Nook Touch with GlowLight Review Part 1 – Plus Video Review and Photo Gallery

Nook Touch with GlowLight vs Nook Touch

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 GlowLight

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.

Nook Glow Review Part 2: Battery Test, GlowLight Followup, and Verdict »

Rooted Nook Glow Review »

17 Responses to “Nook Touch with GlowLight Review Part 1 – Plus Video Review and Photo Gallery”

  1. I really didn’t notice the difference in contrast until you posted this. On closer inspection (and fully removing my NST protector), I can see the difference, but only if I’m REALLY looking for it. By no means is this something that sways my favor to this reader. So by default, this reader looks like it has a screen protector installed (which it does). Makes sense.

    I noticed that the NookGL has its buttons situated a bit tighter than the original NST. Some of this is due to not being broken in just yet, but the original NST buttons weren’t this tight out of the box. Not a bad thing, just a bit different, but barely noticeable. For example, on my NookGL, the “n” button is far more “clicky” than the one on the NST. Not a bad thing, and honestly I didn’t even notice it until a couple of hours ago, so it’s not distracting or annoying.

    One good side benefit of the glowlight is that it makes a GREAT flashlight when set on full. It fills a space fairly well, but isn’t blinding.

    Can’t wait to see a commercial B&N product with the flexlight or whatever version of it they come out with. Maybe next year… Heck, the mirasol displays might be a whole lot more affordable by then, one Qualcomm’s Taiwanese mirasol factory goes on line this year. Some combination of the mirasol screen, the flexlight, and the B&N branding and quality? Interesting… “Nook Simple Color Touch, Lighted Up Edition”? Maybe not.

    • It’s funny how it varies with different Nooks. The page buttons on my NookGL are easier to press than on my NST, but then again I never really used them often enough to break them in. The “n” button seems about the same but it’s a little shorter on my NookGL.

      So far I’m really liking the GlowLight. I can’t wait to get this thing rooted…

  2. How about the eyestrain? Is it more pronounced than with the Sony Cover Light at “equal intensity?”

  3. paying 40$ for just a light!!!! what about supporting pdf files??is it same with old one? what about landscaping option?????

  4. Mo, Only idiots try to read pdfs on these small devices. And you were rebutted about the cost of the light on another thread. You Fail! You complain about the cost of the light, but I bet you haven’t paid for an ebook in your life. And let me guess: you think charging interest on a loan should be a crime. Get a job and quit looking for handouts.

  5. Fortunately, there doesn’t seem (to me anyhow) to be any eyestrain with the light on. The LED strip is a constant, non-refreshing light, and the screen is the same static, non-refreshing eink technology. Nothing to strain the peepers. Unfortunately, PDF support is as horrible as ever, unless rooting can be accomplished. I haven’t tried (being as this NookGL is my wife’s), but it’s certainly doable, but with some modifications to the existing nooter packages.

    On another note, B&N pushed the release date back by six days to May 7th because they were inundated with pre-orders. If you want one by Mother’s Day, I’d pre-order now and keep your fingers crossed. The demand for these is REALLY high.

  6. Mohammad, no landscape option either, I’m afraid (again, without rooting). Basically, consider this a NST plus a built in light and the necessary software interfacing for that light. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Sure it costs another $40 over the NST, but consider the cost of buying a screen protector for the NST that’s already included with the NookGL (and yes, you should get one… a piece of grit or sand can permanently scratch your screen, but if it scratches your protector, pull it off and get a new one) and the cost of a mountable light, and it’s a wash. If you’re happy with the NST and your light, great: you’ll get nothing extra out of this. If you’re not happy or don’t own a NST, this is worth the investment.

    And what’s all the ranting about interest free loans, not paying for ebooks, and jobless people looking for handouts? I didn’t read (or read into) that anywhere in this post or its replies. He was asking about PDF support and landscape display orientation. No hate or discontent there, except for with the extra $40 (and honestly, I can see his point).

    Personally, for me the $130 (after member discount) was well worth it. My wife’s old NST and the Stella light became a nice nook package for my father-in-law (who never reads in the dark), and she got what she wanted. I keep my rooted uber-NST, in all of it’s hacked-out glory and get to poke around with that (and actually read PDFs with ezPDF, coincidentally). Boom! All around success. Keep in mind, the NST was also $139 when released. In four months or so, expect these to be somewhere at the resale-magic $100 price point.

  7. Just busting his balls a bit, since he is intentionally being redundant and not responding to the rebuttals. However, I do tire of reading comments from people who think they are going to have a positive experience reading pdfs on these 6″ Eink readers.

