As you'd imagine, it can see in the dark. -- or, rather, you can see it in the dark, so you won't have to get kicked out of bed for reading The Hunger Games anymore. The clunkily named Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight is up for pre-order now at $139 a pop. Plunk down your information today, and it should be on its way to you in early May -- just in time for Mother's Day and with a bit of time to spare for 'ole pops. So, how does the reader stack up to its predecessor? Click on through to the other side to find out.
Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight hands-on
For all intents and purposes, the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight is exactly like the original Nook Simple Touch. We're talking the same stubby body, TI processor, 2GB of storage, microSD slot and six-inch Pearl E Ink display with infrared touch. Oh, and the rubberized page turn buttons on the sides of the screen, the little "n" home button on the bottom and that power button on the rear are all in tact. The concave back cover that makes it easy to hold the reader one-handed? That's the same, too.
There are a few distinctions, though: the border around the perimeter of the device is lighter, so you wont accidentally pick the wrong device out of a pile (think of the slight difference in color between the Nook Color and Tablet). The device is also a bit lighter than its predecessor -- five percent, to be exact -- a change significant enough that seasoned Simple Touch users might actually notice if they were to compare the two. Really perceptive folks might also pick up on the screen, which feels slightly more textured. This is due to the anti-glare technology screen overlay B&N added to compensate for the differences in screen. All of which brings us to the main thing distinguishing the two devices.
The centerpiece of the Nook SimpleTouch with GlowLight is, naturally, that illuminated screen. The reader uses a patent-pending technology Barnes & Noble built in-house, which shines a light from over the top of the screen. The illumination is triggered by holding the "n" button down for two seconds. You can adjust the brightness by clicking the button again and sliding the dial on a Quick Settings screen. Half brightness should be enough to keep you reading in a dark room. You can also turn the light off here or just hold down the "n" button again.
The light is actually quite well distributed on the display. You'll notice a bit of a gradient at the top, near the light source, but after reading for a bit, odds are you'll completely forget about it. We used it for a bit in a darkened room, and it's really a pleasant reading experience, staying true to most of the benefits of e-ink. We asked Barnes & Noble reps how the resulting eye strain compares to a back-illuminated device like the iPad, and while they refused to say anything conclusive, they conceded it should be "equal or less" to what you'd experience on such a device.
Battery life, on the other hand, is much better. The Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight should give you an estimated month of reading time, according to B&N's numbers, compared to two months with the light off. That second number matches the rating for the standard Simple Touch -- the battery, like the rest of the hardware, is identical. The price, however, is a bit of a jump. At $139, it's $40 more than Simple Touch, and will be sold alongside that device (albeit in a darkened case that gives you a better idea of its powers). That premium might be a bit rich for some people's blood, though keep in mind that that price is the same as the WiFi Kindle Touch, once you drop the "Special Offers." If the rumor mill is to be believed, however, Amazon's likely got some competition on the way.
In the meantime however, it may well be worth the $40 investment to make sure you don't get booted out of the bed again any time soon.
Barnes & Noble Introduces NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight: World's First and Only E Ink Reader That Lets You Read in the Dark
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today introduced NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight, the world's first E Ink device with patent-pending lighting technology that eliminates the number-one problem couples have in bed – having their sleep interrupted, or being prevented from falling asleep, when their partner reads with the light on. With a soft, adjustable glow, GlowLight gives bedtime readers just the right amount of light for reading, without disturbing a sleepy spouse.
Like having two Readers in one, the first and only Reader designed to let E Ink customers read in the dark is equally amazing at the beach, with a paper- like reading experience, even in the bright sun. This revolutionary device is the first to combine the most advanced and fastest E Ink display with a precise infrared touchscreen, built-in anti- glare screen for reading in any lit environment, and an evenly distributed and adjustable light for reading in the dark. NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight is also the lightest NOOK ever, with a long-lasting battery for over one month of reading on a single charge, with the light on. Customers can pre-order the newest addition to the award-winning NOOK portfolio immediately for just $139 at www.nook.com and in Barnes & Noble stores. NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight will be in stores and homes starting in early May, a perfect gift for Mother's Day, Father's Day and graduations.
For people who love to read, E Ink's paper-like readability, no-glare screen and long battery life have made it a favorite and nearly perfect device choice, with one exception: reading in bed or other low-light environments. And according to a recent Barnes & Noble national survey of adult readers, reading in bed is what 64 percent do on a regular basis, so it's not surprising that the number-one request from E Ink customers is the ability to read in the dark to avoid bothering a significant other.
The Brightest Innovation in Reading
Barnes & Noble created breakthrough GlowLight technology, an innovative lighting solution optimized for low-light conditions, never before seen on an E Ink display and not available on any Kindle. NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight delivers uniform light across an E Ink display, creating a better nighttime reading experience than LCD. GlowLight turns on instantly and adjusts easily with a touch, so customers can control the amount of light, whether in a dimly lit or pitch dark room. NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight is the perfect peacekeeper for the half of survey respondents who would read more in bed if it didn't interfere with their partners' sleep.
