The Nook Tablet was announced after Amazon's Kindle Fire and so seemed more like an inexpensive $249 me-too tablet.
While both the Nook Tablet and the Fire are decidedly consumption-only devices, the Nook Tablet appears to be the more well-thought out of the two. Its store is better arranged and easier to use, the battery life is better, and it's less stuttery and aggravating overall. The device still pulls some punches of its own with its e-mail client and storage, and we have some doubts about its ecosystem, but the Nook Tablet is a better device than the Kindle Fire. It's more than good enough to justify the $50 price difference between the two.
The Nook Tablet is fairly thick at 0.48 inches, a hair thicker than the Kindle Fire. However, because the edges are tapered and rounded, it feels slimmer than Amazon's entry. The sleep/power button is on the left side towards the top, two volume buttons sit opposite, and there's a headphone jack on top. A single button below the screen, one shaped like a lower-case "n," lets you pull up a shortcuts menu to things like the library and apps with one press, or the home screen with two.