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My review of the Nook E-Reader

By GSG ·
I did what I said I'd never do. I bought an e-reader. I read a large number of books, both hard-back and paper-back, so when the Nook was announced, I decided to check it out. They had good discounts, up to $15 on hardbacks, and about $2 on the paperbacks that I looked at, so I thought that I'd make back the $259 that the Nook would cost in short order. What really sold me was that, unlike the Kindle, the Nook did not use DRM. That means that I can transfer the books that I buy to any compatible device.

What I like
1) No DRM
2) The discounts on the books
3) My local bookstores are terrible about stocking the shelves, so now I don't have to wait
4) I can loan books to friends who have a Nook or even just download the free reader to their laptops or smartphones
5) It supports MP3's, so I can load my music library (I've not tried this yet, so I like it in theory, not in practice)
6) Unlike the Kindle, it has an expandable memory slot. It supports 1.5 GB as is, but can be expanded with a flash card.
7) I wasn't sure about the e-ink display, but I like it. It doesn't glare
For those of us over 40 who are starting to need reading glasses, you can adjust the font size easily. I bumped it up to large, and don't need the glasses.

What I'm Reserving Judgement On
1) I don't have a smart phone, so I'm not used to the touch screen. I had issues with typing in my password since I use a combo of caps, lower-case, and Numbers, and it's a long password. It took me 4 tries to get it right.
2) Boot time is several minutes
3) While I've not experienced the reported 10-second delay (hard to believe that report) while turning pages, there's no doubt that there's a small delay there. So far, it's about 1/2 second. Not much, but it takes getting used to.
4) Nothing is instantaneous. There's that 1/2 second lag with just about everything you select. A firmware upgrade should take care of this.
5) The touchscreen at the bottom glows rather brightly for several minutes after you last touched it. If you've started reading your book, this glares right into your eyes. I think that there's a setting to either dim this or make it go off sooner.

What I don't like
1) I changed some settings, and got to selecting things too fast, and it locked up on me. I tried a reboot, and that took several minutes to even acknowledge that I'd turned the device off. Again, I think a firmware update would help.
2) The directional page turn arrows. The top ones turn the page back, and the bottom ones turn it forward. That's bizarre. The ones on the right should turn forward and the ones on the left turn backwards.
3) Fingerprints. It's smudgy. I hate smudges on my cell phone, monitors, tv screen, etc... Now the touch screen gets smudgy. I'll suck it up and keep a soft cloth with it to clean it.
4) The USB/Power cable is too short. WAY too short. You can use it while it's plugged in, but if you choose to plug it into an electrical socket, plan on sitting in the floor by the socket.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Good -- They have a good packaging engineer. It was easy to open, and unlike some clamshell packages, I didn't need a knife and a trip to the ER after for stitches to open it.

Bad -- Terrible Customer Relationship Management. Barnes and Noble lied to me. They flat out lied. My Nook was supposed to ship on 12/11. On 12/10 I got an email stating that they are shipping soon, and they're upgrading me to overnight at no additional cost. YIPEE! Next day, I tried tracking my package, and it showed "Not Shipped". I had to click through several screens on the B&N website on my account to find out that they'd delayed shipping until 12/21.

On 12/21, I checked my account and there was a message that they were cancelling my order unless I clicked a link. No reason given. So, I clicked it, and they changed my shipping date to 1/20/2010, with no explanation. No emails were sent to me either. A friend convinced me to call the 1-800 number and a young lady on the phone told me that they had issues with the website, and on checking my account that it had been picked up by UPS that morning. LIAR.

I got an email 16 hours later that it had shipped and they gave me the tracking number. I checked UPS.com, and they had gotten the billing info, but had not even picked up the package. UPS picked up the package over 24 hours after B&N said it had been picked up.

The Ugly, and I mean U G L Y -- When they shipped it, B&N didn't require a signature on the device. Really... Can they be more stupid? I kept tracking my package, and UPS says they left it on my porch. Uh, No, they didn't. I called UPS and raised heck, and made them pull the driver and his assistant back from home to find it. They found it rather quickly considering that I had checked with all of my neighbors and they didn't have it. The package had also been opened. Yes, it had been opened. Incidentally, the UPS driver recognized it was a Nook without me telling him. I think he thought he was going to get an early Christmas Present.

So shame on Barnes and Noble, for shamelessly lying to me, and shame on them for not requiring a signature on delivery.

As far as the rest, after I've used it a while longer, we'll see how I like it. I have high hopes, especially if they fix some of the firmware issues.

edited for incorrect use of to, too, and two

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Review, Part 2

by GSG In reply to My review of the Nook E-R ...

I'm still having issues with the Nook locking up on me. Every time it's locked up, it's been when I've turned off the Wireless to save my battery. When it's locked up, then it loses my bookmarks and "last read" settings.

I accidentally left the Nook on for 24 hours, with the wireless turned on, and it only used just under 10% of my battery. I was pleasantly surprised.

I did transfer a 523 page technical manual in a PDF format to the device, and again, was pleasantly surprised. Windows XP recognized it right away and treated it just like it does a thumb drive. It took just a couple of seconds to transfer the manual. It did not look good in Large font, especially the table of contents, but when I took it down to medium font, it was still readable, and had a decent format. The drawback is that there are some extensive tables, and they don't look good except in small font, which is difficult to read. However, I would not hesitate to put more of my manuals on the Nook and read them from there instead of from my workstation.

As is, I give it a B to B+, and if they will send out a firmware update to fix some of the irritating, but admittedly minor issues, then it will easily achieve an A.

I still haven't transferred any of my music to it, but plan to do that soon.

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A response to encourage you

by santeewelding In reply to Review, Part 2

Keep it up. I'm reading.

Wondering, also, when they get it down thin, flexible, and survivable enough to roll it up and swat a pesky fly that interrupts your reading, like a magazine.

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Can't roll it up

by GSG In reply to A response to encourage y ...

But it's surprisingly durable. It has a hard, rubber backing that's rather nice. And it's quite comfortable to hold, which was one thing I was worried about.

I did order a case for it last night to protect the display.

What I found mildly funny is that the instructions on how to use it were in an electronic manual on the device. There were instructions on paper on how to unpackage it, and how to charge it, and how to turn it on, but that's it.

That's like the VCR I got in the 80s and they gave me a video tape and told me that it contained the instructions on how to hook it up and use it.

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MP3's

by GSG In reply to My review of the Nook E-R ...

I've loaded a couple of CDs that I ripped to the Nook. With headphones, the sound is great. The Nook does have small speakers, but don't expect great sound with them. I wasn't expecting speakers, so I wasn't disappointed by the sound.

What's disappointing is the way the songs are arranged. For example, with the books and documents, you go to your "My Documents" or your Library and find the book you want. With the music, you can't access the music library from your Nook. At least, I can't find a way to do it, and the instructions are sorely lacking. In fact, they are practically non-existent and read more like an advertisement than instructions. A nice clear set that hits every menu, what the options are, and some basic explanations would be nice.

So far, I've only been able to access the music through the audio player, and it presents the music by title of the song. I haven't yet figured out how to bring up just the one album that I want to listen to.

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