Confirmed: Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Get the New Nook Glow

A blogger with Gizmodo is offering a graphic lesson today i  why you need to be even more careful with the new Nook Touch with Glowlight screen than the previous model. That little dot of light in the upper part of the screen isn’t an artifact of the photo; it’s where the screen got scratched.

The problem with putting the light in front of the screen is that there’s nothing to protect it. This might not seem such an issue because most screens are sturdy enough to survive basic damage, but in the case of the Nook Glow that’s not true.

I can confirm that based on the many times I’ve dropped one device onto another that screen are fairly sturdy, but it looks like the light layer on new Nook Touch isn’t even as sturdy as the (accident prone) E-ink screen right underneath it.

You see, the mark on the screen above isn’t from dropping the Nook Glow on the floor. It’s not from dropping something sharp onto the Nook Touch, or even keys. No, the weapon in this case was a regular TV remote control which was accidentally dropped from less than a foot above the screen. It left a ding in the light layer which is visible even when the light is turned off.  And when the light is on I think it ruins the reading experience.

Now, the blogger at Gizmodo is still saying that the new Nook is worth it, but I disagree.

I can accept that devices break and that you sometimes need to be exceptionally careful, but this is just too much. My devices get more banged up than that just by putting them in my bag. With all the pens, notepads, and other stuff I carry around while on the go I would be lucky not to end up with enough scratches on the screen for an abstract piece of art.

I think we may have celebrated the new Nook Touch a little too soon. That frontlight might be as nearly invisible as glass but it is also much more fragile. The photo above is a good reason not to get the device. Clearly it’s only one minor accident away from being a waste of $40.

Update: A couple readers disputed the accuracy of the photo above so I did a little experimenting. I dropped my keys on my Nook Glow from a height of 4 inches. This is the result:

The screen doesn’t show any sign of damage when the light is off and the the damage cannot be felt, only seen.

Gizmodo

71 thoughts on “Confirmed: Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Get the New Nook Glow

    1. I noticed the same thing with mine after only having it two weeks…and I am not aware of ever dropping or putting anything up against the screen
      I am going to ask Barnes and Noble for a refund or a replacement.

    1. My problem with needing a crazy case rather than a simple sleeve is that it makes the device heavier and bulkier than a book. It’s like taking a cell phone that is 1cm thick and adding a cover that makes it the size of an old car phone. IMHO, the devices should be produced sturdy enough that a reasonably careful individual does not need a case. I don’t have a case on my phone and I have 0 scratches in 3 years. I’ve never put it in my pocket with keys or have dropped it, but I think that comes into “reasonably careful”. For those who are not as careful, a basic leather case or a film screen cover should be enough. Again, just MHO.

  1. I always have cases for my e readers. That saying, I was underwhelmed by the new Nook and returned mine after a day.

    1. I didn’t think it was worth the $139 price tag for the screen tech that was used. I didn’t like the unevenness of the lightning. I find that the Nook Tablet screen far easier to read on in low light conditions. Mine also would not open so,e Barnes and Noble books until they were deleted and redownloaded. Never had that happen before with a Nook. Mine also froze up requiring a total shutdown and restart. That happened twice to me.

      1. Thanks for the reply, Tyler. Was interested in your feeling that the unevenness of the lighting seemed to make reading in low light conditions harder than it is with the backlit Nook Tablet.

  2. I have a 4.5-year-old Sony 505 whose screen is perfect after daily use over that time. Same with my 1.5-year-old Sony 950. The only extra protection they receive is the from the covers that came with the device (or that I bought at the same time as I bought the device) and my not being so careless as to drop TV remotes on the screen or spilling a can of soda over the device or taking it swimming with me or dropping it on concrete from a 6-foot height.

    Why is the Nook responsible for the carelessness of the user? Why, Nate, do you want just a tougher screen? Why not go all the way and require the device to resist thermonuclear war? It seems to me that people need to take some responsibility for the care of devices they own or not complain. I doubt that it is reasonable to anticipate that users will drop their remote controls on the screen.

    1. I just duplicated the issue. I dropped by keys on the Nooklit from a height of 4 inches. Wait a second and I’ll post the pictures.

      The thing is, Rich, the screen on the Nooklit is far more fragile than any other E-ink ereader. That is newsworthy. It’s also a valid reason not to get it.

