The "1-Minute" Review
- Slow performance even when launching Nook Apps
- Nook Apps redundant with Samsung and Android Apps
- Poor cameras
While Barnes & Nobles might have officially left the tablet-making business, that doesn't mean they've completely given up on the market. Their partnership with Samsung has given birth to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook. Even though it carries the 'Nook' descriptor, reviewers agree that the tablet is more of a Samsung effort and the Nook features and apps are relegated to the back seat.
For all intents and purposes the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook looks exactly the same as the Galaxy Tab 4. Like its twin, it comes with a faux leather texture back, rounded corners and some chrome accents. Measuring in at 7.36 x 4.25 x 0.35 inches, it is slightly smaller than competitors like the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch and also lighter at 276 grams. While not necessarily a breakthrough in the design department, experts note that the details make it look more premium than it is and the textured back offers a decent grip.
Despite its entry level pricing, the Tab 4 Nook surprised reviewers with the quality of its 7-inch, 1,280x800 resolution display. While this translates to a pixel density of 216ppi, they didn't notice any fuzziness around text when using the Nook app to read books or magazines. Sadly, the screen is a step-back from the 2012 Nook HD tablet's resolution of 1,440x900, but ultimately critics describe it as a decent enough display with good color reproduction and viewing angles.
As a Samsung device, the Tab 4 Nook comes equipped with the standard TouchWiz interface complete with the popular multitasking mode. Barnes & Nobles has included a few unique touches to the UI: Nook Search, Nook Shop, Nook Today, Nook Highlights, Nook Settings and Nook Apps. Many reviewers found these apps to be redundant, especially Nook Apps as the device already comes pre-installed with Google Play AND Samsung Apps store. Critics often found themselves ignoring or avoiding the additional Nook apps as they didn't serve a unique purpose.
Samsung and Barnes & Nobles might market the Tab 4 Nook as a reading device, but even with this fair warning, experts were disappointed with its performance. The 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 1.5GB of RAM trailed significantly behind its competitors in synthetic benchmark tests and unfortunately translated to real-world use. Engadget experienced slowdown in almost every aspect from booting up the device to switching the display mode from portrait to landscape. While they note that the device can handle basic tasks they add that the result is not always smooth and, "Another device – even a competing budget tablet – will probably feel faster."
As for the rear camera, critics warn that it's nothing to write home about. CNET states, "both create dull, grainy photos devoid of detail and with washed-out colors."
In general, reviewers have a hard time recommending the Tab 4 Nook. Laptop Mag says, "If you're locked into an existing B&N library, we recommend loading Nook's app onto an Amazon slate." Mashable adds, "With its middling features…the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook can't compete with the forward-leaning Amazon Kindle Fire or mid-size tablet-market-leading Apple iPad Mini."