Media Tablets Compared: Nook HD and HD+ vs. iPad, Nexus and Fire

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With the launch of its Nook HD and Nook HD+ tablets today, Barnes & Noble just made your holiday shopping decision harder. If you're looking for a media tablet to give your loved ones or get for yourself, you now have an additional 7-inch option to compare against Amazon and Google's offerings and a 9-inch option that competes with the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire and even the vaunted iPad. To help with your decision, we've generated a couple of handy comparison tablets.

Nook HD vs. the 7-inch Competition

The Nook HD competes directly against other 7-inch, low-cost slates including the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, Google Nexus 7 and Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 7.1.  At just $199, the Nook HD matches Google and Amazon's offerings in terms of base price, but offers a higher resolution and lower weight than its competitors.

The Nook HD lacks the front-facing camera that all of its competitors have and the back-facer that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 has. However, it does offer a microSD card slot for expansion, something neither Google nor Amazon provide.

Nook HD+ vs. the 9-inch Competition

The Barnes & Noble Nook HD+ beats all its competitors on price by at least $30. It also offers a higher resolution and PPI than any other slate in its size range, except for the iPad. At just 18.2 ounces, the Nook HD+ is also significantly lighter than the Fire HD, iPad, Transformer Pad Infiinity and Galaxy Note 10.1. However, like its sibling, it has no cameras.

Which tablet you choose may come down not just to price and features, but to the ecosystem and software behind it. Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble offer their own proprietary versions of Android that are optimized for content consumption and don't provide a full array of Android features like Google Voice commands, widgets, the layers menu or the Google Play store. However, each of these devices has its own set of unique features that you can't find elsewhere.

We'll be posting a more detailed face-off when we get a chance to review the Nook HD, the Nook HD+ and the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 sometime in the next few weeks.