with one hand for any extended period of time. With the high resolution and high pixel density of the NC's screen, I find it perfect for me in 7 inch form factor.

    The multitouch on the Nook is fine. I've read somewhere that the NC's screen can support up to four touches, but the driver included with Cyanogenmod only works with two. This really hasn't hampered things, or at least, it hasn't been detrimental to me. There aren't any problems with pinch-to-zoom or gestures.

    The earphone jack on the Nook doesn't have an audio input. Nor does Nook support audio input through Bluetooth, should you find a BT headset that would even work more than a few inches away. Audio input, as far as I know, is only working through USB audio devices.

    And my apologies; by thumbsticks, I meant USB flash memory drives. I haven't had any success using my USB Xbox 360 controller at this time. That doesn't mean it's impossible, however. I would imagine that any USB device that can work with Android should work just fine on the NC provided the power requirements are met.

    I wouldn't expect a USB BT dongle to ever work correctly with Android. I don't see it happening in the near future, anyway.

    And regarding the latest units that are coming, I'll reserve my opinion for now. No doubt they'll be number-crunching power houses, but I question whether there's software on the horizon to utilize it. But that always seems to be the case in the computer world, and frankly, due to my own budget constraints, I try not to look too far into what's coming since it usually leaves me depressed when I look into my walet. :D
  11. DillonBladez

    DillonBladez Member

    Haha, I feel the same way :p

    But a follow up to that question, how long do you think the nook color will keep up with the growing family of tablets? I know that sooner or later, tablets will be outdated by others, but what about community support? The community devs do a much better job of updating devices than the original manufacturers IMO.

    I'm not worried about pinch to zoom at all, but rather for the games that have on-screen joystick controls. My x10 didn't do very well with these, and my Desire has done only a mediocre job playing Guerilla Bob.

    Not completely sure, but my mouse is wireless and has some sort of wireless usb dongle. I think it's connecting to my mouse via bluetooth, but it's used exclusively for the mouse (Can't connect to anything else with it). Do you think that would work? And also, what's the reasoning with not having two bluetooth reciever-thingies on the tablet? Is it that both would interfere, or is it because android doesn't know how to use both bluetooth-transmitter-reciever thingies at once? (Or maybe the same thing?)

    Forgot to ask before, but what at percentage do you leave your screen brightness at, and how bright is the screen at max?

    Do you watch movies on your NC often, Dave? If so, I was hoping you could provide a little insight on how it plays videos. Choppy, smooth, stuttery? I have a feeling that if I get the NC, I'll be watching a lot of anime that I've missed xD

    And just asking this one out of the blue...
    Does anybody know how apple gets their devices to scroll so damn smoothly? lol. I've switched from the iPhone to android, and the first thing I noticed was how choppy the scrolling was in comparison to Apple's. The pinch-to-zoom is also incredibly smooth as well on the 3gs and even the 3g as well.

    From my times of using the iPhone, I used to type really fast (well, as fast as I could on an on-screen keyboard xP) but swiftkey on my desire doesn't seem to keep up with my thumbs. Say, if I type a 'w' and quickly type 'o' right after it with my other hand, it'll either do
    a)Glitch out and not type anything
    b)only type 'o'

    Gotta love memegenerator

    Also, as far as I know, there aren't any Barnes and Nobles in Canada?

  12. nj02vette

    nj02vette Well-Known Member

    The NC is a fantastic tablet for the price. No, it is not as nice as a Moto Xoom or iPad2 for various reasons, but it's also much cheaper. So it is a compromise. But the developing community has been real strong.

    With that said, there are very few things the NC can't do that the others can. The better tablets have faster processors and graphics, and more memory built in. But the NC definately holds it's own.

    Screen transitions are a function of hardware acceleration using the GPU. That wasn't available in Android until 2.3 (Gingerbread). So if your phone is running 2.2, it's not as smooth as it could be. Luckily, CM7 is based on the gingerbread kernel and things scroll pretty smooth.

    Movies play fine. I routinely use mine at resturants to keep the kids occupied.
  13. Sylon

    Sylon Well-Known Member

    I just got my NC as a factory refurbished unit for cheap. With CM7 it works great as a tablet, I really like it. The only other tablet I can compare it to is my iPad, and one of the HUGE advantages has to be its smaller size. Its not going to replace my iPad for tablet use, but it could. Typing in portrait mode is so easy, and the whole thing just fits so nicely in my hand. I also like how thin it is.

    As for tablet functions, I haven't tried OC'ing it yet. Im guessing OC'ing would make this thing run faster? I've had some issues getting some apps that the market says is compatible to work right. And I cannot get music or videos to play from the microSD card (card used for storage, not booting).

    Hardware-wise, like I said before its super thin, a little heavier than I was expecting but that extra girth gives a bit more of a quality feel to it. Mine is factory refurbished, so I can see tiny gaps between the plastic where some light shines thru. The screen is a smudge magnet, even with clean hands. So I always have a microfiber towel nearby. I need to get a case for this thing though, I dont think it would travel well on its own. But thats normal for all tablets I think. The screen is great at what it was made for, reading. Words show up super clear and its easy on the eyes. Video playback is ok, if I can figure out how to get video files to play from the microSD I could give a better assessment. So far I've only watched YouTube videos and they were eh, ok.

    I would have liked to see a solid honeycomb build for this with the REAL android market on it, if anyone knows of one please let me know. The last one I tried had something that wasnt the real android market, and I couldnt get anything to download from it anyway.
    gsutton likes this.
  14. DillonBladez

    DillonBladez Member

    I think the large dev community is one of the Nook's strongest points, for me at least. Next to web browsing and reading, I will probably be testing out a lot of the new stuff the devs come out with.