      1. Nate, I am not adventurous enough to determine whether I can deliberately damage my Nook Tablet or either of my Sonys by dropping one of my remotes on the screen. I suspect that with the right angle/height, I would cause damage. I don’t doubt that you confirmed the damage by dropping the keys, but it was a deliberate act on a bare screen. Would the damage occur if you had the device covered? Isn’t that really the issue? We all know that these screens are fragile and need to be taken care of. It’s the carelessness that should be condemned, not the screen, UNLESS the same damage can be caused to the screen when it is covered. Then, I would agree.

        1. I don’t think a case would be relevant, Rich.

          I don’t use cases for any of my ereaders or tablets because I don’t need them. When I’m not using them I simply toss them in my bag along side my camera, cables, laptop, and more. I’ve never had a screen broken from doing that, but I would bet that the light layer on the Nooklit would be damaged.

          The light layer itself is incredibly fragile, much more so than the screen underneath. This ereader is one paw print away from getting the light layer damaged, that’s how fragile it is.

          1. I have had a Sony e-Reader for more than 3 years now and mine still works fine. I take really good care of every electronic that I have but I do not agree with Richard’s comments that all of it is the owner’s fault. I have seen so many complaints on the new Nook device that it is impossible to think that they are all damaged due to careless owners. I wouldn’t test dropping keys on my sony, but I would expext it to survive a fall from my nightstand, and that does not seems to be the case for the nook, where it works fine at one day and on the next one you have a light hole in your screen.

          2. I find it hard to believe that you never scratched a screen with your careless way of carrying your items. I have an Aluratek Libre eBook Reader Pro I bought on a whim about four years ago. I have literally used it every day since. I always use the slip case that came with it, and after four years of daily use, it still looks out of the box new. I’ve had cell phones and whatnot that became scratched after one careless moment of tossing it in my bag unprotected. The Aluratek isn’t the best reader out there, but it will read any format you throw at it. I’m only here because I liked a friend’s new nook.

          3. I’ve scratched screens before, but a scratch on an LCD screen is a relatively minor issue. A ding on the Nook Glow’s screen effectively killed the frontlight.

            And as we saw later in 2012, both Kobo and Amazon released ereaders with frontlights that did not have the same tragic flaw. Nor did any subsequent model.

    2. I am now on my second nook glowlight for this issue. I always keep mine in my case. The only “beating” it takes is being in my bag talking to and from the bus and the screen issue has occured twice. How reasonable is it to assume someone will carry their ereader in a bag?

  3. This is just one report whose accuracy and details are unknown. It’s silly to act like this alone is enough to prove that the device is unacceptably fragile.

      1. I didn’t doubt that something liked what was described happened. What I meant it was that the crucial details are unconfirmed, and pretty much unconfirmable in an anecdote like this. Was the user’s hand stationary when he dropped the remote, or was he moving, adding some additional momentum to the impact? What part of the remote hit the screen? How small and hard was that part? And so on. I’m just saying that this wasn’t a quantified test, so sweeping conclusions are inappropriate.

  4. One incident and you’re warning people against buying a product, implying that it’s inferior? If somebody who bought a Kindle, Fire, iPad, Nook Tablet, Kobo or whatever had a out of box failure, and I’m sure that happened, would be loudly proclaiming, buyer beware?

    I think not.

    1. And I’ve just discovered my Nook’s screen is showing the same fault. The difference is – it hasn’t been dropped, nothing has been dropped on it. It has been packaged in its original retail box during a 2 hour flight while it was safely stored in an almost empty carry on hard shell suitcase which has been stored in the overhead bin.

      Need more proof that this device is stupidly fragile and should be replaced or money returned?

  5. Thanks Nate for reporting on this. I just received mine yesterday. I use a cover on mine, but it looks like I’ll be holding on to my older backup Nook, and making use of the one year warranty on the new one. I wonder how amazon will deal with this issue when they introduce lighting to the kindle.

    1. Amazon will likely be using different tech *if* they do a front-lit Kindle.
      B&N is reportedly using in-house tech for the Nook Glow, whereas Amazon owns a company that has been developing its own lightguide tech for years.
      There is also another independent company that has their own solution, which might show up in other ereaders:
      http://the-digital-reader.com/2011/12/14/first-look-at-flexlight-video/

      Of course, now everybody will be doing their own “Hoffelder test” *before* releasing their product so the Nook glow might just be the end of *that* experiment.
      (In other words: back to the drawing board!)

  6. Scumbag Reviewer: Hears about incident involving remote control being dropped on screen. Recreates by stabbing screen with keys.

    YOUR’RE SCEINCE IS GOOD!

