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Old 07-17-2011, 01:39 PM   #1
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From K2 to STR - some first impressions

I'm taking advantage of the 14 day return policy from Barnes and Noble to try out the Nook STR. I'm coming from a (relatively) long K2 background, though I've also owned the PRS 500, K1, and PRS 600. Here are some impressions that may help others who are considering the switch:

First, and this is definitely a matter of personal opinion, I'm not really a fan of the touch interface. It's occasionally nice to have the option to touch the screen to turn the pages, but I find that I much prefer the buttons.

Unfortunately, the location of the buttons make one-handed reading a bit difficult. The K3 is much better in this respect because you can wrap your hand around the back and pretty easily press the page turn buttons.

But my main problem is that I have a very hard time finding a way to hold the reader comfortably without accidentally touching the screen and turning the page. This is almost a deal-breaker for me. We'll see if I adjust over time. I can imagine a few ways this could have been avoided, but they essentially come down to increasing the bezel on one side which would, of course, increase the size. Maybe if my hands were smaller, this wouldn't be a problem.

Second, while I love the ability to touch a word to look it up, I wish I didn't have to then select the "Look Up" option. For me, at least, I almost always want to see a definition when I select a word. I think dictionary should be a default, or there could be a partial definition as with the Kindle and the option of expanding it to a full-page definition.

Third, I really miss the back button. I didn't know how reliant I was on it until I didn't have it any more. I often use the search function to remind myself of who a particular character is (because I have a bad memory and tend to read books with lots of characters. As many of you know, when you search for a character by name in a book, the first appearance is almost always located near that character's description. It's a useful "trick," and while I can search easily enough, once I select a search result, there is no easy way to return to where I was. If I don't either set a bookmark or remember the page number, then I'm out of luck.

I'm willing to admit that I may just be missing something obvious and that this functionality does actually exist. But I'm not seeing it. The option to go to the furthest read page would help, but often footnote and TOC are located at the end, so even this would not fix the problem.

Is there anything I like? Sure - primarily, I really prefer epubs. I thought I wouldn't care, but after only a day or two, I really prefer them over mobi's. I love the small size and the light weight. I like the UI.

Will I keep it? Probably not. I'll probably return it and get a K3 3g with Special Offers. I was originally tempted by the Kobo because it seems so well supported, but complete reliance on the touchscreen would likely end in frustration. Maybe I'll try the Story HD?
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Old 07-17-2011, 02:16 PM   #2
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I've read a number of comments about one handed usage being a problem. What I do, and maybe it's just for me, is to hold the STR in my left hand with my thumb on the top. When I need to turn a page I just brush across the screen with my thumb. Might take a few times to get used to, but it works here.
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Old 07-17-2011, 02:17 PM   #3
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A back button is something I've wished the nook (original) had. Didn't know it was a Kindle feature. And for some unknown reason B&N dropped the furthest read feature in one of the earlier firmware updates.

Epub was my reason for choosing nook, especially to access Overdrive epubs. But since I'm a slow reader sometimes I have to rush to finish a library book before it expires. Plus, at my rate I just don't read that many books so carefully purchased books wouldn't be horribly expensive.

Your post has me thinking about a K3SO or I might wait to see the next Kindle offering.
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Old 07-17-2011, 05:00 PM   #4
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There are specific instances where 'Back' is offered:
- after navigating a hyperlink (footnote etc)
- after using 'go to page' function
In each case the back button goes away after you turn the page (assumes you are establishing new reading postion).

Bookmarks are easy to set, but mark the start of a 'logical' page, so are not very precise. For better precision, set a highlight or note.

I haven't found lack of Back very problematic, since the other navigation tools compensate.
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Old 07-17-2011, 05:30 PM   #5
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I haven't found lack of Back very problematic, since the other navigation tools compensate.
Out of curiosity - do you come from a Kindle background? I only ask because the back button is, for me at least, something I probably would have never missed but now can't seem to do without. It's like when the "Show Desktop" button started showing up in windows or when I installed Netflix on my PS3
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Old 07-17-2011, 06:47 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by tomsem View Post
There are specific instances where 'Back' is offered:
- after navigating a hyperlink (footnote etc)
- after using 'go to page' function
In each case the back button goes away after you turn the page (assumes you are establishing new reading postion).

Bookmarks are easy to set, but mark the start of a 'logical' page, so are not very precise. For better precision, set a highlight or note.

I haven't found lack of Back very problematic, since the other navigation tools compensate.
Curious about how the STR handles 'go to page' - is it the vague sliding bar that's on the nook original or can you type in the actual page number?

