Nextbook Next6 eBook Reader Tablet Review

Dedicated eBook reading devices tend to fall in one of two categories: E-ink or Color. Examples of E-ink eBook readers are the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook (the original and new Simple Touch version) and various Sony Readers. The most popular color reader is currently the Barnes & Noble Nook Color. But today I’m going to show you another, the Nextbook Next6 tablet. Is it a better choice than the Nook Color? Let’s see.

Note: The images in this review can be clicked to load a larger size.

Hardware Specs

Android OS 2.1
CPU: ARM926EJ Dual Core 600MHz
7” TFT 800×480 Capacitive Color Display
WiFi 802.11 b/g
Built-in 4GB Memory Storage
Built-in G sensor
Build-in Speaker
SD/MMC Card Slot for Memory Expansion
Ebook Supported Formats: PDF, EPUB (open and Adobe DRM), TXT, FB2, PDB, RTF
Music Supported Formats: MP3, WMA
Photo Supported Formats: BMP, JPG, GIF, PNG
Video Supported Formats: FLV, MKV, MOV
Built-in Rechargeable Li-polymer Battery
Dimensions: 7.48 x 5.11 x 0.44″
Weight: 0.92 lbs

Package Contents

Next6 Multimedia tablet
Protective case
AC Power Adapter
USB Cable
User’s Manual

The Next6 is a very nice looking device with its completely flat top surface that reminds me of an iPad. I love that it doesn’t have a raised bezel. The top is a very shiny Black plastic, while the back surface is also Black, but with tiny sparkles.

The display is bright and vivid. It doesn’t have has high a resolution as the Nook Color – 800 x 480 vs. 1024 x 600, but this didn’t cause me to have problems reading books, webpages or viewing videos. Of course, color eBook readers have a big disadvantage over E-ink readers – glare and outdoor visibility. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to use the Next6 to read your favorite novels out in the direct sunlight. The display washes out and is very hard to read. If you’re an avid outdoor reader, stick with E-ink.

There is a button on either side of the display that can be used to page forwards and backwards through your ebooks. These buttons are generously sized and have very good tactile feedback.

All of the ports and switches are located along the bottom surface of the device. There’s a power button with a tiny LED that glows red while charging and turns green once charging is completed. Next the power button is a somewhat old fashioned mini USB connector that you can use to copy files to and from the reader. Next in line is an earphone jack, a full sized SD card slot and the power port. The two horizontal slots that you see are the built in speakers.

I have no major complaints as far as the Next6 hardware goes. This device looks nice, has a quality feel to it and is very solid. There’s no flexing, creaking or cracking of the case while you use the reader.

The Next6 is powered by Android OS version 2.1. The good news is that the interface is easy to navigate if you’re already familiar with Android.

There is a bar at the top of the display that has icons that will take you back to the Home screen, back one ‘screen’ and bring up the menu for the currently running application. You have 4 home screens that can be customized with widgets and app icons just like you’re used to with your phones and other Android tablets.

The bad news is that the Next6 doesn’t have a full installation of Android. Some important (to me) apps are missing.

What you see above minus the Android Pipes game, Kindle reader, app and Aldiko reader apps, which I installed, are all the apps that come installed on this device. Missing are the calendar, contacts, Gmail and Android App Market.

I did test the photo viewer, music player, video player and web browser apps, which all worked pretty well. I did experience a few random app force closes though.

Although the official App Market is not included, you can install 3rd party apps through the SlideME Marketplace. Weird name huh? There are many paid and free applications available for download through your wifi connection, but you won’t find all the apps that you can find in the App Market. For example, searching for Angry Birds yielded a whole bunch of apps that have absolutely nothing to do with the ever popular game. But, I was surprised to find the Kindle and Aldiko apps. The Kindle app is a pretty old version (1.1) though. However, the Aldiko app is up-to-date.

I should note that the SlideME Marketplace app is a bit buggy. More often than not, it would freeze up on me with a syncing routine when I would try to do searches.

