Monday, 16 November 2015

The limited functionality of the Nook Glowlight Plus

Barnes & Noble introduced their first dedicated e-reader in two years. In terms of hardware, expectedly, the device compares to the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kobo Glo HD. However, it sets itself apart in that the device is both waterproof and even dust-proof; Kobo Aura H20, on the other hand, is waterproof only but this is Kobo's premium seven inch e-reader. The Good e-Reader and The e-Book Reader reviewed the device and praised its excellent display; however, as is predictable with Nook e-readers, there is no serious re-vamping of the firmware functionality. The device still runs a closed version of Android (the use of closed Android has been the case since the Nook Simple Touch), which in itself should not be a problem, but without any significant added firmware's features. In fact, judging from reviews, the interface is familiar from previous generations, including the Nook Simple Touch. There is the addition of the 'ReadOuts' feature, on the home screen, while useful is not a substantial improvement. Yet, even with some additions, the Nook e-reader platform remains considerably behind both Amazon and Kobo. What we have is the repetition of past Nook e-readers - good hardware but firmware that is both buggy and with restricted features. Even the previous generation Nook e-reader (Nook Glowlight), with its poor build quality, still bettered Amazon and Kobo for display quality.

In regards to tablets, I previously posted that the release of the Samsung S2 Nook (a premium device) was an attempt to add further variety to an existing range of Samsung Nook tablets. The speculation was that Barnes & Noble were not looking to further add to their current budget range, considering an existing inventory of Tab 4 Nook tablets offered. However, the Samsung Tab E Nook 9.6 was released, before the Nook Glowlight Plus, and this replaces the Samsung Tab 4 Nook 10.1. I don't understand Samsung's rationale behind their tablet range (has it ever been clear?); in term of specifications this tablet, it appears, replaces the Tab 4 range but there is no Tab E 7 to replace the Tab 4 7. At this time, the Tab 4 7 Nook is still offered as Barnes & Noble's default smaller tablet. Whatever the case, unless deeply invested in the Nook eco-system, Amazon's Fire 10 HD is the better option and sells for less. What you get with Amazon is not only a better and more extensive eco-system, with consistent and good firmware, but also all-round better features of the tablet as an e-reading device. However, both tablets offer sub-standard resolution with 149 ppi, which translates into significant pixelation of text. Something like the Nexus 9 would make a better choice, in every way, even with Amazon discounting their Fire HD tablets.

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