Barnes and Noble nook ereader review

Barnes and Noble Nook ereader review: Pros, Cons and Verdict

Today we are proceeding with the Nook ereader review. The Nook has definitely come a long way since it was first released. Starting out with a terribly sluggish interface, it managed to overcome these obstacles professionally. With its new price tag, it certainly makes it to the top of our list in becoming the most recommended eBook reader on the market. Highly enjoyable and definitely on the right track.

Nook ereader: Pros & Cons

Pros:
Great stylish, sleek design | Intuitive touch screen interface | Excellent selection of books and supported file types | Built-in, free, US only, 3G wireless and Wi-Fi | Memory can be extended to hold over 4,000 books | User-replaceable battery

Cons:
3G Wireless supported only inside the U.S.| Touch screen technology drains battery life | Reported issues of sluggish device | Poor audiobook integration | Still not “battle-tested” enough

Best For:

The Barnes and Noble’s Nook, much like the Amazon Kindle 2, is the optimal wireless reading device for U.S. book lovers who just love to read novels, newspapers, and periodicals. Make sure you have the “early adaptor” characteristic in you because you’ll probably still endure labor pains from this new and exciting device.

Nook ereader: Specs

Specs:
Date of Release: Nov. 2009
Dimensions: 7.7” x 4.9” x 0.5”
Screen size: 6”
Weight: 0.756 pounds
Internal memory: 2GB
External memory: Yes
Gray-scales: 16
Wireless: 3G & Wi-Fi
Pdf support: Yes
Supported formats:8
Upload method: Wireless / USB
Battery lifetime: Up to 8 days
Warranty: 1 Year

Nook ereader review

barnes and noble nook ereader
How I conducted my analysis of the BarnesNoble Nook:

Analyzing this device was a pleasure. Not only because it’s such a fun thing to play with, but also because a lot of people had A LOT to say about it online. As with all of the major eBook readers, I checked this one out on my own as well as going through a dozen web reviews.

And I have to hand it to Barnes and Noble—they put up a fight, and one hell of a fight, as well. Before I got the Nook to actually review it, I was positive that this was going to be the best eBook reader ever! Was I wrong? Sorry, but you’ll have to wait and see (and read…).

What I thought of the Barnes & Noble Nook:

One of the most positive online shopping experiences I’ve had to date was shopping for the Nook at the B&N website. I can’t really explain why this was, but I guess these guys, just like Amazon, know what they’re doing.

The Nook arrived at my house wrapped up neatly. After spending about ten minutes figuring out how to open the box (Not the easiest task, I’ll tell you that. You actually get an instruction manual for it!) and charging it, I took it for its trial run.

The first thing I noticed, by the way, was that the Nook is about 10% smaller than the Kindle, but as a tradeoff, it’s also thicker. Check our other review, the Nook vs Kindle comparison.

No doubt this gadget is eye-catching. B&N came up with a pretty good hybrid between touch screens (which have a lot of glare issues) and plain e-Ink screens (which are just boring). The main display is a crisp six-inch display that is as good as any other eReader on the market.

The lower display, which acts as the Nook’s controls, is an LCD color display. Neat idea. It takes a while to get used to this (and to the fact that one display is touch-sensitive and the other is not), but overall it gives the device a much more enjoyable user interface than the “boring” keyboard-controlled Kindle.

For example, I love the fact that in order to swipe a page, I can just swipe my finger over the LCD display—though I’ll probably never use this option, but rather the turn page buttons. So, how come no one thought of this before?

Well, I guess they (Amazon) did and decided not to use it because apparently, it takes 30% more battery power, which makes the ereader a short-lived device compared to the Kindle (around eight days compared to 14 days). Furthermore, it still lags behind in comparison with different iPhone touch screens we’re already used to.

Reading off the Nook is pretty smooth. The extra features that the Nook has—like a replicable battery, the option to expand the 2GB of internal memory, and the fact you can choose different font styles on your device—are truly welcomed and pose an immediate threat to the all-too-“numb” Kindle 2.

The unique attribute the device possesses, much like the Amazon Kindle, is its wireless capabilities which let you shop for books without leaving the house (but only inside the U.S., unlike the Kindle 2 which has wireless capabilities in over 100 countries).

Not only does the Nook have 3G wireless but it also has a built-in Wi-Fi modem. Also, you’re able to browse full eBooks on your device while in the store. However, this feature, too, has its limitations; it only works for up to an hour per title during any given 24-hour period.

