The Kindle Fire is easier to move around in than the Nook Tablet is, largely because of its pleasing, consistent design and menus, and because you can orient it in either portrait or landscape mode.
Consistent navigation elements for home, back, menu, and search options pop up when you tap the bottom of the Fire's screen. The Fire also makes it easy to distinguish between content stored on the tablet and content stored in Amazon's cloud locker. You have to go back to the home screen to jump from one type of content to the other.
All of the Nook Tablet's navigation menus are locked into portrait mode. The effect can be jarring as you move from content displayed in landscape mode to menus that the tablet forces to remain in portrait mode.
Navigating the Nook Tablet did have some positives. When I tapped 'More' on the home screen, I could see shortcuts to books, periodicals, files, movies, and TV shows that I had recently accessed. Various types of content are accessible via a single 'Library' button, subdivided into sections for books, magazines, newspapers, apps, and kids books. I also liked being able to use the 'n' button to call up the pop-up menu overlay with buttons for hopping to different sections on the tablet; unfortunately, the overlay didn't work consistently from within apps, and Barnes & Noble didn't provide a consistent back button or menu button.
Winner: Kindle Fire
The Fire's browser has tabs, just as the Android 3.x Honeycomb browser does. The Silk browser makes working with bookmarks easier, and it gives you lots of settings for fine-tuning the way it works.
The Nook Tablet's browser works, but it requires more taps to perform tasks, and navigating among multiple windows takes too many steps. On the plus side, text looked sharper in the Nook Tablet's browser than in Kindle Fire's.
Next: Multitasking and Personalization
Neither the Nook Tablet nor the Kindle Fire handles most forms of multitasking adequately. Sure, you can play music in the background while you read. But when you move from one app to another, these tablets tend to close out the app, rather than suspending it. As a result, when you return to an app that you recently left, you may not go back to the spot where you were last (both the Nook Tablet and the Kindle Fire have email clients forget where you were).