This Christmas I decided I was going to buy an e-book reader.
Now, this was a hard decision for me. I am a painfully slow reader. Especially slow when it comes to fiction and with four kids I currently only give myself about 30 minutes in the evening to read from a book. This is a very good reason to avoid spending $150 or more on a device for reading. To add, I dislike buying books when I have a great library nearby.
So what made me choose to get an e-book reader? The NOOKcolor.
I did not jump the gun here. I did some careful research so that I knew what I was getting into. I took the time to carefully consider the pros and cons of the NOOKcolor before pulling the trigger.
It wasn't easy. Many reviews of the NOOKcolor were littered with what was wrong with it: LCD screen, batttery life, etc. I am not going to debunk what was written in other reviews. I can't, they are true. What I am going to do is explain why I don't care about what they said was bad.
WHAT THEY SAID WAS BAD AND WHY I DON'T CARE
1. No 3G
Without 3G I cannot buy books or browse the internet unless WiFi is available.
Why I don't care:
I don't need it (or think I will). I don't understand why I will need to load a book on the road. I don't have a need for it now nor do I travel enough to foresee a need in the future. Where exactly are these people when they all of sudden decide they need a book and have their reader and do not have WiFi?
2. LCD Screen
LCD screens are harder on the eyes and will be harder or impossible to read outside.
Why I don't care:
I sit in front of an LCD screen 8 hours a day as it is. What is another couple hours at most? Eye strain, Sm-eye strain. As for outside reading, well, I don't live near a beach so I will not be reading outside much. Plus, I hate reading outside with paper books as it is. Bright light, white paper, hate it. Bookworms, stay in anyway, right?
3. Battery Life
Battery life is only 8 hours with wi-fi off. E-Ink versions of Nook and Kindle have Days/Weeks long battery life.
Why I don't care:
I can plug it in at night.
4. Amazon vs Barnes & Noble
The Truth: Amazon is bigger and has more choices.
Why I don't care:
Amazon may be bigger but NOOK and NOOKcolor can accept epub. Libraries have epub. That means free. Oh, and Google Book Store.
It costs $100 or more than a NOOK and Kindle.
Why I don't care:
Color, Internet, Videos, Pictures, Magazines, Android OS.
THE GOOD ABOUT WHAT THEY RARELY MENTION
Among the many articles I have read, the good gets little press. It is hard to find compared to the paragraphs on the "bad" stuff. Well I am going to correct that.
It is typically mentioned in all reviews that NOOK/NOOKcolor supports the epub format. Rarely, is it mentioned what that really means. Most people interpret epub vs mobi as B&N vs Amazon. It is not. It is more like Everyone vs Amazon.
Epub is emerging as the standard for library digital lending. If you want to easily borrow e-books from your library you need a device that can handle epub out of the box.
With my local library doing this soon, the NOOK was an easy choise. No reason to buy digitals books when I can borrow them.
2. LCD Touch Screen
All reviews mention NOOKcolor has an LCD touch screen but you know what they leave out? Buttons suck. I read at the table. I read when I eat. I even read on the toilet. Who wants that stuff getting stuck in between buttons: page buttons, letter buttons, other buttons.
The NOOKcolor has four buttons: power, volume up, volume down, home. Only the home button do I use with any sort of regularity. The touch screen may get dirty but I can easily wipe it off.
Plus, with a capacitive LCD touch screen I am getting more screen on the same size device. Not to mention it is the start to a very basic tablet.
3. Back Lit Screen
Something else that is skimmed over is why a back lit screen is nice. No longer do night time bed readers need to worry about keeping their loved ones awake with a book light. Back lit screens can be read in the dark.
There is a brightness control and a variety of settings to make reading at night or in low light enjoyable Those ideal for night reading, with light letters and dark backgrounds, include night screen, gray background, and mocha background. There are also some non-reversed options ideal for low light reading.
4. Color Screen
So many times I have read NOOKcolor reviews and they conclude it is silly to create a color device to read black and white books. Well that would be silly and that is not what they did with NOOKcolor.