  7. I’ve dropped e-Ink Kindles, and in a sense the result is similar in that with no light, no damage is seen.

    The damage described in Gizmodo’s overapologetic report by Kyle Wagner is due to an impact of a remote control device dropping from 6″ hurting the lighting-functioning under the top layer.
    The display isn’t cracked or broken. When Nate dropped the keys from 4″ it also affected the lighting, not the screen display otherwise, when the lighting is off.

    I think that’s an indicator that people have to be very careful with this, as far as the new feature is concerned — the lighting.

    Otherwise, the screen display itself (if you don’t use the light) hasn’t been affected.

    So it’s not more fragile in that way than any other e-Ink reader, so far, but if the light is important to you, then the reports are definitely worth reading and doing some added protection (like not giving the reader to very young kids or someone who is careless with it).

    A cover won’t help much in this case, since we don’t leave it on when reading. I also don’t close the cover when putting the reader down for awhile — but that’s one precaution people should take, I imagine when it comes to the lights used.

  8. Honestly, who leaves their electronics unprotected?

    I have a case that my 10″ tablet stays inside when it’s not being used — same with my Kindle 3 Keyboard (I use the stock K3 Lighted case); and my K3 case is well worth the money; it’s prevented my kindle from getting damaged in the two years or so I’ve had it.

      1. This is really irresponsible reporting. Try dropping your keys onto the front of a camera and scratch the lens. Or drop onto a computer screen. I have a Nook with GlowLight, not a Nooklit, whatever that is. It’s the most amazing eReader I’ve used, and I’ve owned many Nooks and Kindles. I’m getting tired of this site with Nate constantly telling us how he predicted this and that, all written with numerous grammatical mistakes. Yes, I know, if I don’t like the site, I can go elsewhere, but Nate does a good job of covering the news, it’s that he’s not objective and clear. I know he’s unhappy that B&N never gve him a sample; I’ve seen that comment a few times. But please don’t know a great innovation without some more thoughtful analysis

        1. “Or drop onto a computer screen”

          Okay, I just dropped my keys from a height of 5 to 6 inches on the following devices:

          • Asus Transformer
          • Samsung Galaxy Tab
          • Kindle DX
          • Innosoul Android tablet
          • Kindle Touch

          Guess what? None were damaged in this experiment.

          The Nooklit has a more fragile screen than any of my other devices. If you like, I could jostle it around in my work bag to simulate the most likely cause of damage.

          1. Most companies tend to think about real world usage of their products.
            Some more than others.
            Steve Jobs reportedly “freaked out” and had the iPhone redesigned a couple months before release to deal with a fragile screen issue.

            “Just over a month before the first iPhone was to be released in 2007, the authors report, a frustrated Steve Jobs summoned his senior team.

            Steve had been using a prototype iPhone for a few weeks, carrying it around in his pocket. When his lieutenants were assembled, he pulled the prototype out of his pocket and pointed angrily to dozens of scratches on its plastic screen.”

            http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-01-22/tech/30652107_1_foxconn-iphones-apple-executives

            I don’t normally see Jobs as an executive I want any CEO to emulate but he had his moments.

          2. I wish someone could try dropping a bowling ball on it.
            LOL.

            p.s. I like that Nate has his informed opinion even if I disagree.

  9. So since you’ve stuffed the screen.. Can you add a screen protector to it and check if that helps on the key drop test?

    1. I used a screen protector after purchasing this unit. But the protector made it hard for the screen to identify your touch. I thought it’s a technical thing. The pages wont turn and sometimes it wont unlock no matter how hard you tried sliding your finger. Went I took off the screen protector, everything work just fine but now I have a ding on the screen.

  10. I had the exact same screen-cracking issue on my wife’s Glowlight (2 of them, happened after weeks, not sure what caused them). I attempted to return the Nook, and was denied. So I used the 6-inch key-drop test (which created 3 more cracks), and was then allowed to return it. If I hadn’t been, I would have YouTube’d me doing it a bunch more times and distributed the video as widely as possible. I emailed B&N to let them know the device is seriously defective and they should do something. I would guess there will be an eventual class-action lawsuit.

  11. I had this happen to me this morning! I did not drop anything on my nook with glowlight. My previous nook withstood plenty of usage (I didn’t abuse the old nook, but I didn’t handle it as if were fragile), and I never had the screen crack. My new nook with glowlight cracked after 5 days of careful usage, so there is a definite difference in the fragility of the screen between the first simple touch nook and the new nook with glowlight. When trying to exchange this unit (which I only had for 5 days) in the store, I totally got the run-around. Very poor customer service.

    1. tracy,
      How was it resolved, since you said it cracked after only 5 days and you had it for only 5 days. Did they give you a full refund ultimately? Exchange it for another one? B&N’s customer svc (or lack of it) is an important factor for me so I’d like to know what happened and how you convinced them to take it back and, I hope, got a refund.