Wireless capabilities also allow you to also “lend” the eBook to your friends who have a different Nook, or even to a PC or Mac (and there are already online eBook lending clubs). The problem is that you can only lend any given book one time for up to 14 days and that’s it (also not every book may be lendable).

If you want to manage without the 3G and use only the Wi-Fi, you can get the “light” version of the e-reader with only the Wi-Fi for only $149.

B&N has a generous eBook collection on their website and you won’t have any trouble finding most of the best sellers, magazines, and periodicals you’re looking for. The e-reader also supports a wide variety of file formats, including ePub (which is one of the main ebook reader formats) and PDF.

However, as is the case with the Kindle 2, most PDFs on a six-inch screen don’t look that good. One more downside to the e-reader’s compatibility is its audio file support. The B&N e-reader can’t be connected to audible books yet (this option is owned by Amazon) and can only read MP3 files.

Compared to the Kindle, Nook doesn’t have any web-browsing capabilities, so no accessing Wikipedia for you. I honestly think that this was a smart move by B&N, since the web browser on the Kindle 2 wasn’t worth much anyway.

Probably one of the Nook’s best features is the ability to personalize it—starting with the variety of Nook covers you can purchase at the B&N online store all the way up to uploading images of yourself and your family and using them as a screensaver. So simple, yet so enjoyable.

The Nook also does one better than the Kindle with their “The Daily” feature. “The Daily” is a tab on your reader home screen that provides free, fresh content every day. These are short pieces written by established writers and are very enjoyable to read.

In conclusion, it seems that the Nook has a much younger hip vibe to it with all of its added features, personalization options, and colorful LCD control panel, whereas the Kindle is the more conservative, “I’m here only for reading” device.

What Online Experts tought about Nook ereader

For this analysis, I took a look at CNET, Gizmodo, Top Ten Reviews, Mobile Tech Reviews, and PC Magazine. The main dispute experts had about the Barnes & Noble Nook was about the touch screen.

While it’s a nice cool feature that allows you to easily navigate your way through the Nook, it drains the battery on the device very quickly and isn’t as responsive as you’d expect. Furthermore, it’s hard to adjust your eyes between the bright colorful LCD screen and the black-and-white e-Ink display.

So basically this new LCD interface is just an alternative, but not an upgrade (for now). Almost all websites state that reading of the Nook is exactly like reading off the Kindle and, aesthetically speaking, the device is better looking, less busy, with a more proportionate bezel.

Regarding the virtual keyboard of the Nook, I decided to share the exact quote: “We weren’t too happy, however, with the virtual keyboard that it affords. The keys are a little too small for those of us with fat fingers and it’s not as responsive as the typical cell phone screen.”

No doubt the B&N ereader definitely suffered (and hopefully, this will stay in the past tense) various problems since it was released, but B&N managed to fix many of these issues, including the fact that the Nook seems to work rather slowly.

But to sum up my various web reviews, I would like to quote again from Mobile Tech reviews: “What a difference a few months makes! The ereader has moved from ‘no, thank you to ‘yes, I’ll take one in our book. The Nook marries the excellent online book-buying experience, price, and selection of the Amazon Kindle with the Sony Reader’s support for ePub and a hint of a touch, a combination that wins in my book.”

What customers thought about Nook ereader

Customers who were against the B&N device said that it had major software issues that caused the Nook to load and respond extremely slowly (Editor—“Candlelight Stories”) and even crash on several occasions (Judie Lipsett—“Gear Diary”). Since these reviews were written, BarnesNoble has issued several software updates, thereby resolving many of these issues.

Keep in mind that most of the customer reviews came before Nook’s major software update, which took care of a lot of these things.

On the other hand, customers who loved the BarnesNoble device said that the fact that it used Google’s Android operating system is a major plus, since it allows greater possibilities for future developments (Ed Burnette—“ZDNet”), as well as the overall look, feel, and design of the machine, which is no doubt top of the line (Steve Heisler—“popwatch”).

Final verdict

The Nook has definitely come a long way since it was first released. Starting out with a terribly sluggish interface, it managed to overcome these obstacles professionally. With its price tag between 100 – 199 $, it certainly makes it to the top of our list in becoming the most recommended eBook reader on the market. Highly enjoyable and definitely on the right track.