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The Barnes & Noble NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight Review: Read in Bed While Keeping the Peace

NOOK Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™

By now, almost everyone is familiar with the concept of eBooks and being able to carry a huge virtual library inside an electronic eReader that is about the size and weight of a larger-sized paperback. What you might not know, is that in order to get a great price on an eReader you don’t have to settle for an off-brand device that doesn’t work with a major retailer. The Barnes & Noble NOOK Simple Touch gives you access to over 2 million books, newspapers, and magazines. Purchases made to your account are kept in the cloud, so while your NOOK Simple Touch might only be able to hold around 1000 books with the built-in 2GB memory, your library in the cloud is near limitless. The library on your NOOK can also be greatly expanded, because the NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight can also accept up to a 32GB microSD memory card.

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The NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight is essentially a screen with a bezel. The device is composed of two-toned gray plastic with a 6″ anti-glare eInk display; it has gently rounded corners and is finished in a soft-touch rubberized coating. At 6.5″ high x 5″ wide x 0.47″ thick, it is small enough that it can easily slip in a purse, briefcase or laptop bag. It weighs just 6.9 ounces, so those who find full-size tablets a bit too unwieldy for reading won’t experience the same with this device; you can easily hold the NOOK with one band.

NOOK Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™

The NOOK allows you to borrow books from your friend’s virtual Barnes & Noble libraries; you can make and sync notes with the cloud as you are reading, you can keep your place synced across your phone, eReader and tablet (assuming you have all three), and you can even keep your friends abreast of your reading progress through social updates on Facebook or Twitter.

The NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight has an easy to navigate user interface with a graphics heavy home screen and easy to understand navigation. Pressing the raised n button at the bottom of the NOOK’s bezel calls up the menu which allows you to select from Home, Library, Shop, Search, GlowLight, and settings.

NOOK Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™

As you have probably guessed by now, unlike many eInk eReaders in the past (budget or otherwise), the NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight includes a built-in lighting system which is accessible by pressing and holding the n button for two seconds; lighting is evenly distributed, adjustable, and it easy on the eyes. The convenience of this feature can not be overstated, as reading in bed with a book or many other eInk eReaders means that additional lighting is required — which can be a major annoyance to bedmates. The NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight can actually help you keep the peace.

Reading books on the NOOK’s eInk screen is easier on the eyes than reading from an LCD screen, such as the ones you may be used to on your mobile phone or tablet; reading on eInk is also a much better experience than doing so on an LCD screen when in full sun. If you like to read by the pool, but you don’t want to carry a stack of books with you on vacation, the NOOK Simple Touch is the perfect solution.

NOOK Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™

The experience of reading on the NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight is excellent: Pages refresh quickly when using the NOOK, and real page numbers are shown at the bottom. In some ways, reading from the NOOK is even better than reading from a dead tree book because the font size can be adjusted, you can search through a book for passages or characters you need more information on, and you can even look up words that you are unsure of by simply highlighting that word and then selecting “Look Up” from the pop-up menu.

If I had to name a con, it would be that there is no option to purchase a NOOK Simple Touch with 3G, but if you have a WiFi network at home, you’ll be set. If you don’t have WiFi at home, the NOOK comes with free WiFi whenever you visit a Barnes & Noble store and when you are near one of 24,000 AT&T hotspots nationwide. Barnes & Noble also sends regular emails with free book offers and other special deals, so you have the potential to grow your library without spending a lot of extra money.

Whether you are considering an eReader for use when traveling, sitting by the pool, or for pleasure reading, the Nook Simple Touch is an excellent choice.

MSRP: $119.00 at Barnes & Noble

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