    I don't know much about GPUs. What I *think* I know is that the GPU is pretty much a CPU but dedicated to graphic related activity.
    My phone has decent scrolling while web browsing. I'd compare GPUs myself, but they're from two different manufacturers. My phone (Desire) uses the Adreno 200, but the Nook uses the GPU that droid 2 and droid X use, PowerVR SGX530

    Now obviously, you can't just compare numbers (I think?!), so how would I go about doing this? Quadrant is definitely a no-go since it is a total score of multiple factors.

    I've read a lot about overclocking before, and I'm pretty sure you can overclock RAM as well (On a computer). Has this been attempted on the Nook?

    Factory Refurb? I was thinking of getting one, are there any other problems than the one with the gaps in housing?

    I will be bringing this with me just about anywhere that's not school, so the size will be great for that, I hope.

    How has your normal usage been with the stock CPU speed? As you know, I don't have a nook color, but I've been reading tons about it. If it's fine, you may not need to overclock, but running games and/or videos will probably benefit with OC. Also, for the apps, are they games? There's a few games (Maybe apps?) that require a high-end GPU like Tegra 2. You can use Chainfire3D for that, I think. No success running Plants vs Zombies on my Desire, but maybe you'll have better luck.

    Thanks for the help,
  15. colchiro

    colchiro Well-Known Member

    When you OC the NC you overclock everything to the same speed: CPU, GPU, ram, bus - everything. It makes it faster, but go too far and it can make it unstable or really slow.

    If some older apps don't look right, try turning off compatibility mode in Spare Parts, available from Market.
  16. Sylon

    Sylon Well-Known Member

    as far as the gaps go, they are not noticeable at all. You would have to have an eagle eye to spot them and to be honest they dont bother me. Normally that kind of stuff does, but not here. It's a good, solid tablet.

    I cant speak on the overclocking bit, I'm still learning a lot of this stuff too. It's pretty decent at 800MHz though. I can play Angry Birds Rio without trouble. Right now my main issue is playing media off the microSD card, but I don't think that's the hardware's fault.
  17. colchiro

    colchiro Well-Known Member

    Try a different player app. I think I use rock player and you have to have h/w acceleration turned off for videos or you'll get a black screen. An update to turn that on that should be coming soon tho.
    Sylon likes this.
  18. DillonBladez

    DillonBladez Member

    So, hardware acceleration hasn't been used in video playing for all this time, or is this exclusive to Rock Player or playing videos off the SD card?
  19. colchiro

    colchiro Well-Known Member

    Hardware acceleration with videos doesn't work yet with the new kernel. It should be coming soon tho.
    DillonBladez likes this.
  20. Sylon

    Sylon Well-Known Member

    The built-in media player was the problem. I downloaded that Rock Player app like you said and videos and music play without issues. Thanks.
  21. colchiro

    colchiro Well-Known Member

    Glad it worked for you. I had problems watching a movie on mine until I used a different player.
    DillonBladez likes this.
  22. DillonBladez

    DillonBladez Member

    Ok, well, I think this thread is soon to be closed. I'm pretty set on getting a Nook Color, but there are still some important factors that I've overlooked...

    I've seen a youtube video displaying the Nook Color's multitouch with multitouch visualizer but if I could get some more opinions on the multitouch that would be great. I think I've mentioned the multitouch before, but I've done a little more accidental research on it. My phone (HTC desire) isn't a true multi-touch phone, but rather dual-touch. It doesn't read two individual touches, but one large one, and calculates where the other finger is... am I correct? This is caused because of the Desire's touchscreen component, which is the Clearpad 2000, I believe. Because of this dual-touch, many things are faulty, such as axis sticking and axis inversion.

    I'm hoping that the Nook Color has "true" multi-touch, because this will cause serious problems when playing games.

    Also, this next question doesn't have a straight answer. :)

    How long do you ~think~ that development will continue for this? I think I'll probably be installing the latest and maybe not-so-greatest nightlies on my NC, but how long do you think it will continue? Also, cnet seems to think that there's a possibility of a new Nook Color ($169-shipped/). And in the probable case that I'll be getting the old NC just before the new one comes out (Always happens!) do you think there will still be a lot of dev. action going on?

    Alright, I think that's it.
  23. TheAmazingDave

    TheAmazingDave Well-Known Member

    Nook Color has true multitouch. If I'm not mistaken, the touchscreen controller can detect 4 touches, although the bundled drivers in CM7 can only handle two. What happens is the driver craps out if you touch more than two places, but will come back as soon as the extra digit is lifted. This may be an issue for some games, but it hasn't been a problem for me. My favorite game is Age of Zombies which requires two fingers on the screen to operate the "joysticks".

    Personally, I think NC will be around for at least another year or two. Ice Cream Sandwich is coming soon, and lots of devs seem to be itching to get their hands on the source to build for NC and other "old" devices. Google has already stated that the source for ICS will be released. We'll likely never have a true Honeycomb build for NC since Google is hush hush on the source, but that doesn't mean hope is lost.
    DillonBladez likes this.
  24. DillonBladez

    DillonBladez Member

    Thanks for the reply.

    I'm not entirely sure, but would even true multitouch have axis sticking and inverting? If you could do a small little test on multitouch visualiser or something, that would be super-duper awesome :)

    And not sure on this either, but isn't Ice cream sandwich a combination of gingerbread and honeycomb? Not sure where I've heard that from, though.
    And do you know (or at least have an idea) why google is being so secretive about android honeycomb?
  25. Sylon

    Sylon Well-Known Member

    Google doesnt want Honeycomb on cell phones. Thats the main reason why they never released the source code for it, its only meant for tablets. However, keeping it a secret screws over us folks who want to put it onto a tablet.
    DillonBladez likes this.

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