Hardware Review: Nook e-reader

Published on Apr 19, 2010 Randomstrings Review « Prev Next »

BN.com Nook
BN.com Nook

So I have been in the market for an e-reader for a while.  I do a lot of reading and thought it would be darn handy to have a single device that could carry multiple books, and have the ability to order new books at any time, anywhere.  I like real paper books, but the ability to carry many books in one small device is appealing.  And despite what my sister in law says, I think they are generally a good idea and can only encourage reading..

Everyone I know swears by the Amazon Kindle, and while the device works just fine I just didn’t much like it.  I got my paws on a friends and it felt cheap to me, plus I really didn’t like that keyboard down there.. The Kindle DX looked really nice, but it’s big and really expensive.. I could have purchased an Apple IPad for the cost..

Which brings me to my I didn’t want an IPad..  Asside from fanboy snobbery turning me off of Apple, I didn’t want an IPad because I wanted a dedicated device for reading that was of a size as to not be unwieldy..   The IPad and the Kindle DX are, for me, too big for comfortable reading.  And the IPad with all its other features would distract me from what I want the device primarily for; reading..  yes I’m actually implying the IPad has too many features.. heh  For an e-reader anyway.. Plus the $500+ price tag is a tad steep..  And the other huge issue is that Apple doesn’t give us any sort of window into what books they offer to non-ipad owners..

And let’s be honest here.. You’re buying into a back end – the hardware really is immaterial..  I have always liked Barns and Nobles and generally go there first when I want a book, so when they announced the Nook I was interested from the start.. BN.com and the BN brick and mortar stores most likely aren’t going to go anywhere..  They are the largest chain of bookstores in the United States, and the BN store here in Austin is huge and is always crammed with people buying stuff – I’m pretty sure they aren’t going to go anywhere any time soon..

So they seem like a good company to offer an e-reader with a solid back end..  Plus their technology seems very solid and well glued together.. I like that I can purchase a book online through their website and it magically appears in my Nook ready to read with in a minute or two..

I also like that if I drop my Nook off the planet, I can simple buy a new one and have all my books still..  yay!  This really is a one stop shop for books in that I will never have to buy the same book ever again..  Plus, I like that I can attach another Nook to the same account so my wife can have access to my library..  Damn handy that..

The Nook hardware is extremely nice.  It has a good weight to it (being roughly twice the weight of the kindle) and is well built.  I have seen some people complain about cracked plastic around the outside but I have yet to see anything like that in mine and I don’t see how its possible without dropping it or throwing it at something..

And the best part is that it’s built on Android!!  So new updates come all the time..  More over apparently it’s extremely easy to root, which I have no intention of ever doing.. this e-reader is always going to be just my e-reader.. nothing more..


I do have a few complaints about the device that are really very minor..

1.  No internal backlight – In the interest of battery conservation they didn’t put a light in the Nook.  Their reasoning was that if it had a light it would chew up the battery very quickly and for some reason people think that if an e-reader can’t go a month without charging its not worth owning..  I say F to that.. It’s my device if I want to chew up the battery reading a book late at night using the internal back light so I don’t wake my wife, then I should be able to..  Give the users the option to use their device how they want to use it..

2.  Slow page turns – I think this is just the nature of the e-ink screens but they pages are slow to turn.  Now, when I say slow to turn I mean it takes all of a second, maybe a second and a half, once you click “next page” for it to actually show up.  This is a minor minor gripe at best, and may be due to some Android programming issue and as such is fixable.. But more likely its due to the e-ink screen just taking that long and I should get over it..

3.  The touch screen kinda sucks – the little LCD touch screen seems like a good idea but its very unresponsive.. Again I don’t know if this is an Android issue that will get resolved or if its a hardware issue but sometimes it just wont respond to input.. Or is very slow to respond..  I’m going to chalk this up to an Android issue that will get ironed out as updates are released..

And that’s it.. those are my complaints.. All really minor to be sure.. the thing works great.. I’m very happy with the purchase and at this point I have 7 books in there waiting to be read..

I think the problem now will be the growing line of books in my queue waiting to be enjoyed.. Ah what a problem to have..