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 Latitude Jacket, a soft bodied case.
If you prefer the added protection of a full case (as opposed to a cover), the Latitude strikes a good balance between functionality and usability —it would be great for a commuter. A soft case with a ballistic nylon exterior and jersey lining, the Latitude offers excellent protection against drops and scratches, while offering a reasonable degree of protection against crushing. The e-reader is held securely in place by four corner straps that prevent movement without interfering in the display or page turn buttons, or damaging the finish of the device. When fully closed, the case is not waterproof, but will provide water resistance from quick exposure to rain. With your NOOK Touch safely zipped up in one of these, the only things you really have to fear are immersion in water (or leaving your e-reader out in a torrential downpour), or having it crushed by a large object.
In terms of quality and workmanship, this accessory displays excellent fit and finish and is covered by M-Edge's limited lifetime warranty.
The case itself is extremely light, textured for easy gripping, adds a minimum of bulk to the compact e-reader and the front cover easily swings fully back and out of the way when you open it up to read. The case uses a dual zipper fastener, which means that if you wish, you can leave the bottom of the case open enough to give easy access to the USB port for charging (not that you have to recharge one of these new NOOKs very frequently). The exterior back of the case also includes a clearly market power symbol that lines up with the NOOK's back-mounted power button —push the symbol on the case and you push the NOOK's power button, so you don't have to pull your e-reader out of the case to power it down.
There's also a small slip pocket on the back and a slot for inserting M-Edge's E-Luminator Booklight, for those who like to read in the dark. The nylon case wipes off easily, although the smooth section does have a tendency to attract fingerprints (as visible in the first product shot). Available in a variety of color combinations, the M-Edge Latitude Jacket for NOOK Touch is available through M-Edge online and is priced at $34.99.
For a reader on the go who wants affordable and stylish protection for their NOOK Simple Touch, the Latitude makes a good choice. When zipped up, it should cover off most adverse e-reader scenarios without turning the compact e-reader into something the size of an iPad. If you want more comprehensive protection, you'll need to move up to a bulkier, hard-shelled case with plenty of padding.