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B&N Nooklit Review Roundup

It turns out that B&N is going to officially ship the Nook Glow today, just like I reported 7 hours ago. B&N also released the early reviewers from the embargo. Needless to say, I’m not one of them, but I did gather together the  reviews that I could find.

Several of the reviews covered the entire device in far more depth than necessary. Hint to reviewers: If your review includes a mention that the new device is virtually identical to the old, skip anything that is not new. It is redundant.

Aside from the GlowLight, one key differentiating point between the Nook and both the $79 Kindle and the $99 Kindle Touch is Barnes & Noble’s inclusion of an expansion slot for adding additional memory. However, the Kindle Touch does offer integrated audio, which allows you to listen to MP3 music (and other audio files, including audio books) while you’re reading, as well as have books read to you — or at least those with the text-to-speech feature enabled (publishers decide whether to enable this feature or not).

Indeed, the addition of GlowLight should add some extra utility for frequent travelers, insomniacs and the nocturnally inclined. And heck, if Barnes & Noble’s numbers are to be believed, perhaps it will even save a marriage or two. The loss of contrast is certainly a bit of a compromise, though it’s not likely to be a dealbreaker for most users. Pricing, on the other hand, might be.

As a gadget to use daily, this is the best eReader you can buy. The choice comes down to content. The Nook is a product by Barnes & Noble, and the company’s breadth of selection compares well against Amazon’s selection for its Kindle. But Amazon might have already sunk its teeth into your library. If that’s the case, you’ll read this and say: "I’d totally buy this…if it were a Kindle!" That’s too bad. The latest Nook is the new king of the eReaders.

This review is verbose and redundant.

There’s no doubting GlowLight works. What’s really impressive is that it does so without adding to the bulk of the existing NOOK Simple Touch: no clunky clip-on lights, or eye-searing backlighting. The slight loss of some crispness thanks to the diffuser layer may frustrate some, but in our experience it – like with the momentary refresh delay inherent to e-paper screens – you soon come to ignore it.

I’m passing on quoting this review because it neglects to mention details about the screen tech.

I wouldn’t describe the light as uniform, though. It’s really bright at the top, right next to the LEDs, then there’s a dark stripe right below. It evens out considerably by the time it’s illuminating any text, but it’s still inconsistent enough to make certain lines of text look slighty darker or lighter than others. None of it really impedes the reading experience, but it’s not as nice-looking as a cool, even glow would be.

  • Time

Now, effectively illuminating an E Ink screen is no cakewalk. Tellingly, Sony released a light-up Reader in 2009, but the results were murky and its successor reverted to a non-lit display.

Barnes & Noble’s version, however, works really well. When GlowLight is turned off, the fact that it’s been added doesn’t seem to hurt the clarity of the display; it remains very readable by E Ink standards, although I found that the Kindle Touch’s text looked a bit blacker in some situations.

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Mike Cane April 24, 2012 um 2:59 pm

Eh. I haven’t read any of those first. I don’t want to be prejudiced. I have my own pictures. I came here first to see if you managed to get any. I see not! You are now so pWned! Hahahaha!

Keri April 24, 2012 um 4:25 pm

"Hint to reviewers: If your review includes a mention that the new device is virtually identical to the old, skip anything that is not new. It is redundant."
Eat your liver with the sulks 😛

Nate Hoffelder April 24, 2012 um 7:37 pm

I’m not sulking. I really do feel that if you can copy & paste a post then it’s generally not worth writing a second time.

Mike Cane April 24, 2012 um 6:09 pm

I read the first two reviews. Aside from contrast (which I didn’t see), they really didn’t say anything I didn’t see for myself. Did any of them even mention the damn Nook OS version? I’m not wasting time reading any others. The real useful stuff will happen at XDA when members start getting them and report on rootability.

Sturmund Drang April 24, 2012 um 6:11 pm

I think B&N is making a stupid mistake not supporting this website. The traffic may not be near Gizmodo and Time levels but it’s readership is enthusiast, and enthusiasts have a disproportionate impact on the market.

B&N is losing. And if they don’t pull it about they will be gone when The-Digital-Reader is still publishing. TDR does not need B&N, B&N needs TDR; and every single voice they can muster.

Buzz April 30, 2012 um 10:33 am

While I can appreciate your enthusiasm, I’ve been reading "ebooks" since I picked up a new Palm m515 and this is the first time I’ve ever heard of this site. I linked to here from, which, sadly, I understand has been purchased by Amazon… I’m not sure that it is as popular as you might think.

Nate Hoffelder April 30, 2012 um 10:35 am

MobileRead wasn’t purchased by Amazon; that was a 1 April joke.

My Nooklit Has Arrived (First Impressions) – The Digital Reader April 26, 2012 um 6:03 pm

[…] from a layer laying on top of the screen. This is an important detail because at least one of the launch day reviews said that the Nooklit had a noticeably degraded screen quality.I disagree. I have a Nook Touch, […]

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