Chris Kranky

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Nook: E-reader review

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

I got a Barnes & Noble nook e-reader as a gift for Christmas and as it was back ordered it just arrived and after 2 days of playing with it. Wanted to post a review. I immediately admit I have not played with either the Kindle or Sony devices, but the Internet has plenty of side-by-side comparisons.

But side-by-side comparisons may not mean as much in this matter. This is an electronics appliance and the purpose of the appliance is to allow you to read books.

Set-up: Set-up was fairly easy once you got it unboxed. Beautiful but frustrating plexiglas packaging, I was scared I was gonna destroy the nook before I could figure out how to open. The nook shipped with just enough power to get going. Quickly found my home wi-fi and happily logged on.

Searching: Searching seemed pretty straight forward, and the soft keyboard on the bottom, while you’re not going to type a letter on it, was more than adequate for simple search terms.

Purchasing: Quick to set-up a B&N account and once I found a book, the purchase process was simple point n’ click. The book seemed to download almost immediately. You can also quickly download sample pages of many books (usually 20-40 pages, which is more than enough to get a sense of the work).

Readability: The primary display is quite legible and you can switch the fonts and font size to suit you. With reading glasses (that I normally require) I found it easy to read. “Turning pages” required you to depress a side button. The button seems a bit stiff but was not annoying. The page refresh is not instantaneous, with a brief flash of black, your new page appears. Again after reading several chapters I almost forgot about it.

Usability: It’s a e-book reader and seemed to work fine for me. At the bottom is a touch sensitive back lite color display. The display times out and goes black after a delay but awakens fairly quickly. I kinda liked the bottom display area, especially when reading in bed, it seem just big enough (1.5 inches or so) so you rest the Nook on your stomach and read with the cover obscuring  the bottom display. Overall, I was more than happy to read with the device.

Pricing: Some Internet reviewers indicate that Amazon has lower prices than the nook. In my own spot check, fairly limited, I didn’t see any major price differences on popular titles. I have to assume B&N has to be competitive with Amazon to be in business.

Negative: If there is a negative, it’s the power, both the nook (and the Kindle for that matter) do not use a standard USB charger or cable. While I get that the battery lasts for 10 days, it is inexcusable that neither of this products use a standard cable. Thus, if you travel, you’re going to have to lug yet another cable/charger with you!

Summary: After reading along, I couldn’t find any serious misgivings about the product. The nook is a bit heavier than the Kindle, lacks some features, has some feature Kindle doesn’t have, in the end.