Fondle: Barnes & Noble Nook Touch

All photos taken July 1, 2011.

Finally I was able to get to a Barnes & Noble and see what everyone has been writing about: the Nook Touch.

Here it is, being touched by my flesh!


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And of course I had to go there:


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Not having the time to read Larsson’s trilogy continues to torment me. B&N didn’t help by having that on the Nook Touch I was trying.

Now here are photos you won’t see anywhere else. I brought along my original Sony Reader PRS-500 cardstock brochure. It’s the actual size of that device. So, you’re seeing a size comparison between the first gen of eInk device and the latest:


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Without glare:


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Aligned left to compare width:


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Overlapped to compare height:


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When I saw the PRS-500 for the first time, I thought it was the perfect size for a device. I thought tablet computers — what were then still PDAs — should be that size.

Well, today we have a new size champ: the Nook Touch!

Despite how it looked to me in photos — all boxy and squarish and bleh — in person it’s really impressive.

It has a rich feel, doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy, doesn’t feel disposable, and, really, it just tops what Sony has done with its Reader line. It also makes the current Kindle 3 feel like utter crap.

Barnes & Noble again scores big in the industrial design department. They’re three-for-three now, with every single Nook! They’ve really roared out of nowhere with this.

And here I am paging through Larsson (wait for it!):


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OK, what’s that? Can you see it in the photo? It’s the ghost in the machine!


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More of the ghosting:


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If you can see that, it’s really noticeable when you hit blank expanses of a page, as above.

Here I try out some type sizes:


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The smallest size:


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Now that seems like a damn traditional book. I envy all of you with younger eyes who can still deal with that text size! Being able to have that much text on a screen at once would be wonderful to me.

Two close-ups of the text:


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More shots of the ghost (some get blurry; damn my camera!):


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I highlight these to let you know. Did I find this to be a PITA and overall distracting from the experience of reading? No. But I wonder if this is something that might get worse over the life of the screen? My suggestion to Barnes & Noble is to follow Kobo’s lead: Add a Setting so people can control the page refresh buffering. Some people might want it every page. Others, every four pages. Most people will probably keep it at six.

Speaking of that delayed flashing: I like it! So much so that when the full refresh happens, I hardly even noticed it happening! And that full refresh? It’s the fastest I’ve yet seen on any eInk device.

Let me pause here to address the hardware. The microSD card door is as good as any. Such a small door really can’t be made like armor. But I don’t think most people will be opening it much, so they won’t worry about it. Those of you who plan to root the device — be very, very careful with that door!

Reviewers mentioned the stiffness of the buttons. Well, buttons are a funny beast. If you make them sensitive, they tend to activate when you don’t want them to: Like while your Nook Touch is in your bag and being bumped by other objects. Given what the reviewers all said, I really expected to have the Nook Touch tilt in my hand as I held it while applying button pressure. Once you find the thumb spot for the buttons, you’ll be good. The device will not rock in your hand.

The indent on the back is really a nice touch too. It makes your fingers bend, instead of forcing them to splay out over a flat back. Whoever thought of this little touch is a genius. It will also prevent the Nook Touch from just sliding out of your hand.

Now, back to the fondle!

Here is my blog!


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That’s the mobile skin WordPress puts on it. Let me tell you, there are only two words to describe this browser adequately: speedy and shitty.

Speedy in that it really built the desktop version of my blog (coming up) fast. I mean impressively fast.

Shitty in that trying to press the damn link that would show me the desktop version was a royal pain in the ass. But finally, I got:


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And, lo, the full desktop version of my blog!


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The browser really isn’t supposed to be there, so Barnes & Noble isn’t to be faulted for it being so shitty. But just how shitty is it? Let me show you!


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Button mapping is inexcusably bad! It’s combined the two buttons into one. No way could I hit Home. In addition, but not pictured, it was showing such button mapping highlights in the graphic of that post too — where there are no buttons!

But none of you really care about this crap browser anyway. The general public will be happily reading. The rest of us will be busily rooting — and putting in a real browser!

Here I have tried out highlighting with a Note:


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Selecting text perfectly will take a wee bit of practice, I saw. But I’d rather do that with a fingertip than having to — cough, cough, Sony! — pull out a damn stylus.

This is what an opened Note looks like:


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I was trying to stay on a schedule, with limited time, so I didn’t think to try to grab some text to actually Copy and put inside a Note.

Here is dictionary lookup:


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And you book-reading lot should drop to your knees in gratitude to Barnes & Noble for allowing you to control how an eBook looks (cue eBook and traditional print book designers ripping out their hair!). This is Larsson’s book with the Publisher Default switched on:

I just don’t know how the hell they expect anyone to want to read that. It’s so fugly — cramped and squished and the text is fugly and just Ewwwww.

So, yeah, all of you people out there designing eBooks thinking they will look as you’ve made them: Get that idea out of your head.

