The Tech-pert: $129 Nook Color is Tablet Deal of the Year
Back in July I wrote about the Barnes & Noble Nook Color, which was selling for the then-incredible price of $199.
What a difference a few months makes. Since then, HP discontinued its TouchPad 10-inch tablet and cleared out the remaining inventory at $99. Amazon introduced and starting shipping the 7-inch Kindle Fire for $199, along with new Kindle e-readers priced as low as $79.
And in the past month, tablet prices have been in free-fall, with huge cuts to other 7- and 10-inch models. (I’ve even seen a few deals on iPads, though usually refurbished models.)
That, my friends, is the tablet deal of the year.
Now, just to clarify, this is not the newer Nook Tablet, which Barnes & Noble unveiled last month and sells for $249. It’s last year’s Nook Color, which began life as an e-reader but has evolved into so much more.
See, out of the box, the Nook Color runs a modified version of the Android operating system, which now supports a limited selection of apps–just like a real tablet.
But the better option is to pop in a special microSD card from N2Acards or RootMyNookColor. These cards, which start at around $30, transform the Nook into a bona fide Android tablet, able to access Android Market and run just about every Android app.
(If you’re somewhat tech-savvy, you can save your money and “root” the Nook to run Android without a card–but there’s no going back. With the cards, you just pop them out and you’re back to the stock Nook operating system.)
I especially like this approach because it lets you run other bookstores’ reader apps (namely Kindle and Kobo). That means you can read e-books you may already have purchased elsewhere, and you’re not limited to shopping for new books at Barnes & Noble.
I bought a refurbished Nook Color several months ago (and paid $179, dangit), and I love it to death. Thin and rounded, it feels less like a slab (cough, Kindle Fire, cough) and more like an elegant slate. Plus, there’s something about that little hole in the corner I just dig.
Barnes & Noble generously backs refurbished Nooks with a one-year warranty, same as if you bought a new one.
At $129, the Nook Color is a shockingly good deal and my single favorite product of 2011. Grab one before they’re gone.
Self-proclaimed cheapskate Rick Broida has been a technology writer for over 20 years. He has authored over a dozen books, including, most recently, “How to Do Everything: Palm Pre.” Currently he writes the Cheapskate blog.