If you're one of the lucky people who's snatched up one of Barnes & Noble's new NOOK Simple Touch e-readers, third party cases and covers have been a little tough to come by. This is often the case when a new model is released, especially when it adopts a completely new form factor making it impossible to repurpose existing designs. E-reader and tablet accessory maker M-Edge is set to release a line of products aimed at the NOOK Simple Touch and I received a few preview samples to experiment with. This review covers the Go! Jacket for the NOOK Simple Touch.
M-Edge's GO! Jacket has been a popular option for several generations of e-readers from multiple manufacturers and the NOOK Simple Touch version is the latest. The GO! Jacket employs a cover form factor —that is, it replicates the look of a hard book cover. The NOOK slips inside, where it is held firmly in place by four cloth straps and the interior is lined with soft, grey microsuede to guard against scratches.
The cover opens in the same way that a traditional book cover would. The advantage of a cover (as opposed to a fully enclosing case) for an e-reader is that covers tend to be more stylish or decorative and less in the way. A cover doesn't provide the same degree of protection that a case would, but it does offer some. In addition, a hard covered version like the GO! Jacket gives the ability to hold an e-reader like a traditional book, with a hand grasping each of the covers. For some people, this makes transitioning to an e-reader much more comfortable.
The GO! Jacket is offered in a variety of finishes and colors (including various leather options), with the review sample being an attractive, black carbon fiber weave. Available for $34.99 through the M-Edge online store.
This cover displayed excellent fit and finish and is covered by M-Edge's limited lifetime warranty.
As a protective cover, the GO! Jacket is better than leaving your NOOK bare, but if you're the type to drop your electronics, you might want to consider a full case instead. As with any cover, the outer edges of the e-reader are fully exposed. While this makes plugging in easy, it means there is only the slight overhang of the cover offering anything in the way of a barrier between the edges of the NOOK and a hard surface. In terms of water, if the cover happens to be closed, and the water hits it front on instead of on one of the exposed edges, yes, the cover will buy you a moment in a brief rain shower, but that's it. If you drop your NOOK, there's no closure on the GO! Jacket, so it's as likely to open up and let the fragile display take the brunt of the drop as it is to cushion the blow. It's too bad —I own M-Edge iPad covers and they include a strap you can use to keep the cover closed when not in use and something like that would go a long way toward increasing this cover's effectiveness.
The carbon fiber material was slick and easy to wipe off, but the weave added enough texture to get a decent grip. There are no storage pockets, but there is a slot to slide in M-Edge's E-Luminator Booklight for night reading.
A Few Misses
For those who wish to flip the cover around to read one handed, it's a bit of a mixed bag. Yes, the cover does flip around quite easily, but there's a spine that's one inch or so in width. Your choice is to leave the spine in its natural position (in which case you are holding a wedge-shaped object), or you can flatten it (in which case the back cover then protrudes beyond the front cover by an inch or so). Neither issue is a deal breaker, but they are a little awkward.
Like the Latitude for NOOK Simple Touch, the GO! Jacket includes an embossed button on the back cover that corresponds to the NOOK's power switch. In theory, pushing this spot on the cover should activate the NOOK's power button. While it works well on the Latitude, I found it required a lot more effort and putting some pressure on the NOOK itself when using the GO! Jacket, probably because the hard cover is so much thicker.
The GO! Jacket makes for an elegant NOOK Simple Touch accessory and if your goal is to dress up your e-reader while adding just a bit of protection, or to get that old-school paper book reading feel, then it does the job pretty well. If M-Edge would only add some way to keep the GO! Jacket closed for carrying or stowing in a purse/backpack, I would be score it higher although in their defence, M-Edge representatives point out that they do offer other options if you want a securable cover.