Barnes & Noble Nook GlowLight review: much improved, but the competition is still winning
The GlowLight has a much nicer display than the last-gen model, but other e-readers still offer better screens. In the meantime, too, the GlowLight has lost some defining features like a microSD slot and physical page turn buttons.
- Much-improved frontlight
- Better display than last time
- No more physical page buttons
- The microSD slot has been removed
- Frontlighting still not on par with the competition
There's a lot to be said for being first. Barnes & Noble beat the competition to the punch with the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight -- an e-reader with built-in front lighting. And though we busted the company's chops with regards to its claims of keeping marriages together, the feature really did feel like the next big step forward for e-readers. Naturally, then, Amazon and Kobo released similar offerings soon after, with front lighting that frankly blew the Nook out of the water. As those companies further iterated their lines, Barnes & Noble maintained radio silence, something many chalked up to troubles with its hardware division.
A year and a half after the release of its last reader, the GlowLight has finally returned with an abbreviated name and an improved feature set. The new Nook GlowLight ($119) features a revised design, weighs noticeably less than its predecessor and, most notably, brings an improved front light. But while it ushers in some welcome tweaks, the loss of the Simple Touch name also marks the abandonment of some beloved features that helped set the line apart in the first place.