Feeling Touch-y (Kindle Touch vs Nook Simple Touch)

As most of you know, in addition to being hopelessly addicted to a fan of Filofax (and handbags….and iThings….and- ahem- tequila ), I also have a irrational love of  acquiring penchant for various and sundry other Gadgets.

Not that long ago, and for a reason even I can’t figure out, I purchased a Nook Simple Touch e-reader to compare to my much loved Kindle Touch.

I know right? And I complain that I don’t have enough money for groceries. Jeesh.

Kindle Touch on Left, Nook Simple Touch on Right. Both are in Screen Saver mode. On the KT the screen savers are what they are. On the NST you can choose "authors" or "nature" (this one is nature obviously) or you can add your own photos

Kindle Touch on Left, Nook Simple Touch on Right. Both are on the same chapter of "11/22/63" by Stephen King with font size and line spacing as equal as I could get them. They read pretty much the same, as specs say they have the identical 6" eInk screen and resolution

Anyway, while there are an abundant number of critical reviews of each (as well as head to head comparisons) out there on the interwebs, I thought I’d do my own little write up. Just to, you know, share my personal opinion as an end user…as though it would be relevant to any of you.

First of all, let me preface this by saying both of these little devices are fantastic. I never thought I, of all people, would give up the feel and smell of paper books  (and for some books I haven’t…I only really buy fiction or other titles I don’t want to keep in my personal library electronically) but I must confess I love, love, LOVE that I can carry around as many books as I feel like reading at any given time with me in my cute little Maddox Fossil crossbody bag. These babies each way less than 8 ounces. That’s hard to beat…even for a die hard book fanatic.

For example, right now I am reading “11/22/63” by Stephen King, “Skin Trade” by Laurel K. Hamilton (a.k.a summer smut and yes, I am addicted to the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series…so shoot me), “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin deBecker, “Freedom: the Courage to be Yourself” by Osho and I just started “Always Hit on the Wingman” by Cindi Leive.

(None of these do I intend to keep around, with the possible exception of the Osho book, as some of his insights are pretty freaking pertinent and I find myself highlighting the living heck out of this book, so I may end up buying it in paper just to mark up & stick on my shelf.)

Anyway, to haul all of those around with me everywhere would really and truly suck. Hence my interest in eReaders. I have had several iterations of the Kindle and loved them all, but as I was perusing Best Buy (my happy place), I found myself drawn to the Nook Simple Touch (which I will be abbreviating NST from here on out. Similarly, Kindle Touch will be KT) despite the fact that there isn’t a Barnes & Noble anywhere near where I live and I buy all my books from trusty Amazon. Of course I bought one.

Here’s what I like better about the Nook Simple Touch (NST):

1. The NST has this awesome “soft touch coating”, which I like to refer to as its grippy coating. Because it accomplishes just that – it makes the thing easy to grip. It is described on various websites as rubberized, but I think that term is a wee bit too strong, unappealing and akin to an old tire. Which it is most emphatically not. It’s actually quite awesome.

2. Contributing to the grippy factor, is the fact that the NST has a contoured back (also covered in the grippy coating) that allows  your fingers to cradle the Nook perfectly and makes one-handed reading a breeze.

Here you can see the black "grippy" coating and the ergonomically curved back. **love**

The back of the Kindle Touch. The whole thing is grey plastic sans grippy material. I find it more difficult to hold and turn the pages one-handed. I had to purchase a $40 case with a hand strap in order to accomplish that

3. What I really like about the NST is that, in addition to being touch screen, it also has page turn buttons on the sides. I like having the option for either. Most of the time I use the touch screen, but I can totally see myself at the beach with greasy sunscreen hands not wanting to goop up the screen. Yuck. Or when eating pizza while also trying to read. Bleuch. Page turn buttons are ideal in circumstances like that. As I said, I like having both options. The page turn buttons require a wider bezel as well, another feature I like. Holding the NST is easier and more comfortable in my opinion, and you can totally hold it with one hand and turn the page with either the button or the touch screen…with one hand.  Did I mention you can use this with ONE HAND?

The Page Turn buttons on the side. There is a set on each side. You can select whether the top or bottom button advances the page or goes back to the previous page. Mine is set so that the bottom button advances and the top button goes back

4. The power button is located at the top of the device on the back. Virtually impossible to hit it by accident and put the reader to sleep. Seems so simple. Yet both my KT and Kindle Fire have the stupid power button on the bottom. Right where my hand goes when I’m holding the thing when I read. Doh!

Nook Power Button. Hard to hit that by accident!

The Kindle's power button is on the bottom of the device. Very easy to hit it by accident just trying to hold the thing in your hand to read. The dog is wondering if it is food and, if so, will I be dropping it on the floor anytime soon

5. Although the NST comes with less onboard storage (2 gig vs the Kindle Touch’s 4 gig), the Simple Touch has a micro SD card slot, and is therefore expandable up to a whopping 32 gig. Not that I ever foresee making use of all that space, but I do like knowing I could if I wanted to.

Nook SD Card slot. Expandable up to 32 gig...if I suddenly get the urge to carry the Library of Congress around in my purse

6. I really like the Home Screen interface of the NST. That one is pure personal preference, I know, but I just really like it.

Kindle home screen on left, Nook home screen on right. I think the Nook's is more interesting and jazzy. Also, the KT used to have ads, but I couldn't take it and so now it does not. The ads used be at the bottom of the home screen

7. Although there is some controversy over this, the NST has page numbers as opposed to the KT’s “location”. I know, I know…in an eBook page numbers are rather irrelevant. But I like ’em. I like looking down and seeing that I’m on page 57 of 697. Location numbers don’t really give me any feeling of accomplishment. The NST also features a “How Many More Pages Until the End of the Chapter” feature. Love that.

Page numbers. Are they relevant given that they will change as soon as one adjusts the font size? Probably not. But I like them anyway

How many pages are left in the chapter. I love, love, LOVE this feature...especially when trying to judge how much longer I should keep reading before bedtime

8. I prefer the Dictionary interface better on the NST. To me it looks cleaner and easier to read. Again, just personal preference.

Kindle Dictionary. Simply long press on the word and it pops up.

Nook Dictionary. Same deal, long press and it comes up. I just find this one cleaner and easier to read. It covers the entire page, which is less confusing for my tequila-addled brain than the way the KT's only covers part of the page

9. This one should really be #1…NO FREAKING ADS. I paid $99 for my NST and there were no ads on it. I paid the same $99 for my KT imagining that the ads wouldn’t bother me. HA! Ha I say. I think I made it less than a week before I shelled out an additional $30 to make the ads go away. Perhaps they wouldn’t be so bad in a metropolitan area where they might actually be for something cool, but I apparently have no “special offers” in my area because I kept getting Pampers ads. Yeah, no thanks…my family reminds me of my wasted eggs and ever-expiring biological clock enough as it is.

Now for what I like better about the Kindle Touch (KT):

1. The thing syncs FLAWLESSLY. Without me having to do anything at all. With the NST you have to exit out of the book you’re reading, go back to the Library screen and then sync. Then and only then will your book sync across the other Nook apps. On my iPhone 4s I similarly have to close out of the book, go back to the Library AND exit the app in order for it to ask me if I want to sync to the most recently opened location when I go back to my Nook Simple Touch. Pain in the ass. The Kindle just does it. Voila. I stop reading and the next time I go to read on my iPhone or Kindle Fire, it’s right on the page I left off. Sweet.

2. Two words: Amazon’s Ecosystem.  I happen to be an Amazon Prime member, so I  have access to all kinds of free content, as well as the Prime Lending Library, in which Prime members can borrow a free book a month with no due dates. Gotta love that.  Amazon also has some really great deals on books (and other content too, but since we’re talking about eReaders here, I won’t go into that) and you can also lend one of your Kindle books to a friend (they don’t need to have a Kindle device; any of the Kindle Reader apps will suffice) for two weeks.

3. Stellar Customer Service. Say you get carried away and buy a book and then have buyers remorse the next morning. Been there, done that! Or maybe you just buy a book by accident, meaning to add it to your wish list but hitting Check Out by mistake. No worries. Amazon will let you return it for a full refund within seven days of the date of purchase. With B&N you own that book, no returns, no refunds.

4. I  like the cases better. There are a shit-ton of them for the KT and I just plain like them better for the money. The good news is, the NST will fit into some of them : )

So there you have it folks. On paper, the NST does have more features I like….however the Kindle, while having fewer of my favorite features, has some pretty significant deal breaker features. And if you want to know which one I actually read on…the answer is the Kindle Touch. Purely because I am a died in the wool Amazon fan-girl. I do pay the $79 a year for a Prime membership, but to be honest, this pays for itself in free two-day shipping, so I think it’s a really super deal. Between the Amazon store and the fact that my KT syncs with my iPhone every time I open a book on either one without so much as a second thought on my part, the Kindle Touch wins the day.

If B&N would iron out the syncing issues and I could figure out a hack to get my Kindle content onto the Nook via SD card, then by physical features (I do heart that grippy surface and page turn buttons) the Nook Simple Touch would win hands down. It is a better piece of hardware. Amazon wins with content though and at the end of the day, hardware is just a paperweight without content.

Which is why I, after much ado, I went back for a Kindle Fire but sold off the Nook tablet even though the Nook Tablet is clearly  also a better piece of hardware and has a far, far, FAR better screen. Three words made up my mind in the end: Amazon Instant Video.  A kick-ass screen does you no good if there is no content to watch on it.  Sad but true.

Update: Seemingly to up the ante and piss me off, just two days ago B&N announced the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight…an eInk reader with a row of LED lights under the bezel on the top of the screen to provide unobtrusive front lighting, therefore enabling reading in lower light situations without the eyestrain of an LCD screen. Bastards! It looks really cool (although it won’t hit stores until early May) and since I do a lot of reading in bed (and my Kindle Fire, which I use for that, KILLS my eyes) you know I’ll be at Best Buy checking it out when it arrives, so stay tuned for a review once I get my grubby little paws on one. Because you know I will.

What about you guys? Do you use eReaders? If so, do you have any thoughts on the Nook Simple Touch vs Kindle Touch debate?

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. J
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 16:36:36

    I’m still using my 2nd generation Kindle that I got third hand- but when it dies it would take something seriously special to pull me away from Amazon. At this point, I’ll probably go with the newest Kindle (w/ keyboard) with the case with the built in light. This one is still going strong though, so who knows what they’ll have out by the time it bites the dust!

  2. stevemorton
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 17:19:31

    Loving my Kindle 3G, the one with the keyboard. I’ve even used it for Twitter before now! But it works just great for all of my reading requirements. I’m reading a lot more than I used to as well.

    The Kindle Touch has only just been launched this side of the pond, so I’ve not had a chance to try that yet, and the Kindle Fire isn’t available yet either… but I have the new iPad anyway.

  3. Trackback: Book Thoughts: Kindle Bits + Pieces - Swept Away Again
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