Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet hands-on

Barnes & Noble took the wraps off its brand new Nook Tablet at a press conference in New York City on Monday, and we just spent some hands-on time with the sleek new slate. First things first: the display is amazing. Barnes & Noble spent a fair amount of time during the tablet’s unveiling touting the quality of the display and we have to say, B&N CEO William Lynch wasn’t exaggerating. The display is obviously one of the most important components of any tablet and Barnes & Noble didn’t skimp in this area. The bookseller spent a lot of time comparing its new tablet with Amazon’s upcoming Kindle Fire, and in the display department it’s really not even close. Hit the break for more and don’t forget to check out our hands-on photos in the gallery below.

The case of the Nook Tablet obviously resembles last year’s Nook Color very closely, and while we weren’t allowed to handle the device during the demos, anyone who has used a Nook Color knows that we’re looking at good quality hardware here. Animations and transitions were generally smooth during the demo we were given, though there was some choppiness when moving around certain areas of the UI. The Nook Tablet’s OS is based on the first build of Android 2.3 Gingerbread and phones running this version of Android typically had some issues with lag and bogging as well — especially earlier models that used 1GHz processors like the one in the Nook Tablet.

We’ll reserve final judgement for our full review, but we definitely like what we’ve seen so far. The Nook Tablet launches next week for $249 and pre-orders begin immediately. It’s going to be a tough sell going head to head with Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire in terms of the content ecosystem Amazon has created. In terms of hardware, however, the Nook Tablet is the hands-down winner when lined up against the Fire.

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