      1. They store refused to exchage my nook for a new one because they claimed they only had nooks in stock for “sale”, and not for “exchange”. Hmmmm – is that because you already have my money and I am now a second rate customer? It was very obvious to me that they only cared about new sales, and not about replacing a defective device. After leaving the store, I called 1-800-the-book, and got more crappy customer service, and eventually I spoke to a supervisor. It took a good 20 minutes before he called my local store and spoke with their manager and agreed to exchange my nook if I brought it in the following day. After that wonderful experience, I looked online to see if anyone else was having the same problem (which some people are), and I decided to just get a refund. Also, fyi – if you purchase an extended warranty, it only covers *one* replacement device.

        1. Tracy, to replace your device you must first call B&N or chat with them online on their support site and arrange for a replacement to either be mailed to you or for one to be “reserved” at the store.

  12. I Appreciate all your feedback here Tracy. Glad you eventually got the refund you wanted. It sure took a lot of work.

  13. I’m not reading all the comments after seeing the first argument. I totally agree with the author of the article. I paid the full $149 for my glolight as I prepaid for it before it even went on the market. I’ve had it for 3 months and have been a huge fan. That is until yesterday. I take very good care of this device, it’s kept in a cover and never used carelessly. I have no idea how the small ding got in the screen but I didn’t see it until I turned on the glolight last night. Just as the picture shows, my light is shining through the screen so brightly it’s not even worth reading. I’m so disappointed !

  14. Oh yeah! Happened to me just 20 minutes ago. I accidentally dropped the TV remote control by the mere 3 inches and I got a scratch that honestly an eyesore! I love the previous version of Nook Touch thus I ordered the one with Glowlight. The latter really is durable and i thought this one would too. I am so wrong.

  15. Mine cracked with no abuse at all in just 40 days of very light use. This product should have NEVER been released. Shame on Barnes and Noble. And to the people who are defending the product and think Nate is making too much of a big deal… well, just wait. It will happen to yours. And you will be just as mad that you made a donation to B&N too.

  16. Ok so a few weeks after my first glowlight I started getting those bright breakthrough light spots on the screen. Barnes and Noble gave me another one; and after 3-4 weeks, this one is showing fading e-ink; rectangles of white, and dark gray mostly on the top half of the screen. Now, I have to say that I have an old Kindle, and an “old” Nook without the glowlight that I bought when the Simple Touch first came out, and I have had nary a problem with either device. I think that there must be a flaw with the design or something, and that B&N is aware if it. I xm sure they will be either redesigning it, or making a new model—they will have to do something now that Amazon is bringing out the Paperwhite.

  17. I haven’t dropped, stabbed, spilled, or damanged mine in any way. Haven’t even had it 2 months, and have one of those light cracks in its screen. Does anyone know if b&n is replacing them because of the cracks ? I cant remember if i got the extended plan or not. My original simple touch has survived the test of time, with my 2 year old always wanting mommy’s “book”.

  18. Same problem here. I had mine less than 20 hours when a tear appeared. No scratches, no drops. I went to the Barnes and Noble and requested anexchange. Attitude is everything it seems but they said they had never heard of this problem, yah right. I love the Nook and it beats Kindle. I wonder how the Kindle Paperwhite will be?

  19. Same problem here. On mine it appears that its something under the screen pushing up and creating the problem. There is no tear on the surface. Its the actual screen below. Almost like a capastior or something has pushed up from pressure on the underside. Either way it is way to fragile, I’m going to replace it with a Kobo.

  20. I just returned my new Nook Glowlight after 5 days of ownership because of a mysterious nick that appeared. I don’t remember dropping it or anything on it, but it happened somehow (was my fingernail too sharp and scratched it?!?!). So the moral of the story is, even of you are careful with it, a touchscreen will get dented because you’re touching it.

    I love the Nook aside from the screen but am on #2 with a skeptical outlook on whether it can even survive a full week without another scratch (or without me having to baby it). I’ve owned iPads and other devices that take a beating but can still survive year after year. If this product can’t take an overzealous tap on the screen, I’m switching to a Kindle and I would recommend people against the Nook.

    Oh, when I took it into Barnes as Noble, they weren’t surprised to see the damage. They were a bit surprised at how fast I scratched it but the manager shook his head in disbelief like they’d had a large number of returns because of the same problem. They were very accommodating of the return…which made me think they were getting a lot of returns/exchanges on this device.

