Barnes & Noble Simple Touch 6" eBook Reader (BNRV300)

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Overall, the best e-reader for the price

Feb 22, 2012 (Updated Feb 23, 2012)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Simple to use and best overall rounded e-reader in the market

Cons:3g unavailable.
No pdf/mp3/audio-book support.

The Bottom Line: This is the best value e-ink reader in the market right now.  With microSD support, you can carry all your books in this device.


Before you go down the path of choosing an e-reader, one needs to ask themselves what they are looking for.  In the current market, there are two major categories of e-readers and they fall into the following two categories.

1. Solely for reading books/magazines
2. Cheap tablet

If you are looking for the latter, then nook touch is not your choice.  But I think you should really read what I have to say.  Because looking at LCD screen all day hurts my eyes.  LCD screens are certainly easier on my eyes then old glass CRT but even so, my eyes get tired after a long day.  When I started reading a book with my HP Touchpad with bright screen in the lowest light setting at night, I realized that it was not helping me relax.  So I decided to go buy an e-ink based reader.

So why e-ink?  E-ink offers two things.
1. Easier on your eyes.  Probably the biggest reason is there is no backlight.  So you are not staring into the bright screen.
2. Very long battery life.  That's because unlike LCD, e-ink screens does not take energy to display.  Once a screen is displayed, it's stuck.  So the only time e-ink based reader really uses battery is when you are changing displays.  Also, lack of backlight is a great energy saver.

So why do you need both tablet and e-reader?  Simply put, e-ink is much easier on your eyes.  Perhaps you may not care, but coming from someone who had Lasik surgery done over a decade ago and spent great deal of $ and certain amount of risk going blind, this matters.  So that said, if you choose that you want to still buy an all-in-one solution because the screen doesn't bother you, you want to only have one device, or you don't have money and having something that can play video or play games is important, then this is not your device.

If you choose that e-ink is better for you, then your next choice is which e-ink based e-reader is your choice?

Your option really falls into three.
Amazon's kindle
Barnes and Noble's Nook
Other (Sony e-ink reader is probably the most famous)

Amazon and B&N provides a whole eco system.  What I mean by eco system is unlike a stand alone device, nook and kindle both offer wide variety of services.  All the way from simply clicking a button to buying a book to going online to borrow a book from your library.  If you wander why nobody in US wants to buy anything but Nook and Kindle, that's because for most, buying a e-reader without the eco system is like buying a GPS without maps.  And as a result, companies with eco system is motivated to keep your device running.  If your kindle has a problem (1st year), Amazon will mail you a replacement overnight.  If your nook has problems, you walk into B&N and they will help you or replace a Nook.  Both of these companies want to keep your device running to keep their business going by buying more books and subscribe to news papers.  Thus buying from others doesn't make sense.

So your chice comes down to Nook and Kindle.  Which is your choice?
Price:
All Kindle device comes with two options.  Ad supported vs. Add-free.  Ad supported devices are discounted $30+.  Ad supported cheapest Kindle is cheaper then nook simple touch, while ad-free version of the same is more expensive.

Versions:
B&N's only e-reader is Nook Simple Touch at $99.  While Kindle has  Kindle ($79 with ad), Kindle touch ($99), Kindle touch 3g ($149), and Kindle keyboard 3g ($139).  Kindle gets a bit confusing.  But the most simplar is Kindle touch.  If you want 3G (you don't have wifi or like to travel and subscribe to newspapers), then 3G is probably an attractive option.

Kindle touch vs. Nook simple touch:
There are many articles that compares between the two.  And I can simplify these two choices for you.

If you are OK with wifi (most of us are) then Nook touch is the choice for most.
Price - Though Kindle touch costs the same, you will get ads.  Ad free version will cost you another $40
Faster page turns - Many reviews, and B&N, claims that page turn is faster on Nook.  This may seem trivial but when you actually use your e-reader and go through pages fast, this can be painful.
Expandable storage - Nook provides a micro-sd slot.  Now you may say "Amazon has cloud".  But who wants to download a book when you can simply get it from your local storage
Better interface - I had a quick glance at Kindle touch and interface on Nook is better.

So why would I buy Kindle:
- You must have a PDF reader.  Although many have said reading pdf is not a great idea.  But there are books in DRM pdf version.
- You need to play mp3 on your reader.  (Kindle can play mp3.  Although this will most likely drain your batter much faster.  Since I have two smart phones (iphone4s and Android) on me at all times, this doesn't really matter.
- You want to play audio books.  Again, I feel that my phones will take this.

Finally the 3G version, as mentioned earlier may be something you may have a real need for.  For me, I don't care.

About some people's comments about why e-readers are waste of time.
Some people have a comment that books are pricey and you can find it cheaper.
Goal of e-reader isn't to give it to you cheap.  If you want cheap, then your best option is to get a book from library.  Both Nook and Kindle support borrowing from many libraries.   My town's library (and surrounding towns as well) suports loaning out to Nook and Kindle.

Next, what about the books you own?
Another reader complained about lack of ability to copy books over. Migrating from one nook to another is automatic by unregistering/re-registering nook.  If you own your own books, the best application to manage is a tool called calibre.  It's the best e-book management and will upload to most e-readers including nook and kindle.

Accessories?
I paid $15 for a cover on clearance.  Seems like there are plenty of choices ranging from $8 (clearance) to $100 designer covers.  Some people may choose to want the $15 led night light.  For me, I have an overhead dimmable light above each side of our bed so no need for it.  The other option is extended warranty.  Though I really didn't care, my wife bought it for me because I am a clumsy.  So the total cost was $114 ($99 + $15)  + tax.  I walked out of  B&N and they handed me couple of sheets of instruction on how to register my device online.

So why I would not buy paper books.
- Paper is bad for the environment
- Paper is bulky
- Your nook will last you 2 months or ~60 hours
- Have you ever tried to buy a book and it's nowhere to be found?  Well, this solves your problem

In short:
Comparing E-reader to books is like comparing IPod to CDs.  You may lose few things but the fact that you can have all of your collection in one location is a big gain.

Nook simple touch is the best choice unless you have a real need for one of more of these items below
- Suport for PDF and other formats
- Audio books
- 3G network (no access to wifi and 3g works in your area)
- Tablet that can do it all
- Can't afford $99 and willing to live with ads and no touch


Recommend this product? Yes


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