Thursday, December 29, 2011

Review: Nook Simple Touch

It's been almost two years since I received the first generation Barnes and Noble Nook e-reader. If you remember, I was thrilled with the device. I've remained pretty thrilled in general, but over the course of the two-year relationship I discovered a few annoyances:

1. The white frame and reflective touch-screen navigation were occasionally annoying. I had a habit of studying my double-chin in the touch-screen.

2. It was really too heavy to hold with one hand. Especially when it was "wearing" a cover.

When it came to getting a new Nook this year, I was somewhat noncommittal. I kinda felt guilty wanting a new e-reader since there was absolutely nothing technically wrong with my old one. On the other hand, there were parts of the Nook Simple Touch that really appealed to me:

1. The dark grey frame seemed like it would cut down on distraction and help make the contrast between the print and the e-ink page more noticeable.

2. No reflective navigation bar to throw my chins up at me.

3. Smaller, lighter.

4. Faster page turns, longer battery life!

My mother, in her infinite wisdom, went ahead and bought the Simple Touch for me for Christmas. Thrilled is me! All of the improvements I listed above are certainly true. I can comfortably hold the Simple Touch with one hand, even when it's wearing its cover. The reading screen is the same size, but the whole device is smaller and slimmer thanks to the exclusion of the navigation panel.

I've also discovered some nice surprises -- new features I never thought about that really jump out at me. First and foremost, the touchscreen is fantastic!!! It's responsive and quick -- none of that dreaded lag. I admit that I am super anal retentive about smudging screens and dust particles and all of that. I bought a cleaning cloth -- should take care of that little obsession.

Since the device is now touchscreen, the act of highlighting and adding notes is MUCH improved. To highlight a passage you simply hold your finger down where you want to start highlighting and drag to the end of the passage. Voila! To add a note, use your finger to click the highlighted passage and add your note. Once the note is added, a notepad icon appears next to the passage for easy reading. It's also much easier to locate highlighted passages since the device automatically labels them with the quoted text if you don't indicate a specific note with which to identify the passage. In the past, the device randomly attached a number to the passages and bookmarks which made it almost impossible to identify at a glance.

The navigation is streamlined with five options: Home, Library, Shop, Search, Settings. The home screen itself is great, with a magazine-style layout. It includes clickable sections for Reading Now (shows current book and page number), New Reads (recent downloads), and What to Read Next (enter to shop B&N and view recommendations). The Library is also revamped a bit, with some options for filtering and ordering titles in one's library, and it combines Barnes and Noble NookBooks and books manually downloaded and added to the Nook together into one library (formerly two separate libraries).

Battery life also seems to be vastly improved. I've been reading a couple of hours a day since the 22nd of December, and my device is still at 69% charge.

Throughout the e-reader boom in the last few years, I've stuck to my guns on a couple of things: I prefer the Nook to other devices, and I prefer a DEDICATED E-READER!!! While I respect and am occasionally envious of those readers with NookColors and NookTablets, I know myself well enough to admit that those devices are probably not for me. Like so many areas of my life, I am easily distracted!!! If I have an option to hop on Facebook or play Angry Birds, I will probably do it! Even engaging in those things rather than reading. Why would I do that if I LOVE reading so much??? Because Facebook and games require far less engagement and mental capacity on my part. I love reading, but sometimes it's a struggle to settle in with so many other things going on. A dedicated e-reader helps me remain focused on what makes me feel fulfilled and put the other "plugged in" activities to the side.

Since I received my Simple Touch six days ago, I've read the majority of two books (will finish the second today). This is a byproduct of time off work and a new toy, but I also think I'll continue to enjoy this new e-reader for all the reasons I mentioned above. Hopefully it'll continue to enhance my reading into 2012!!!


  1. I gave Rod a Simple Touch for Christmas and he loves it, too. Are you able to check ebooks out from your local libraries? We can. I also like the "look up" feature and the capability to increase the font-size. Have fun, Andi! You deserve it.

  2. I have a kindle (not the newer ones) and I love it. But highlighting on it is a pain as it's not touch screen, it sounds like that's a great feature of the new Nook. Happy reading on it!

  3. I think the only thing you didn't mention in this wonderful post is the simple touch's ability to look up a word with one push of a finger. Admittedly, I don't need to look up a word often ;), but I do like the option. I completely agree with you, as an owner of the first generation and also the simple touch: these things are great! And, thanks for talking me out of a nook tablet. Surely I'd be just as distracted, and just as likely to study my chin, as well.

  4. Les, I am! I love our Overdrive service soooo much. I just wish they'd add a few more books to the digital collection.

    Sam, I was really excited about the ability to highlight on my first generation Nook, but I never did it. Ever. lol It was far too much of a pain.