    I liked my Nook Glowlight but am still skeptical because of the weak screen. I guess it’s a bad sign when I hope it gets dinged within the 1-year warranty so that they will honor another return/exchange, but I’m giving it one last shot.

  21. Thank you for posting pictures of the “tears” of light people keep commenting on in their Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight reviews. You’ve helped make my decision easy. Will wait until they come up with a better version and stick with my Nook 1st Edition for now!

  22. FWIW, I got tired of replacing batteries in my nook’s light so I stole my wife’s nook glow since she doesn’t have any books to read atm.

    I took it around with me in my backpack to read between classes, and when I pulled it out one day after class while waiting for a friend to read, I noticed a crack. Just from being in my bag, in a pocket on it’s own, with a cover on it.

    When I turned on the glowlight, I repeated what the gizmodo photos show, it essentially “bleeds” light, though not as big, it’s enough to block out a couple letters and constantly grabs my eye while using it. It’s also visible with the glow off, but not nearly as intrusive.

    My non glow nook has taken a massive beating because my dog likes to jump on the couch unexpectedly. There’s minuscule scratches on the screen that I can only see at the right angle, but no actual damage to the screen itself.

    It’s one thing to take care of your gadgets, it’s another to have to treat them like porcelain dolls.
    B&N refused to replace it.

  23. I am in a replacement nook for the same issue. Got a special hard case for this over to avoid as much wear and tear as possible. Sadly, a careless child just dropped my cell phone from a height of 6 inches… Huge crack in the screen.I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone.

  24. Just want to concur. I’m on 2nd Nook. Exchanged first cause of screen blemish. They acted surprised and said it was a manufacturing defect. The new one – about 2 weeks old – now has a scratch. It has always been in a case and treated carefully. Also bought 2 others as presents. Wish I hadn’t. This is a very bad defect.

  25. Just got off the hook with a B&N representative, telling me essentially that I can go frack myself, they already got my money, they won`t replace my unit or refund me my money.

    Not to mention that I`m outside US, and I have to mail in/out the nook myself, shipping feed actually being more than the nook itself.

    God, I wish I would have gone with a Kindle. This ereader is a joke. Bad one, that is.

    PS: mine broke effectively over night. Finished reading, put it on the bedside table. Next day when I got home and turned it on, bam!

  26. Had the glow for about 2 weeks. Most days I did not use it; I am still on page 45 (?) of 1st book. Now a bright light is showing through the screen.

    I actually noticed the crack a few days ago but thought it was a mark that could be wiped off. It was only when I turned the light on that that this super bright light comes through.

    I am overseas now and they have no process to help me I think.

    Thinking of putting a band-aid over the spot shining through.

    One frustrating side-note of barnes and noble purchases is your credit card is “checked” every time you make even gift card purchases. If your credit card goes outdated or over limit or whatever, (mine ran out of money) the device won’t open your books. Its very annoying. Also then you need to keep the credit card handy because they device can demand your entire credit card name and number be typed in there or it won’t open. So annoying !!! you have to carry your credit card number around the ENTIRE number, not just a few digits (which would be partly annoying).

    The device feels nice but I wish it didn’t break in 2 weeks after purchase. Customer service is sooooooooooooooooooo poor at b and n compared to amazon. I sent a few emails over a few days and got a single response which was one of those nonsense ebay/paypal type responses. It gives you a cut and paste nonsense answer that directs you to a nonsense place which does not address your initial question

  27. The screen is more delicate due to the e ink tech. Compared with my iPad it is more sensitive because of the material that the screen uses to preserve the e ink. Also once your books are paid for they can ALWAYS be opened. Your account is never rechecked. And if you use a gift card your account is also not checked. I worked at BN for 3 years. I know these inside and out. I do agree the screen is fragile but I believe anything without and computer-esque light would be more accident prone.
    PS Not exchanging is completely against the company. That was a bad personal decision on the part of the worker.

  28. I confirmed that the Nook Glow Light screen is very fragile. I didn’t know how mine got the first ding when the light is on, it is so bright that I can’t it. I used a permanent black marker to paint over the light leak. Yesterday I got two more small dings. I am still using my Nook but very disappointed everytime my eyes glance through those spots. So be gentle with yours if you plan to keep it around long.

  29. Bought a nook and the first one had damage to screen. Got replacement and have had it in case, but have now got three damage leaks of light on screen. Nothing has been dropped on it and it has been used carefully. Really disappointed.

  30. After reading so many negative reviews on the NST with Glowlight, I changed my mind. I won’t check out and buy it. Thanks for informing me Nate and others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>