  8. nards, I’ll agree with your point on redundancy… best thing to do is just ignore posts you find annoying. I see your point about a tiny screen and PDF files, but on my rooted NST, using ezPDF, the multitouch hack, and the norefresh app, PDF files are actually quite viewable and, because of the 6″ screen, quite portable. Not optimal, but more than usable. It’s got its niche to appeal to, such as students and the military (and as a Navy vet, I can definitely see the benefits of having a couple hundred PDF tech publications available on a single 7 ounce device with exceptional battery life, potentially with a built in light for evening operations or those under darker than normal conditions). Is it as nice as looking at the PDF on a laptop or huge HD monitor/TV? Heck no. It works, though. The problem with the stock NST and NookGL is that its PDF support (that is the software that renders the PDF) is ABYSMAL to say the least. ezPDF makes things just work pretty well, particularly with the multitouch features of the NST enabled and norefresh used to scroll. With the potential of a rooted NookGL in the direct future and its glowlight, it’ll be a fairly good, if not perfect solution.

  9. nards, cloudman…I live in Iran, and because of sactions, we have to pay 400$ for buying nook simple touch. by extra 40$ for new nook, I think we have to pay more than $520 for it!!! I love nook but it is so expensive for iranians….I am an engineer with MSC and my salary is 200$ for every month!!!!! how can i buy it????

  10. Mohammad. I can understand your dilemma, being in Iraq. Pretty much nothing’s commercially available out there. The problem, though isn’t the extra $40 the NookGL costs over the NST; your problem is a combination of geographic location (and unavailability of products from key vendors), your low salary (do thay really pay an engineer that little? even considering the differences in our economy, 200 USD seems REALLY low for that profession, even in the MSC), and all of the sanctions imposed by your country. Pretty much no matter what product you’re looking at, unless it’s available natively in Iraq, it’s expensive to the point of not being worth it. Take, for instance some electronic product you can go buy in your country. It goes on sale, is discounted by 33%, then you buy one. It does everything you want, except for one thing. The newer model comes out, price raised 40% (back to the original cost), but if fixes that issue. To those of us that are fortunate enough to not be restricted in our purchasing by local sanctions and tariffs, this is well worth it. That’s the point made here.

    Unfortunately, your salary, the fact that B&N products aren’t for sale in Iraq, and all of those nasty sanctions make ANY nook a bad option for you, regardless of features.

    I looked around a bit… seems the international Kindle Touch isn’t available in Iraq either, but it’s available lots of other places in the middle east. Maybe you know someone closer to home who could help you?

    Also Sony middle east offers three readers out in the middle east… not sure if Iraq is included. Here’s the link:

    I think you’re just in a jam with your circumstances, unfortunately. Another alternative is to see if someone you know (who is exempt from these sanctions) can order a refurbished NST off of ebay for you. If you wait a bit, I’m sure used and refurbished NookGLs will be available as well.

  11. Mohammad, I’ve done a bit of poking around. This site: ships products worldwide with no shipping or handling charges. The pocketbook series, the sony prs-600, and the ectaco jetbook series ( ) all support arabic properly. The sony reader can be seen in the link I provided in my previous reply. A nice touchscreen pocketbook is here . You can probably find this cheaper somewhere else, though.

  12. Mohammad, sorry, I misread. Being as you’re in Iran (and not Iraq, as I incorrectly read earlier), disregard all that stuff about the Kindle, etc. and anything to do specifically with Iraq. The Kindle international IS available in Iran, though internationally, and I’d guess the price will still be fairly high. Worth a look, though to see how much the Kindle Touch would be.

    Sony Middle East (at the above link) does have stores retail stores actually in your country. Take a look under “Where to Buy” on their site. Seems there are a few Sony resale shops in Iran. Maybe their readers won’t cost as much, being as they have an actual corporate presence in your country.

    Also try the Fars Shopping Complex in Shiraz, the Almas-e-Shargh Trading Center in Mashhad, the Kian Center also in Mashhad, or the Proma Hypermarket in, again, Mashhad. These are all major HUGE shopping outlets. Hopefully one is close to you. One of them HAS to have a good electronics outlet store with nice ereaders.

    Coincidentally, what kind or reader are you using now? If it’s just an issue of not being happy without a light, wait around. Some deal, somewhere is bound to pop up in the next few months (when the NookGL drops in price, as all nooks invariably do) on ebay or some such auction/overstock site.

    Sorry again to misread Iran for Iraq. No offense intended, just reading too quickly.

  13. Mohammad, look at this link:

    I’ve heard that 3G global does indeed work in Iran, so this may be a good solution for you. The Kindle Touch is also rootable like the NST, if that suits your fancy.

  14. Dear cloudman, thanks a lot for your kind help…..the price of sony are so high too and company import these devices to our country

  15. Nook Glow Owners….Please Respond.
    I just read a posting (link below) that claims the Nook Glow’s screen is incredible easy to break…well, not the screen, but the light inside, which then damages the viewing of the screen.

    Check out the article and comment on what you think, please!

  16. Ronny Hermans June 27, 2012 at 8:40 am

    All e-ink displays are fragile, this shows that the ngl might be more fragile. But after using a bebook with an extra light on top for almost 4 years the nook with glowlight is still worth its price.