A little more detail and thought:
As a reader:
Is the iPad a better reading device than nookcolor? No, and here is the breakdown, for my uses anyway.
As a tablet:
- Nookcolor has a sharper screen with a 169ppi LCD compared to the iPad with 132ppi. The iPad screen is 1024 x 768 pixels compared to the nookcolor at 1024 x 600 pixels. But the smaller diagonal of the nookcolor screen gives it the higher ppi and makes it easier on the eyes for extended reading. Slight advantage goes to nookcolor.
- iPad has a better screen ratio at 4:3 (same as most eInk readers) whereas the nookcolor has a widescreen that is better for watching videos than reading books. Slight advantage goes to iPad.
- Stock, the iPad has many good ebook reading apps available whereas the nookcolor has only one, and it is not that good compared to other dedicated readers. However, the nookcolor can be easily rooted thus making available many good ebook reading apps. So we have a near draw in this area with the iPad having a very slight advantage since it does not need to be rooted/jailbroken.
- Stock, the iPad can display ebooks in many different formats via third-party apps whereas the nookcolor can only display the ePub format. However, the nookcolor can be easily rooted thus making available many other book formats. So we have a near draw in this area with the iPad having a very slight advantage since it does not need to be rooted/jailbroken.
- Stock, the iPad can display, modify, annotate PDFs via third-party apps whereas the nookcolor can only display PDFs in its stock viewer and that viewer is really lacking in features and functionality. However, the nookcolor can be easily rooted thus making available many other PDF apps. So we might have a near draw in this area with the iPad having a very slight advantage since it does not need to be rooted/jailbroken. I say might because I'm not familiar with the features and functionality of third-party Android apps for viewing and modifying PDFs.
- The iPad has a larger screen which allows for better all around viewing of PDFs than the nookcolor. Definite advantage goes to iPad.
- Portability is easier with the nookcolor because it is smaller than the iPad. Definite advantage goes to nookcolor.
- Comfortability of holding in the hands while reading is higher with the nookcolor because it is less heavy than the iPad. Neither one is light weight by any stretch of the imagination. However, both are equal if read when they are lying on a table or desk. Slight advantage goes to nookcolor.
Is the iPad a better overall tablet than the nookcolor? That depends on your usage.
- PDFs, as discussed above, the iPad does a very good job with PDFs via third-party apps. I'm not sure how well the Android third-party apps can compete, but given the larger screen and readily availability of third-party apps without the need to root I give the advantage to the iPad.
- Office documents, this echos the PDF discussion above, the iPad does a very good job with Office documents via third-party apps. I'm not sure how well the Android third-party apps can compete, but given the larger screen, VGA mirroring, and readily availability of third-party apps without the need to root I give a huge advantage to the iPad.
- The stock nookcolor web browser is pathetic (see images in first post of this thread.) The stock web browser (Safari) for iPad looks really amazing and the Flash argument seems rather irrelevant now that many sites are getting away from using Flash and Apple and Adobe have arranged to provide a solution. I'm not sure how well the Android third-party apps can compete, but given the larger screen, the quality of Safari, and readily availability of third-party browser apps without the need to root I give the advantage to the iPad.
- The stock nookcolor video experience is pathetic. It is a rather tricky and a pain in the backside to get a video to work correctly on the nookcolor, and when you do it won't allow for higher resolution. The screen is 1024 pixels wide but you are limited to about 800 pixels for videos. it makes a difference. The iPad seems to be much easier to create workable videos for, and you can take advantage of its resolution. I give the advantage to the iPad.
- There is a myth, probably fueled more by OS favoritism, snobbery, and prejudice more than anything else, that says it is difficult to sideload anything to an iPad. It used to be a pain a few years ago with iPhones and touches, but I find sideloading ebooks, office docks, movies, music, etc. to be just as easy on the iPad as on the nookcolor. Once again my nookcolor is not rooted, but I think sideloading to the ipad might even be easier than with the nookcolor. At any rate it is certainly easy and therefore a non-issue.
- Gaming, Social Networking, etc.: I rarely, if ever, participate in these activities on a tablet or a computer, so I have no input on them.
- Calendar, Email, Contacts, etc.: I never thoroughly used these apps on the nookcolor because the stock apps are pathetic. Once again I'm not sure what is available and how well those third-party Android apps work. But the ipad does all of these extremely well. I personally use Outlook and love the way the iPhone/touch/iPads sync with it. I absolutely hate the Cloud and refuse to use Google or any other unsecure (Cloud-based) system on my computer or my tablets. Web mail to me is mostly worthless and risky. So far my usage the iPad is much better than an Android tablet that seem to be built around Google's Cloud. But your usage might and probably is much different.
I think if I was going to use a tablet primarily for reading eBooks I would choose the nookcolor for its size, less heaviness, easier portability, better reading screen (as far as eyestrain is concerned), etc. However, the nookcolor has need for a LOT of improvements as far as reading eBooks. Therefore it is not
a hands down best in class reader. Perhaps the update in a few weeks will help, but I'm not very optimistic as updates for any product of this nature rarely live up to our expectations. But it is a new product and I do expect it to improve greatly over time.
However, if size and weight are not an issue with you, there are ways to greatly improve the reading capabilities of an iPad or any other device capable of reading eBooks. If you are comfortable enough to root a nookcolor, then you can certainly figure out how to strip away the DRM from eBooks and use a program like calibre or Sigil to quickly modify them to use bold text and make other improvements that greatly reduce eyestrain on any reading device. (But please don't share your DRM freed eBooks with others--authors need to make a living.
As a tablet though I really don't think the nookcolor can compete with the iPad. The iPad is too elegant and simply works right in most cases. Android is not a seasoned OS yet, though it might be someday. But even if Android was much better, the nookcolor just cannot compete hardware-wise against the iPad. But it wasn't designed to, so it is what it is. If you want a tablet that works very well with PDFs, office documents, music, videos, etc., you are better off going with the iPad over the nookcolor. I can't speak for the other new Android tablets like the GT or the Xoom, but I suspect the iPad is not really facing much of a challenge yet. But the bottomline is, get what works best for you regardless of OS or manufacturer.