Three gens of Nook, a family portrait:


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And look at this:


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Here, let me do a zoom crop for you:


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Taking a page from the Apple Store, B&N offers Nook Class! What better way to meet hot reading chicks? (Although I’d stay away from the ones who read Romance. They will likely sexually kill you to death!)

So, if you can’t tell by now, I bloody loved the Nook Touch! I think Barnes & Noble has just kicked the asses of both Sony and Amazon. (I leave out Kobo because I’ve yet to fondle their latest.)

I want one! Now to find a way to feed the damn Cats of Doom less…

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10 Comments

Filed under Barnes & Noble Nook

10 responses to “Fondle: Barnes & Noble Nook Touch

  1. I don’t know…if I get a nook it will be the nook color. The sales d00d couldn’t recommend anything having to do with rooting, but there has to be an android tablet that is as sexy as the ipad. The nook color could be that tablet (unless there is a kindle color tablet that comes out and is affordable).

    btw, we just got 2 kittens so I feel your pain. They are still not as expensive as a 10 year old child….wanna trade?

    • mikecane

      No children!

      What the NookColor has going for it is its cheeeeep price: $250. Yet it feels like a quality product and has iPad-like snap to it. And rooting can boost it to, I think, as high as 1.3GHz. If i was looking for a 7″ tablet today, that’d be my choice. At least I wouldn’t feel *too* bad if Amazon announced its own tablets a week or two later. I wouldn’t have sunk in that much money.

  2. Darwin

    The screen on this and most readers is too small. You are also locked into B&N’s books. Thats why I prefer an iPad 2.

    • mikecane

      Not too small for me. Not too small to be a book. Different purposes, iPad vs Nook/eInk devices. As for the Nook, you must have missed all my Nook Touch rooting posts here. Too bad.

    • NookLuser

      You write: “…The screen on this and most readers is too small. You are also locked into B&N’s books. Thats why I prefer an iPad 2…”

      Not so, friend! 1) ‘Small screen’ will be a matter of personal preference, of course, but this device is about as handy as a paperback book, in my opinion. 2) I am a happy Nook Touch owner who never intends to buy an ebook from B&N. There is no ‘lock-in’. I am quite happy with reading epubs from gutentext and other sources, especially including text brought in from the net via Plucker / Calibre, ‘print-to-PDF’, and Calibre PDF conversions. It’s as easy to add reading material to the Nook as it is to move files to a thumbdrive.

      Also, you must try e-ink. It is amazing technology. It does just as well on the patio in the afternoon as in the bedroom just before shutting off the reading lights.

      (caveat: the Nook Touch native PDF viewer is stupid. It can’t zoom. Not everything will be readable this way.)

  3. Pingback: Fondle: HP Touchpad | The Digital Reader

  4. I have an iPad, but due to an anti-aliasing bug, text looks really shitty on it in comparison with the beautifully crisp text of the Nook Color. I saw a Nook Color for the first time months ago, and I can hardly bear to read on my iPad since. I think Apple could fix the problem with a software update, but doing so is apparently not high on the list.

    I would buy a Nook Color, except that it reportedly has abysmal battery life. That means my next reader should be a Nook Touch or a Kobo Touch. I wish I could find a direct comparison to see which offers the best reading experience. I recently bought the older Kobo, and was hugely disappointed by the lack of within-the-book navigation features. With the old Kobo, it’s not worth the hassle of paging back to see if you misunderstood or missed a detail. When you encounter something incongruous, you just have to say “ah, fuck it,” and keep going on.

    What’s this about being locked into B&N books? Mike, can’t we load normal EPUBs on the Nook Touch? That’s my number one requirement for an e-reader, that it accept EPUBs.

    • mikecane

      Yes, the B&N Nooks can use ePubs from anyone. But the trap is that anything you buy from B&N basically stays within B&N due to the DRM that few others have licensed (Aldiko is one of the few that has, perhaps Bluefire Reader too). That’s why they make a point of calling them all Nookbooks and not eBooks. It’s not simple branding, it’s legal: “Well, they’re Nookbooks. To be read on a Nook.” If you think the text on an iPad is bad, stay away from the HP TouchPad. It will sear your eyes. As for the new Kobo Touch, I think the touchscreen alleviates the problem you had. You can call up a slider to easily page back now. I haven’t yet been able to fondle a Kobo Touch.

  5. NookLove

    I purchased the Nook Touch 3 days ago. I had agonized over ipad, kindle, nook color and decided to jump in blind not knowing much about the Touch. I could return it within 14 days–no questions ask. I have to tell you that it has changed my life–no really! I quit reading several years ago because I could no longer hold a book for more than a few minutes. If you want to read–not surf the web or play games but read–really read–then this is the best device out there. I want a cover with a built in light–pronto!!

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