The first Barnes & Noble Nook e-book devices have landed and there are quite a few page turners in the form of reviews available. I’ve read several and nearly all share a common theme — the device probably could have used a little more time to mature and should get better over time. Here’s a round-up of a few hands-on reviews along with some highlighted quotes:
Technologizer — “The Nook isn’t a Kindle killer–not in this initial form, at least. For all its pleasing touches, intriguing innovations, and clear advantages over the Kindle, it feels like a less-than-perfectly-polished 1.0 product, just like Amazon’s first e-reader did a couple of years ago. The user interface is surprisingly sluggish, there are some usability gaffes, and I encountered a major bug with the device’s most-touted feature. Even the much-hyped lending feature has a major gotcha: You can lend a book once. Period.“
Engadget — “Waiting for the refresh when you’re moving around on the faster color screen can be annoying, though like many aspects of navigation on the Nook, it’s all about learning the pace of the reader. See, it’s not exactly that fast of a device anywhere, color screen or otherwise, so you have to get used to all kinds of little pauses and punctuation in the experience.“
Gizmodo — “[I]f you have to pick one right now, stick with the Kindle. It’s a tough call, because I see a lot of potential in Nook that might not be in Kindle, but damn if the Kindle hasn’t grown to comfortably inhabit its e-ink skin. As long as you don’t expect apps and extras on a Kindle, it delivers the best ebook experience there is at this moment. And it just went international. But while the limitations of a Kindle are clear, the limitations of the Nook are hazier, presumably further out.”
The Mobile Gadgeteer — “After confirming that eReader and Fictionwise ebooks work very well, with just a single credit card confirmation, I am ecstatic about the amount of content available to me on my new Nook. As I said in my video, you can save a ton of money by purchasing content through the eReader and Fictionwise sites and the Nook really sets the bar for obtaining content.“
I saved Matt Miller’s review for last in this short roundup — for two reasons. First, he offers a 25 minute video overview of the device to give you a good look the hardware and software. And he’s the only reviewer I saw that covered an important topic — content compatibility with eReader and Fictionwise content. Although I’ve spent hundred of dollars on content for my Kindle this year, I’ve spent nearly an equal amount on eReader content since 2003. So this particular bit is of importance to me and most other early adopter types. I highly recommend Matt’s video because he shows a side-by-side comparison of the Nook’s screen refresh with that of his old Sony Reader 505 device. Although the Nook uses a newer eInk display, the results may surprise you.
All in all, I’m happy with my Amazon Kindle and the additional features included in the Nook aren’t enough to get me to switch. Those without a Kindle or other e-book reader might be swayed by the Nook, especially after it matures just a bit more.