Review: Barnes and Noble Nook GlowLight

Barnes & Noble is still chugging along. The company may have lost some of its physical bookstores, but it continues to take aim at Amazon and Kobo for your e-reader dollars. Judging from its latest refresh, though, B&N may be out of ammunition.

The original Nook with GlowLight was the first e-reader with a light-up screen, letting you read in the dark without using an external light source. For a time, it was the best e-reader on the market. Then, Amazon and Kobo caught up.

Actually, they blew past the GlowLight with the Paperwhite and Aura, both of which had better light distribution, higher contrast screens, and better type control. The new GlowLight was supposed to help B&N regain that briefly-held e-reader crown with a lighter body, softer edges to cushion your fingers, and the removal of page flashes. Instead, if feels like a second generation e-reader competing in a third generation world.

But back to those new competitive features. Unlike the Paperwhite and Aura, which still refresh pages to remove text artifacts, the GlowLight uses e-ink’s latest display and a few tweaks to Barnes and Noble’s e-book OS to eliminate those tell-tale artifact-removing flashes. (Note: Images and OS menus that cover the page will still generate a flash to remove the burn in generated by a large element onscreen.) While reading with the light on or off, the feature still worked flawlessly. And each “page turn” was met with a clean set of words.

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