Barnes & Noble now has its own $50 tablet to match Amazon's

Barnes & Noble is now offering a tablet that appears to have the same specs as Amazon's entry-level Fire tablet but it allows access to the Google Play store.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
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David Carnoy
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The Nook Tablet 7 will be in stores on November 25.

Barnes & Noble

Back in June, Amazon announced that its budget-priced Fire tablet ($50, £50) was the top selling tablet in the US and its top-selling tablet of all time.

Until now, Barnes & Noble has had only more expensive Samsung tablets to compete with it, but now it's getting into the dirt-cheap tablet game with a $50 tablet of its own, the Nook Tablet 7.

While Amazon's tablets run the company's Fire OS, a skinned version of Android, you can't get access to the Google Play store unless you hack the tablet. In contrast, Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet 7 give you access to the Google Play store out of the box, a selling point.

In many other respects the tablets are very similar -- at least from a specs standpoint (for all we know both tablets could be made in the same factory in China). They're both 7-inch tablets, their resolutions are the same at 1,024x600 with the same pixel density (171 ppi), they have basic front and rear cameras and both come with 8GB of built-in storage but have expansion slots to add more (microSD memory cards up to 128GB). Barnes & Noble's tablet does weigh a couple of ounces lighter, however.

I haven't gotten my hands on a review sample yet, but I'll be able to give you a better performance comparison once I do. The Nook Tablet 7 is available for preorder now and is available in stores on November 25.

Here are its key specs, according to Barnes & Noble:

  • 7-inch IPS display
  • 1,024x600-pixel resolution with 171 ppi
  • Dimensions: 7.40x4.20x0.39 (HWD)
  • Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Full access to Android apps in the Google Play store
  • Front camera (VGA), rear camera 2MP
  • Wireless connectivity via Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n), dual-band (2.4GHz/5GHz)
  • Up to 7 hours of reading, watching videos and web browsing
  • More than a million books priced under $4.99
  • Discovery delivered daily with B&N Readouts
  • Price: $49.99
  • Available November 25