Ebook readers

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Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight Review

Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight

Reviewer: Stephen Qualtrough
Developer: Barnes & Noble
Ranked: 5th
Overall rating:
Price: Free

Review summary

Good points

 Unique reading light

 Light and compact

 Great battery life

Bad points

 Storage is deceptive

 No 3G

 Poor search function

Our verdict

A superior ebook reader that introduces a unique soft light for low-light reading, and helps to make the GlowLight one of the top products in it’s field.

Full review

With the Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight, Barnes & Noble have removed one of the advantages that, up until now, tablets have had over ebook readers. With the introduction of the edge LED lighting, the Nook can be read in low light or darkness. So does this new feature raise this ebook reader to the top of the class? Let’s take a look in our review.


There are only a few small differences between the Nook Simple Touch GlowLight, and the Simple Touch. While the size is the same, measuring 6.5 x 5.0 x 0.47 inches, the GlowLight is 5% lighter than the Simple Touch, weighing only 6.96 ounces, which is an ounce lighter than the Kindle Touch.

The GlowLight is made of a rubber material that, like its predecessor, still has a tendency to attract quite a bit of dust. It’s a shame Barnes & Noble haven’t come up with a different material to use, as it also feels a little on the cheap side.

Along the top edge of the screen is a thin strip of LED lights, and this is provides the light source that allows you to use the ebook reader in the dark. The brightness of the light can be adjusted easily, so you can bring the intensity all the way down if for example, you don’t want to disturb someone else in the room. On the lowest setting it is a little hard to read, but this can be compensated for by enlarging the text size. Overall the reading light works very well, offering a subtle blue light that is ideal for long reading sessions, and is a huge advantage the GlowLight has over other ebook readers.

Ease of use

The E ink display on the Glowlight uses a 6 inch anti-glare touchscreen, that offers 600 x 800 pixel resolution with a 16 level greyscale. Text is slightly lighter than on other ebook readers such as the Kindle Touch, but this is not too much of a problem. Users have the option of six font faces and seven text sizes, plus you can adjust line spacing and margins for each book.

To turn a page on the Nook Simple Touch Glowlight, you can simply tap or swipe the touch screen the sides of touchscreen, or press the buttons at the side of the screen. The page turning is not quite as intuitive as on the Kindle Touch, but we found it to be much quicker and smoother on the GlowLight.

The on-screen keyboard works well, and allows for easy searches, highlighting passages or adding notes. Unfortunately the search function has the same issues as with previous Nooks, as searching for a phrase or term brings up results from the entire catalogue, rather than just books or magazines.


The Barnes & Noble e-book catalogue contains over 2.5 million titles, which is 1 million more than Amazon offer for the Kindle, although a large proportion of these are public domain books. The Nook Newsstand has over 40 newspapers and 240 magazines which you can digitally subscribe to. The shopping interface is simple and easy to navigate, Thanks to the touch screen, the interface for purchasing books is very easy to navigate.


Downloads are fast over Wi-Fi, and we managed to download Aravind Aviga’s The White Tiger in under 9 seconds. Barnes & Noble provide Wi-Fi free in store for all Nook users, and free Wi-Fi at over 24,000 AT&T hotspots in the U.S. Unfortunately there is no 3G capabilities, and we would like to see Barnes & Noble introduce this on future models.

Battery & storage

Barnes & Noble claim that the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight offers 2GB of internal storage, which should hold more than 1000 books. However, only 1GB of this storage is available for content, and 750MB is reserved exclusively for Barnes & Noble content. Fortunately, the GlowLight supports up to 32GB of microSD card storage, so if you do reach the storage limit, there is a solution.

We found the battery on the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight very impressive. We were concerned that the GlowLight feature could be a drain on the battery, but with the GlowLight on and the Wi-Fi turned off, there was no noticeable extra drain. You should be able to get up to one month of battery use in this mode, and up to two months if you aren’t using either the GlowLight or the Wi-Fi.


Compared to other ebook readers, the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight is fairly light on features, with no web browser, games or music on this device. That said, the main feature of this ebook reader is the GlowLight technology, which as we have discussed earlier, works very well and is a fantastic feature in itself.


Overall, the Barnes & Noble Simple Touch with GlowLight is a very impressive ebook reader. It lacks the 3G element of the Kindle Touch 3G, and the search function needs looking at in the future, but in almost every other department the Simple Touch with GlowLight matches it’s closest competitor. The unique GlowLight technology provides excellent low-light reading, and with fast page turns and good battery life, this is up there with the best devices on the market.

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