Kindle WiFi vs Nook WiFi

This is going to be pretty similar to the Kindle 3 vs Nook review since Kindle WiFi, Nook WiFi are just 3G-less, cheaper, lighter versions of Kindle 3 and Nook.

The Kindle WiFi is for $139 and Nook WiFi is for $149.

The Nook WiFi came out recently (it arrived around July 1st) and unlike the Nook (which is going to be succeeded by the Nook 2 soon) there is no upgrade planned for the Nook WiFi. This makes Kindle WiFi vs Nook WiFi a comparison that might be valid through the end of 2010.

Kindle WiFi vs Nook WiFi – Where does mini Nook win?

Nook WiFi wins in a decent number of areas –

  1. Nook WiFi lets you read library ebooks if they are in DRMed ePub format. This is, in my opinion, its biggest advantage. Combine it with public domain books and the $149 price and it’s perfect for the thrifty reader.  
  2. There is this somewhat mysterious ebook format called ePub. It’s supposed to be very good because all stores other than Kindle Store use it. Nook WiFi supports ePub. If, at some future point of time, Kindle Store is no longer the best ebook store then ePub support will come in handy.
  3. ePub support also means that books bought in the Sony Reader Store, on, and on can be read on the Nook. Again, the best store is the Kindle Store and the 2nd best store is Nook store so not sure how much of a benefit this is.
  4. Each Nook book can be lent out to one (and only one) of your lucky friends once, for a period of 14 days, and this half-baked translation of lending is called LendMe. It’s a great and somewhat limited feature and some people find it marvellously exciting.
  5. You won’t have to wait till August 27th for the Nook WiFi (something you will have to do for the Kindle WiFi).
  6. In addition to the 6″ eInk screen Nook WiFi has a delightful 3.5″ color touchscreen for navigation and for thumbing through book covers. Since its eInk companion screen operates at a different speed and Nook’s software is a bit sluggish the touchscreen tends to be a bit painful to work with.
  7. If you like to carry large files, or more than 3,500 books, or like the freedom of being able to use SD cards the Nook WiFi has an SD card slot.
  8. It’s quite pretty. The Kindle WiFi is attractive and the Nook is pretty. Kindle WiFi is in graphite and Nook is in white with a thin black border around the screen.  
  9. If you tend to worry about Murphy’s Law or happen to be rather unlucky around batteries then the Nook WiFi’s replaceable battery is probably a big plus. Note that eReader batteries rarely fail and at the same time it’s nice to have a backup ready.  
  10. B&N lets you do a lot of stuff at their stores – You can browse any ebook for free for up to an hour per day. It’s a bit strange since you could just browse physical books – at the same time it gets you to go out to the store more often. There are also occasional free book offers.
  11. B&N Stores are also a good place to try out the Nook WiFi and see all the designer and non-designer covers for it.
  12. Nook WiFi has Sudoku and Chess and they’re fun if you want to take a break from reading.

If you think Apple’s cover flow for album covers is pretty you get to ‘cover flow’ book covers on the Nook WiFi’s small color touchscreen. If you love the promise and openness of Android you’ll be excited to hear Nook is built on it and there are Internet sites that have various unofficial hacks and apps for Nook.

Overall, it’s an adorable little eReader and until the Kindle WiFi arrived it was the Crown Prince of the sub $150 eReader market.

Kindle WiFi vs Nook WiFi – Where they’re all tied up

Given that they’re both WiFi based eReaders with eInk screens and an aversion to non-reading it’s understandable that they cancel each other out in lots of areas –

  1. They both use eInk which means both are excellent for reading and terrible for everything else.  
  2. The prices are similar – Nook WiFi is $149 and Kindle WiFi is $139.
  3. You can start a book on the Kindle WiFi, continue it on your work PC (on the Kindle for PC App), continue reading it on your Blackberry on the train (on the Kindle for Blackberry App), and then finish it off at home on your iPad (on the Kindle for iPad App). Nook and Kindle both have Apps that let you read books across other platforms – PC, Mac, Blackberry, iPhone, iPad, and Android.  
  4. You can rotate the screen. This is software based and not accelerometer based.  
  5. There’s WiFi on both in case the WiFi in the names escaped your attention. AT&T lets you browse the ebook stores and download books for free at all its WiFi hotspots but it won’t let you surf the Net. On other WiFi networks (including on your home WiFi network) you can use the browser.
  6. Neither has 3G support.
  7. They both have solid browsers (though for Kindle WiFi it’s an assumption that most probably will turn out to be accurate).
  8. You can link multiples Kindles (or Nooks) to 1 Amazon (or B&N) account and share books. A single book can be shared amongst at most 5 (sometimes 6) devices.

Both are perfectly able (and willing) eReaders and you’ll be happy with either. The question the rest of this Kindle WiFi vs Nook WiFi post will try to answer is – Which one will you be happier with?

