Nook GlowLight review

One of the biggest rivals to Amazon's Kindle range of eReaders is Barnes & Noble and the firm's new Nook GlowLight is cheaper and lighter than the Kindle Paperwhite. Here's our Nook GlowLight review. See our Best eReaders of 2014.

Ereaders are great but if you need an external light source to read properly. Those wanting to read in the dark – ie in bed without a lamp on – will need to buy a model with a back-light.

Read: Nook Simple Touch GlowLight.

Nook GlowLight review: Price

As the name suggests, the GlowLight is one of these and comes in at £89. That price makes it cheaper than Amazon's equivalent, the Kindle Paperwhite, which costs £109. However, if you look elsewhere you can pick it up for the same price as the GlowLight – Currys is one such retailer.

Nook GlowLight review

Nook GlowLight review: Design and build

Like the other Nook eReaders, the GlowLight has a pebble-like shape and a reasonably sized bezel around the edge of the screen. While it looks a bit chunky, you need the bezel to hold the device without touching the display.

It's fairly easy to hold the GlowLight one-handed like you would a phone as long as you don't have tiny hands. A rubber edging which runs around the entire device aids your grip and should help in accidental drops, too. It comes off fairly easy and this is because you can buy other colour bands.

In the fight with the Kindle Paperwhite, the GlowLight has weight on its side. It's Nook's lightest eReader to date at 175 g which makes it 31 g lighter than Amazon's backlit rival. It is a little thicker than the Kindle at 10.7 mm compared to 9.1 mm but it's really a noticeable difference.

Nook GlowLight review design

If you feel like reading in the shower or bath then the GlowLight is no good as it's not waterproof. Check out the Kobo Aura H2O if you want this kind of feature.

Nook GlowLight review: Hardware and performance

Like most eReaders, the GlowLight has a 6in screen and it matches the Paperwhite in terms of resolution at 758 x 1024. That means a pixel density of 212 ppi which is nice and crisp – higher than most eReaders. The screen is touch sensitive so this is how you turn pages or navigate the interface.

You can easily switch the back-light on and off by holding down the small physical 'n' button which sits below the screen. You can adjust the brightness too, and we've found that at night, the minimum is perfectly comfortable.
The GlowLight lights up evenly across the screen and although there is a slight shadow around the edge – mostly at the top – it doesn't interfere with the reading experience. There are range of fonts available to choose from and you can adjust the size of text depending on your eye sight.

On the storage front, the GlowLight has 4 GB of internal storage. There's 2.5 GB available for content and 2 GB reserved for Nook Store specific content. You can hold up to 2,000 books which should keep you going for a while.

The aforementioned Nook store can be browsed on the GlowLight itself and you can buy books straight from it to be downloaded over Wi-Fi. There's no 3G version available like the Amazon Kindles. As well as books from the store, you the device supports ePub and PDF formats. If you want you can also view jpg, gif, png and bmp files.

Nook GlowLight review store

The store has three million titles to choose from and you can continue reading on other devices with the free Nook Reading app available on iOS, Android and Windows 8. If anyone you know has a Nook or you can convince them to buy one, you can share content with LendMe which allows you to borrow eligible titles for up to 14 days at no extra cost.

Like other Nook models, there's a single-core 800 MHz processor inside and the GlowLight isn't the smoothest performer. You get that typical eReader flicker when the display changes what's being shown which isn't too bad when reading but can be a bit disorientating when browsing the store.

Page turns are fairly quick but the GlowLight struggles somewhat when loading a book initially, some parts of the settings and browsing the store. We often had to wait a few seconds for things to appear.

In terms of battery life, the GlowLight will last for 8 weeks worth of reading according to Barnes & Noble. That's with 30 minutes of reading per day,1 page refresh per minute, default brightness or the light off and wireless also switch off.

We've been using the GlowLight for a couple of weeks – mostly with the light on minimum brightness and wireless on – and we've used 40 percent of battery. This suggests a total battery life of five weeks. It charges with microUSB which is the same connector you'll find on most smartphones and tablets.

Nook GlowLight: Specs

  • Display: 6in E-Ink Pearl touchscreen with 768x1024 resolution, 16 level greyscale
  • Light: Built-in back-light
  • Storage: 4GB (2.5 GB for content)
  • Processor: 800 MHz single-core
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and micro USB
  • Supported files: ePub, PDF, JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP
  • Dimensions: 127 x 166 x 10.7 mm
  • Weight: 175g
  • Battery: 8-week battery life
  • Display: 6in E-Ink Pearl touchscreen with 768x1024 resolution, 16 level greyscale
  • Light: Built-in back-light
  • Storage: 4GB (2.5 GB for content)
  • Processor: 800 MHz single-core
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and micro USB
  • Supported files: ePub, PDF, JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP
  • Dimensions: 127 x 166 x 10.7 mm
  • Weight: 175g
  • Battery: 8-week battery life

OUR VERDICT

The Nook GlowLight is a decent eReader if you're looking for one with a backlight. It's lighter than Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite but its rival is available at the same price with more features.