For the last week I've struggled with my Kindle Touch. I got it for Christmas and initially was very excited about the prospect of having a bunch of books at my fingertips in a very condensed space.
Overall the experience was positive. The screen was easy to read, the device was easy to use, and really weighed no more than most paperback books. Battery life was impressive - I read voraciously and only had to charge it once.
However, I began to notice subtle things that I wished were different. While the e-Ink screen is fabulous for reading print (it's eerily like reading a hard copy book) it was nowhere near as good when you tried the "experimental" features - like web browsing. It was a neat idea, but really not all that enticing without color.
One of the biggest frustrations is that the pages in the books I read were not numbered. All that was displayed was a % of the book. Now this may not seem like a big deal....BUT, if you brush the screen it jumps MANY pages and you never know where you were because you could have been at 75% and you're now at 89%, but that could include a dozen pages or more in each 1% increment, depending on the length of the book. In the last book I read, I lost my place more than 10 times due to this "feature" and one of those times was when I set the book down, went to get a drink (or snack) and the kitten walked across the surface. Sure I should have put the screen saver on, but hey, I didn't realize that this would happen till after the fact. But more often than not, the edge of the blanket just brushed the screen... the eReader slipped off my lap or something equally accidental.
I began lamenting these issues and started wondering if I'd made the right decision in the Kindle Touch. I started reading about the other options. I knew I wanted an eReader with extra bells and whistles. And while I'd love a full-fledged tablet, what I found was the one I wanted was MUCH more expensive than the eReaders. I also didn't want to sacrifice screen size if I were getting a true tablet.
A 7" screen is great for an eReader. It keeps the device light enough that it's not a strain to hold it while you read, yet it's large enough to allow you to easily see what's in front of you. I would not however, want to watch many movies or play games of any significance (other than say Angry Birds or Solitaire) on a screen that small. I also would not want to tote around a 10" tablet just to read a book.
As far as features went, the options of a camera and microphone were pretty low on my list of considerations. My phone has a better camera than most of the low-priced tablets so why bother? I also knew that I wanted Android vs another OS. Additionally, as much as I've heard people rave about the iPad, the price is so far out of budget it's not even in the same zip code.
And that brought me to my next issue: price. I have a budget of $250 before I have to start tearing the couch apart looking for change. Since I knew I wanted a 10" tablet I first did my homework to see what the best bang for my buck was. What I found were LOTS of tablets under $250, but I also found lots of complaints about laggy response, freezing and other "issues" which I just really didn't want to have to deal with. As a result, it ruled out every 10" tablet for the price point. As a result, I ruled out "true" tablets.
That left me with the eReaders. When it comes to color there are basically three choices: Nook Color, Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet. That's not to say there aren't a lot of other color eReaders out there. But what I saw in reviews made me run for the hills of either Amazon or B&N.
Every review I looked at said it was worth every penny to forego the Nook Color and get the Nook Tablet. I saw many reviews which compared the Nook Tablet to the Kindle Fire, even with the $50 price difference. I did more homework. I found that there was a small difference in screen appearance, with Nook coming out on top. Fire had more apps available, but Nook had a massively larger book collection, including the volume of free titles. Nook also beat out the Fire when it came to memory. While they both have the same processor, the Nook has 16GB memory to the Fire's 8GB and you can add 16GB more with an SD card. The Fire doesn't offer any expansion for memory.
While Amazon offers more videos and streaming, you have to pay $79/year for Prime membership. Since the point of the eReader for me is NOT watching movies etc, the Nook wins out here as well. Amazon Prime upgraded shipping didn't impress me - when I have ordered from Amazon the items arrive quick enough for me to be perfectly happy with standard "Super Saver" Shipping. Nook offers a really cool Read To Me feature, as well as the option to record my own voice reading a kid's book, which LD can then read along with later.
For what I'm going to be doing with it, the Nook Tablet was the clear winner.
But there's now icing on the cake for me - through our business we have B&N as a partner. This means we will earn a % back on all purchases made through them. This includes the Nook Tablet, eBooks, and any accessories I might decide I need down the road.
What did I take away from this? Do your homework. I can't say that enough. I heard really good things about the Kindle Touch and then when I got one, the things that bothered me were never anything I'd read about! So make sure you go hold the device if at all possible. Play around with it. Get to know it. Spend so much time there that the sales people wonder just how long you're staying. Ask a lot of questions. Read every review you can find.
Most importantly have in your mind two things: 1. How much you're willing to pay and 2. The purpose of the device. Price is easy. We all know what we're willing to (or able to) spend at a given time. Purpose however, can be a little more difficult. Look at what you get for your price point and then list off the top 6 things you MUST have, in order of importance. Then you can decide where you're willing to compromise and where you aren't. If you compromise because there are too many things you want but you can't afford the better model, you may find yourself with a bad case of buyer's remorse later, and often beyond the return window.