Kindle WiFi vs Nook WiFi – Where the Kindle WiFi shines

While the releases of the Kindle WiFi and Nook WiFi are just two months apart the Kindle WiFi has a big advantage as it has the latest generation eReader technology and features –

  1. Kindle WiFi ships with the devilishly handsome eInk Pearl screen. It has 50% better screen contrast than the Kindle 2 screen and is probably 35% better (screen contrast wise) than the Nook WiFi screen. It doesn’t hurt that the graphite casing on the Kindle WiFi plays up the screen contrast. This is one of Kindle WiFi’s big comparative strengths. Do check out the videos on the Kindle DX 2 Video page to see what eInk Pearl looks like and why it’s such a big advantage. 
  2. While the Nook WiFi is 11.6 ounces (328 grams) the Kindle WiFi comes in at a mere 8.5 ounces. The Nook WiFi is 7.7″ by 4.9″ by 0.5″ and the Kindle WiFi is 7.5″ by 4.8″ by 0.335″ – it’s much thinner. These are important advantages when carrying around an eReader or reading for hours.
  3. The mini Kindle is also easier to use as the mini Nook is a bit confusing due to the slightly inelegant combination of the slow eInk screen with the fast touchscreen.
  4. The Kindle WiFi has a significant advantage as it has both Text to Speech and Accessibility (neither of which the Nook has). You can have books and documents read to you (not PDF files though). You can also turn on the Voice Guide feature and have menus, book descriptions, and book listings read out to you. Note that Publishers sometimes (40-60% of the time) turn off the Text to Speech feature for their books.
  5. While both Kindle and Nook have PDF support the Kindle has edged ahead recently by adding the ability to search PDFs and to add highlights and notes.
  6. In terms of prices there are two categories of books – Those published by the Agency Model Publishers (all the big Publishers except Random House) and those published by everyone else. Agency Model books are the same price everywhere. Some portion of non-Agency Model books are cheaper in the Kindle Store than they are in the Nook store.
  7. Kindle Store has also managed to corral up more new book releases.
  8. Nook hasn’t focused as much on speed improvements and software and it’s a bit sluggish at times. Page turns are also faster on the Kindle.
  9. Kindle WiFi has a useful folders-like feature called Collections that lets you arrange your books into these ‘collections’. It’s pretty handy. Nook hasn’t added this yet.
  10. Kindle WiFi is available in lots and lots of countries and it supports CJK fonts and Cyrillic fonts.
  11. Kindle WiFi has rather impressive battery life – a month with wireless off and 10 days with wireless on. Nook WiFi has 10 days battery life with wireless off.

There are a few other Kindle WiFi advantages –

  • Amazon added a couple free word puzzle games this week and there might be a Kindle App Store arriving soon. It might add some tangible value to Kindle ownership.
  • Kindle WiFi supports Audible format audiobooks which Nook WiFi doesn’t.
  • It has a physical keyboard – though there is no row for number keys.
  • B&N is trying to sell itself to its CEO – It’s even more convoluted than it sounds.
  • Kindle WiFi has a microphone that might mean cool new features down the line.
  • Kindle has a larger largest font size.
  • Kindle supports .txt while Nook, for some strange reason, doesn’t.

By virtue of being a third generation eReader the Kindle WiFi thoroughly beats the Nook WiFi (which is a second generation eReader).

Kindle WiFi vs Nook WiFi Recommendation – Get a Kindle

It’s unfortunate for B&N that two months after it released Nook WiFi Amazon will be releasing a much improved and cheaper $139 Kindle WiFi.

The two critical weaknesses of the Kindle WiFi are its lack of support for Library eBooks and its lack of ePub support. The missing MicroSD card and not having the fancy helper touchscreen hurts a bit too.

If any of these are deal breakers for you then the Nook WiFi would be a better choice.

Kindle WiFi has some really strong features that make it the easy winner over Nook WiFi – 35% better screen contrast, extreme ease of use, more books and cheaper books, support for international languages, text to speech and accessibility, faster page turns, lower weight, and the ridiculously long battery life.

At $139 the Kindle WiFi is an absolute steal. It leaves every eReader priced below $170 far, far behind.

9 thoughts on “Kindle WiFi vs Nook WiFi”

  1. Actually, according to Amazon’s website, the battery life for the Kindle WiFi with the wireless turned on is 3 weeks, not 10 days (which is how long the 3G version lasts).

  2. I just rec’d a “NOOK” and need to know if I have to go to a WiFi place to set up my free WiFi? Also do I need to go to a WiFi place each time I want to check my e-mail or read a book? As you can see I’m not up on all this modern technology. Thanks…RLP

    1. R. L. Peck.

      Nook Color – only wifi. You need wifi to check email. To read books – you don’t. You can transfer files from your PC to your Nook using the USB cable.

      Nook – WiFi and 3G. 3G lets you shop from anywhere. You don’t need 3G to read – just to buy books. You will need WiFi to check email.

      Do you have a wireless router at home? If you do you can use that network. If not, then you need to find a WiFi place.

      REading a book – Wireless not needed. Checking email – needed.
      Buying a book – Nook has 3G. Nook Color doesn’t.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *