Just as the Amazon Kindle rules the basic button-based e-book reader landscape, experts say the Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch (*Est. $100) is the clear king of the hill on the touchscreen e-reader scene. Part of that dominance stems from the fact that Amazon discontinued the Kindle Touch in favor of the lit Kindle Paperwhite, leaving the non-lit touchscreen segment to the Nook. We discuss lit-screen e-readers elsewhere in this report.
Reviewers find a lot to like in the Nook Simple Touch, including its two-month battery life, smooth and easy-to-use touchscreen interface, and unobtrusive physical design, which feels ergonomic despite being larger and heavier than the Kindle. While experts say the Pearl E Ink technology is very good compared to most other e-book readers, they add that the Kindle's E Ink display slightly nudges out the Nook's, although it's a very close call. For all intents and purposes, you won't have any issue reading e-books on the Nook Simple Touch, and its page refresh rates are very competitive with the Kindle's.
The Nook Simple Touch delivers a near-flawless basic e-book reading experience, but it doesn't offer some of the more advanced bells and whistles found in more expensive versions of the Kindle. For example, there are no 3G, web browser or audio capabilities to speak of. However, it lacks the advertisements found in the Special Offer-enabled Kindle models and includes support for the ePub e-book format, which the Kindle lacks. The Barnes & Noble e-book library is just as vast as Amazon's; reviewers say you'll find virtually any title you search for.
If you want a touchscreen interface or ePub support and can tolerate the missing 3G, web browsing and audio features, critics say the Simple Touch is your best bet. "It's inexpensive, provides a fantastic reading experience, lasts an insanely long time, and accesses the giant Barnes & Noble library," PCMag.com reviewer David Pierce writes.