Review: the nook

2 July, 2010
Rat Fink

Yes, it finally arrived, and though I’ve had very limited opportunities to play with it, I already like it. Here’s my take:

The first item to remember is that this thing reads like a real book. That is to say there is no “backlighting” on the screen. What you see in the pale afternoon light is what you get. It’s like reading an actual book in the evening — you’re going to need to shine some light on it.

I think the hardest thing for me to get used to was that it is not a computer or smartphone. It doesn’t act like one with regard to feel, light, response or speed. So a minor realignment of expectations is necessary at the get-go, especially if you have a fast touch-screen phone or tablet computer that you’re accustomed to using. I’m assuming it’s pretty much that way for all e-readers.

This is a relatively accurate representation (on my monitor, at least) of the brightness of the nook screen. This photo was taken in the early evening, with one lamp turned on in the living room:



Here’s a view of when I sat right next to the lamp:



Truthfully — I could stand for the screen to be a leeeeetle bit brighter. But that’s likely just my horrible eyesight. Not a deal breaker. And the text renders beautifully outside in the sunlight — no screen glare or whiteout issues.

The page turn transitions are nice, but again, it’s not like swiping to the next menu on your Droid or iPhone. I’m not a page ripper in real-book life; I take my time, so this was no biggy. I shot a quick & dirty Flip video, illustrating both ways to advance the pages:



The Wi-Fi connection is cool — it picked up the wireless signal in my house right away. I also got the 3G for on the road, which will be nice. Here’s a shot of searching the B & N store, again with no direct light shining on the screen:


Again, you’re going to need a lamp or a book light to read in the darkness. B & N sells a clip-on model called the Lyra for $15, but my cheapy little GE book light did the job, too. I turned off all the lights, pulled down the shades and took this photo:


You can change fonts and sizes, of course. (I don’t particularly love serifs, so I chose the smoothy font.) The pictures above show the “large” version of the font.

I haven’t had it long enough to measure battery life with the Wi-Fi and 3G on, so maybe Helen or BoomR could comment on that. I look forward to taking this little gem on the road.

Yay, it’s Finkday for all you people with real jobs.

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2 July, 2010 9:14 am

Hey, congrats on your new Nook. I have a Sony Reader and I love it. Same sorts of issues re: no backlight etc, but I bought a cover for it that has a built-in reading lamp. Coolness. I can’t go online with mine, so yours is more fancy-schmancy, but the up side (for me) is I’m not presented with another opportunity to spend too much money. I can now carry several books in my purse! Where was this thing when we were in school and had HOURS of reading to do?????



2 July, 2010 9:28 am

I hope that you are enjoying playing around on your new nook! Do you have many ebooks yet? I’d be happy to share some of mine with you! I think lending is one of the neatest features that nook has. I actually love that the screen isn’t backlit. It’s formulated that way to prevent eye fatigue. It really works for me; I read for hours with no problem, similar to reading a printed page. I also love downloading my .pdf files for school on it and reading those on the go. There is also music, and you can customize it… Read more »