Unboxing and Comparing Barnes & Nobles nook e-reader

This post might be long overdue and the Barnes & Nobles nook colour is the e-reader of choice now. But I figured it was time for me to upgrade my e-reader and decided to go for the traditional nook that still supports e-ink technology.

If you’ve read my previous posts on my hunt for the right e-reader, you’d also read about my first e-reader purchase when I got the BeBook Neo. I was very happy with the BeBook Neo for a long time and it has served me well as a first e-reader.

When I thought about getting my second e-reader, I also wanted to test out vPost Asia, which is a freight forwarding service operated by Singapore Post, where I could purchase anything I want from USA, UK and Japan online stores that don’t ship to Malaysia.

When I heard that my husband bought an Amazon Kindle in his last trip to US, I was tempted and went ahead to buy the Barnes & Noble nook through their online store with my vPost dedicated US address.

My B&N nook is here

After a few weeks, the package arrived at my doorstep.

Unboxing the B&N nook

I opened the box that clearly has the Barnes & Noble logo on it and was super excited to see my nook packaging.

My beautiful new nook e-reader

The box includes a simple booklet of the Quick Start Guide (aka User Manual), a sync cable (which is basically a USB to Micro USB cable as per most of smartphones today) and a US adapter charger. You can’t use this without an international adapter, so you might as well just plug the sync cable to your generic Malaysia adapter with USB slot.

Front of the nook e-reader

The top of the nook e-reader is a nice crisp 6 inch e-ink screen. If you do a lot of reading like me and your eyes can’t stand staring at a computer / phone LCD screen too long, then e-ink is right for you. Which was also the primary reason why I didn’t buy the nook colour. I don’t read any coloured books (ie, children books, magazines, etc) so e-ink is fine.

At the middle left and right side of the nook is the page navigation hardware buttons. You press here to flip through the pages of the e-book you’re reading. I like the fact that they’ve included these buttons on both sides of the device. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re left or right handed, it would work for you.

Bottom of the nook e-reader

At the bottom of the nook, you’ll see a 3.5mm headphone jack. Yes, this means you can also copy music to your e-reader if you’re the type who likes to listen to music while you read. Most importantly, of course, is that you can listen to audio books on the nook as well.

Next to it is the Micro USB sync and charge cable.

On the sides, you have your speakers. Works for audio books and the music that you play while reading.

Top of the nook

At the top of the nook, you’ll find the Power button smack in the middle. You turn on / off the device or wake it up from standby mode. The 2 hooks at the side of these buttons…. I have no idea. I’m guessing they’re hooks for fitting your nook cases?

LCD touchscreen navigation
The bottom pane on the front of the nook is your navigation screen. This is full colour, touchscreen LCD. You touch and swipe here to navigate the menu. You can navigate through your library here, change preferences to the book you’re reading and even navigate to the B&N online store to purchase more e-books here. But the latter feature don’t work outside US. For now…. *wink*

Back of the nook

The back of the nook is rather nice. It bears the nook logo and is pure white, matted and has a rubbery feel to it. This is good for single hand usage and prevents slip.

Important Note : Barnes & Noble are aware that there are a lot of people around the world ordering through freight forwarders. They’e OK with that. However, in the midst of processing your order, they made a note for you to call their call centre, stating that there’s an issue they need to rectify with your order. Basically, they just wanted to remind you that the device doesn’t work in your country.
Which is why, if you’re like me, trying to use it outside US, you would likely just buy the WiFi only version. Their 3G version wouldn’t work as it’s a SIM card-less service that only works for AT&T in US. So, definitely you won’t need that.
With WiFi connectivity (and their latest firmware version on the device), you are able to sync the device to the B&N account that you’ve setup on their site. However, even with WiFi, you (currently) won’t be able to sync the e-books you purchased on the site to your e-reader.
In fact, you can’t even purchase e-books from their nookbook online store (due to copyright issues of the book titles), but you can still manually sync the e-books to your nook e-reader with the sync cable provided.
Comparing the B&N nook with Amazon Kindle and BeBook Neo
With 3 e-readers at home, I definitely need to do a quick comparison of my new nook e-reader.
(L-R) Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble nook, BeBook Neo
At the close of 2010, Amazon announced that their Kindle 3 (latest generation) is their best selling product ever in Amazon’s history. Shortly after that, Barnes & Noble also made a similar announcement about their nook being their bestseller in their history. Technically, there is no doubt that these are the biggest 2 players in the e-reader industry.
Thickness comparison
Physically, you can see from the picture above that the nook looks (ever so slightly) larger than the other e-readers. Kindle, of course, being the smallest of the 3. Even with a thickness comparison, you can see that the Kindle is the thinnest of them all. Kindle is also the lightest of them all. It also looks the sexiest.
I now understand why Kindle sold so well and is the best selling e-reader in the US market.
Having said that, I am happy with my B&N nook. I definitely prefer it over the Kindle. Like smartphone OS, it’s again down to personal preference. In fact, add to that how and where you intend to purchase e-books has the most to do with which e-reader you should get. Looks aside.
I compiled this quick table here to explain myself:-
Of course, if you want a simple, no-nonsense e-reader, you can always check out the Kobo e-reader (that was previously tied to Borders.com that’s selling for an awesome USD$ 99. It also syncs to KoboBooks and you can also purchase books from Borders, too.
Which also means, that with my Barnes & Noble nook support for ePub (the most generic e-book format EVER), I have been comparing prices and buying e-books from B&N, Borders, Kobo and all other generic online bookstores that are everywhere these days. 
… and THAT is why I am loving my Barnes & Noble nook e-reader. Ever since I got it, I have been reading so much more. I am also constantly in search of more and more books to read. Any recommendation on my next read?
For more information and specs on the device, please check out their respective sites for Amazon Kindle here, Barnes & Noble nook here and BeBook Neo here.

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