Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight review

Price when reviewed

US book giant Barnes & Noble is bringing its entire range of ebook readers to the UK this year, and it looks a formidable line-up. The first product of this new wave is the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight, which aims to take on Amazon at its own game.

You might think it was onto a bit of a loser here – after all, the Kindle range is now synonymous with whole concept of ebook readers. However, it does have a weapon in its armoury the Kindle can’t yet call on (at least until Amazon brings its Kindle Paperwhite to the UK): a built-in light for reading in the dark.

Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight

Hold down the small “n” button set into the device’s lower screen bezel, and after a couple of seconds the screen is bathed in soft, white light, courtesy of eight tiny LEDs built into the device’s top edge. The light can be adjusted in intensity, and according to Barnes & Noble doesn’t impact on battery unduly.

With the light switched on, it says battery life is reduced from two months to one month (at an average of 30 minutes reading per day), and so far we haven’t found any reason to take issue with that claim. After a full week of reading for around 1hr 30mins per day, with the light on for a fair proportion of that time, the battery hadn’t yet dipped below 50%.

Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight

It’s incredibly useful, not only for reading in bed, but also in other situations where the ambient light isn’t ideal, and we found it to be less tiring on the eyes than a backlit tablet screen. That isn’t the end of the Nook’s talents though. It’s also equipped with an infrared touchscreen, just like the Kindle Touch, and, in a bout of one-size-fits-all generosity, supplements this with a pair of physical buttons set into the bezel on each side of the screen.

Design, display quality and performance

Physically, the Nook is one of those devices that divides opinion. Some people will like its squat profile, rounded corners, and soft-plastic, scooped-out rear; others will point out, quite rightly, that it isn’t particularly slim at 11.4mm, and looks a little toy-like in comparison to the Kindles.


Screen size6.0in
Resolution600 x 800
Colour screenno
eBook screen-refresh time0.7 seconds


Integrated memory2.0GB
Memory-card typemicroSD


Dimensions16.7 x 11.4 x 165mm (WDH)

File format support

Plain textno
Microsoft Wordno

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