I do the same thing the OP does - I'll do a search (find) to go back and re-acquaint myself with a minor character in a book. Then I'll want to go back to the last read page where I started my search. On the orig nook there's no clean way to do this that I know of.
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:16 PM   #7
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Curious about how the STR handles 'go to page' - is it the vague sliding bar that's on the nook original or can you type in the actual page number?
The STR's "go to" button takes you to an overlay that has both a slider and a "Go to Page" button where you can enter the actual page number. It also has a "Go Back" that will take you to the previous page you were at before using "go to" to jump around. You can "Go Back" as many times as you jumped around, but you can't go forward if you select "Go Back" one too many times.

Another nice feature of the "go to" button is that it lists the number of pages before the next chapter (as defined in the table of contents). Unfortunately, the STR doesn't currently handle nested levels in the table of contents, so it might not be accurately calculating the pages until the next chapter for a book with multi-level TOC.
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Old 07-18-2011, 12:44 PM   #8
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The K3 is much better in this respect because you can wrap your hand around the back and pretty easily press the page turn buttons.
You must have huge hands to wrap around a K3. I was a bass player, and I couldn't.

My conclusions are just the opposite of yours:
- the STR buttons are in the right place to use them easily one-handed
- I never brush the screen by accident
- I hated the four dozen buttons and 5-way controller on the K3

I like the STR a Lot better than the K3.
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Old 07-18-2011, 03:19 PM   #9
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You must have huge hands to wrap around a K3. I was a bass player, and I couldn't.

My conclusions are just the opposite of yours:
- the STR buttons are in the right place to use them easily one-handed
- I never brush the screen by accident
- I hated the four dozen buttons and 5-way controller on the K3

I like the STR a Lot better than the K3.
my guess it's just another Kindle astro turfing troll thread.
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:32 PM   #10
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my guess it's just another Kindle astro turfing troll thread.
Honestly, it's not. I'm sorry if it comes off at all like that. I really do currently have the Nook Touch, and I'm really considering whether or not to keep it based primarily on the reasons I gave in my initial post. I posted it originally in case there are others like me who are considering switching from the Kindle to the Nook.
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:39 PM   #11
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You must have huge hands to wrap around a K3. I was a bass player, and I couldn't.

My conclusions are just the opposite of yours:
- the STR buttons are in the right place to use them easily one-handed
- I never brush the screen by accident
- I hated the four dozen buttons and 5-way controller on the K3

I like the STR a Lot better than the K3.
I can see why you'd think I must have huge hands. I wasn't as clear as I could have been. I can't comfortably wrap my hands around either reader, but if the Nook had buttons like the Kindle, it would make page turning from the "wrap-around" position much easier.

I love that we have completely opposite conclusions; it just goes to show that there's a market for all sorts of devices and there's no need for fanboyism.

The 5-way controller is definitely not my favorite either. My original K2 5-way button actually cracked. Fortunately, Amazon replaced it, and apparently it's a somewhat common problem.

I really like the STR keyboard. It's easy to use, and I like that it disappears when not in use. Honestly, I use the keyboard space for holding my Kindle. It allows a more comfortable, balanced feeling in my hand. As lame is it sounds, a touch reader with extra bottom bezel would work well for me. I'm sure it would be hideous, though
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Old 07-18-2011, 07:14 PM   #12
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Kobo Touch has a bezel below the screen.

I just hold the NT at a lower corner with my thumb over the lower button, which is stiff enough that it doesn't get pressed by accident. I found that I was always hitting the K3 buttons while holding it.

As you say, there's room for multiple ereader products with different designs - thank goodness...

Last edited by EldRick; 07-19-2011 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 07-19-2011, 12:28 AM   #13
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Well, and the experience can change significantly if you get a cover of some sort. I would never want to use my K3 without one (too uncomfortable to hold for me otherwise), but so far feel no need for one with my NSTR.
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Old 07-20-2011, 12:28 PM   #14
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After using it for a while, I rarely use the back/forward buttons on the Nook Touch. I have been depending quite heavily on the touch-screen (weak thumbs), and here's a picture of how I hold it:

Click image for larger version

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I hold it like I would a physical book with my index finger at the top corner, as if I'm waiting to flip to a new page with it.

My wandering thumb clicks either the physical button or lightly touch the right side of screen for next page. If I need to go back a page, I just use the same thumb and swipe it backwards. This works regardless of which hand I use to hold the Nook, except that I'd need to swipe forward if I were holding it in my left hand.


My hands are rather large for a girl (though only average to slightly larger than guys); for reference, I can hold the Nook across back with one comfortably.

I'd have to agree that the page forward/backward buttons are awkward in that, in pressing them, the balance is slightly thrown off. But I like the Nook because there are no excessive space dedicated to a physical keyboard as my reading habits never included the need for annotations.
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Old 07-20-2011, 01:06 PM   #15
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After using it for a while, I rarely use the back/forward buttons on the Nook Touch. I have been depending quite heavily on the touch-screen (weak thumbs), and here's a picture of how I hold it:

Attachment 74624
That's slightly different than what I've been trying. I'm gonna see if it works for me tonight. I really do like the reader, and as time passes, I've been less sure that I'm going to return it.
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