The Nook case is plastic and has a solid feel. The finish is shiny rather than matte like some other eBook Readers, which we prefer slightly. An all important aspect of any eBook reader is the quality of the screen display. The Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight’s 6-inch, diagonally measured screen is less reflective that most competitors. We were able to read it easily in just about any lighting condition including bright sun. The one situation that was a little trying was where there were multiple overhead light sources and therefore many angles from which light could be reflected. Even then, however, it wasn’t difficult to find an angle that worked virtually glare free. Typical of E-Ink screens, the display is rather dull like a book’s paper to minimize eye fatigue. The display on this eBook reader has 16 gray levels which makes it easy to find one that is ideal for an individual’s preference. Seven font sizes can be selected to make reading easy and there are six selectable font styles.
The GlowLight is a neat feature on this Nook. It illuminates the screen with a soft reading light that illuminates the screen so you can read in bed without disturbing your partner, or outside on a bright, sunny day. If you don't require the GlowLight you can turn it off or adjust the brightness with a quick touch of your finger.
We found ourselves attempting to select entries or flip pages on the main E-ink with touchscreen gestures. It probably looked odd to anyone who may have been looking on in that it’s not a touchscreen. Nonetheless, we were able to adapt to turning pages with the forward and back buttons on the unit's sides and navigating with just the secondary screen.
The Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight has a better combination of features for downloading books and publications than any eBook reader currently available. Like all of them, books can be downloaded to a computer then to the reader. It can also download over-the-air via WiFi.
The technical prowess of the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight is backed by Barnes & Noble’s massive eBookstore which currently offers over two million titles and growing. Most books, including best sellers are competitively priced at $9.99. Some are more and some are much less. You can also subscribe to a variety of newspapers and magazines, and even check out books from your local library. The number of available periodicals is relatively modest at this time but it’s expanding rapidly. Free samples of any book in the eBookstore can be downloaded. If a book is selected for purchase, downloading the whole thing typically takes just a matter of seconds via Wi-Fi.
Since the Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight supports the nearly universal EPub format so DRM free sources of free books such as those available from Google Books can be downloaded. That makes more than a million books which are in the public domain available to Nook users.
We like the integrated dictionary included on the Nook. Using it is simply a matter of pressing Look Up Word on the touch screen then using the up, down, right and left arrows to navigate to the word in question. Tap look up and the definition appears superimposed on the reading screen.
A feature that’s we enjoyed about the Nook is the ability to loan eBooks to other Nook owners. They can be transmitted over the air just like when purchasing. Books can also be loaned in this way to other B&N reader applications on a PC or Mac, iPhone and iPod Touch, BlackBerries or certain other smartphones. Roll out of this capability will be gradual starting with BlackBerry and Android phones. Books can be loaned for no more than fourteen days. While it’s on loan, it isn’t available to the lender, but that’s just like a real book, isn’t it?
Better yet, the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight is equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity. Anywhere there’s Wi-Fi, including using a wireless home network, books can be downloaded at speeds notably faster than 3G. If you happen to visit a Barnes & Noble store with your Nook in hand, the Wi-Fi feature connects automatically and offers some interesting and unique functionality. It will offer the More In Store content feature that includes promotions specifically for Nook users. It also will allow customers to browse complete eBooks just like you could with a physical book. There is a one hour limit within any given 24-hour period, but still, it’s a nice bonus. If you like what you see, over the air purchasing using Wi-Fi couldn’t be easier.
Barnes & Noble offers numerous options for Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight support. Their web site has an extensive FAQs section which we found to be most informative. It answers the questions that real people tend to have and it’s easy to negotiate. The site also has informative video tutorials. For further questions, they can be contacted by phone or email.
The competition is heating up rapidly in the world of eBook readers. While we don’t think that the Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight is positioned just yet to dethrone Kindle, it's a good alternative. Having Wi-Fi wireless download capability is a major point in its favor. The lending feature is also attractive as are the in store capabilities when visiting a brick-and-mortar B&N location. All in all, the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight is a great choice for the avid reader.
Wi-Fi connectivity makes the downloading of books a quick process.
The virtual keyboard is difficult to type upon and responds slowly.
With wireless capability and the unique GlowLight technology, this is one of the best eBook Readers available.