  5. LOL, Bellezza, the chin thing surprised me!!! It was a real issue. lol

    And I haven't used the feature to look up a word. Maybe I'll do that in the next book I read. :)

  6. I'd read that this is the best dedicated eReader on the market and you've convinced me it is!

  7. My major complaint with my Nook Color is its weight...I've also been experiencing some lag in the touch screen lately which irritates me even though I wouldn't count it as a major complaint. My daughter has all the games etc. on her Nook Color but I chose not to even explore all that; if I want to check Facebook, I have to do that on my laptop.
    One other thing I've noticed lately is that the lighted screen seems to tire my eyes quicker than my Kindle. I actually swapped books the other night bc of this.

  8. It sounds like this was the perfect device for you and that the new design features are just what you had been needing. I thought about getting a Nook when I was looking for e-readers, but decided to opt for a Kindle, and now I am sort of wondering if I should go in another direction. This Nook Simple Touch sounds rather interesting, and I would love to get a closer look. I might have to head out to Barnes and Noble and take a look!

  9. i have the nook, kindle, igoogle, ibook all on my ipad with a bazillion other things and totally agree about distractions... i love love my ipad but as for a reader... not so much. i did look at these and thanks for the review.. it is on my wish list!

  10. I am so glad you love your nook. Loving your eReader is essential. :)

  11. It sounds like you are really enjoying your new Nook! I currently have an iPad which I love but I get what you are saying about getting distracted. I do it all the time! It is great to have so many great things at my disposal in one device but it leads me to spend more time playing games or facebooking and less time reading. I am seriously considering getting a dedicated e-reader in the future. I just can't decide between the nook and the kindle. I buy so many of my e-books on Amazon that I am definitely leaning toward the kindle right now but by the time I get around to actually buying one ... who knows what I'll decide.

  12. Andi, I'm so happy you love your new Nook! Mine has a lot of those features too, and I love them all as well. I do have to admit; Netflix is a bit of a distraction. BUT, I am catching up on The Office! LOL

  13. Glad to hear this one is a winner and that you're really enjoying it! I appreciated your honest assessment. I'm not ready to commit to an eReader just yet, but I'll admit to downloading the Kindle app for my iPhone -- mostly just for downloading friends' books that aren't available elsewhere. So we'll see how that goes!

  14. Kathy, it would take a lot to convince me otherwise! Love it.

    Patti, I've been known to read on my iPhone at night in bed when Greyson is sleeping or on the computer when I'm bored at work (shh!), but I would agree that backlit screens tire my eyes quicker, too. Good for you for avoiding all the "extras." I don't know if I'd have that much self control. :)

  15. Heather, the Kindle isn't a bad choice. I'm not sure if the devices allow users to download e-books from other sources now? That was the main reason I wanted to get a Nook: I wanted the ability to shop around and download from wherever I chose. E-pub format books are widely available in different spots, and I'm not sure if the Kindle has the ability to handle those yet.

    Enjoy the Simple Touch if you decide to stop in at B&N to play with one!

  16. Enjoy if you decide to take the plunge, Syl! I've used the iPad as well, and while I like it for a lot of things, it's not my fave device for reading either.

    Amen, Trisha!

    Jennifer, I don't think either is a bad choice, but see my comment above about e-pub format books. It's something to consider whether you can download books from outside Amazon if you want to. :)

    LOL, Heather. I can imagine the Netflixing would be a big distraction for me. As would the games (loooove Fruit Ninja), and especially Facebook and/or Pinterest apps. I do all that on my phone, so I'm sticking to my dedicated e-reader. :D

    Enjoy the app, Meg! I don't have the Kindle app, but I do have Kobo and Nook apps that I use pretty regularly. I need to move my Kobo books over to my new Nook, but I haven't gotten around to it just yet. :)

  17. Glad to hear that you are enjoying your new toy so much. I've had a Nook Color since July and have found the fact that it is heavy to be annoying. Other than that, I love it!

  18. Great review, Andi. I would love a Nook Color but for the same reasons you've stated, it's not for me. I get distracted pretty easily. The Simple Touch sounds fantastic especially the highlighting feature which the Kobo doesn't have. The next time I need an ereader, I'll probably give the Nook a try.

  19. That's for the review! I have one of the old Nooks and sort of want to upgrade, but haven't decided if it would be worth the money. I'm starting to think it would be.

  20. wow! thanks for the thorough review of the nook. i'm still on the fence about the whole ereader thing, but i'll have to consider getting a nook if i ever do decide to make the plunge.

  21. I have held off getting an e-reader because I love physical books so much, but in the past few months I've accepted that this maybe the year to finally buy one. It will be a Nook for sure.


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