Sure, we can't say we didn't see this coming -- Barnes & Noble today launched its answer to the Kindle Fire. The new Nook Tablet certainly isn't all that new from an aesthetic standpoint, compared with the Nook Color. Walking into a store blind, it would be awfully tough to distinguish the devices -- though the Tablet is bit lighter, color-wise. It's also lighter in terms of actual weight, shedding an ounce from its predecessor -- a fact that's really only noticeable when holding both devices in your hand.

The Nook Color certainly did well for the company, becoming a top seller the previous holiday season, and Barns & Noble clearly took an "if it ain't broke" approach here... It really is a nice form factor, easy to hold in a single hand for reading and watching video. The company also promises that a case with a built-in stand is coming, so you can take full advantage of that wide screen when watching longer videos on Netflix or Hulu Plus. The Power button is located in the top left and corner, with volume on the right. The microSD slot can be found just behind the Tablet's distinctive metal bar. What separates Barnes & Noble's two higher end readers is largely internal. Unfortunately, the products being shown off at today's event weren't quite ready for prime time.

We managed to see a bit of video demoed on the thing, and certainly the screen looked quite nice as it played back the trailer for J Edgar and flipped through the pages of a Spider-Man comic. Unfortunately, we're going to have to spend a bit more time with a final version of the product before we feel comfortable recommending the Tablet, given its $50 premium over both the Nook Color and the Kindle Fire. Check out a hands-on video with the device after the break.

NookTablet hands-on

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Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet gets real, we go hands-on (video)