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Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight review

Verdict

A serious challenger to the Kindle Touch, with the superb GlowLight technology and EPUB support giving it a critical advantage

Review Date: 4 Oct 2012

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £91 (£109 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £66
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
6 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

US book giant Barnes & Noble is bringing its entire range of ebook readers to the UK this year, and it looks a formidable line-up. The first product of this new wave is the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight, which aims to take on Amazon at its own game.

You might think it was onto a bit of a loser here – after all, the Kindle range is now synonymous with whole concept of ebook readers. However, it does have a weapon in its armoury the Kindle can’t yet call on (at least until Amazon brings its Kindle Paperwhite to the UK): a built-in light for reading in the dark.

Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight

Hold down the small “n” button set into the device’s lower screen bezel, and after a couple of seconds the screen is bathed in soft, white light, courtesy of eight tiny LEDs built into the device’s top edge. The light can be adjusted in intensity, and according to Barnes & Noble doesn’t impact on battery unduly.

With the light switched on, it says battery life is reduced from two months to one month (at an average of 30 minutes reading per day), and so far we haven’t found any reason to take issue with that claim. After a full week of reading for around 1hr 30mins per day, with the light on for a fair proportion of that time, the battery hadn’t yet dipped below 50%.

Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight

It’s incredibly useful, not only for reading in bed, but also in other situations where the ambient light isn’t ideal, and we found it to be less tiring on the eyes than a backlit tablet screen. That isn’t the end of the Nook’s talents though. It’s also equipped with an infrared touchscreen, just like the Kindle Touch, and, in a bout of one-size-fits-all generosity, supplements this with a pair of physical buttons set into the bezel on each side of the screen.

Design, display quality and performance

Physically, the Nook is one of those devices that divides opinion. Some people will like its squat profile, rounded corners, and soft-plastic, scooped-out rear; others will point out, quite rightly, that it isn’t particularly slim at 11.4mm, and looks a little toy-like in comparison to the Kindles.

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User comments

I was wondering if this would be a suitable replacement for my 350 but with the shop front built into the UI like that and poor pdf support, guess I'll be hanging onto it for a while longer.

By JamesD29 on 4 Oct 2012

Apart from books, I use my Kindle to read personal documents and newsletters in PDF, DOC and HTML formats. If the Nook is limited on that front, it's not a viable alternative.

By seagull on 4 Oct 2012

This sounds good to me. I currently use a Kindle Keyboard and its fine but I'm irritated by the inability to use the highlight function without the Kindle freezing for an age.

I have no interest in reading magazines or newspapers on an ebook so I like the sound of this.

By stormN on 4 Oct 2012

I bought one from a US seller on eBay. The backlight is marvellous. It runs Android, so you can root it and install a better alternative for the built-in PDF reader app. Highly recommend.

By brendan on 4 Oct 2012

I bought one from a US seller on eBay. The backlight is marvellous. It runs Android, so you can root it and install a better alternative for the built-in PDF reader app. Highly recommend.

By brendan on 4 Oct 2012

Strange claims

"The light can be adjusted in intensity, and according to Barnes & Noble doesn’t impact on battery unduly.

With the light switched on, it says battery life is reduced from two months to one month (at an average of 30 minutes reading per day), and so far we haven’t found any reason to take issue with that claim. After a full week of reading for around 1hr 30mins per day, with the light on for a fair proportion of that time, the battery hadn’t yet dipped below 50%."

First it says the lights don't impact unduly on battery life then says it halves the life. Needs to get real halving battery life is considerably impacting the life.
Second you say you used it for only a week and claim battery had not dipped below 50%. for it to last a month I would have not expected battery to dip below 90%.

On these spurious figures I think Amazon have nothing to fear.

By curiousclive on 14 Oct 2012

I've only used mine for reading in bed so can't compare to no-backlight use. But 30 mins/one month seems about right. I can live with charging once per month.

By brendan on 14 Oct 2012

Colour e-ink will be the future: www.kindlecolour.eu

By paulandsoulefe on 25 Oct 2012

Trust me, do NOT buy any Nook product. Their customer service is abysmal. My order for a Nook SimpleTouch got mislaid thanks to their UK office incompetence, they acknowledge that they messed up and did not deliver, and refuse to replace/credit, and this saga has been going on for almost one month.

By Chris__G on 17 Dec 2012

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