The Nook vs Kindle Review

Nook vs Kindle – It was my intention to conduct a final comparison between my Kindle 2 and the new B&N Nook. The tests I have done in the past involved me placing them next to each other and running similar operations to get a better controlled test.

Today I am unable to do that since the Nook that used to sit at the customer service desk is not there. I will see what more I can do without the refresher. (Update: They placed the Nook back and I managed a few minutes with it. I took a photo using my phone but it doesn’t show the screen very well.)

I would like to lay down some ground rules. Because this kind of posts always attract haters I need to explain that I without emotion, I set aside time to collect data and have practical experience of both devices. Comments like “Device X sucks, you are stupid” will be quickly deleted. I have brought data and science to these examinations and inconsiderate comments do not add any value to the discussions.

In comparing Nook vs Kindle I am a far cry from being called a fan and advocate of the Kindle. I conducted this comparison because one day my Kindle will not be there and if the Nook impresses me, I could adopt it as my next device. I did not approach this exercise with any foregone conclusions and I didn’t alter the data to support any unfair opinion.

So far my experiences talking to some Nook fans have been as difficult as arguing theology with a Branch Davidian. No matter how much sense you make, the conversation always ends up at the same place with Nook fans being unreasonable. I urge you to overcome any stereotypes on this blog.

Here are the results: A week ago when I first performed the tests of comparing Nook vs Kindle, each single operation on the Nook was slower than the Kindle’s. Opening a book on the Nook took 15-30 seconds while it took less than a second on the Kindle. Once the book is open, the action of page turning is slower on the Nook.

I hit the command on both devices at the same time and the page on the Kindle refreshed before the Nook’s even started. Curiously, the action of page turning backwards on the Nook is faster than going forward. However both these actions were slower than on the Kindle.

On the action of changing fonts, the Nook gives options on various fonts while the Kindle offers none. There is a downside though. Due to the increased complexity of the menus and lengthy refreshes of the book when you change the fonts, it takes 20-40 seconds for the Nook to display the new fonts. This occurs when changing both the font types and sizes. There is a dedicated button to fonts on the Kindle 2. it has a 5-way controller which allows you to select a new font size.

It takes about a second or two for the refreshed page to reflect the new changes. The 2.3 software update allows you to change between portrait and landscape modes. For me to do this and also navigate a few rows down on the menu, it took a total of 3 seconds.

I am not satisfied with the menu and the controls on the Nook. I find them difficult to use. It is true that the Nook is aiming for a higher degree of excellence but it is unable to execute.

I personally found it difficult to consistently correctly select using the touch screen. Swiping of the book covers doesn’t work well and the structure of the menu is disorganized. When I unwrapped my Kindle in March 2009, it took a little navigating for me to figure out the common operations.

I have invested half an hour with a Nook and I am not confident on how to navigate the reader. I am perplexed when listed items, such as the library management page (which is the same at the Kindle’s “Home screen”), can only move up and down from the touch screen. Page up and down controls do not function.

You could be looking at one spot but the controls want you to be at a different spot in order to manipulate them. The touch screen is narrow and with my thick fingers, I have to very keen to touch exactly what I need to. It is not the best experience.

While comparing Kindle vs Nook, it was clear that the Nook has a better contrast level on its screen. The print is clear with a light background and darker print. This works in favor of the Nook. The two devices are of the same weight and dimensions but the Nook is less lengthy and a little thicker.

It’s my perspective while comparing Kindle vs Nook that most who use these devices do not notice any variance in size or mass. I like to Tweet using the device (I have no iPhone and my Kindle is my portable connection) and love the keyboard. I think even if the Nook adds a web browser it will probably have a soft keyboard which would make it difficult to type in web addresses.

In a comparison of Kindle vs Nook I recommend against purchasing Nook 1.0. I personally have never bought Kindle 1.0 or any other gadget 1.0 because I prefer if other people break them in and discover any problems first.

I would only be interested after these problems have been fixed. I do not believe the $259 is value for money to get the Nook 1.0. Most of the problems with the device can be potentially fixed by software (like the B7N demo I used had 1.1.0 version). The Kindle’s 2.3.0 update significantly improved the device and such an update could enhance the Nook. If I was an undecided consumer, I would wait until B&N update the Nook 1.0 before I give over the cash.

Away from the comparison of the Kindle vs Nook, I would like to end with one point. Talk is floating around that Apple iTable or future applications are going to be available on the Nook because of the Android operating system. I consider it a strength and not a failure that the Kindle, Nook and Sony Reader are general purpose devices.

Even though the Kindle has a web browser, the device does one thing really well, and that is to display text to enable you to read. This device is supposed to let you sit down and read. It is possible to Tweet or check your email but it is not fun nor your first choice to do so on the Kindle as you would with a laptop, iPhone or Blackberry. This device was made to let you sit on the couch, on the beach or the seat of an airplane and read. I have enough reading material on my device that could keep me busy for two months and I would still have 1.1 gigabytes free for more.

A tablet or adding more applications to these devices wouldn’t do it for me. I am a reader and I enjoy reading but you wouldn’t known that about me in the past decade because I didn’t read for pleasure. Having this device has allows me to read and do nothing else which is a plus for me. My current needs would not be met by an e-ink version of a laptop or an iPhone.

Final score: Comparing Kindle vs Nook I prefer the Kindle but would prefer it to have a good contrast like that of the Nook. The latter has a lot of potential but I seriously recommend waiting for the software to be updated and improved before handing over your $259 to B&N.

I hope my comparison of Nook vs Kindle will also assist you in making a decision.