Since the Next6 is being sold as an Android tablet and not just an ebook reader device, it’s unfortunate that the full version of Android hasn’t been included. Another gotcha is that this device can’t be upgraded to newer versions of Android.

Let’s read some books…

The Next6 is preloaded with 2 eBook reader applications and 25 free books. The books include classics such as Huckleberry Finn, Dracula, A Tale of Two Cities and many more. These books are read using the main reader app that you see above. The interface is attractive and easy to navigate.

Reading using this application is pretty straight forward as it lacks any advanced features. Basically, all you can do is change the font size (not type or color) and turn pages. The hardware buttons can be used to turn pages or you can use the touch screen. If you’re familiar with the page turning animation that the iPad has, where it looks like you’re turning an actual physical page, this app does that too. The biggest problem with this app is that it doesn’t save your place in the book and saving a bookmark doesn’t work at all. You can create a named bookmark, but when you try to use it, it doesn’t take you anywhere. I ended up creating a bookmark and naming it the page number that I wanted to remember. When I would go back to reading, I’d have to look at the bookmark name and then use the go-to feature to go to that page number. Not very elegant to say the least.

Another problem I noticed with this reader app is that when you turn the reader to landscape mode and back to portrait, it will skip ahead a page. Argh.

There is another reader included with the Next6. It’s the Kobo reader and book store app. You can use this app to buy current books as well as download a large selection of free books. It works better than the other reader in that it accurately saves your place when you leave the app. But, it feels pretty sluggish to me and it seems that I was always staring at the spinning timer when turning pages and going from chapter to chapter. My advice is to use Aldiko.

The Next6 claims to get about 10hrs battery life per charge. I didn’t do any detailed tests to verify this claim, but 10hrs does sound about right. I know I was able to read a couple hours a day for several days without needing to recharge.

Nook Color on the Left, Next6 on the Right

I like the Next6 hardware quite a bit. Sometimes it actually feels a little snappier to me than the Nook Color and I found the multi-touch capacitive display to feel more responsive than the Nook as well. The things that bother me about this player are the buggy reader and market apps and the fact that it can’t be upgraded to newer versions of the OS. For these reasons, I’m torn as to whether I can really recommend the Next6. Although the advertised price for this reader is $279.99 on the Nextbook website, I have found it for $100 cheaper on Amazon. That makes it more attractive. As is, I wouldn’t pay $279.99 for it and would be more likely to pay $249 for a Nook Color because I am more confident that it will be supported with firmware updates. I’m not confident that the Next6 will be supported with any updates at all. Since receiving this reader to review, Nextbook released the Next7, which has a 1GHz processor and Android 2.3. Sounds like that one is the better choice…

 

Product Information

Price:$279.99
Manufacturer:Nextbook
Pros:
  • Nice display
  • Case is included
Cons:
  • Built in eReader is buggy and doesn't save bookmarks
  • Can't upgrade the OS
  • Does not have official App Market
Posted in: Android related, eBook Readers, Reviews

{ 37 comments… add one }

  • Julie July 8, 2011, 9:01 pm

    The folks at Nextbook responded back regarding my complaints:

    “And just so you know — Android is an open source OS, but certain features are owned by Google and require a license (Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, etc.) As a result, device makers have to get permission from Google in order to use proprietary apps, and the Android Market is one of those Google-owned apps.

    It takes longer than expected, but E FUN is working on getting the permission on the Android App market. :)”

  • Des July 9, 2011, 3:36 pm

    IIRC the device has to have GPS in order to be licenced for the market.

  • Julie July 9, 2011, 5:05 pm

    @Des Hmmm, that seems like an odd prerequisite.

  • Ken S July 10, 2011, 7:20 am

    Des,
    I don’t think so as there are several tablets that don’t have GPS. They may require location services which can be done through WiFi or cell service, but not full satellite reception GPS.

  • Des July 10, 2011, 7:45 am

    Hmm. They “should” have GPS but it isn’t a “must”. When I had an Archos tab it’s lack of Android Market was explained as being due to its lack of GPS. Interesting list here of the Hardware and Software requirements.

    http://static.googleusercontent.com/external_content/untrusted_dlcp/source.android.com/en//compatibility/2.3/android-2.3.3-cdd.pdf

    I wonder how much the licence is seeing as those cheap Chinese tabs don’t bother with it

  • Bruce July 10, 2011, 4:48 pm

    Is there a web browser? How is the WiFi connection?

  • Julie July 10, 2011, 9:19 pm

    @Bruce Yes, there is a web browser and it works fine (this tablet even supports multi-touch) via WiFi.

  • sammy July 11, 2011, 10:29 am

    Hi,

    Some ads mentioned that the tablet includes a pen, I wonder since all the apps are not available which apps for writting will be able to find for free or to purchase to use with the pen for writting notes. Another wonder, will be able to install kindle app and purchase books from amazon?, what means build in G sensor, and lastly will be possible to highlight when I’m reading a book, and to make small notes?.

  • Bryan Sherman July 17, 2011, 1:26 pm

    Have you tried loading the Amazon Android App Store? One of my first thoughts when that came out is that it would be a good work-around to the Market lock-out on some devices.

  • Lori July 27, 2011, 11:09 pm

    I keep getting the “force close” message when I am reading a book (Kobo). It seems to happen when I move/tilt the tablet while reading. Any advice?

  • Julie July 28, 2011, 6:52 am

    @Lori have you tried powering it completely off and back on to reset it?

  • Rob August 11, 2011, 11:13 pm

    I’m mostly interested in this for the music player, as I want it as the display/control screen for a jukebox project I am working on.
    I have been trying to find a tablet with an attractive and easy to use music interface.
    Also need the music app to run horizontal, and I need the unit to continue to be operational while plugged in and charging.

    I bought an older next tablet that walmart had recently for $66.
    It was ugly, would not change the display to horizontal, and shut down into a charging mode when plugged in.
    Anyways, can anyone tell me anything about this?

  • james August 12, 2011, 1:29 pm

    can I write emails with this and other netbooks?

  • J-P. September 27, 2011, 10:42 pm

    I am sorry if this sounds dumb ,,, But I am new to this..I have 2 questions . I cannot get the search bar in youtube to work correctly.All my searches say not found even tho I know that they are there,,,Also my tablet makes a noise every so often kinda like i am getting a incomming message

  • Das November 7, 2011, 10:14 pm

    My question is similar. I see flash is out for Android 2.2, but as far as I know not out for 2.1. How can I view flash on the net through the browser, is there a way?

  • Marye November 8, 2011, 2:54 pm

    Would love some updates for it but I guess that will never happen.

  • lise November 15, 2011, 8:05 pm

    My next book froze on me..what do i do to shut it off or refresh it? i tried different things and nothing seem to happen ..Help

  • pat November 24, 2011, 6:26 pm

    where can i get another charger as my dog chewed it up ?

  • Linda December 8, 2011, 6:36 pm

    I am very dissatisfied with this tablet. My husband bought it for me as it was something i wanted. Don’t use it alot, because anytime i do, it consistently freezes. I have had it like 3 months, used it maybe 30 times, and i have had to reset it a few times already.

    The frustrating part is i paid 160.00 for it, now there even cheaper and they have newer ones, which probably are better.

    Anyway, when i have more money, i will be selling it and going with a better tablet.

  • tee tee December 11, 2011, 12:37 am

    I have the nextbook 6 and while attempting to download music from MT computer that in my library the nextbook froze. I have reset my device and all I am getting is the default picture of a lady with headphones and nothing else. Someone please help!!!

