If you want a more natural-feeling interface than the basic button controls found on the Amazon Kindle (Est. $70 and up) , reviewers say the Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch provides an excellent touch-screen experience with a responsive E Ink display. Avid readers will also enjoy the Nook Simple Touch's organic-feeling design, expandable memory and ePub support, although it lacks some of the bells and whistles found in the Kindle family.
A top-notch touch-screen reader. Experts call the Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch's display just a hair less impressive than the Amazon Kindle's, but it's still crisp, clear and detailed, with fast page turns and refreshes. The streamlined interface also shines and battery life is rated for a whopping 2 months.
Focused on reading. While Amazon shoves a ton of extras into the Kindle, Barnes & Noble keeps the Nook Simple Touch relatively spartan with a handful of features focused more on the reading experience. Unlike the Kindle, the Nook Simple Touch includes support for virtually every ebook format out there, along with a micro-SD card slot for those who need additional storage. E-book lending is also supported.
Although the e-reader lacks the audio capabilities, web browser and 3G connectivity found in pricier versions of the Kindle, it also lacks its Special Offers lockscreen advertisements. The step-up Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight (Est. $120) adds top-lighting to the display for reading in the dark.
As good as it gets. Reviewers find that the touch-screen display makes entering text into forms a breeze and transforms ebook reading into a more natural experience. The Nook Simple Touch's screen may be slightly larger than the Kindle's, but critics say it feels better in your hand, being unobtrusive and organic-feeling to the point of almost melting away.
The interface also earns kudos, but you'll need to be connected to Wi-Fi to shop the Barnes & Noble bookstore. The Nook doesn't include 3G capabilities.
ConsumerReports.org includes the Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch in its comprehensive e-reader report. Testing is done and ratings are provided, but discussion is on the short side.
Review: E- book Reader Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
The hardware refresh of the Nook Simple Touch earns a rating of Excellent from Carnoy, and that was before an update brought battery and page speed improvements to the device. He says the Nook is better than the Kindle, although his comparison uses the 2010 version of Amazon's e-reader.
Review: Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch Reader Review (Wi-Fi), David Carnoy, Oct. 1, 2012
Lendino gives the Nook Simple Touch an Editors' Choice award and 4.5 stars out of 5, calling it cheap and light, with "a laser-sharp focus on the reading experience." The only major negative is a lack of 3G connectivity.
Review: Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch, Jamie Lendino, Nov. 29, 2011
4. Laptop Magazine
The Nook Touch earns a rating of 4 stars out of 5 and an Editors' Choice award here. This in-depth, multi-page review has plenty of discussion and pictures to explain Bradford's findings in detail. The e-reader's user interface and physical design are noted as particular improvements over previous models.
Review: Barnes & Noble Nook Touch Review, K.T. Bradford, June 1, 2011
Perenson calls the Nook Simple Touch one of the best e-readers available, but knocks off points for the "terrible button design and inconsistent contrast."
Review: Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch Adds Touchscreen, Improves Interface, Melissa J. Perenson, Nov. 22, 2011
This brief review describes Heater's impressions of the Nook Simple Touch after it receives a late 2011 software upgrade. Page-flipping speed is a bit faster, he says, but he couldn't test claims of a vastly improved battery charge. A video shows the new page-flipping improvements in action.
Review: Nook Simple Touch Upgrade Hands-on (Video), Brian Heater, Nov. 7, 2011
Before the Nook Touch's rechristening, Abell gives it 8 stars out of 10. Despite its poor low-light performance and "half-baked" social media integration, he says it's an excellent device in many ways. "The Nook is the first mechanism that has called me to read books for fun in ages," he adds.
Review: Barnes & Noble Nook, Black and White: The Nook Nails It, John C. Abell, June 15, 2011