In recent weeks I’ve talked a lot about the Amazon Kindle, but let’s not overlook that “other” e-reader: the Barnes & Noble Nook. Specifically, the Nook Color is one of the unexpected gadget success stories of 2011–and for a limited time, there’s a rare deal to be had on one.
Barnes & Noble is offering the “certified pre-owned” Nook Color tablet for $199, shipping included. Normally it sells for $249. “Certified pre-owned” is another term for “refurbished,” but don’t let that stop you. B&N’s refurbs arrive in like-new condition (I’ve seen them firsthand), and they’re covered by a full one-year warranty, same as new Nooks. To my thinking, you have absolutely nothing to lost by going the pre-owned route. Rather, you have $50 to gain.
Notice, too, that I called this a tablet, not an e-reader. Although it began life as the latter, it has more recently evolved into the former: the Nook Color runs a modified version of the Android operating system, and can now run a limited selection of apps–just like a real tablet.
In fact, if you’re a tech-savvy user, you can install the full-blown Android OS and turn this into one of the best deals anywhere on a color tablet. Not tech-savvy? A cool new product called Nook2Android makes this a plug-and-play process: just pop a memory card into the Nook’s expansion slot and presto: you’ve got an Android tablet. Pop it out again and your Nook Color is restored.
Besides offering color to the Kindle’s monochrome, the Nook Color supports the Epub book format–meaning you can check out free e-books from your local library. Amazon plans to add that option to Kindles sometime this summer–but exactly when is anybody’s guess.
The Nook Color also excels at displaying magazines and children’s books–something to consider if you’re a fan of periodicals or, well, children.
Personally, my Kindle’s been collecting dust ever since my Nook Color arrived. Although Amazon is expected to offer a color e-reader/tablet any day now, a Nook Color for $199 out the door is just about impossible to beat–whatever the competition brings.
Consequently, I suspect B&N will sell out quickly. If you’ve been waiting for a price drop to pull the trigger on a Nook Color, don’t wait any longer!
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.