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Old 12-08-2009, 05:10 PM   #1
Abulia
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Post nook Impressions From a Neophyte

Went down to the B&N in Salt Lake City today and spent over 30 minutes with their nook. The only reason I've broken this out into its own thread is because I have never used an ebook reader in my life. Actually, prior to today, I've never even seen an e-ink display firsthand.

So my impressions aren't colored vis-a-vie this competing device or that. It's solely based on using a nook and nothing all.

First, the unit was smaller than I expected. Also it has a bit of heft to it. It certainly looks like it should be lighter. It has slim lines and curved edges; it was pleasant to hold while standing and reading.

At first I didn't think it was a working unit. There was an author picture screensaver on and the LCD/nook button didn't do anything. At the top it said "Press the power button to turn on your nook" and at the very top, hidden away and slightly behind the screen, was a 1" long thin power button. Sure enough the unit sprang to life!

I'm a tech geek (sans ebook readers) and felt right at home with the nook UI. It wasn't difficult or confusing at all to navigate. Very straightforward. I did have some issues getting the LCD touch screen to take my inputs. Used to my iPhone, it only took a few swipes for me to intuitively get the feel for how the nook wanted its input.

The cover flow UI did seem a little hesitant to respond. It wasn't slow per se, but not as snappy as I'm used with my iPhone 3GS, for example. Touching a book gets you to an overview page and pressing Read lets you read the book.

When loading a book the nook does make you wait to format the book. This took anywhere from 3 to 5 seconds on the books that were loaded on the nook. I did notice the length of formatting was directly proportional to the size of the book; small sample books formatted nearly instantly while the larger books, longer.

There were three different fonts available and five sizes, ranging from really tiny (!) to absurdly large. Plenty to find what you need to read comfortably. Navigation page buttons -- forward and backward -- are located on both sides of the nook. Presumably left-handed folks will appreciate this feature.

The display was impressive. Having not seen an e-ink display before I have to say that I was really impressed by the clarity. Turning the nook to a severe angle the text was still crisp and legible. I assume this is true for most ebook displays.

Yes, there were momentary page "flashes" between turns, but as I understand it that's normal as well. They were quick enough for my liking.

The LCD display auto-offs while you read, the interval can be as short as 10 seconds in the nook Settings. Touching the LCD brings the display back to life. Pressing the power button puts the nook to sleep and the screensaver comes back. Turning back on resumes where you were reading and takes, at most, 1 second to come back.

Pressing the nook home button takes you to the homepage and the LCD navigation. Since I was in the B&N store I went to browse a book through their library. It's pretty massive and uber-convenient to order a book. Samples were available and on a whim I downloaded a sample -- "Kushiel's Mercy" if you must know -- and within 20 seconds it was on the nook and ready to read. I'm not sure if the feature is turned on yet but I didn't see a way to read a book while in B&N without buying it. You can use the color cover flow to browse books and the covers came up plenty quick. Actually the entire nook experience seemed plenty quick to me.

Since the user manual is online for anyone to read I don't think I need to spend much time discussing the interface beyond I found it plenty responsive and easy to use. It worked and worked well.

The unit had WiFi on and brightness at 100% and I started -- and ended -- my session with the battery meter not moving off of 67%. So with pretty heavy LCD usage and downloading, the nook battery didn't budge.

So there you go. Having not used any other reader before I have to say that I was impressed by the nook. Based on the reviews -- and the horde of negative Nancy's on this forum -- I was really expecting a sub-par experience that didn't show its head. The unit was plenty fast and to be up and reading within 1 second entirely reasonable. Having to "format" a book the first time you open it is a little annoying but not a deal-breaker to me. The store was plenty easy to navigate and search was darn quick!

My only real complaint is that the LCD UI -- when using cover flow for the first time -- showed a moment of sluggishness. But you have to be looking for it to have noticed it.

Note that I did not get to try to read a PDF on the nook. So I can't comment on that at all. Which is really a shame as PDF reading is something that I would likely do with my nook.

I have a nook on pre-order for no other reason than I didn't want a keyboard on my ebook reader and I like the options on the nook (lending, removable keyboard, etc). The only thing tempting me to not keep my nook are the crazy eBay prices; sell and get one for free or upgrade to an 8" reader or something?

Questions if you have any.

[Edit] Did some research and the "read a book while in B&N for an hour" functionality is not live yet. That was a mistake on my part.

Last edited by Abulia; 12-08-2009 at 07:03 PM.
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:09 PM   #2
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felt right at home with the nook UI. It wasn't difficult or confusing at all to navigate.
Congratulations on joining the 12%. It must be like being ambidextrous or something.

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I have a nook on pre-order for no other reason than I didn't want a keyboard
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:50 PM   #3
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Abulia thanks so much for posting your review. I am also an e-reader newbie--have never even held one in my hand or seen one close up! I hope I am as impressed as you are.

And being a lefty, I am jazzed that there are page turning buttons on both sides. It's always gratifying when southpaws get equal treatment!
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:55 PM   #4
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This is really the kind of review I was hoping to read... from someone who was new to ebook readers. Thanks for sharing your experience, which was similar to mine except for the cover flow thing.

I hope you enjoy your nook!
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:59 PM   #5
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I'm happy you've found the information useful (either positive or negative). But please don't consider this anything beyond simply my impressions; certainly not a review.

If I do keep my nook (still undecided) I'll happily post an in-depth review.
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abulia View Post
Went down to the B&N in Salt Lake City today and spent over 30 minutes with their nook. The only reason I've broken this out into its own thread is because I have never used an ebook reader in my life. Actually, prior to today, I've never even seen an e-ink display firsthand.
I tried one for the first time today, also. I'd just decided about a week ago that I wanted to get an ebook reader and started to look at what was available. Kindle I ruled out because I mainly want a unit to read library books, with the occasional purchased book. I had my 3 kids along, including a not-quite 2yo, so I didn't get to play with it too much.

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Also it has a bit of heft to it. It certainly looks like it should be lighter. It has slim lines and curved edges; it was pleasant to hold while standing and reading.
That was one of my first thoughts, too! It wasn't uncomfortably heavy, but heavier than I expected. Of course, having never held anything like it before, I didn't have any point of reference, lol.

Quote:
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At first I didn't think it was a working unit. There was an author picture screensaver on and the LCD/nook button didn't do anything. At the top it said "Press the power button to turn on your nook" and at the very top, hidden away and slightly behind the screen, was a 1" long thin power button. Sure enough the unit sprang to life!
You know, same thing here! Thing is, even the employee manning the nook display had no clue how to turn it on. After trying the n on the front several times, he decided that the battery was probably dead and needed to be replaced. He flagged a manager and got it figured out.

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Originally Posted by Abulia View Post
Yes, there were momentary page "flashes" between turns, but as I understand it that's normal as well. They were quick enough for my liking.
Yeah, I didn't think they were too bad, either. Not great, but not terrible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abulia View Post
So there you go. Having not used any other reader before I have to say that I was impressed by the nook. Based on the reviews -- and the horde of negative Nancy's on this forum -- I was really expecting a sub-par experience that didn't show its head. The unit was plenty fast and to be up and reading within 1 second entirely reasonable. Having to "format" a book the first time you open it is a little annoying but not a deal-breaker to me. The store was plenty easy to navigate and search was darn quick!
I found that it was a cool enough unit, but honestly, I was not blown away. I didn't like the LCD...it just wasn't functional enough. I never could get the page to turn using the LCD swipe. I swear, that's how I spent the majority of my time with it, trying to get the swipe feature to work. Overall, I thought it was OK.

I'm going to go with a Sony PRS-505 that I found locally. It seems to have the features I need and to be a fairly well-liked reader. I decided that I don't need a lot of bells and whistles, I just need a decent reader that I won't end up hating. I don't feel like waiting on B&N to get nook working better and I really don't want to wait over a month to get something that is still "under construction." Just my two cents to add to yours.
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:19 PM   #7
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Congratulations on joining the 12%. It must be like being ambidextrous or something.



Where did you get that 12% number? I also have no problems navigating through my nook. It feels pretty natural after only about 10 minutes of awkwardness.
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:36 PM   #8
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I also had a chance to test drive a Nook today. As a user of a few readers, including the Kindle 1 and 2, I was impressed. It does have a bit of heft and appeared a little slugish when opening a title but overall I think it is decent competitor to the Kindle. I really liked the default font - it reminded of the Kindle 1 (once the font hack is available for the latest version of the Kindle 2 I'll be happy again).

