Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Nook Simple Touch

Today marks a month since having gotten a Nook Simple Touch.  For the uninitiated, it is an E-reader with touch and physical controls, a high contrast screen, and incredible battery life.  I decided to wait to see just how long the battery would last after having used it for a month of reading and changing settings, with the Wi-Fi off. So far I’ve read a few hundred pages (based off the publisher’s formatting).  This will be less of a review and closer to the story of how I got one and my general feelings of it after one month of use.
In today’s fast-paced world where you can order anything online, where having a product delivered to your doorstep is more convenient than putting your shoes on and driving to a brick and mortar store, getting my hands on my own E-reader began a couple of weeks before I bought it.  I’d been toying with a getting an E-reader mostly for the battery life, but also having a display that was not back-illuminated was equally important.  Best Buy recently had the Nook on sale, but at that point I wasn’t completely sold on it.  It wasn’t until the following weekend that I had a chance to hold the Nook and Nook with Glowlight in my hands at a Barnes and Noble store.  At that point, I was convinced that the simplicity of the Nook touch was fine with me, as well as the screen looking somewhat sharper.  I’d been torn between the Nook touch and Kindle Paperwhite for some time, but again, the Nook touch is basically an electronic book and not much more.

(As an aside, I also have the first generation of the Nexus 7 and I’m still in love with it.  It does so much that it ends up being too much.  I found myself switching between apps and not focusing on any one thing.  I’d go from Angry Birds, to drawing, writing my thoughts, web browsing, to checking articles saved to my Pocket app.  I longed for a product that did one thing superbly well and would not be a distraction from reading.)

To make a long story a bit shorter, my family and I had planned on taking a trip to the Unclaimed Baggage Center in north Alabama.  I knew they had an electronics section, so it’d be a good opportunity to get a great price on an E-reader and other products as well.  We were there just after they opened; after a 15-minute wait for the cashier to get the key to unlock the door where they had the e-readers, I had her pull out both the Nook touch and “Glowlight” version.  Still enamored with the Nook touch, I noticed that there was one still in the box.  At only $10 more than the used version (which did not include the charger), I got the new one.  On top of that, I got a neat black case to go with it for free!

Man, my very own e-reader!  Ever since that day I’ve been reading at least a few minutes every day, with some days getting an hour or so of reading done.  I read Hatchet within 3 days; it wasn’t even at 92% by then.  Within those 3 days, my Nook was mostly naked (no case).  The texture and depression in the back is perfect for holding in your hand.  There are physical strips/lines that you can press to flip pages.  In my opinion, they work perfectly.  It does require a bit of pressure, but we’re not talking cracking walnuts here.  I would say about the amount of pressure it takes to press in a button on a remote control.  There’s just enough travel to not accidentally press the button, while not being so far as to make page-turning a chore.  Reading while lying down still isn’t ‘easy,’ but it’s easier to hold the Nook while lying down because of its shape and light weight compared to your standard paperback.  My hardback copy of Dan Brown’s Inferno has continued to watch longingly as I continue using my Nook.  Yes, it’s that nice.  I’ve seen the phrase online,“If you don’t like making lists, you need a new pen.”  I would say it’s similar with the Nook when it comes to reading. It makes reading fun and convenient.  Charging the unit is a rare affair, and it holds more books than you can read between one charge and the next.  There is a port for the Micro SD card, so far I haven’t found myself needing to use it.  There are quite a few ePub books and stories saved to my Nook now.  I have 201 of around 250mb still left free; even with that much space left, I still easily have a few months’ worth of reading material.  And with a quite a few (real) books that I have to catch up on, it’ll be a long while before I’ll be adding any more to my Nook.

I’m trying to think of things I don’t like about the Nook.  I would say that one of its strengths is also a weakness.  The Nook doesn’t do a full-page flash to clear between pages until after about 6 pages.  While fantastic in improving battery life, you can see some ghost letters or lines between pages.  In harsh sunlight, it becomes even more apparent.  The remedy: hit the N at the bottom and then press it again.  It’ll refresh the page if it’s too annoying.  It usually isn’t, though.  Another gripe is that the most current update got rid of page numbers in the table of contents.  Another workaround: you press the screen once for the menu to come up, and then press “Go To”.  While it won’t tell you the page number of every chapter, it does tell me how many pages are left in the current chapter.  I use this to figure out if I should start reading or wait until I have more time (I usually start reading. I can’t help myself!).

I’ve kept the ‘versus’ comparisons to a minimum since I feel that I bought this product to fill a specific need and it does it very well.  This device is truly a digital version of a book with many of the same weaknesses, but many strengths as well.  It’s easy on the eyes, a joy to handle, and has me excited about reading again.  With those considerations in mind, I feel that I’ve gotten much more than I paid for and look forward to using my Nook for years to come.  After a few hundred pages and one month, I still have 13% battery.

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