"To date, readers have had to compromise: either buying black-and-white E Ink reading devices to optimize their outdoor reading or color LCD devices to be able to read at night in bed with the light off. NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight is like two Readers in one," said William J. Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble. "With our new GlowLight technology and the most advanced E Ink display available, we've created the most versatile, high-utility Reader ever; as exceptional for reading in the darkest bedroom as on the brightest beach. At only $139, NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight provides customers an amazing value and is the only device of its kind in the world."
Resolving the Bedtime Reading Debate
For as long as there have been beds, and books, there's been a common clash between couples at bedtime: Lights on, to read? Or off, to sleep? "The Barnes & Noble NOOK Bedtime Reading Debate," a survey conducted March 1-5, 2012, polled 1,358 adult readers across the country about their reading habits, and shed new light on this age-old challenge.
Bed Heads: Approximately two-thirds (64 percent) of people polled read in bed, and nearly a quarter read in bed between five and seven days a week.
o People who own Readers are among the most likely to read in bed (72 percent) and are more likely to read in bed on a weekly basis than tablet owners
(61 percent vs. 54 percent).
The Gender Divide: While reading in bed is a top pick for both genders, there's a distinct divide when it comes to second place: women are likelier than men to read outdoors (40 percent vs. 25 percent), and men more frequently read in the bathroom (41 percent vs. 26 percent for women).
The Light/Dark Debate: 77 percent of survey respondents say they or their partner requires light for their bedtime reading, although nearly 90 percent say their ideal sleep environment is completely dark.
o Men are far more likely than women to report their significant other disrupts their sleep by using a light to read in bed.
Keeping Peace: 50 percent of respondents say either they or their partner would read more in bed if it didn't affect the other person's sleep.
Sleepus Interruptus: A partner using a light to read in bed was deemed most disruptive by respondents – even more than a frisky partner's "midnight moves."
o 31 percent of respondents noted that a partner's use of a light to read in bed interfered with their sleep or prevented them from falling asleep, while 20 percent noted that romantic overtures did the same.
Perturbed Partners: Nearly half (42 percent) of survey respondents have gone to sleep annoyed because their significant other was reading with a light on.
Night Flight, Not Fight: 42 percent of people surveyed say they or their partner has physically relocated to another room to read to not disturb the partner who wanted to sleep, as most also agreed this was the best way to "keep the peace."
o The "lights-on" breach of bediquette leads many to throw in the towel when it comes to sleep with flipping on the TV, leaving the room to read or staying up to read themselves the most frequent alternatives.
Lightweight and Ultra Portable
At under 7 ounces, NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight is Barnes & Noble's lightest NOOK ever and 5 percent lighter than the highly acclaimed NOOK Simple Touch. The device's ergonomic soft-touch design makes it super comfortable to hold in just one hand – perfect for staying up all night in bed with a can't-put-it-down novel, or for carrying everywhere. Customers can also personalize their devices with an exclusive array of stylish and protective accessories.
Barnes & Noble's Award-Winning Reading Experience
NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight brings first-to-the-world lighting innovation to Barnes & Noble's award-winning Reader and reading experience. The most-advanced and fastest E Ink display and revolutionary built-in screen protector offer paper-like reading with no glare, even in bright sun, and lightning-fast page turns. The company's exclusive Best-TextTM technology with adjustable fonts optimizes each letter, so words are crisp and clear.
It's easy to navigate, shop and read with just the touch of a finger on NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight's 6-inch touch screen. Touch to turn pages, look up words, highlight passages, read your way by adjusting the font size and style and more. Shop the world's largest digital bookstore of more than 2.5 million books, magazines and newspapers and enjoy helpful recommendations from Barnes & Noble's book experts, personalized based on favorite authors, as well as those from friends to decide what to read next. Plus, borrow digital books from public libraries.
NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight holds more than 1,000 books, plus it has expandable memory. It's easy to keep reading on the go with long-lasting battery life: on a single charge with Wi-Fi® off, read for over one month with GlowLight on and over two months with it off.
At the amazingly low price of $139, NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight offers an award- winning reading experience, including a power adapter and built-in anti-glare screen protector at no additional cost, unlike Kindle. NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight can be pre-ordered at www.nook.com and in Barnes & Noble stores. The newest NOOK is expected to be in stores and in homes in starting in early May, in time for Mother's Day, Father's Day, graduations and summer reading. Experience NOOK products at www.nook.com or at the NOOK Digital ShopsTM and displays in one of Barnes & Noble's nearly 700 bookstores and other leading retailers. Barnes & Noble offers Always Free NOOK Support in all of its neighborhood bookstores, with more than 40,000 NOOKsellers across the country ready to assist customers with setting up their NOOK devices or choosing their next great read.