If you're shopping for a budget tablet but still value the superior contrast of E Ink displays for lengthy reading sessions, Barnes & Noble has an offer it hopes you can't refuse: pony up for a Nook HD+ slate and you'll get a Nook Simple Touch ereader free of charge. The Nook HD+ comes in two capacities, 16GB for $269 and 32GB for $299, while the Simple Touch is still fetching $79 if purchased separately.
Both devices have received largely positive reviews (four out of five stars on Barnes & Noble's site). The Nook HD+ packs a nine-inch 1080p (256 PPI) laminated display, a dual-core 1.5GHz OMAP 4470 SoC, 1GB of RAM, a microSD card slot, offers up to nine hours of video playback and weighs only 18.2oz (515g) -- supposedly the best in its class, though we're not sure if that claim still holds up months later.
Meanwhile, the Simple Touch has been mostly overshadowed by the newer model with integrated LEDs for nighttime reading, but back in 2011, it was seen as a strong competitor to the Kindle, with Gizmodo deeming it the best ereader of the day. It may be a couple years old, but it seems like it'd still get the job done. Key specs include a 6-inch E Ink Pearl display, microSD support and a weight of 7.48oz (212g).
The offer reportedly expires at the end of March, so if you've been on the fence about snagging a Nook HD+ and this is enough to shove you over the edge, you probably shouldn't wait to place an order. The promotion comes as Barnes & Noble faces increasingly stiff competition from Amazon, Google, Apple and others who offer equally attractive hardware and superior software (the Nook lacks access to Google Play).