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Old 08-07-2010, 03:59 AM   #1
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New Nook Disappointments with a K3 vs Nook followup

My new Nook arrived yesterday. It's my first eReader.

I have to say that I'm a little disappointed with several aspects of the thing.

Let's start with the design of the hardware; I wonder who's bright idea it was to sink the screen below the bezel and then make the walls of that screen well glossy. The former causes a slight but annoyingly distracting shadow on the side of the screen when you have a side light source and the latter causes reflections when you move the Nook to a more direct light source, for instance when you are trying to stop the shadows from a side light! Yes, you can, with effort, position the Nook in such a way as you get neither but seriously, why should that be necessary?

I must admit, I could live with the shadows but the glossy reflections are, to use a bit of colloquial, doing my head in. And it has got to the point where I'm considering taking a brillo pad to them.

I won't say much about the "buttons". Ha! Bendy plastic more like it. But they are far too stiff if you ask me.

I must admit that after the first 3 hours it did stop freezing, crashing and rebooting although I did stop playing with it too much in an attempt to keep it running. I did open it up and reseat the battery which may have helped too I guess.

It's heavier than I expected too. It shouldn't be I know as I saw the specs, but when it's in your hand, combined with the form factor, that weight translates to, "heavier than I'd like". Add the Oberon cover and it feels almost like an iPad.

Onto the navigation. I won't say much, but the word "disjointed" comes to mind. Whoever thought a touch screen like this on an eReader was a good idea should be fired. To me the colour touch screen seems like a marketing gimmick that adds very little to what could be done with buttons and in a lot of ways it's intrusive (glare anyone?). I feel sorry for the poor developers stuck with this hardware and having to come up with some sort of usable interface - they failed miserably of course.

I really wanted to like the Nook and had high expectations. I thought I'd done enough research of eReaders when I narrowed my choice down to the Kindle and Nook but obviously I didn't. Although I didn't like the idea of a touch screen, I thought I could live with it as I got ePub support which the Kindle doesn't have (forgetting Calibre et al ePub -> Mobi conversion here for a moment).

But now the Kindle 3 has been announced and I'm very glad that I have it on pre-order. Yes, no ePub but I'm willing to convert everything if it doesn't mean silly touch screens, shadows, reflections and glare.

I know a lot of people like the Nook and although I can't really understand why, I accept that preference is a very personal thing. What I will say is this; if you are in the process of choosing an eReader I would suggest that you try to see one and hold it in your hand before you buy and, if like me you can't, then consider your available options very carefully before you buy. Personally, I will try damn hard to get used to the Nook before I go back to my iPhone reading but I'm guessing that once the Kindle has arrived, the Nook will be put in a cupboard somewhere, never to be seen again.

A couple of positives before I finish; the eInk screen in direct daylight is awesome. I'm amazed how good this is and it really does blow away any other medium I've seen for reading in bright light. It's seems a little yellow and dim in subdued lighting though but I guess that's why they invented reading lamps. The other good thing; the Oberon cover is simply incredible. Amazing workmanship and worth the $75 without a doubt. It's a little heavy though, so if you're looking for a light cover you need to look elsewhere.

Oh, and I guess there will be Nook fanboys that will say I'm unfairly bashing the love of their life. Well, think what you will, but this is my unbiased opinion and I've no particular interest in other tech one way or the other; I just want the best product that suits my needs.

I hope this post will be useful to someone.


Edit; Take a look on page 3 here for a photo comparison of the K3 and Nook.

Last edited by AdrianM; 08-28-2010 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 08-07-2010, 09:03 AM   #2
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Well, an InvisibleShield screen protector from Zagg.com would improve/enhance the screen glare problem you mentioned, Thanks for the first-hand report.
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Old 08-07-2010, 09:41 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by AdrianM View Post
My new Nook arrived yesterday. It's my first eReader.

I have to say that I'm a little disappointed with several aspects of the thing.

Let's start with the design of the hardware; I wonder who's bright idea it was to sink the screen below the bezel and then make the walls of that screen well glossy. The former causes a slight but annoyingly distracting shadow on the side of the screen when you have a side light source and the latter causes reflections when you move the Nook to a more direct light source, for instance when you are trying to stop the shadows from a side light! Yes, you can, with effort, position the Nook in such a way as you get neither but seriously, why should that be necessary?

I must admit, I could live with the shadows but the glossy reflections are, to use a bit of colloquial, doing my head in. And it has got to the point where I'm considering taking a brillo pad to them.

I won't say much about the "buttons". Ha! Bendy plastic more like it. But they are far too stiff if you ask me.

