Thursday, January 17, 2019

Review: Nook Glowlight Plus




Hello everyone, I'm going to be posting my video reviews and things like this on the blog from now on. I'll generally post the scripts, if they are available, on here so you can read if you're unable to watch. We'll be going through some older videos for the next couple of updates until we catch up with what I have prepared currently.

Review

When it comes to being an author, you may think one of my favorite pastimes is reading, and you’d be right. And my favorite way to read is with ebooks. Now, we can have a long discussion about preferences, whether print is better than digital, or how a physical book never requires charging or loading. What I can say about ebooks is that we're spoiled for choice and price.

I have nearly 400 ebooks, and I probably paid full-price on 5 or 6 of them.

So, let me tell you about a dedicated e-reader worth your time, the Nook Glowlight Plus. A water-resistant e-reader from Barnes & Noble, and it’s the best value for your money, even compared to the Kindle.

So, e-reader comes baked-in with a few concerns. What is the point of an ereader when everyone has a phone or iPad? Tablets allow for users to watch video, respond to emails, surf the web, and every retailer has apps that allow for reading. And let’s be honest, it’s more convenient to carry around one device that does it all instead of several.

I’ve done reading on my phones and tablets, and it wasn’t until this year I bought my Nook. Reading with e-ink reduces eye strain, since the e-ink technology emulates paper. This means the display is perfect during the day, and the backlight on the device can be adjusted to your preference.

And as someone who works on a computer all day, giving my eyes a rest is a huge plus.

Another thing to note is that e-ink displays have plateaued the past several years. What this means is that the quality of the displays are virtually identical among the major brands. The 300 DPI screen on the Glowlight Plus is the same for the Kindle, and the same as Kobo's offerings.

The big feature that the Plus has is that it's waterproof, which is what newer Kindle Paperwhites (2018) and Kobo e-readers have. The Glowlight Plus has an IP67 certification, which means it can be submerged underwater for up to 30 minutes down to a meter. Remember, that's freshwater, not saltwater, which will chew and destroy your electronics unless washed afterwards.

Now the Glowlight Plus doesn't work well underwater, due to the water pressure messing with the capacitive screen, but it can be easily dried and will work fine. Just make sure the USB port is dry before plugging into a wall charger.

Battery life on the Nook Glowlight Plus is a change of pace compared to phones and tablets, because e-readers can survive weeks on a single charge. This is because the battery is not used unless the screen is changing, the Wi-Fi is on, or the backlight is on. If you know how to turn the backlight off or low, only turning on Wi-Fi when downloading or purchasing new books, the Nook will last much longer. That can be about a month or a bit longer, depending on how often it is used.

I personally get around three weeks before reaching 30%-40% battery life based on my reading habits.

So we talked about the inside, let's talk about the outside. The Nook Glowlight Plus has one of my favorite looks of an e-reader. Most e-readers come in fashionable black, and that's it. The Glowlight Plus has white bezels with the diamond patterned grip make it distinctive and practical at the same time. The aluminum back can look copper or gold depending on the light.

I bought a leather sleeve case instead of a traditional cover because I liked the way the Glowlight Plus looked naturally.

Let's get to some issues people have with e-readers before wrapping this review up.

E-ink is great, but it is slow. Any e-reader has a slow refresh rate. This technology is the same among literally every e-reader on the market, because it's all the same technology with the same, or similar, parts. No manufacturer truly has an edge.

The screen can flicker when refreshing full pages. This used to be truly terrible a few years back, but now I don't notice it. If you're used to your phone or an iPad, it may take some getting used to.

The Barnes & Noble Nook store is another issue with some people. It doesn't inspire a lot of trust compared to the Kindle Store. In my experience of using my Nook, I've not found a true discernible difference. Honest. Due to Kindle Unlimited's scamming issues (rampant miscategorization, thinly-veiled erotica pretending to be genre fiction) and Amazon's lack of cleaning up their store, I find places like Apple Books, Nook, Kobo, and even Google Play to have a better selection, simply because there is less junk clogging categories.

I find the books I want, most newsletters, like Bookbub, deliver the same deals to all retailers. In Barnes & Noble's favor, they carry about the same amount of categories as someone would find on the Kindle Store, which I can't say for all the other retailers.

There are some cool things that only a Nook can do. If you bring your Nook Glowlight to a physical Barnes & Noble store, connect to their Wi-Fi, and your Nook can read any ebook in their catalog for free for one hour. This is a nice way to simulate how someone can take a book off the shelf and sit in the cafe to read it. The great thing about this feature is your Nook has access to books that the physical stores don't/can't carry.

Let's talk about price, because this is the important point that will determine if someone picks up an e-reader or not. The new Glowlight 3's and Kindle Paperwhites begin at $120. The price of an e-reader is an up-front cost, which consumers tend to shy away from. Really, you're buying the hardware and saving on the free and discounted ebooks, which blow physical book prices out of the water.

Here's what I like to add about the Glowlight Plus. It's no longer new. Barnes & Noble updates their e-reader, so the Glowlight Plus can only be found refurbished or used, typically on eBay. This is where I bought my Nook Glowlight Plus, and it came in perfect condition for $70. Last I checked, the prices have gone down since, hovering around $50-$60 on average.

That means you can pick up the Glowlight Plus for less than the price of a base Kindle, which honestly everyone should avoid, as it's so bare-bones that if someone started with it, they'll probably dislike e-reading.

At $60, I believe that the Glowlight Plus is the best budget e-reader on the market right now. Great hardware, features, and updates have made it easier to sideload content if you pick up DRM-free or DRM-removed content elsewhere. This is the best hardware for the best price, or you're looking to give one as a gift, the Nook Glowlight Plus is a great starter and all-around e-reader.

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