Nook HD+

(Note: Not everything written here is accurate. I’ll update this post as I find errors. Last updated: Dec 14, 11:30 EST)

This post is just a dump of what I want to say about the Nook HD+ at hand (so it is not organized and not a comprehensive review). For specs look up the web.

Firmware: 2.0.2, automatically updated from 2.0.0 during initial setup after connecting wifi.

No auto brightness; lowest brightness setting pretty easy on eyes for bed time reading.

Bluetooth keyboard does pair but doesn’t work without apps like BlueKeyboard JP (which is only available in Google Play but not Amazon app store nor Nook app store—maybe this is a reason to root it?) Bluetooth mouse works fine with it.


Keyboard (horizontal) as wide as my 12″ laptop

Rooting of Nook HD and HD+ are currently in progress—keep fingers crossed. Thrilled to know Cyanogenmod is coming! (http://www.engadget.com/2012/11/09/barnes-and-noble-nook-hd-tenatively-rooted-for-the-paper-ui-phobic/) (See also http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1981617)

For PDF reading there are two (free) choices: OfficeSuite and Reader. For some reason the full screen on OfficeSuite is missing 1/16 of the screen. Both don’t offer scroll lock (maybe that’s less of a problem given the large screen. Or maybe not) and both can’t quite handle the NY subway map. After zoom and a few pans both crashes.
(edit Nov 12) Full screen (portrait) in Reader is even worse, with about 2cm total on top and bottom of screen. Landscape mode in Reader is real full screen, showing two pages at a time (OfficeSuite is still 1 page at a time).


You have to pay for ezPDF reader and RepliGo PDF reader; the free mupdf which works on Nook Color and Nook Tablet doesn’t work on the HD variants currently.

Web browser: Portrait

Upper half of the screen

Close-up (portrait):

Landscape:

Close-up (landscape):

Video: mp4 clips downloaded from youtube played well. Youtube videos also played well, and can go full screen but the bottom most 1/16 of the screen is not utilized (landscape). JW Player (a flash player) doesn’t work. Vimeo works (uses Moogaloop player).

Transfer rate (from laptop to Nook) using Camera (PTP) mode is slower (about 3 MBytes/sec). Haven’t tried Media device mode (MTP) on Ubuntu because that involves installing app on laptop but what was provided is a dmg file (for Mac). On Windows (MTP) transfer rate is about 9 MBytes/sec.

Email, calendar and contacts are setup in one shot if you use Google.

Key pitch is close to 19mm in landscape mode—almost the same as the keyboard on my 12″ laptop. (pic)

No CJK keyboard support.

Nook store sucks for many of its apps haven’t updated to support Nook HD and Nook HD+ (i.e. they say they have 10K apps but only a fraction of them is good for the new ones, until the apps are updated). We’ll see how that will improve over the coming month or two. Their search functionality sucks hard too. Searching for “pdf" only returned 1 app whereas there are at least 3 pdf readers out there—I had to search for “reader" instead.

Speaking of the store, you need an account and a credit card to use with it. This maybe annoying to some. Plus you can’t delete your card info like that with iTunes (at least not on the web—maybe you have to call them).

Charger that comes with it has 2A output. When the Nook HD+ is plugged into a laptop, it doesn’t show charging but the orange charging light next to the connector lights up, much like the 1st edition Nook (the e-ink reader with a colour screen). So my guess is it will still charge with computers albeit at a slower rate.



As I owned a refurb 1st edition Nook before and it died after 14 months of use I’m paranoid about warranty. Squaretrade asks $79.99 for a 3-year warranty with accidents like spills and drop (theft not included). Warranty can be purchased within 30 days of purchase of the device. I think this is better than the 2 year protection from either Target or B&N, that costs roughly the same. (edit: Nov 15) Just learned that if you pay by Mastercard you can have warranty extension to 2 years for free. No accident coverage but you don’t have to pay extra. (I believe there’s something similar for Visa card too, but I haven’t checked that out.)


(edit Nov 12) There doesn’t seem like an oleophobic coating like those in cell phones so fingerprints and grease don’t come off easily.

(edit Nov 14) Sideloading apps (no root required) is not that hard once you have the Android sdk setup. Follow (make appropriate changes accordingly) https://nookdeveloper.zendesk.com/entries/21846516-quick-start-for-android-developers and that’s pretty painless, even though that takes a while. Only SDK needs to be downloaded, not the ADT bundle which is 400+MB. Everything else is downloaded through the Android SDK manager. I find it easier to work with Ubuntu as my Windows connects and disconnect my Nook when it’s put in debug mode. I don’t know why.

After sideloading keyboards that type Chinese, I feel better now. I have yet to get BlueKeyboard JP to work, namely I don’t have the .apk files and I can’t find it on my phone that I can copy it to the Nook.

(edit Nov 15) Got bluetooth keyboard to work! BluIME is the key (need rooting). BlueInput doesn’t quite work: it eats up a lot of CPU.
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1459747&page=2
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1839033

(edit Nov 17) Sideloaded Google Maps and Skitch (from makers of Evernote). Google maps work with offline so you get a gorgeous HD map! Map setting cause it to crash probably because I haven’t rooted it. Evernote is available in Nook App store so you can access it (and Skitch from within Evernote) from the home screen. Not so for Google Maps. If you don’t want to install a launcher, the trick is to open the “Apps" from home screen, then tap and hold the bar with the word “App" on the top and meanwhile pressing volume button. Both volume up and down works, so I prefer volume down because it won’t make noise even if it fails (if it fails you’ll be adjusting your volume). Maybe I should root it and use Amazon App store and then I don’t have to get the .apk files and sideload them from my laptop… (I added this update with the Bluetooth keyboard!) The DIY cover is also done. Together with a Bluetooth keyboard you can edit WordPress posts.

(edit Nov 19) Got (sort of) root using the method described at http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=34129527&postcount=65. Now I can install apps from Amazon App Store! No more side loading.
In more detail, you first go to the first post of the thread and root it. Then follow that post #65 (I’m putting in more details and links here),
<Warning you should backup everything first!>
1. get a file manager that supports root, e.g. ES file manager and sideload it.
2. using the file manager copy NookColor Tools (e.g. here) to /system/app (for this you need to enable write on /system using the file manager)
3. sideload a launcher, e.g. ADW Launcher, so you can see and launch the NookColor Tools from it. Check and uncheck several times the “install non market apps" box. Leave that checked before you move on.
4. Try downloading a test .apk of your choice and see if it installs.
5. Delete the NookColor Tools from /system/app and quit the file manager.
6. Reboot your device (you can just do a “adb reboot")
7. If it doesn’t fall into a reboot loop, then you should be able to install Amazon app store and get it running.

(edit Nov 22) I’m trying to copy some free apps from my phone to the nook, but looks like google now uses encryption so the .apk file is not directly there at /data/app (need root privilege). I can find those apps at /mnt/asec but it’s not a single .apk but a directory. Fortunately for the one app that I want the .apk file is in there. Not sure if that’s true for other apps as well. I can install the .apk found there.

(edit Dec 14) A month into using my Nook HD+ there were two occasions when it just won’t turn on, until you plug it into the charger and give it a zap (it’s not completely discharged, it just went into a coma). Bad luck for me, or other owners have the same issue? Last time I was on firmware ver 2.0.2 and this time 2.0.4… Looks like I have to have my charger with me all the time (good that it’s not bulky).

P.S. As I went to Target and get my Nook HD+, I also see the e-ink one (Simple Touch) with the GlowLight—the one on display looked terrible.

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