I must admit that after the first 3 hours it did stop freezing, crashing and rebooting although I did stop playing with it too much in an attempt to keep it running. I did open it up and reseat the battery which may have helped too I guess.

It's heavier than I expected too. It shouldn't be I know as I saw the specs, but when it's in your hand, combined with the form factor, that weight translates to, "heavier than I'd like". Add the Oberon cover and it feels almost like an iPad.

Onto the navigation. I won't say much, but the word "disjointed" comes to mind. Whoever thought a touch screen like this on an eReader was a good idea should be fired. To me the colour touch screen seems like a marketing gimmick that adds very little to what could be done with buttons and in a lot of ways it's intrusive (glare anyone?). I feel sorry for the poor developers stuck with this hardware and having to come up with some sort of usable interface - they failed miserably of course.

I really wanted to like the Nook and had high expectations. I thought I'd done enough research of eReaders when I narrowed my choice down to the Kindle and Nook but obviously I didn't. Although I didn't like the idea of a touch screen, I thought I could live with it as I got ePub support which the Kindle doesn't have (forgetting Calibre et al ePub -> Mobi conversion here for a moment).

But now the Kindle 3 has been announced and I'm very glad that I have it on pre-order. Yes, no ePub but I'm willing to convert everything if it doesn't mean silly touch screens, shadows, reflections and glare.

I know a lot of people like the Nook and although I can't really understand why, I accept that preference is a very personal thing. What I will say is this; if you are in the process of choosing an eReader I would suggest that you try to see one and hold it in your hand before you buy and, if like me you can't, then consider your available options very carefully before you buy. Personally, I will try damn hard to get used to the Nook before I go back to my iPhone reading but I'm guessing that once the Kindle has arrived, the Nook will be put in a cupboard somewhere, never to be seen again.

A couple of positives before I finish; the eInk screen in direct daylight is awesome. I'm amazed how good this is and it really does blow away any other medium I've seen for reading in bright light. It's seems a little yellow and dim in subdued lighting though but I guess that's why they invented reading lamps. The other good thing; the Oberon cover is simply incredible. Amazing workmanship and worth the $75 without a doubt. It's a little heavy though, so if you're looking for a light cover you need to look elsewhere.

Oh, and I guess there will be Nook fanboys that will say I'm unfairly bashing the love of their life. Well, think what you will, but this is my unbiased opinion and I've no particular interest in other tech one way or the other; I just want the best product that suits my needs.

I hope this post will be useful to someone.
I love my nook, but I definitely won't bash you for not liking it! I think personal preference dictates what design we prefer. The nook is very unique.

To address some of your concerns:
1. The screen is probably recessed to help prevent scratches.

2. The glossy plastic material is a mystery to everyone! Why gadget makers insist on either making everything shiny or a fingerprint magnet makes no sense. You can solve this problem by ordering a matte finish skin from Decalgirl.com (look for discount coupons online). I know it sucks having to buy something to fix this, but I think it will work better than Brillo...

3.Your nook shouldn't be freezing, locking up, or resetting. Mine has never done that. If your firmware is up to date, and it continues to do that, definitely exchange it.

4. I like the buttons, but like most readers, they are stiff and a little noisy. This is probably necessary so that they are not too flimsy and break. People say the same thing about the Kobo dpad and the Kindle 2's buttons. I would rather them be a little stiff, but durable. However, the new Kindle 3 is supposed to have quieter page turn buttons.

5. The nook is heavier because it has a user replaceable battery and a touchscreen. It doesn't bother me, or cause fatigue, but I realize that some people want thin and light. If that is the case the Kindle 3, Kobo, and Sony PRS-300 are all much lighter.

6. I think since you went into your purchase not wanting a touchscreen, it is no surprise that it didn't endear itself to you. It won't sell anyone on touchscreens, but if you already like them I think it works great. When I turn on my nook, I can simply hit the now reading button, and go back to the last book that I was reading. In ten seconds, the screen turns off and I can swipe pages silently (although I absolutely hate getting fingerprints on it!). If I want to read another book I hit the Library button and I can choose between my sideloaded content, and my B&N stuff. Then I can simply use the onscreen arrows to navigate, and the physical page turn buttons to switch between lists of books. It is also nice that if I hold one of the arrows for 2 seconds, it jumps to the top or bottom of the list.

I think you will probably love your new Kindle. It is like the Yin to the nook's yang. They are both great devices, but admittedly, appeal to very different users.

Last edited by Noah98; 08-07-2010 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 08-07-2010, 10:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noah98 View Post
I love my nook, but I definitely won't bash you for not liking it! I think personal preference dictates what design we prefer. The nook is very unique.

