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Barnes & Noble's new Nook GlowLight: lighter, sharper, still ad-free


October 30, 2013

Barnes & Noble's new Nook GlowLight has an improved frontlit screen, higher resolution, an...

Barnes & Noble's new Nook GlowLight has an improved frontlit screen, higher resolution, and a lighter build

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When you think of e-readers, what's the first brand that comes to mind? Kindle, perhaps? Well, despite hitting some hard times, Barnes & Noble's Nook line also has its share of loyal customers. And those folks just got a pre-holiday treat, as B&N looks to take on the Kindle Paperwhite with a refreshed frontlit Nook GlowLight e-reader.

It might be easy to dismiss the new Nook GlowLight as the Kindle Paperwhite's fallen rival who just won't die. But the new model does bring a few key features to the table. At 176 g (6.2 oz), it's 15 percent lighter than Amazon's flagship reader. The new model also has an improved frontlit display, which should spread light more uniformly across the screen. That display is also sharper this year, matching the 1,024 x 758 resolution in the frontlit Kindle.

If you've ever used an e-ink display, then you're well familiar with flashing syndrome. The simulated experience of reading a physical book gets diminished a bit when your screen flashes black for a split second every time you turn the page (to refresh those e-ink pixels). Well, B&N has axed full-page flashing in the new Nook. Let's just hope it doesn't come at the expense of ghosting (faint traces of the previous page), which the flash was designed to eliminate.

Storage and pricing

The new GlowLight is 11 percent lighter than last year's model

Barnes & Noble is also marketing the new Nook's extra internal storage. It gives you 4 GB total, including 2.5 GB for books (the rest is reserved for the Nook's operating system and default software). The Kindle Paperwhite, meanwhile, only gives you 1.25 GB for storing books. Some readers will appreciate that extra space, but we imagine most people will be content to store their current reads on the device, and leave the rest of their library waiting in the cloud.

The new Nook matches the Kindle Paperwhite's US$119 entry price, but with one nice bonus: no ads. If you want to remove the lock screen "special offers" on the Paperwhite, you'll have to pony up another $20. The Nook GlowLight gives you an ad-free experience without paying anything extra.

Does all of this add up to a compelling alternative to the Paperwhite? Your answer to that may depend on which platform the majority of your books are already in. As always, you can't read Kindle books on a Nook, and vice versa. If you're already invested in Amazon's ecosystem, we doubt the new Nook will be your reason to jump ship.

The new Nook GlowLight is available today from the source link below.

Product page: Barnes & Noble

About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica.
  All articles by Will Shanklin

Looks like the new Nook one ups or at least matches the Kindle in everything that counts. I've owned three Nooks now, the original (which was a bit weird with the partial color screen, and oh so slow by modern ereader standards), the Nook Color (which was a fun geek project to root and install Cyanogenmod but not really a very good tablet or ereader), and now the Nook Simple Touch non-glowlite. I can say that I have always been happy with the Nook products but I absolutely LOVE my Simple Touch. It is so light, durable, and has such good battery life it goes every where with me. And with an eight gigabyte micro SD card contains my entire relatively large (formerly DRMed some bought from Amazon) library. When it comes time to replace my Simple Touch I hope that B&N will have continued to produce great ereaders.

Jon Smith
30th October, 2013 @ 11:03 am PDT

There is a way to convert Kindle eBooks in to a standard ePub, which can then be read on the Nook. Also you can always root the Nook and install the Kindle App

Andrew James Knowles
30th October, 2013 @ 11:20 am PDT

Unfortunately, they have removed the page up/down buttons from the bezel, which were my favorite feature on the previous models. I won't buy an ereader without them now.

Jon A.
30th October, 2013 @ 03:20 pm PDT
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