Competition is good.
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:38 PM   #9
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(once the font hack is available for the latest version of the Kindle 2 I'll be happy again).

It is. Click the link in my sig.

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Old 12-09-2009, 03:22 PM   #10
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Well, mine arrived today. I'm busy working with the unopened Nook sitting next to me. Haven't totally decided whether to keep or sell, but leaning towards the former.
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Old 12-09-2009, 03:30 PM   #11
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Well, mine arrived today. I'm busy working with the unopened Nook sitting next to me. Haven't totally decided whether to keep or sell, but leaning towards the former.
You're a much stronger person than I. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:47 PM   #12
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Unboxing and Setup...w/ Pictures!

I elected to keep the unit. I could sell it for $500 easily enough but I've already waited two months and have at least three more business trips before mid-January that I'd like to have an e-reader with me. Getting to use the unit in a B&N the other day solidified that I do like the unit.

So here we are, with pictures!

From top to bottom, left to right...

1. Box the unit comes in. Very stylish.

2. Remove cardboard sleeve for plexiglass frame that holds a suspended Nook. It's a little weird and classy at the same time. Gotta be expensive, too! It's not Apple-levels of stylish but definitely a cut above your average consumer packaging.

3. Freed from its prison I thought the display was a sticker unit...duh!...its an e-reader and they can put whatever they want on the default screen!

4. Initial boot up from cold start. Took about 90 seconds.

5. Loads into default random B&N author screensaver.

6. Waking up Nook for the first time displays the Welcome and registration screen.

7. Registering took all of about 20 seconds. Totally painless.

8. Success!

9. Take a tour?

10. Tour is simply a 10 page document on how to use the Nook along with graphics.

11. Default Home screen when you press the Nook button. My Nook button is more sensitive than the one I used in the B&N demo unit. That's a good thing.

12. Default books that come loaded on the Nook.

13. Go online, browse new content, specials listed at the bottom.

14. Library view, this time with Cover Flow on.

15. Off the Daily page, a small blog entry from B&N on your Nook. I like that on the Nook, the User Guide, and even the website that the tone is very casual and friendly.
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Last edited by Abulia; 12-09-2009 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 12-09-2009, 11:53 PM   #13
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After having the better part of the evening to use the device, a few random bits.

* Setting up wireless was painless. I just added the Nook's MAC address into my AP's whitelist and connected without issue. This sped up store usage considerably.

* Surprised by how few magazines and newspapers there are. I dunno, in the Internet age subscribing to even an electronic newspaper seems unnecessary when I can get by-the-minute updates on my iPhone from USA Today or CNN.

* Browsing the store is okay, a bit easier with Cover Flow over WiFI to find something that suits your need.

* Search is very broad. Using "Smith" will get you books or authors with "Smith" in the name. Heck, even if the book has "Smith" in the overview! Appears to rank by rating. No way that I've seen to search by a selected field only. (Minor quibble.)

* Software identifies itself as 1.0.0; I'll check tomorrow to see if it updated itself overnight.

* My left-side navigation buttons are more tactile/noisy than the right. Not an issue since I'm right handed, but the ones on the right are noticeably more quiet.

* Swipe to page turn does work and is plenty fast/accurate. However it's easier to just use the navigation buttons since your hand is already there holding the device.

* I think WiFi may be a larger battery killer than the LCD. Dunno. Spent a good hour browsing the online store via WiFi and battery down 3%.

* Default LCD brightness (50%) is still pretty darn bright. Turned it down.

* Sideloaded a couple of uber-complex PDFs. I was surprised that the Nook was able to load them. They both displayed but not very well on the 6" screen. Nook has no zoom options so what you see is what you get. PDF reflow is supported (and one did reflow) but graphics-intensive documents (no surprise) don't work very well. Nook sorts PDFs using the tagged metadata in the file, not by filename or such.

* Some sample books are really silly. Downloaded a 24 page sample, 12 pages of which were credits, dedication, copyright, etc. The sample didn't even complete the prolog.

* Unit still seems plenty fast for me. Keep in mind I've never used an e-book reader prior to this.