To address some of your concerns:
1. The screen is probably recessed to help prevent scratches.
My guess is that scratches weren't even given a thought during the design process. It's just lazy design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noah98 View Post
2. The glossy plastic material is a mystery to everyone! Why gadget makers insist on either making everything shiny or a fingerprint magnet makes no sense. You can solve this problem by ordering a matte finish skin from Decalgirl.com (look for discount coupons online). I know it sucks having to buy something to fix this, but I think it will work better than Brillo...
It's not the white border that's the problem. It's the shiny black surround of the screen itself which causes most of the annoying reflections and, as far as I can tell, no skin fixes this. Yes, an anti-glare screen protector would help fix the touch screen but that's a given.

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3.Your nook shouldn't be freezing, locking up, or resetting. Mine has never done that. If your firmware is up to date, and it continues to do that, definitely exchange it.
It seems to have stopped now. I'm guessing I was right about the battery.

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4. I like the buttons, but like most readers, they are stiff and a little noisy. This is probably necessary so that they are not too flimsy and break. People say the same thing about the Kobo dpad and the Kindle 2's buttons. I would rather them be a little stiff, but durable. However, the new Kindle 3 is supposed to have quieter page turn buttons.
I can't say that "noise" is an issue with the pretend Nook buttons as they don't seem to be noisy to me at all. My take is that they are stiff because they aren't mechanical buttons but flexible plastic - which, FWIW, are much cheaper to produce.

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5. The nook is heavier because it has a user replaceable battery and a touchscreen. It doesn't bother me, or cause fatigue, but I realize that some people want thin and light. If that is the case the Kindle 3, Kobo, and Sony PRS-300 are all much lighter.
Yes, probably. It's not a deal breaker for me, it was just surprising.

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6. I think since you went into your purchase not wanting a touchscreen, it is no surprise that it didn't endear itself to you. It won't sell anyone on touchscreens, but if you already like them I think it works great.
I like touchscreens if the interface is designed well. They have a place but that doesn't mean they are suitable in every place. To me it seems that B&N wanted a gimmick to appeal to the masses and to differentiate themselves from the competition and so shoehorned one into the Nook design just to have one there.

Quote:
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When I turn on my nook, I can simply hit the now reading button, and go back to the last book that I was reading. In ten seconds, the screen turns off and I can swipe pages silently (although I absolutely hate getting fingerprints on it!). If I want to read another book I hit the Library button and I can choose between my sideloaded content, and my B&N stuff. Then I can simply use the onscreen arrows to navigate, and the physical page turn buttons to switch between lists of books. It is also nice that if I hold one of the arrows for 2 seconds, it jumps to the top or bottom of the list.
Okay, but these simple navigational doodads are nothing particularly special and certainly don't need the cumbersome system that B&N have implemented with their touchscreen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noah98 View Post
I think you will probably love your new Kindle. It is like the Yin to the nook's yang. They are both great devices, but admittedly, appeal to very different users.
I hope I love it, but that's to be seen. What I really find annoying with the Nook is that these design irritations are just so unnecessary and just a little common sense during the design phase would have been enough to cure them. And here's a prediction for you; Nook V2 will have more in common with the K3 than with the Nook V1.
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Old 08-07-2010, 06:08 PM   #5
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I don't have a problem with any of the issues you mentioned except maybe the weight. I wasn't crazy about the touchscreen but I've grown to like it. I'm considering buying a Kindle3 when it comes out because of the device's light weight and long battery life and to get access to Amazon's vast selection of books (though Barnes and Noble also has an awesome selection of books).
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Old 08-07-2010, 06:15 PM   #6
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I imagine that the nook 2 will be more like the Kindle 3. We should take into consideration that the Kindle is on its third design revision, while the nook is still sporting the original design.

I have to disagree with you about the design though. I don't think it is lazy at all. I personally love it, and don't find anything unnecessary. I wouldn't want the screen flush with the bezel. That would cause any sort of cover to be in constant contact with the screen. Also, I think the touchscreen solves the problem of not having a physical keyboard or multiple navigational buttons. It also provides silent page swipes, some color for aesthetic purposes, and the possibility for complex apps (like chess). The touchscreen is what swayed me from the Kindle. I was told that the buttons were designed that way because on the older Kindles, people were accidentally pressing the page turn buttons while holding the device. I think the nook button design is very well thought out when you consider that issue. I'm not sure why they seem cheap or inferior to separated buttons. If anything, they look really nice and don't break the design lines of the bezel.

