NOOK Color a great read

Name: NOOK Color

What it is: An Android tablet for readers from Barnes & Noble with a 7-inch high-resolution VividView color touch screen and eight text sizes to customize reading. The Android platform lets it run apps ranging from games to travel, plus it allows email and Web browsing. The backlit display reduces glare and optimizes brightness for reading outside. It also includes built-in social networking features, including Nook Friends, to help you swap books.

The good: I was surprised how the brightness adjustment on the NOOK Color's backlit display made the screen easy on my eyes whether I was in a darkened airplane cabin or traveling in a shuttle from the airport. Color images in magazines, children's books and travel guides really pop. I love tapping the screen to turn pages rather than clicking a button. It costs significantly less than an iPad and other tablets, and is perfect for travelers who prefer reading and checking email to watching videos. You can watch videos, but they aren't as rich as on an iPad.

The bad: Although music sounds pretty good while reading with the Pandora app playing in the background, tunes I dragged into the NOOK Color from my iTunes library didn't sound as good as on an iPod.

Cost: $199

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