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Barnes & Noble Nook 3G Review

Screen: 6" E-Ink Screen (book display) 3.5" Color Touch Screen (Device Control)
Internal Memory: 2 GB
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, USB
Dimensions: 7.7" High, 4.9" Wide, 0.5" depth
Weight: 11.2oz luxury african safaris

By: JM Butler

Introduction

Strengths

  • Native ePub and eReader Format Support
  • Sleek Looks
  • High Contrast e-Ink screen
  • In Store Experience
  • Andriod OS

Weaknesses

  • Battery Life
  • Slow Refresh/Page Turning
  • Touch display feels out of sync with e-Ink screen
  • Weak 3G Offering

Print Legibility 95/100

We were impressed with the clarity and contrast of the 6" e-Ink screen. The company that makes the screen also supplies screens to the competeing Kindle and Sony eReaders so we knew what to expect going in but the excellent reading performance of these screens continues to impress.

There is no doubt these e-Ink screens are much easier on the eyes for long reading periods when compared to an LCD screen.

Page Turn Speed (swipe) 82/100

One area where the Nook lags behind it's two major competitors is in response and refresh of it's screen. Turning pages feels slower on the Nook and there were a few occasions where we found ourselves waiting for the next page to display. Also the touch screen display refreshes and operates much faster than the e-Ink screen so the two have a disconnected, out of sync feel when using them.

So the screen gets high marks for contrast and clarity but loses points for it's slow refresh performance and feeling of disconnect from the control screen.

Compatibility 95/100

B&N Nook Key Features

  • 6" E-Ink Pearl Screen
  • 1500 Book Storage
  • 10 Day Battery Life
  • User Replaceable Batteries
  • Check Books out from the Library
  • Loan Books to other Nook Users using LendMe technology
  • Color, Touch-Screen Navigation
  • In Store features add additional functionality inside a B&N Store
  • Play Chess or Sudoku
  • WiFi Connectivity
  • 3G Connectivity (3G Unit Only)
  • Web Browser
  • MP3 Player
  • Headphone Jack
  • Dimensions: 7.7" x 4.9" x 0.5"
  • 11.6 oz (Nook WiFi) 12.1 oz (Nook 3G)

The Nook can read just about any e-book format that is not proprietary to another manufacturer including DRM and non-DRM e-Pub and e-Reader formats. This means you can access electronic books from just about any source, compaitibility is a strong feature for the Nook.

The Nook has a cool feature called "LendMe", using this feature you can share books in your personal library with friends who have a Nook or have the Nook software on a smartphone or computer. Just like lending out a real book, the lended material is gone from your library while it is loaned out. The lended book has a 14 day time limit before access is shut off and the book is returned to your library. Checking out books from the local library works in the same fashion. Not all publishers have signed on with LendMe so not everything you buy can be loaned out. The kindle has no no lending feature and cannot check out books from the local library so this is an area where the nook has a rather large advantage.

Appearance and Added Features 90/100

The Nook comes loaded with many features, the biggest standout is the color touch screen at the bottom of the unit. Apart from page turning this screen controls all of the navigation on the Nook. By default it has 5 "buttons" to take you to some of the most used areas but the screen can also act as a keyboard and even display web pages in conjunction with the e-Ink screen for faster web navigation.


The default Nook touch screen.

The Nook's virtual keyboard.

One feature that really sets the Nook apart from other eReaders is that Barnes & Noble is a physical store. How is this a feature of the device? Your Nook knows when it is on the network in a B&N store and it allows you to sample any book in the store for an hour as well as take advantage of offers like free books or coffee, 2 great things that go great together. Barnes & Noble have plans to further expand in store features of their eReader.

The Nook has 2 gigabytes of internal memory, half that of the Kindle 3 but still more than enough to store over 1000 books. For connectivity the Nook has built in WiFi in all versions and the 3G version we reviewed also has 3G connecivity via AT&T's 3G network. Coverage isn't as robust as the Kindle's 3G offering but in any built up area you should have no truoble connecting to download books. The Nook's web browser only works on WiFi networks.


The Nook has a sleek, high tech look.

Value 92/100

The Nook has a lot of file format compatibility, a nice interface and some neat featurs that set it apart from the crowd however it loses points for the slower swipe speed and the feeling of disconnect we had with it's interface. Still, it is one of the best values available in an e-Reader and we were impressed with the Nook overall.

Overall Rating 91/100

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