Since my Nook Touch with GlowLight arrived from Barnes and Noble I’ve been spending a lot of time playing with it and testing out the new GlowLight.
I decided I would go ahead and put together this initial review along with a video review and a photo gallery showing the new Nook in action and comparing it with the original Nook Touch.
Then after another week or two I’ll post part 2 of the Nook Touch with GlowLight review for a more in-depth look at the usability of the new Nook’s light, along with details about how the light affects battery life. Update: Here’s the link to the Nook Glow Review Part 2.
The Nook Touch’s new GlowLight is the main thing that separates the device from the original Nook Touch and all other E Ink ebook readers on the current market. Aside from the light, the new Nook Touch and the old Nook Touch are pretty much exactly the same so I’m not going to re-hash all the features here. Check out the Nook Touch review for a complete rundown of all the Nook’s features.
So far my initial impression of the GlowLight is very positive. I really like the idea of using a built-in light on an ebook reader and the Nook’s GlowLight delivers as advertised. I like the color of the light and especially like how the brightness can be adjusted; at the lowest setting the light is barely on. And the GlowLight not only helps at night but it also works well in the day, as the picture at the top of this post illustrates. The light makes the screen appear whiter and more legible in all lighting conditions.
I compared the GlowLight with the reading light that is built into the Sony PRS-T1’s cover, which is similar to other reading lights for ereaders, and the Nook’s light looks considerably better. The screen is brighter, whiter, and has a more even distribution of light. This is shown at the 1:40 mark in the video review below.
The one negative with the GlowLight is that the lighting isn’t perfectly uniform over the entire screen. The LED lights are located under the top edge of the screen—there are eight of them—so the very top of the screen is brighter than the rest, and it has kind of a dull area just below the lights. Once you start reading you tend to forget about it, but it may bother some people.
In my opinion, the GlowLight is the step forward that E Ink ebook readers needed. Being able to read the Nook in all lighting conditions without having to lug around a separate light is a huge bonus, plus the GlowLight just looks better than reading lights.
But it’s not perfect; there is room for improvement to make the light completely uniform across the top of the screen. Flex Lighting may be able to do just that since the film that goes over the screen is the LED light source.
It will be interesting to see what B&N’s competitors do to counter this move…
Make sure to check out the video below as well as this photo gallery for a closer look at the GlowLight.
Original Nook Touch vs GlowLight Nook
There are four main differences between new Nook Touch and the old Nook Touch:
1. The GlowLight. Well, duh….
2. The new Nook comes with an anti-glare screen protector pre-installed that helps with the GlowLight. This does reduce contrast slightly. It’s not a big deal at all but it is noticeable when the two devices are side-by-side when using the same book and font. The original Nook Touch’s text is a little sharper and darker. The Nook GlowLight’s text looks slightly flatter and grayer by comparison. But once you turn the light on it’s a different story entirely.
3. The new Nook is 0.53 ounces lighter. That doesn’t sound like much but it’s surprisingly apparent when you have both in hand.
4. The price. The original Nook Touch sells for $99 new and $79 refurbished (as of this review it’s only $59 from B&N’s eBay store) and the new Nook Touch with the built-in light costs $139.
Nook Touch with GlowLight Video Review
This video shows how the GlowLight works and compares it to the Sony PRS-T1’s cover with the built-in reading light. The video also compares the new Lighted Nook Touch with the original Nook Touch to give an idea of the screen differences in the dark and under a bright light.