Really like that Nook Color but want to see if something even cheaper might do the trick? The next2 by nextbook aims to tempt you with its $50 cheaper price tag. Sometimes you do get what you pay for though, and the next2's specs give a hint: it runs Android OS 1.5 (that's a very long walk down memory lane), has a 7" resistive touch screen that's as sensitive as an armadillo's hide and a 600MHz processor with a smallish 128 megs of RAM.
The next2 has access to the Borders ebook store (actually Kobobooks.com, in which Borders owns a significant interest) and it supports standard Adobe Adept DRM ePUB and PDF books. That's a good thing and that means it works with Google books including their new commercial bookstore books and public library books.
The next2 has WiFi 802.11b/g and the Android webkit web browser. As an Android tablet it's limited since there's no Android Market, and only some of the standard Google apps are on board. You can side-load apps and there is a 3rd party app market (oddly named AndAppStore) but it's not a glossy experience (see our video review). The tablet is generally a bit sluggish, though some of that is actually the less than responsive display rather than the CPU, but it does a surprisingly good job playing video and it supports quite a few video codecs. Alas, the grainy and murky screen don't do justice to videos.
Other apps include a music player that's decent (the stereo speakers are quite good too), YouTube, email, a file manager and photo viewer. The next2 sells for $199 and is available on HSN (the Home Shopping Network) and it will be available from other retailers in the future.
Here's our video review of the nextbook next2:
-------------------- Lisa Gade Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview