While the 7-inch e-readers like the Nook Color or Nook Tablet seem to be built more sturdy than their larger counterparts such as the iPad, their smaller size makes them much more portable. And with the emphasis on reading many of you probably use them to enjoy travel time with either a book or movie. Whether going to work on the A train in New York City or being dragged on a family vacation to the Poconos that requires a 4 hour car ride, the Nook Color and Nook Tablet will come in very handy. But with the added portability comes the increased risk of dropping and potentially damaging your device. I experienced this after I was gifted a Nook Tablet for Christmas this year. And with the hustle and bustle of New York City the last thing I wanted to do was bring in my Nook without protection. So I decided to purchase a case for my e-reader but found that, for the most part, all I could find was an array of sleeves. This was not a real solution because I find device sleeves just annoying, and like you I missed the tactile sensation of holding a book in my hands. The few cases I did find left me dejected due to a lack of variety. It seemed like there wasn’t much I could really do. But one company I met at CES this year, M-Edge, designs a whole set of cases for the Nook Color and subsequently the Nook Tablet. They sent me a few samples, which I will be reviewing over the next week. Here is the first one of the batch, the Trip Jacket for Nook Color and Nook Tablet.
Like it’s name would indicate, it is designed to accompany you on your trip. Weighing only five ounces it doesn’t really add any bulk to your e-reader. It is made out of a durable canvas on the outside with a cream colored microsuede inside which offers protection for your Nook Color/Tablet. There is also an elastic strap that binds the jacket tightly closed when not in use and can be used to hold the jacket behind when reading. The exterior of the jacket is treated with ScotchGard to repel liquids and dirt which was great on those those rainy days into the city. The spine and frame mounting system are both made of genuine leather which adds a rather nice tactile effect. The mounting system is such that all the buttons are easily available, one doesn’t even need to take it out of the jacket to charge.
The Trip Jacket comes in 3 colors: navy blue with red strap, black, or pink with orange strap.
There are two issues that you do run into with this case for the benefit of the added protection. First, you will have to take your device out of its mount in order to access the micro SD card slot behind the devices distinctive loop in the left bottom corner. While not a laborious procedure, some may find this annoying if they consume mass amounts of media from their micro SD cards, because remember, the Nook Tablet only offers 1 GB of storage for content not downloaded directly from B&N. Second, and I feel this is a much larger issue, is the stiffing of the audio. The speaker on the Nook Tablet is locate on the back of the device and when laid flat against the Trip Jacket the audio comes of muffled. And for a device which is meant for streaming Hulu Plus or Netflix just as much as it is for reading books, this hindrance is quite obtrusive. So playing a movie without headphones is mostly out of the question. I’d recommend opting in for headphones.
That said, I found the Trip Jacket by M-edge an excellent case for my Nook Tablet. The mounting system that kept my Nook securely placed didn’t hinder my reading or browsing in the slightest and holding the jacket open added a book like familiarity to the device which can do so much more than a book. All in all I would highly recommend this case for the Nook Color and Nook Tablet due to its feel, discrete and humble look. Save for one or two issues which can be by passed, my Nook Tablet was not functionally hindered.
PROS: Securely holds Nook, no fear of the device falling out. Microsuede interior and ScotchGard treated exterior protect your device. Genuine leather spine feels great. All buttons are exposed, don’t need to fiddle around to complete actions.
CONS: The need to slide out the Nook from its mount to access micro SD card slot can become annoying. The fact that the speaker is muffled is disappointing and makes enjoying streaming video or audio very difficult without headphones.