Over the past month I’ve been doing A LOT of reading on my iPad, and while it works great for reading, there are a few issues. One, battery life. If I’m reading pretty constantly during the day, the battery basically lasts the day (about 9-10 hours or so). The second issue, which I never really had until using it for book reading: weight. My iPad, in its case, weighs 832g (about 1.8lbs). That might not seem like a lot, but when you’re holding it for hours a day, it starts to get to you. The iPad 2 is lighter, but I have an iPad 1, and it’s just kinda heavy. It’s not a bad thing, but it does make a difference.
So, last week, I started looking at dedicated eReaders. The Kindle, even the new one, is a travesty of design. It’s awful. It’s big, it’s blocky, it has a hard keyboard, it has dedicated buttons, it’s just, bad. It’s better than the original one, but as an Instructor at work pondered: “At what point does the original design of something become a hinderance to future design?” Basically, was the original so bad, and the designers so unwilling to reset, that the Kindle (or whatever) will always suck. Also, Kindle doesn’t do ePub (which is what I have for the iPad). Anyway, then I looked at the Sony eReaders, and while they’re small, they just didn’t seem right. On the plus side, they are one of the only ones to have a backlight option, but in general, I don’t much care for Sony products (the Playstation(s) being exceptions). So then I remembered about the Nook. Looking online, I saw that B&N had released a new one (the Simple Touch), and it looked great! I headed for the store, and hile at the store, which B&N has obviously seen the writing on the wall, and changed the whole front of their store to be dedicated to the Nook products), a very helpful lady helped me and we had a discussion about why I wanted the Simple Touch vs the Nook Color (basically, because the Nook Color is a smaller iPad. I don’t need another LCD device). And they had the original Nook, but it’s bigger, the eInk isn’t as nice, and while I still think it’s better than the Kindle, it just didn’t appeal. A few hours later, and I was back home with one freshly purchased.
I won’t get into a lot of detail, because that’s already been done here, and here, but I’ll say this: it’s awesome. It weighs in at 210g (or about 1/4th the iPad), and eInk is really a LOT easier on the eyes. The idea of a viewing angle is kind of silly with eInk, in that it’s basically the same as paper. And they do a very nice job with refreshing the page, where it seems to only do a full refresh (the whole screen blanking and returning) whenever enough has changed between pages to warrant it. The Kindle and Sony readers seem to do a full refresh every page turn.
And then there’s battery life. On my iPad, like I said, I get about 9-10 hours. That, for me, means about 300-400 or so pages (I’m a fairly slow reader). My wife has been using the Nook since I bought it, and she’s read over 1200 pages, and the battery is still at 64% (so she should be able to get around 3500 pages per charge). That’s damn near amazing.
I’m all for combined devices. The iPad is a great device in that it does almost everything I could want from a portable computer/tablet. But just as I don’t want to be able to make phone calls on the iPad, I’m not sure I’d want to sit and read a huge book on it (I’ve done it, it’s fine, but it’s not great). The Nook does this amazingly well. And while I can’t browse the web, or read twitter, or whatever on it, it does books, news papers, etc EXTREMELY well. If I was still taking classes, I’d be more than happy to have text books on it. It’s a great little device, and while I didn’t really read any reviews of it until after buying it, I can say it’s damn near perfect. I wouldn’t be surprised if an Ex-Apple designer had a hand in designing it. It’s just extremely well done.