Product Review: Nook Simple Touch

January 26, 2013 // Tagged in: review

I recently got a Nook Simple Touch (sans glow light), and, in short: I love it.

Prior to the Simple Touch, I had a Nook color, the first all-color, touch screen Nook. It was nice for a while, but it had some major flaws. First and foremost, the battery was abysmal. I couldn't get through a few solid hours of reading without needing a charge, which was wholly unacceptable for vacations and long visits to the in-laws'. The screen was also weirdly touchy, especially with moisture - the pages would start turning sporadically and I'd have to lock the screen to stop it. The screen also attracted much more dirt and spots than other touch-screens with which I'm accustomed, namely iOS devices. It was nice about switching between content easily and quickly. The homescreen had a sort of "most recent reads" list, like the most-recently-used-app multitasking list on iOS. This made switching between multiple books extremely simple. The other great feature was it's ability to run Dropbox, meaning dropping in files and books was painless and quick.

Upgrading to the Simple Touch was a definite improvement. I don't miss any apps like games or social networking, as I kept those off the Nook Color, to prevent distractions from reading, in the first place. I do miss Dropbox, however; adding files requires plugging the device into a computer and dropping them on. The battery life is amazing - allowing me to get through most of a long book on a single charge.

Keep in mind that reading speed affects battery life on the Nook Color (i.e., non-epaper screens) but not on the Simple Touch (e-paper screen), because e-paper only needs battery to change the screen. So, excluding wifi and extra menu usage, the Simple Touch battery could be measured roughly by pages, instead of hours.

The Simple Touch has a touch screen, which is nice for looking up words by long-pressing the word, but for scrolling and page turning, I much rather use the hardware buttons. The buttons are well placed and easy to press, while not being too sensitive. The edge of the device is a bit sharp, but nothing uncomfortable for holding. I don't have it in a case, and I think it's a great size and weight. I'm a huge proponent of naked devices, not using a case or cover on my iPhone or iPad either, and the Simple Touch is great as-is.

Two negative points I have for the device: switching between multiple books can be a pain the butt. The homescreen only shows the most recent read, and to get back to anything prior (if it was saved from an SD card), you have to manually navigate to the file and load it each time - no quick access to recent files/books. The second is the "pages left in chapter" requires two taps instead of one. I'm a slow reader, so I really like to be able to quickly see how many pages are left in the chapter. On the Nook Color, I could tap once on the screen and see this info. On the Simple Touch, I have to tap on the screen, then tap "go to" to see the pages left in chapter. It seems less painful than it is, because screen loading is so slow.

I didn't get the glow light because I'd read bad reviews about it, and figured it would just take away from the biggest feature (in my mind) - the especially long battery. I usually read with lights on anyway, meaning it wouldn't help me much. The second biggest feature I was looking forward to is the epaper screen itself. I love to read outside, but the Nook Color was abysmal at displaying the screen (even at max brightness) when in sunlight. The Simple Touch does this fine. Text on the simple touch is crystal clear and great to read.

Overall product rating: Great. Would recommend.