Handheld eBook reader – The Nook eReader – Is it worth it?

The Nook handheld eBook reader

Is it worth it?

I’m going to get straight to the point. Today is my 8th day as a handheld ebook reader owner – I own the Nook. I have 6 more days to make a decision on keeping the Nook eReader or returning it for a 20% restocking fee.

Here is my initial review based on my previous article: “14 Days with my handheld eBook reader – 5 Reasons to buy a Nook”.

My tech reviews are from the average consumer’s point of view. So it is not really “Techy”. Most average consumers do not know much about processors, memory, media ports and related tech talk when buying a computer or another media device. With a handheld eBook reader, what I want to know is: How many books does it hold, what books are available, how is the battery life, how does the screen look and how much does it cost?

That’s what you’ll get from me when I review a product. The hard cold ‘real’ facts that someone like my wife would understand. And my wife is an intelligent person, a Registered Nurse and a mother of three – but she can’t figure out what remote to use to get the surround sound to surround her.

Here are my first impressions of the Nook handheld eBook reader.

I have not ‘invested’ a lot on the Nook other than the upfront cost: $259 + $70 warranty + Bleecker cover in Asphalt + $40 in eBooks (which I can use on my iPhone if I want).  I’m not handcuffed by owning it right now. I will lose only the 20% restocking fee (I hope).

With a week to go before the 14 day return window closes, my overall view is completely, “on the fence”.

Here are 3 observations on the Nook handheld eBook reader:
1. Reading
2. Design
3. Overall Performance

1. Reading
The text is pleasant to my eyes. It is truly a “paper-like display”. There is no harshness and eye fatigue like I get when reading things online or on my iPhone. You can easily set the text to the font size of your choice.  The color menu adds a touch of class to the overall experience as well.

Book marking pages are easy, just tap the home button, then the bookmark menu and add a bookmark.  You can also tap the Go To and Furthest Read Point to get to where you last left off.

Unfortunately, there is no back light feature so reading in low light situations and in the dark means you need a book light. Which is not a big deal since most people need to read regular books under some sort of light. But with an electronic device it seems a back light should be available. Imagine not being able to use your laptop without a light source?

One thing that irritates me is that some words run into each other.  I can learn to accept this glitch as it does not happen on every page. But if I hand my 9 year old son a book to read on the Nook and he comes across these run on words, it could mean some serious issues when he writes a report with words from the English language that look, “somethinglike this” or “What I didlast summer”.

2. Design
The Nook is a sleek handheld eBook reader. You will just want to touch it and feel the smooth contours of its frame. The look is so appealing I want to keep it just to look at it! It is sturdy and the packaging was A-class. Apple iPhone packaging quality in my opinion!

Nook dimensions:
Height:     7.7 inches
Width:     4.9 inches
Depth:     0.5 inches
Weight:     12.1 ounces (343 grams)

It took me about five reading sessions to get used to the page forward and page back navigation. I felt that they should be aligned, left thumb to page back and right thumb to page forward. Instead they are right bottom page forward, right top page back. Same on the left side. Which now makes sense to me. If you are holding the book with one hand, you want to just use that hand to page back and forth instead of crossing over.

A major plus to a handheld eBook reader like the Nook is that you can add extra memory with a memory card. It is truly, as they say, “endless shelf space”! The only problem is, you have to open the Nook up in order to replace the memory card. It’s not just a slot to plug and play. That is inconvenient.  But honestly, that means a whole lot of books that I will never have. The 2GB of storage already boasts storage capacity of 1500 eBooks.

3. Performance
Battery life is excellent.  You can get up to 10 days of battery life with Wireless turned off. You can charge via USB to computer or an outlet. It takes about 3.5 hours to do a full charge.

When downloading books wirelessly, it was surprisingly fast. You can make purchases online or on the Nook which makes an impulse buy very scary. Believe me, it is incredibly easy to spend a lot of money buying books for a handheld eBook reader if it can connect to the internet because it is extremely easy!

If you are used to the speed of a new laptop, the performance and response time of a Nook is slow – as it is expected for a handheld eBook reader. It is not extremely slow, but there is a noticeable lag when navigating.  It could be me, but I want a response time where I can just think about turning a page and it turns a page before I press the button. But that’s just me.

Again, overall, I’m still on the fence. I am on a tight budget and if I eventually want an iPad to be the end-all media device for reading, watching movies, and the internet, I might be better off eating the 20% restocking fee.

Hopefully these 3 critical pieces of information for owning a handheld eBook reader will benefit you if you are thinking of buying the Nook. You really need to get it into your hands. For most avid readers it is a definite must have.  For media hungry individuals, something better might be over the horizon.

Stay tuned for the next review on my other observations on owning the Nook.

If you do have a brand new Nook – here’s how to set it up: “How to setup the Nook handheld eBook reader

Related Articles:
What are you reading on your Nook Handheld eBook Reader?”
Listening to iTunes music on your Nook!”

About Glenn Magas