and Kindle too.
The Nook and Kindle side by side.
My cup runneth over. Two days after my wife bought me a NOOKcolor (or is that a nookCOLOR?) for Christmas I won a Kindle via an online contest over at Publetariate. (Thanks again, April Hamilton). When I told Cyndi I won a Kindle there was a pregnant pause from the other room, then a rather terse, “Isn’t that one of those ereaders?” I knew the unasked question – Should I take the NOOKc back? (Nooksee? – really, something has to change here in the name department.) Before she could even form the words I let her know I still wanted a NOOKY for Christmas.
Why? she wanted to know.
Because, while they are both ereaders, they both fill two separate niches, and this way I would be able to compare them. She gave a very doubtful “un-huh” but like a trooper did not tamper with the gifts under the tree. So for Christmas this year I got both a NOOK-C and a Kindle.
Now that I’ve had them both for a few days I can tell you I like the Kindle – but I love the NOOK.
Both do an admirable job in the ebook reader department. More on that later.
The Kindle is substantially lighter than the NOOK. Sore, Kindle.
The NOOK has a backlit display, which is supposed to be hard on your eyes and can’t be read in bright sunlight. The Kindle has an eInk display, which can be read in bright sunlight (something I virtually never do) and looks kind of dull. Despite all the talk, that eInk background is not white and the Nook looks much more page-like. It’s not white either, but the backlighting makes the black letters stand out from the background much more like in a book. Plus, the NOOK has a very high resolution display that I think more than makes up for the eInk display in the eye fatigue department. Let’s call it a draw.
The NOOK color display makes for a fantastic web browsing experience. This really is a tablet, a palm sized alternative to the iPad. As good as an iPad? Probably not, unless you factor in the price. If you do, I think the NOOK actually wins in the web browsing arena. The NOOK’s small size ensures you can pack it along anywhere whereas the iPad’s size is kind of awkward for a mobile device. (The iPad still wins in the tablet computer department for the other stuff it does so well, but this is not a NOOK vs. iPad post.) And the Kindle as a web browser? Well let’s just say, Score NOOK!
Mad Utopia on the Nook
The Kindle is encumbered with buttons buttons, everywhere buttons. It has a real keyboard vs the NOOKsee’s virtual keyboard. The virtual keyboard is a pain in the rear to use. It seems to be overly sensitive meannnnnnnnnnnnniing you might type words like that, or worse, passwords where you can’t even see what you’ve •••••••• but you know it’s three characters too long. The NOOKy needs a virtual keyboard upgrade, like pronto.
But the Kindle’s real keyboard is nothing to write home about. Yes, it has real keys, and you tend to get what you type. But it is a keyboard sans numbers, which means looking for the books Child 44 or 1984 can be a real challenge. You can do it. There is a Sym key (for symbols), but this brings up a little virtual keyboard on the Kindle which you select numbers and symbols from by moving the cursor around over them with the “5 way” controller and then hitting the big middle button on it. Think, typing with a joystick. No joy. Right now I’d have to call the keyboards a draw.
Then there is the whole touch screen thing. NOOK has it. Kindle doesn’t. Once you use a touch screen hand-held device you find you try touching other devices (like the Kindle) to try and make menu selections and turn the page. For touch screen – NOOK, score score score Score SCORE!
Come on, how hard can it be to change the page on the Kindle with the handy buttons right under your thumbs?
Uh, actually too easy. Call me fumble fingers, but I tend to hit those damned buttons inadvertently and suddenly find myself on the next page, or the last. Worse still, I sometimes hit the cluster of keys below the screen (ok, I shift around a lot while I’m reading, so my hands change position a lot) and God knows where that will take you. You can hit the menu key and suddenly be presented with a menu you don’t want, one of the arrow keys on the “5 way” and get thrown to the start of the next or previous chapters (trust me, I’ve done both), or the Home key and be thrown completely out of the book you are reading (been there, done that too). Everything I’ve ever read about reading and writing says you never want to throw your reader out of the story. Alas, with the Kindle that is all too easy to do. This does not happen to me on the NOOKy. It is much harder to accidentally swipe for a page change.
Why is this? Because the NOOK-C is not encumbered with all those stinking buttons. I can hold the NOOK much more naturally, as if holding a book, than I can the Kindle. Yes, I could get used to the Kindle with but a little practice. But I don’t have to practice holding a book – not since my mom convinced me using crayons while reading was a no-no. To me the NOOKcolor just feels much more natural, albeit, just a tad on the heavy side.
So who wins the NOOKc vs Kindle debate? That, my friend is going a to a matter of personal preference. Right now I’ll cast my lot with the NOOK. If they fix that virtual keyboard it would win hands down. Still, I’ll keep the Kindle too.