So I got my hands on the new Nook (The Simple Touch Reader) from Barnes & Noble (and a case & screen protector). Despite my complaints previously about the original Nook design, I did decide to still support B&N by investing in their newest Nook device. Why? Because I still prefer Barnes & Noble over Amazon - simple as that. I like Amazon for a number of things but not for my reading or my reading device.
So, I opened up my Nook last night and noticed two things right off the bat:
1. The size is perfect
2. The weight is perfect
The size is perfect enough to fit in your hand even more comfortably than the Original Nook. There is a small indentation on the back cover that is perfect for resting your fingers against. The rubberized backing gives it great grip.
Of course, because of my cracked bezel fiasco with my Original Nook, the first thing I did was to inspect the bezel and the page buttons. It seems B&N must have learned from their mistakes and now the bezel is even a rubberized material, and I'm sure it will hold up much better to the paging than the old one -although, frankly with how easy it is to turn pages just by touching the screen, who is going to use them??
Next, I fired it up and the boot up seems much quicker than the Original Nook. The pearl e-ink is MUCH cleaner and crisp and the refresh rate of the pages has vastly improved. The setup was literally mindless, just connect to your WiFi, enter your email and password for your B&N account and viola!
A setting feature that I LOVE is that you can assign which buttons are used for paging forward or backward (although again I have to question the use of them since I have yet to use the buttons)
I'm a fan of the new "Home" page for a few reasons. The biggest being that they got rid of the stupid "Daily" thing that you were subscribed to on the Original Nook. It was so outdated and even when you got new articles, half of them weren't worth the time it took to download them. Another reason I like the "Home" screen is because it allows me to quickly access my book that I'm currently reading (while displaying which page I'm on) but also to access my library.
The touch screen is incredibly sensitive, almost too much so, but I won't complain because turning pages by touching the sides of the screen is so simple that you barely feel like you're making a movement to do it.
The Library could use one small improvement, which would be to allow me to arrange my shelves in the order I choose. I love being able to customize my shelves but you can only sort the shelves by "Most Recent" or by "Title" so my "Currently Reading" doesn't always stay on top where I like it. Maybe that will be in an software upgrade at some point. However, one improvement I really like on the Library is the ability to sort by Lend Me books, My Files, Newspapers, etc. There's a lot more sorting functionality than on the Original Nook.
I love the social integration that's included, you can attach your Gmail, Twitter and Facebook accounts and send recommendations and updates on your reading.
So, all in all, I think the new Nook took the best of the Original Nook and totally enhanced it right where it needed it without going overboard.
Now, I'm sure there's always going to be the Kindle vs. Nook issue out there, but as for me I will always choose a Nook over the Kindle for two simple reasons: