And there were three!
We now have three basic nook models. We have the original nook (Wifi and 3G) now dubbed the nook "1st Edition". The original nook was a split screen device that included both a color and eInk screen. The second nook device was the nook Color, which is really an Android tablet with a new set of eReader software that runs apps. Now the new nook "Simple Touch" reader is out showing the B&N commitment to the eInk devices. I got mine today and have some initial first impressions to share.
The packaging of the new nook is pretty tame. It's a simple box with the device at top and generous cord & adapter tucked away at the bottom. Just like the device inside it's pretty utilitarian and simple. There is a nice "Getting Started Guide" included under the device. While most people will never look at it those that need it will find it answers most the questions they have.
The first thing that strikes you is how square the device appears. In reality the screen is the same dimensions as the original nook but the lack of the extra screen at the bottom makes you think the screen is square when the reading screen is the same size as the original nook. I expected a thinner device but it's only 6% thinner than the original nook - which isn't a difference you can appreciate. The end result is a much smaller device than the original nook and newest Kindle. The son's first comment was, "Can you fit it in your pocket?" I was easily able to slide it into my shorts pocket.
The screen is striking. It's using the newer Pearl eInk which is far superior to the original nook. I was amazed at the responsiveness of the touchscreen. I've read complaints about the Sony touchscreens affecting the quality of the display but don't see a hint of that here. The page turns are remarkably fast and smooth. B&N made great use of the screen and as you expect it works much like the nook Color device.
The software "just works" so far. For the most part I suspect it's using the same application codebase as the nook Color with some user interface changes to accomadate the screen differences. The Library application is a great example, if you've used the nook Color the main difference is the areas are selected with a drop down instead of buttons at the top. The social stuff is all there though on the new nook the nook Friends application is under the social menu instead of the Apps menu (there are no apps on the new nook). I tested out Overdrive library book transfers and they worked like a champ. I didn't use the same login as I use for B&N (just to dispel that myth).
What didn't work or I didn't like:
- I got the device in a state where it couldn't use wi-fi but it was connected. Cycling the wi-fi didn't help but a reboot did.
- I was unable to get "Read in Store" to work. It just hung downloading the book. I think it was related to the wi-fi in the store but will have to try again.
- Non B&N content is still a second class citizen.
- I find the back "off" button a bit hard to press.
- While everyone in the house thinks it feels "sturdy" the buttons just don't do much for me.
- None of the Google books from B&N function. Why?
What's different about the new nook you should be aware of?
- A large hunk of the built-in memory is reserved for B&N content. The newer nook Color devices are setup this way too :(
- There is no audio support. The original nook and nook Color have audio support for music, etc.
- Less memory. You only get 1Gb of memory and only 236MB is for you to put your conent on.
- The battery will actually last. The original nook drained 10% a day in sleep mode, this nook, according to B&N, will go 2 months with using it 30 minutes a day (wi-fi off). We'll see about that.
- No browser. The nook browser was very painful and slow, so that probably isn't a big loss.
- No apps. I predict that will change. You apps will appear in the library as content "that can't be used".
In my opinion this new nook is THE eInk device to buy. I've been telling my friends to get the new Kindle or the nook Color, but now my recommendation is all nook. It's got everything the Kindle does in a smaller form factor. B&N has a great comparision chart you should check out if you are comparision shopping. DO NOT waste your money on a nook 1st edition. The battery life, screen, & user interface crushes the original nook!
You can order ONLINE with free shipping but you can also get these in the store. The trick is to call when they open to get unclaimed reserved devices they are supposed to sell them at opening the day after they are unclaimed. If you call before they close just ask if they'll have any at open. My B&N was nice enough to put me on a backup list which I was told not what corporate instructed (I didn't complain).
Hope this was helpful, any questions?
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