Review Date: June 2019 – Review unit purchased from Barnes and Noble
Barnes and Noble released the 7.8-inch Nook Glowlight Plus on May 27th, 2019. It was released in stores first, and then they started accepting orders online on May 29th.
It’s the first Nook ebook reader to have a screen larger than 6-inches, and it’s the second Nook to bear the name “Nook Glowlight Plus”.
It’s really more of a Glowlight 3 Plus because it’s basically just a larger version of the 6-inch Nook Glowlight 3 that was released back in 2017.
B&N did add waterproofing to the Glowlight Plus, along with Bluetooth and a headphone jack, but the software is the same as the Glowlight 3, which B&N still sells for $119.
The 7.8-inch Nook Glowlight Plus has a retail price of $199, with 10% off for B&N members.
Hardware and Design
The Nook Glowlight Plus looks a lot like the Glowlight 3. It has a similar design, albeit with slightly narrower bezels. It has the same soft rubbery coating covering the front and back, with two page buttons on each side of the screen and an “n” Nook button below the screen that functions as a home button (it can also toggle the frontlight on and off with a long press).
The power button is located on the top edge and there’s a micro USB port on the bottom edge. The Glowlight Plus adds a 3.5mm headphone jack and Bluetooth for audio, but presently they’re only for listening to B&N podcasts so don’t expect to listen to music.
The new 7.8-inch Nook has a capacitive touchscreen instead of an infrared touchscreen like the Nook Glowlight 3, so text isn’t quite as sharp and clear but it still has the same 300 ppi so it’s not a big difference and the screen isn’t indented as far so you don’t get the shadows along the edges.
Like the Glowlight 3, the Plus model has a frontlight with cool and warm colors. It has 10 blue LEDs and 9 yellow LEDs. The frontlight is a little blotchy along the top edge, but the color adjustment is a nice feature for those that like to have the option.
The 1GHz processor is the same as the Glowlight 3, and so is the 8GB of storage space. The one difference is the Glowlight Plus has 1GB of RAM, twice as much as the Glowlight 3.
The Nook Glowlight Plus runs the same software as the Glowlight 3. The software is based on Android 4.4.2. B&N’s software development seems practically nonexistent these days. I can’t think of a single new useful software feature that they’ve added in the past half decade.
If you only want to read Nook books the software is pretty good. But unfortunately the Glowlight Plus has the same problem with sideloaded books disappearing and getting corrupted as the Glowlight 3. Some people seem to manage it somehow (is seems to help if you use Calibre and don’t use shelves) but I’ve encountered nothing but problems trying to get sideloaded content to work on the new Nook. Frankly it’s not worth the hassle, and that’s exactly how B&N feels about it.
7.8″ Nook Glowlight Plus Review
- Nice larger screen with 300 ppi and it has a frontlight with adjustable color temperature.
- Page buttons.
- Waterproof design.
- It’s one of the least expensive 7.8-inch ebook readers on the market.
- A hassle to use with sideloaded books and public library books, software too unreliable.
- Quite a bit larger and heavier than other 7.8-inch ebook readers.
- Same software as the Glowlight 3, and B&N rarely issues updates to add new features or fix problems.
The 7.8-inch Glowlight Plus is a nice ebook reader overall if you’re just looking at the hardware. The screen looks good. The frontlight color is adjustable. The page buttons are comfortable to use. It’s waterproof, and the price is reasonable compared to competing products.
But like usual with Nooks the software will disappoint just about everyone except hardcore Barnes and Noble fans. It’s fine if you only want to read Nook books from B&N, but I would not recommend either current Nook when it comes to sideloaded content. B&N simply does not care enough to provide adequate support for non-Nook content. It doesn’t matter how nice the hardware is if the software is designed to confine users into a small box. If you’re fine with what’s inside that box the new Nook is possibly the nicest Nook yet, but if you want something with flexibility the Nook is the last device to get.
7.8″ Nook Glowlight Plus Specs
- 7.8-inch E Ink Carta display.
- 1404 x 1872 resolution, 300 ppi.
- Frontlight with adjustable color temperature.
- Capacitive touchscreen.
- 1GHz iMX6 ARM A9 processor.
- 8GB internal memory.
- 1GB RAM.
- Waterproof – IPX7 rated.
- 3.5mm headphone jack.
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n.
- Supported formats: EPUB, PDF.
- Battery Life: few weeks.
- Weight: 279 grams.
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 0.34 inches.
- Price: $199 USD from B&N.