Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight e-reader review
Backlit screen casts Kindle into the shade?
Review It’s not hard to imagine how Barnes & Noble’s Nook Simple Touch initial design meeting went. Assorted hardware engineers, industrial designers and marketing types assemble to examine Amazon’s Kindle Touch and work out how they can make something better.
And they have. On almost all points, the Simple Touch - and the Simple Touch with Glowlight, which I have in front of me here - trumps its rival.
So what’s wrong with the Kindle Touch? Not a lot, to be honest. It’s a convenient size, there’s sufficient storage, it’s attractively priced, the screen is as good as e-ink gets, and there’s a decent catalogue of content you can buy to put on it. But for the Amazon tie-in - and that only applies to DRM’d material - it’s a fine e-book reader.
If you’re an Amazon customer already, there’s no reason not to buy one, unless you really feel the need to be able to buy e-books from multiple vendors. My various price comparisons have generally shown there’s not much of a saving to be made if you do want to shop around, but so much depends on which books you actually buy.
The matte back makes for a good grip; the micro USB port makes for good connectivity
The new Nook’s trick, then is to take all of the Kindle Touch’s already decent key features and improve on them just a little. The Kindle comes with 4GB of storage, for example, 3GB of which is available for book storage. The Simple Touch has only got 2GB, which is plenty for all but the most acquisitive of e-book collectors, but it also has a Micro SD slot good to take 32GB cards. The Simple Touch is lighter - 196g to the Kindle’s 213g - but not so you’d know it.
More importantly, the B&N offering is cheaper. The basic model retails for just £10 more than the touch-less Kindle - which also comes with 2GB of storage, but no memory card slot - while the version with the backlight costs the same as the un-illuminated Kindle Touch.
2GB insufficient storage for your needs? Add a Micro SD card
The Glowlight is what really puts the B&N product ahead. Now, I'm not a fan of touch-screen e-book readers. They add weight to an e-book reader and increase its thickness. They’re less responsive than phone or tablet capacitive sensors, and I feel constantly made aware not only of the need to press harder to trigger a scroll, a button press or a page turn, but notice the lag between the tap and the action. So much so that there’s always a moment’s uncertainty as to whether the touch was registered by the device, leading to many a multiple tap when one would have done.
Next page: Strike a light
Why make comparisons with (non-illuminated) Kindle Touch when the more obvious competitor is the Kindle Paperwhite?
Why say that the Kindle reads only DRMed content when it'll happily read DRM-free .mobi files (as well as .txt, .doc, .pdf, etc.)
Why criticize the Kindle for not being able to read content from, say, Barnes and Noble but not mention that the Nook cannot read content from Amazon?
Now I'm not saying that the Nook is not a fine eReader device, I'm just wondering why The Reg found it necessary to make so many bogus comparison points? Is this the Register Tariff at work?
Tied into Amazon's ecosystem?
But fancy swapping to another reader?
I have heard that its possible to strip the DRM from Amazon purchases - purely for back up purposes of course - and save them in a different ebook format.
Something to do with Calibre and plugins or summit - all over my head anyway and I'm sure it violates pages and pages of the EULA that you sign up to unwittingly each time you buy an ebook....
Re: Better late than never
So great that you had to jailbreak it and install another OS ? .....
Re: New kindle has a light too
Here you go: http://www.reghardware.com/2012/10/12/amazon_prices_up_paperwhite_for_the_uk/
Why buy one?
"If you’re an Amazon customer already, there’s no reason not to buy one, unless you really feel the need to be able to buy e-books from multiple vendors."
Am I the only person who uses their mobile to read e-books?
If you find the text size too small (I don't), then you can increase the text size. OK, so you have fewer words on a page and have to change page more often, but that's not so bad on a phone display...
The display updates faster, much faster than an e-ink display and you don't have the whole page display purge every 8 pages or so. The resolution of a phone is easily high enough on most models to not be so bad on the eye and the greater colour range and graduation between shades means anti-aliasing becomes more effective. Being able to change colours is nice as well, as white on black or vice-versa can be hard on the eye. Where e-ink really wins though is the low power usage and daylight readability, but does fail a bit in the dark requiring additional lighting, but this isn't a particularly serious engineering challenge and even for devices without it, you can get case with lights embedded in them.
Only one device to carry around - this is one of the biggest advantages there is. I don't carry around a separate MP3 player either, so why carry around a separate e-book reader? Most comical site I've seen, all too often, is somebody playing music on an iPod, reading a kindle and then pulling out their mobile to check text messages occasionally.
Choice of multiple stores and reading apps - want Kindle, B&N or other e-book readers (such as the quite handy fbreader) all on one device? no problem.
In my mind, the outstanding battery life of e-ink readers and their daylight readability are the only positive points - and both are either not an issue or can be worked around using mobile phones as e-book readers.