Last edited by Abulia; 12-09-2009 at 11:56 PM.
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:38 AM   #14
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Just got the nook...my first thoughts..Pros and Cons...

Just got the Nook today and of course I have been playing with it all night. As of about 5 months ago, I have become an ebook nut. I was currently using the Sony 505 PRS. I have purchased books from Sony, B&N and Fictionwise that I am testing for compatability.

What made me want a Nook?
• wireless
• touchscreen
• being able to scroll through cover art like I do for itunes and see the picture when I am reading
• the color screen just looked cool
• supports both epub and ereader/pdb formats
• Droid software…expectations that it can be upgraded and new bells and whistles can continually be added
• Love that the battery can be replaced without sending it in

How I feel about the nook after a using it a bit:
Pros:
• The wireless works great. I had one book I had previously purchased through Barnes and Noble and it was fast and intuitive to load it on the nook
• Easy to register with Barnes and Noble-done directly from the nook (if you already have an account set up with B&N)
• The covers look great
• I opened Adobe Digital editions and it instantly recognized and authorized my nook so I could transfer my old epub titles over (works exactly the same as the Sony...and I am on a Mac)
• I transferred my ereader/pdb formatted books I had purchased from Fictionwise.com and they also came up great.
• I found the touchscreen at the bottom pretty easy to use. It takes a little while to learn the navigating (just like any new system) but the keypad seems just as responsive as most touchscreen phones (the apple touchscreen is better though, so just have normal expectations since apple is the gold standard).
• I like that it has the page buttons on both sides, left and right.
• They give you a USB cord that also works as a normal plug in...similiar to how some of the the apple cords are with a removeable end (I hated that my Sony only came with a USB).
• Fictionwise books work (a B&N affiliate, but the deals are MUCH better. Ex. This week they have 40-60% off of every book).


Cons/items that are not ideal:
• You can only scroll through the book cover art for the books you buy from B&N. The non B&N books are kept in a separate folder called “my documents”, which does not offer the opportunity to scroll.
• I love using Calibre for my book library since I can add covers if they don’t come with the book, add a book summary and even convert formats. I was extremely sad that Calibre didn’t recognize my Nook. This meant I have to manually move my ereader/pdb formatted books (like you would with any file, you go any copy the file in the directory and then paste it in the nook directory when the device is plugged in. For my epub, I can manage my books through ADE, however, then I am managing them in two places. Not the end of the world, but not as slick as only using Calibre to export and manage books.
• Doesn’t come with a cover (so add another $20 to $50 to get one)
• For non B&N books, the cover art did show up in the bottom touchscreen once I selected that book to read…for my ereader/pdb books. It was not showing it for my epub books. All of the books read fine, but it is kind of a bummer that the feature doesn’t work on all of them…maybe a software upgrade later will fix it.
• Due to the touchscreen only being on the bottom, you have to use it to arrow down several times to get to your books when you are selecting from the list (vs the Sony that had one button next to each row so it was slightly quicker to pick the next book you want to read). Not a big deal though since normally you are only picking the book once a day max.
• It seems a little heavier then my sony.
• It would be neat if we could connect to other sites like Fictionwise to download libraries (like the iphone lets you do).

I know some people are worried that their old Sony titles won’t work (even once they are converted to epub). Once Sony has converted my titles, I will load my books I purchased from Sony to make sure that the DRM is the same and post my results. I am assuming it is, but I am not a techie and I am just guessing.

I hope this helps any of you that are on the fence as to whether to buy this or not.
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:36 PM   #15
Abulia
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Abulia once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.Abulia once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.Abulia once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.Abulia once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.Abulia once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.Abulia once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.Abulia once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.Abulia once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.Abulia once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.Abulia once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.Abulia once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.
 
Posts: 34
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Device: nook
Showed the Nook to my wife tonight. Big mistake.

She absolutely loves it. As in, wanted to know how much it was and where was hers? In fairness she's a teacher and reads a lot so this isn't entirely unexpected but when I showed her the B&N online ebook store she about freaked. That and Cover Flow (she's also an iPhone convert) pretty much sold her on the spot.

I listened to a lot of her comments and didn't try to lead her along. She didn't have any complaints about brightness, the display, navigating the UI, or speed. (She's never used an ebook reader before.)
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