PROS / The NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight reigns supreme in terms of ergonomics and has uniform edge lighting for comfortable reading after dark.
CONS / The screen contrast is slightly low but nominal, and it likely isn’t something you’d notice without comparing it directly next to a higher-res eReader.
VERDICT / As one of the best eBook readers on the market, the NOOK Simple Touch GlowLight is ideal for avid readers who aren’t locked into another eReader ecosystem.
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The NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight is Barnes & Noble’s answer to the eReader’s greatest dilemma: after-dark reading. Equipped with ambient front-edge lighting, this NOOK device reads like an actual paperback in any environment, even in dim and dark conditions. This eBook reader has versatile readability, in conjunction with an ultra-light, ergonomical design, and is among the best eBook readers. The device doesn’t offer anything truly unique (you’d be hard-pressed to find a current eReader that does), but it proves to be an overall superior eBook reader ideal for casual readers and avid book lovers alike.
Readability & Display
The biggest asset of any front-lit eReader is unequivocally its high level of readability. This NOOK device is no exception, allowing you to read comfortably in virtually any environment. Its soft and even edge-lighting is highly adjustable and enables you to read comfortably in the dark without eyestrain. The original NOOK Simple Touch sans the lighting feature is still available, but we wouldn’t recommend it over this version; the difference in cost between the two gadgets is mere dollars and absolutely worth paying for the unimpeded readability the GlowLight device delivers.
The GlowLight NOOK also offers a 6-inch, anti-glare display and responsive touchscreen navigation. A power button located at the top of the chassis enables you to perform a hard reset if needed.
The only minor flaw this eBook reader possesses in terms of readability is its resolution, which is a bit lower than some competitors. The marginally low contrast makes the text appear slightly soft around the edges. However, the difference is minor and not likely something you’d notice unless you held the device side-by-side to an eReader with a higher resolution. The Nook Simple Touch GlowLight also does not offer a landscape mode, but at worst we chock this up to a trivial absence few people will miss.
Design & Portability
Beyond its adjustable reading light, one of the most appealing attributes of this digital reader is its design. Among dedicated eBook readers, the GlowLight NOOK rules in terms of ergonomics. The device has a soft-touch coating that gives the casing a smooth, rubberized feel and makes it comfortable to hold one-handed for extended periods of time. This is a notable departure from the hard, somewhat cheap-feeling plastic typical of most eReaders.
This eBook reader is great for travel and on-the-go reading. The difference in weight between most dedicated eReaders is nominal, but this one is extremely lightweight and portable, with a weight just under 7 ounces. Additionally, a compact design allows the device to easily fit into a purse or jacket pocket.
The NOOK Simple Touch GlowLight also boasts an excellent battery life that can last up to two months on a single charge. This is based on a half hour of reading every day. Although actual battery life will vary depending on your usage and how much you run the GlowLight, this Nook device delivers a longer-lasting battery than most of the eBook readers we reviewed.
You can download books or periodicals via any wireless network using the device’s built-in Wi-Fi connection. The eReader doesn’t have 3G capabilities, but this isn’t likely to affect the vast majority of readers. 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 allows you 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.
The GlowLight NOOK is backed by arguably the most well-known, brick-and-mortar book retailer in the country, so it comes as no surprise that purchasing new content for your NOOK eReader is convenient and straightforward. The NOOK Book Store doesn’t offer the least expensive eBooks, but its product selection is vast and you’ll be hard-pressed to find unavailable titles.
With the exception of audiobooks (there’s no headphone jack present), this eBook reader supports a wide range of reading material. Aside from eBooks, you can access your favorite newspapers and magazines and borrow digital books from your local library. For international and multi-lingual readers, the Nook Simple Touch GlowLight also offers multi-language support.
Help & Support
The NOOK Simple Touch GlowLight offers handy features that allow you to personalize your reading experience for maximum comfort and enjoyment. To begin with, the device comes with the two features we deem most important in electronic readers: automatic sync and adjustable fonts. When you download a new book on your digital reader, it automatically syncs to all your devices that have the NOOK app installed. This way you can access your entire library even when you don’t have the eReader with you. Seven text sizes and six font styles allow you to choose the exact font style you like.
We also like the intuitive bookmarking function and the integrated dictionary included on the GlowLight Nook. Using it is simply a matter of pressing Look Up Word on the touchscreen 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.
The NOOK Simple Touch GlowLight is a clear winner among top eBook readers. The device delivers best-in-class readability and portability – the two most important elements of standalone readers. Additionally, you can find virtually any published eBook title in the NOOK Book Store. If you’re not already tied into the Kindle ecosystem, the GlowLight NOOK is an excellent eBook reader worthy of your consideration.