Sales figures for Barnes & Noble's "NOOK Simple Touch" throughout the 2011 holidays were disappointing. The lackluster performance happened in spite of a price cut designed to help the Simple Touch more closely match up with the Kindle Touch. To make the Simple Touch device more appealing and to deftly move the price point back up to $139, Barnes & Noble added a glow light for a little night reading. As a result, the NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight thus becomes the only eBook reader that you can truly read anytime, anywhere. As such, the product may just provide the much-needed financial boost that Barnes & Noble needs.
At 7 ounces, the NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight weighs in as the company's lightest eBook reader. The device has a 6-inch screen that combines e-ink's crispness and ability to be seen even in bright sunlight with touchscreen technology for simple navigation and page turning. The company also boasts that the device has a battery life of one month when the glow light is in use and two months without the glow light, based on a skimpy 30 minutes of reading time per day.
The NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight connects via Wi-Fi so that you can freely download from Barnes & Noble's eBookstore at any time of the day or night. You can also connect to Facebook and Twitter to make simple book recommendations to your social circle. If you have difficulty reading the e-ink display, then you can adjust the font size by transitioning to one of the device's seven font sizes or six font styles. The glow light is activated with a tap of the screen and is easy to adjust for nighttime reading comfort.
Advantages over Amazon’s Kindle
One advantage of the NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight over Kindle Touch is the lack of on-screen advertising. The Kindle Touch aggressively markets Amazon Special Offers on the screen while the device is resting, which can be intrusive and annoying. Also, the NOOK's lending library feature, which allows you to loan books to fellow NOOK owners for two weeks, comes without any added charge. Kindle owners, on the other hand, have to be Amazon Prime members to take advantage of their own lending features. You'll pay a little more for the NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight than you will for a Kindle Touch, but the ability to upgrade memory to as much as 32 GB in addition to the free lending library will add up to a good return on your investment.
The Bottom Line
To decrease the effects of the sun's glare, the screen comes with an anti-glare coating. One criticism of the new device is that its e-ink screen loses some crispness because of the anti-glare coating compared to the clarity of its Simple Touch predecessor. However, you probably won't notice the difference unless you line the two devices up to do a side-by-side comparison. Overall, the glow light is a small change, but it's a small touch of genius that truly separates the NOOK Simple Touch from its competition.