The original Barnes & Noble Nook was a huge seller in the world of eBook readers. Now there are two new models to choose from: the new Nook Color, and the Nook Touch. The latter is branded as “the simple eReader” by Barnes & Noble, where the focus is solely on the reading experience. But is this the right device for you?
Nook Touch Key Specs
Average Price: $139
Release Year: 2011
Battery Life: Two Months (Wi-Fi off)
Screen Size: 6 inch
Screen Type: e-Ink touchscreen
Weight: 7.48 oz
Storage Size: 2GB (expandable by 32GB)
Main eBook Format: ePub
Pros Of The Nook Touch
Design: The Nook Touch is noticeably shorter and wider than other eReaders like the Kindle, but it weighs pretty much the same as the Kindle Touch. It’s compact, and sits well in your hand for reading. Because Barnes & Noble used soft-touch paint for this reader, it looks rubberized and sleek.
Touch Screen: As the name suggests, the Nook Touch features a touchscreen. The technology makes use of infrared sensors built into the border around the screen (the same technology employed by the Kobo Touch and Sony Reader Wi-Fi). As a result, it’s extremely responsive to even the slightest touch (which is a good thing). Using a touchscreen eReader is generally intuitive, and far easier than using a directional pad to make your way through menus.
Page Turns: The page turns are relatively fast on the Nook Touch. No current e-Ink reader has instant page turns, but the “flash” effect on the screen (it turns black for a second each time you turn the page) has certainly been reduced since the previous Nook models. E-Ink screens are never going to work as fast as LCD eReader devices, such as the Nook Color, but users probably won’t notice much delay on the Nook Touch.
Battery Life: The battery life on the Nook Touch really is excellent. As long as you don’t keep the Wi-Fi turned on, you won’t have to recharge the device for up to two months. This is double the battery life of the standard Kindle, but equal to the Kindle Touch and Kindle Keyboard. It’s excellent news for people who don’t want to worry about charging when they read, and means you can probably take it away on vacation without ever needing to recharge the device.
Extra Features: There are a number of extra features built into the Nook Touch, on top of standard reading features such as the dictionary, a variety of font sizes and so on.
Barnes & Noble had put an emphasis on the social side of reading, with features that will let you share what you’re reading with friends, or post highlighted book passages onto Facebook and Twitter (like with the Amazon Kindle). You can even ask friends to borrow books you’ve seen on their lists, though note that some publishers don’t allow their eBooks to be lent out.
User Interface: The Nook Touch has been well designed, and is easy to use without the need for an instruction manual. It doesn’t work in quite the same way as the Nook Color, but the touchscreen means that it’s easy to get to where you want to go.
Book Format: The Barnes & Noble Nook Touch uses the standard ePub book format. This is useful thanks to the fact that a number of other reading devices and bookstores also use this format. This is one benefit over the Amazon Kindle, which reads its own AZW books and the Mobi format – not ePub. The Nook Touch can also read PDF files (standard on most eReaders) but not Word documents. The book format also means it’s easy to loan books from the library, though this is something that Kindle have also just started to implement.
Cons Of The Nook Touch
Lack Of Features: There are a few features missing from the Nook Touch, notably a web browser. Its main rival – the Kindle Touch – does come with a browser, albeit a very basic one. Some other features that you’ll find on the Kindle Touch and not on the Nook Touch include the ability to play MP3 files.
Price: Although the Nook is more affordable than it has been in the past, it’s still beaten by the Amazon Kindle Touch in terms of price. The latter offers a discount if you buy the model with special offers (ads) shown on the screensavers and home menu. Barnes & Noble have previously voiced their opinion on the use of ads on their readers, saying it’s not something they’re planning to do in future. Kindle also has the standard option, without the touchscreen, which is cheaper again.
When you compare the price of the two devices without the ad discount, the Kindle Touch and Nook Touch are largely identical in terms of price and the features they offer. Both are touchscreen eReaders, both have access to excellent bookstores, but the Kindle Touch provides a web browser and the option for a (more expensive) 3G version if you want it.
No 3G Option: As previously mentioned, the Kindle Touch offers the choice between Wi-Fi and 3G, whereas the Nook Touch only comes with Wi-Fi. This is not a problem for most users, as you can do all your buying and downloading when you’re near a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Is The Nook Touch Worth Buying?
When the Nook Touch was first released, it was king of the touchscreen eReader world. With the release of the Kindle Touch, things have changed a little. In truth, the reading experience is very similar on both: they both have intuitive menu systems, and both have a high quality e-Ink display. It all comes down to which store and book format you prefer. And, if you want 3G internet access, you’ll have to go with the Kindle.