  • mel December 24, 2011, 12:03 pm

    i have a nextbook 6 all of a sudden my adobe reader is gone and i cant even get into my email to put it in or go to kobo i dont know what to do i am so pissed grrrr

  • cody January 3, 2012, 10:50 am

    my nextbook 6 started sending me an error messages that say

    the process com.google.process.gapps has stopped unexpectedly. please try again

    the process android.process.acore has stopped unexpectedly. please try again

    it wont let me access the browser or anything to do with the internet and it keeps freezing. does anyone know how to fix this?

  • Anna M January 4, 2012, 8:35 am

    I only had my nextbook for 1 month and it keeps freezing on me, I cannot turn it off or anything I have to leave it alone until the battery dies and than recharge it. This is very annoying. Please let me know what can be done as I am not very satisfied with this product.

  • Bruce January 4, 2012, 10:23 am

    Can’t you simply return it under warranty?

  • Addy January 24, 2012, 1:31 pm

    do you have Nextbook 6 or 7?

  • Addy January 24, 2012, 1:33 pm

    I purchased Nextbook 7 prior to reading the reviews, not sure if I should keep it. I mainly want it for reading, we travel often and I usually read while my husband drives. This seemed to be a good price for what it alleges to do….

  • Julie January 24, 2012, 2:10 pm

    @Addy this review is for the Nextbook 6.

  • Loly January 27, 2012, 4:50 pm

    Anyone have a good review on the Nextbook 9 ?. Not many outhtere… Tks

  • matt hurt February 6, 2012, 4:49 pm

    After a month or two, mine stopped working.. it just freezes when i turn it on. I’ve read about downloading the firmware but can’t find the rite one, plus no longer have a flash drive. I’ve also heard of holding various combinations of buttons when powering it on, none have worked. Anyone with a solution, please let me know.. I do not recommend this product.. stick with a real computer.

  • Ben March 5, 2012, 11:16 am

    Tablets do change quite a bit as they are newer technology.

    The Next6 (I have had one since April of 2011) is decidedly older technology. I would not recommend buying one that this point in time, just as I wouldn’t recommend someone buying a 486 PC.

    It was, at its time, a good quality E-reader, or a budget class Tablet, depending on how you looked at it. It was marketed as an E-reader, so expecting it to function as a full-function tablet is not really fair.

    I’ve called customer service of Nextbook about issues with the tablet (wifi issues) and got prompt and good quality service. However with many other large manufacturers (Amazon, RIM, Acer, ASUS) starting to crowd into the $200 tablet market, I don’t expect Nextbook will be around for long to continue firmware upgrades.

    In short, there are much better actual tablets out there for close to the same price, and more reliable companies to boot.

  • Jason August 9, 2012, 12:17 pm

    Now I am looking at a local ad where they have the next6 onsale for $70. I think that is a great price for this tablet after reading reviews. I know many were from 2011 and on the nextbook website you can find software and firmware updates for the next6. I’ve been looking for a good tablet but low cost for my 2nd grader to start using for games, books etc. Thoughts from anyone or should we not buy?

  • loay October 5, 2012, 8:06 am

    Are device supports phone cards
    for make a calls ?

  • darling June 16, 2013, 6:19 pm

    hola trate de instalar sam 4.0 a mi nextbook y se quedo frisada, alquien sabe que paso ?

  • orlando August 27, 2013, 5:34 pm

    hello I have a nextbook6 …. a month ago I lost the charger … My tablet ran out of charge … I have now but my nextbook6 charger will freeze stays on but where is the image of women. I could help? I have to do?

  • lisa September 15, 2013, 3:46 pm

    I have nextbook 8p and had it for 2 weeks. It freezes and will not connect to wfi i factory reset it still not working.When i try to connect to wfi it freezes this sucks waste of 100$ do not get it waste of money all my apps are gone wow so upset.

  • Tiago January 1, 2014, 9:58 am

    Hello,
    Anyone know tell me about the features of the charger because I lost mine??

  • Dominic February 27, 2014, 5:34 pm

    Will a 12w charger work for the Next6?

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