For all the kudos that E Ink gets for its paperlike readability compared to LCD displays, there is one key limitation for the technology: the inability to read its display at night without a light. With the exception of Sony, which took a stab at the issue when it released its PRS-700 reader in 2009, major e-reader makers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble have pretty much left the issue untouched — that is, until now. This time, it’s Barnes & Noble that’s taking a stab at the whole E Ink lighting issue with the launch of the company’s Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight.
As its name implies, the device is essentially a Nook Simple Touch that comes with lighting technology that adds a soft glow to the screen when turned on. The result? No more fiddling around with external lighting when reading in the bedroom or a darkened plane. Pricing for the device is pegged at $130 with a launch date of May 1, 2012. Here is a quick look at the Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight and its features:
Dimensions: The Nook GlowLight measures 6.5 inches tall and 5 inches across. Thickness is just a smidgen less than an inch. Weight is almost 7 ounces.
Display: Like the regular Nook Simple Touch, the Nook GlowLight sports a 6-inch E Ink display that emulates the look of regular paper books under natural lighting. The display features anti glare protection, 16 levels of grayscale and a resolution of 600x800. The display also comes with the same touchscreen capability that the original Simple Touch offers. Readers can choose between six font styles and seven text sizes. As mentioned earlier, the new key feature for the device is its “GlowLight,” which allows for reading even in the dark. The light’s brightness can be adjusted by sliding your fingers on the touchscreen.
Battery life & charging time: Barnes & Noble claims a battery life of one month with the GlowLight on after a single charge, but that is based on an average daily reading time of just 30 minutes (so that should roughly translate to about 900 minutes or 15 hours of total read time). Using the same half-hour daily average, reading time bumps up to more than two months with the light off. Charging time is about 3 ½ hours via a USB connection to a computer or when plugging with the included power adapter to a wall outlet.
Wireless capability: The Nook GlowLight can connect wirelessly via Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n). Wi-Fi connection is also free at Barnes & Noble brick-and-mortar stores and 24,000 AT&T hotspots across the United States.
Storage & connections: The device comes with 2GB of internal memory, allowing it to hold as many as 1,000 books, according to Barnes & Noble. Do note that 750MB of that is reserved for B&N content. The device also comes with a microSD card slot that supports cards with up to 32GB of capacity. The main connector is a microUSB slot.
Supported formats: The Nook GlowLight supports the EPUB and PDF formats for e-books. It also supports the JPEG, GIF, PNG and BMP image formats.
Other features: The device supports several B&N e-reader features. One is syncing with the Nook Reading App, which saves the last page you’ve read across all your reading devices, whether it be a Nook reader, computer or smartphone. LendMe allows users to swap books with their friends. Recommendations also can be shared via Facebook and Twitter.