I can read color kids books, magazines, pdfs, and comic books on this thing. I can browse the internet, watch videos, and share pictures.
So recap why color is nice: Internet, Videos, Pictures, Magazines, Children's Books, and Comics... and hopefully some games later.
I don't think I have read one review that said anything about videos. Which is weird since the first thing you seen when you turn it on is a video. Well, I will say it, the NOOKcolor plays videos.
I have read the NOOKcolor supports 3gp, 3g2, mp4, m4v; MPEG-4 Simple Profile up to 854x480; H.263 up to 352x288; H.264 Baseline profile up to 854x480.
6. Android OS
The potential is there to turn this e-reader into a pretty good budget priced tablet. Right now, we have sudoku, pandora, crosswords, and some other extras that are not really exciting. B&N is making some promises to increase this development. Personally, I hope they allow the android marketpace.
7. NOOK kids
Here is something I rarely see mentioned: NOOK kids books. Some are Read to Me and I hear some will be interactive. All I have seen are full color and many allow enlarging the text to make it easier to read.
Admittedly, this was not high on my list of things I considered, but I have a three year old and she likes this feature.
So parents, if you trust your kids you now have an alternative to V-Reader ($60) and LeapPad ($80). No more losing books or cartridges ($10-$15) and no out growing the device.
The prices for NOOK kids books are all over the place. In the best selling top ten 3-5 age books, we have (link)
- Go, Dog. Go! (Nook Kids Read to Me) $7.99
- Thomas and the Big Big Bridge (Nook Kids) $3.99
- The Berenstain Bears and The Trouble with Chores (Nook Kids) $3.99
- How Do I Love You? (Nook Kids) $3.99
- Little Lacy Bug (Nookbook only) $0.99
- On the Night You Were Born (Nook Kids Read to Me) $6.99
- I Can Be A Rock Star (Barbie) (Nook Kids Read to Me) $7.99
- The Eensy Weens Spider Freaks Out! Big Time! (Nook Kids Read to Me) $9.99
- The Pout Pout Fish (Nook Kids) $9.99
- Splat the Cat (Nook kids read to me) $14.99
8. Document Readers
The NookColor can view Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files.
MY THOUGHTS AFTER USING IT FOR A WEEK
I have tried to use it an hour a day for the past week be it for reading or playing. Aside from forming some conclusions about the NOOKcolor I have learned that I suck at crosswords and Sudoku is addictive (even if it takes me a long time).
So what do I think? I really like it. I don't love it, yet. It is growing on me, though.
Reading a book with it is very easy. I like that, a lot. The notes and highlighting features are ideal for marking up history books, religious texts and recipe books. Hopefully, these can be remembered when removing books and reloading later.
The color book covers makes it enjoyable to browse my loaded books. The touch screen takes some getting used to. I have rarely used a touch screen so this was new to me. You have to be deliberate in your touches.
I am hoping the wife can take advantage of the NOOK for recipes. I plan to eventually load her recipes into an epub for quick searches, etc. I put some recipe books on there for her. Plus, there is AllRecipes.com.
If you have kids, You will enjoy the NOOK kids. A couple of freebies come with the NOOKcolor and while the samples are not interactive they do read a loud on request.
I can easily access the internet. Depending on the site (e.g. youtube) it is detected as a mobile browser.
I have successfully watched some video from a movie that was converted to MP4 for a Zune.
In all, I have only one real complaint. The screen size of the device does not support reading children's book that require two pages to present a picture (think Dr. Seuss books). The words end up too tiny and while I can zoom, it is a hassle. The solution is to buy NOOK kids books, I am guessing. This may be an issue for magazines, but I have not read any yet to see.
Now, I do have some recommendations that could make this a must have for many people:
- The homes screen cannot include side-loaded books (books not from B&N). It won't make it a must have but this just sucks.
- I want Android Market Place and educational games.
- Make a pretty charging stand. I will make my NOOKcolor display a slide show while it charges.
- Make available a real comic book reader
[Any edits are for grammar, missing words, or spelling.]