Like I said, I love the nook and have no problem with any of the things you listed. However, I would like the following in the next version:

1. Better battery life
2. New Pearl Screen
3. Even faster page turns
4. If possible, a slimmer/lighter design without losing any of the current features (touchscreen, expansion card slot, removable battery)

Last edited by Noah98; 08-07-2010 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 08-07-2010, 10:52 PM   #7
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the irony is the reasons why I love the Nook are the very ones you stated you didn't like

First off i have to ask, did you do any research in the Nook before you bought one? I find it hard to believe all the things that shocked you, color touchscreen navigation, that whole huge whopping, whale of a 12oz. it weighs, Wooo I can't imagine people used to read hard covers at well over a pound. 'Suckers".

I don'tl know I know not every e reader is for everybody, they are alot of people that love the Kindle, me, I don't lke it at all. I think its ugly, I think the naviagtion is very antiquated.

Color touchscreen navigation is a gimmick? Ummm the tech. is here to stay, that would be like me saying the touchscreen smartphone is a gimmick.

I don't get that complaint at all.

So my guess is you are either a Trojan troll for Kindle 3 or just bought something totally untouched, unresearched and unseen. Your complaints are odd for someone who would have done any sort of research.

Oh well.

and yes I love my Nook and would give it one of my kidney's if it needed one
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Old 08-08-2010, 01:33 AM   #8
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the irony is the reasons why I love the Nook are the very ones you stated you didn't like
Ah, the fanboys have arrive.

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First off i have to ask, did you do any research in the Nook before you bought one? I find it hard to believe all the things that shocked you, color touchscreen navigation, that whole huge whopping, whale of a 12oz. it weighs, Wooo I can't imagine people used to read hard covers at well over a pound. 'Suckers".
Yes, I did do some research. The weight/form factor are things which aren't so easy to visualize but as I said previously, not really a deal breaker, just a little surprised. Remember, I wrote that initial post for people like me that were investigating a new purchase and perhaps didn't realize how bad the reflections are or how awful the touchscreen GUI is; btw, I own an iPhone and my wife a HTC HD2 so I know how good a well design touchscreen system can be.

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I don'tl know I know not every e reader is for everybody, they are alot of people that love the Kindle, me, I don't lke it at all. I think its ugly, I think the naviagtion is very antiquated.
It's a freaking book reader for crying out loud. I really couldn't care less if it looked like the back end of a bus as long as it's functional, practical and is not intrusive when reading.

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Color touchscreen navigation is a gimmick? Ummm the tech. is here to stay, that would be like me saying the touchscreen smartphone is a gimmick.
See above.

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I don't get that complaint at all.

So my guess is you are either a Trojan troll for Kindle 3 or just bought something totally untouched, unresearched and unseen. Your complaints are odd for someone who would have done any sort of research.
Well, wrong on all counts. I was a little optimistic possibly and unfortunately I gave too much credit to fanboys that, like you, lauded it as being the best thing since sliced bread without being objective in any way about its obvious weak points. Just one YouTube of the reflection issue of the screen border would have been enough to dissuade me but I never saw one - I am considering making one though to help others make a choice who also may be very sensitive to this kind of phenomena.


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Oh well.

and yes I love my Nook and would give it one of my kidney's if it needed one
Did I say "fanboy"? Get some perspective dude, it's only a book reader for christ sakes.
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Old 08-08-2010, 02:55 AM   #9
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I guess to each his own but I really didn't notice any glare around the screen like you mentioned. I come to really love the touchscreen on the Nook though. I think the finger swiping page turn is pretty nifty. I also gotten used to the weight. So anywhos, too bad you didn't like the nook. Good luck with your Kindle 3!
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Old 08-08-2010, 03:06 AM   #10
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I guess to each his own but I really didn't notice any glare around the screen like you mentioned. I come to really love the touchscreen on the Nook though. I think the finger swiping page turn is pretty nifty. I also gotten used to the weight. So anywhos, too bad you didn't like the nook. Good luck with your Kindle 3!
My wife may use the Nook - the reflections don't bother her. And yes, the swipe page turns are okay - it didn't require a clunky full touch screen GUI to implement that though.

But tell me - is the black border around your screen glossy and very reflective? I'm starting to wonder if new Nook's are using different plastic or something.
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Old 08-08-2010, 10:23 AM   #11
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My wife may use the Nook - the reflections don't bother her. And yes, the swipe page turns are okay - it didn't require a clunky full touch screen GUI to implement that though.

But tell me - is the black border around your screen glossy and very reflective? I'm starting to wonder if new Nook's are using different plastic or something.
I'm not discounting what you are saying (I don't think you are making it up!), but I've never had a problem with the black border. Actually, I've never heard any complaints about it before either. I bought mine in June, and the border is glossy, but I haven't noticed glare or reflections when used under natural lighting conditions.

Are you having this problem all the time, or just when using a book light? I can tell you that using a book light can be frustrating with the nook. There is literally one position that I can use mine (angled from the left side) and not get a glare or reflection. Now that I know that position though, it is not an issue (though I rarely read in the dark).
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Old 08-08-2010, 10:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noah98 View Post
I'm not discounting what you are saying (I don't think you are making it up!), but I've never had a problem with the black border. Actually, I've never heard any complaints about it before either.
I've seen a few since I started looking. Not many though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noah98 View Post
I bought mine in June, and the border is glossy, but I haven't noticed glare or reflections when used under natural lighting conditions.

Are you having this problem all the time, or just when using a book light? I can tell you that using a book light can be frustrating with the nook. There is literally one position that I can use mine (angled from the left side) and not get a glare or reflection. Now that I know that position though, it is not an issue (though I rarely read in the dark).
I find the reflections in that glossy black surround to be intrusive in just about any lighting. If I try, I can sometimes find a position where there's no light reflected but it's not easy because each side is angled and at least one side will pick up some light source. Hold up your Nook and take a look and you'll see what I mean - I'll admit too that I'm overly sensitive with stuff like this and I, for instance, also refuse to buy "home" laptops that have glossy screens.

Oh well.
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Old 08-08-2010, 12:04 PM   #13
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Not a Nook owner, but just a comment about the weight. I, too, found my ereader "heavy" when I first got it (which it really isn't). But I think that's more of a function of its shape. It's thinner than a paperback, so we expect it to weigh less but it doesn't. After a short period of use, I no longer noticed its weight. I'm sure the same thing will happen with your Nook.
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:16 PM   #14
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I've never really had a problem with glare on my Nook from the black screen bezel. Shadows from the screen bezel...only when I'm reading in dim light, and the light source isn't from over my shoulder.

The weight "problem" was fixed after I rooted my Nook. It wasn't that the weight of the unit was too much, but that the length of the unit caused it to feel heavy when my thumb was over the page forward button. After rooting, I reversed the function of the page forward/back buttons so that I now hold the Nook further up the side. It is much more comfortable for me now.

The page turn buttons are fine the way they are designed. Just press the button on the little bump and there isn't any problem. They are only "stiff" if you are trying to press them off center. I find page turning with a screen swipe to be best when I have the Nook propped up for reading as it really takes no pressure at all.

Library navigation on the standard Nook is atrocious unless you purchase ALL of your books from B&N. Once again this was fixed by rooting the device. In all honesty, I would have returned my Nook the first week if I was stuck using the default library.

My only complaint about the touchscreen is the battery drain, and that isn't really excessive. It is perfectly fine for an input device. If you are getting too much glare on the touchscreen, turn up the brightness a bit.

I'm not a fanboy in any sense of the word. I don't buy into the excuse that the Nook is in version 1 while the Kindle is coming out with 3. B&N has had the benefit of seeing Amazon's mistakes with the previous Kindle versions. I believe that without softroot, the firmware still holds the Nook back from being a truly terrific ereader. With softroot the Nook is a great ereader, and I believe that with the right firmware changes it could truly be "top of the class."
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Old 08-08-2010, 10:18 PM   #15
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Shadows from the screen bezel? I tried very hard and cannot figure out how to get the shadow - it's not like the screen is 2 inch recessed. It will take quite some effort to see the shadow of the bezel. I dont understand the rationale behind the design to have the screen sink a little bit, but I never had any issue with shadow from the bezel (in every lighting condition that I tested, just curious, can you post a picture of the shadow from the bezel that so bothers you - maybe I am missing something). I have owned several and seen quite a few more ereaders and more or less there is a little bit reflection and all of them have contrast issues, the nook is actually among the better ones that I have tested/seen. I don't like the touch screen very much as it is not responsive enough and it drains battery but I can live with it. I dont like the so-called piano paint on the frame which is too shiny, but I dont find it bothering at all when reading. Now if you don't like the button, you should even love the touch screen much more as when inactive it can be used to swipe through the pages so you dont have to use the button - on a kindle you have to live with the physical button. Personally I also think the nook is a little too heavy. But all in all I cannot understand the complaint about the shadow (of that tiny bezel ?) and I find it very very hard to get the bezel to cast any shadow on my nook - well if there is no other light source and I position the reading light at the edge of the device to mimic a sunrise, I do get some shadow, but to me to complain about such shadow takes same level of imagination to put a reading light behind the kindle in a dark room and complain the kindle is totally unreadable.

Last edited by Sylver; 08-08-2010 at 11:12 PM.
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