With Nook 2, B&N has left the Kindle behind and temporarily won the Kindle vs Nook contest.
Please Note: This Kindle vs Nook review will be updated when the Nook 2 actually ships and I get my hands on it.
There are basically two Kindle vs Nook comparisons now -
- Kindle 3 vs Nook 1 in the Dedicated eReader with 3G category. Kindle 3 wins this easily. Please check my Kindle vs Nook Review for a Kindle 3 vs Nook 1 comparison.
- Kindle WiFi vs Nook 2 in the $139 Dedicated eReader category. Nook 2 easily beats Kindle WiFi here. This post looks at Kindle WiFi vs Nook 2.
Kindle vs Nook in 2011 – Areas Nook Clearly Wins
- Value for Money – For the same $139 price, you get nearly all the features of the Kindle WiFi plus a touch screen.
- Touchscreen – While Sony made a hash of how it used touchscreen in an eReader, B&N has focused on making things simple. It seems to have worked.
- Compactness – Nook 2 is just 6.5″ by 5″ by 0.47″ which makes it small enough to fit in your pocket. Kindle WiFi is 7.5″ x 4.8″ x 0.335″ which makes it less compact (it’ll fit a jacket pocket but not a pant pocket).
- Better Battery Life – Battery life for Nook 2 is supposedly two months with WiFi off. Kindle WiFi has 1 month battery life with WiFi off. B&N uses the criteria of half an hour of reading per day – not sure what criteria Amazon uses. Note: With wireless on, both have the same battery life of 3 weeks.
- Memory Expansion – Memory Card Slot that takes up to 32 GB memory cards.
- Smoothness & Less Flashing – Screen flashing happens only every 5th or 6th page when turning pages. If the screen flash bothers you then this is a definite plus. B&N also claims smoother page turns. Note: This might be all software and Amazon might be able to match this quite quickly.
- Faster Page Turns – Waiting to see how it is in person. It sounds very promising.
- Library Book Support – Amazon has promised to add this later in 2011. For now, B&N’s Nook 2 has a clear advantage as it supports library books.
- Personalized Screensavers – A nice personalization touch.
Kindle vs Nook – Areas Nook is slightly ahead
- Weight – Nook 2 at 7.48 ounces is slightly lighter than Kindle WiFi at 8.5 ounces.
- In-Store Extras – Free WiFi and some special offers when you go to B&N Stores. You can also browse through books for free (for up to an hour per day per book). B&N staff to help answer questions.
- ePub support – Lets you read books bought at other stores that use ePub with Adobe DRM.
- Possibly Better PDF Support – The scrolling in PDFs is really quite good. Waiting to try it out in person and see what else is supported. This might end up being a big Nook 2 advantage.
- Social Aspect – Nook Friends in-built social network with ‘Liking’, recommendations, contact lists, and more. Kindle WiFi is limited to Facebook and Twitter updates.
- FastPage – Apparently this feature lets you hold down the page turn button and quickly get to anywhere in the book. Will have to test this – it sounds really good.
- Simplicity – The touchscreen makes things like highlighting easier on Nook 2. Never thought Nook would become simpler to use than Kindle.
- Cover View – Organize your books into shelves that show book covers, browse using cover view.
Kindle vs Nook – Areas Kindle WiFi & Nook 2 are in a tie
- Screen – eInk Pearl screen optimized for reading. 50% better screen contrast than previous generation eReaders (Kindle 2, Nook 1). Black/Graphite casing to further enrich contrast.
- WiFi – Both ship with WiFi connectivity. Both have free WiFi at AT&T hotspots.
- Focus on Reading – Both are dedicated reading devices (Thankfully).
- Font options – Kindle has 8 font sizes and 3 font types while Nook 2 has 7 font sizes and 6 font styles.
- Retail availability – Both are available at numerous retail chains including Best Buy, Target, and Wal-Mart.
- Price – Both are $139.
- Reading Apps – Reading Apps are available for both Kindle and Nook owners for a variety of platforms including iPad, iPhone, PC, and Mac.
- Accessories – Kindle has a lot more accessory choices but Nook has some pretty interesting options like Nook Totes.
- Easy to Hold – B&N touts its contoured back but the Kindle WiFi’s back is easy to hold too.
Kindle vs Nook – Areas Kindle is slightly ahead
- Software Dependability – Both Nook 1 and Nook Color have suffered massively from glitches. Until Nook 2 is in readers’ hands and working well (without lots of bugs) the Kindle is a safer bet.
- AdKindle Option – You can get AdKindle for $25 less. It’s a version of Kindle WiFi with sponsored screensavers and an ad on the Home Page.
- Landscape Mode – Kindle WiFi offers reading in landscape mode which is very useful for web browsing and for PDFs.
- Physical Keyboard – While it increases the size, it also makes it easier to type notes.
- Looks – While Kindle WiFi looks sharp and svelte the Nook 2 looks a little boxy and chunky.
- WhisperNet – Kindle comes with lots of Cloud based services like seeing popular highlights for a book you’re reading and accessing your notes and highlights online. B&N has begun to catch up and has promised a MyNook portal.
- Amazon.com Site – Easier to navigate and use than B&N’s website.
Kindle vs Nook – Areas Kindle is clearly better
- Kindle has Text to Speech. While some Publishers disable this feature it’s still present in 40% to 60% of books. Plus you get text to speech for all documents and public domain books you add yourself.
- Web Browser. A big feature especially as the browser is relatively decent.
- Book Range and Prices. Kindle Store has more books available. For books other than Agency Model books (which are the same price everywhere) Kindle Store tends to have slightly better prices. Note: B&N counts Google’s free public domain books and claims it has more books – That’s patently false as public domain books are available for Kindle too (Google Books PDFs work, as do Internet Archive’s 1.8 million free texts).
- Kindle App Store – You now have 70+ Kindle Apps for Kindle WiFi. Nook 2 does not have apps (they are only available on Nook Color).
- Kindle WiFi comes with 4 GB of memory of which approximately 3 GB is available to the Kindle owner. Nook 2 only has 2 GB memory of which only 1 GB is available to the Nook owner.
- Customer Service – Amazon really puts effort into providing great customer service.
Overall Conclusion – Kindle vs Nook goes to …
- Nook 2 wins several key areas – value for money, touch screen, compactness, battery life, memory expansion, less flashing, faster page turning, personalized screensavers, and library book support.
- Nook also edges Kindle slightly in the following areas – weight, in-store extras, ePub support, possibly better PDF support, simplicity, Nook Friends social network, and Cover View.
- Kindle edges Nook 2 slightly in some areas – software dependability (might turn into a big advantage), cheaper AdKindle option, physical keyboard, landscape mode, looks, WhisperNet, and website.
- Kindle clearly wins some key areas – Text to Speech, web browser, Range and Price of books, Apps, more in-built memory, and customer service.
Nook 2’s touch screen, its compactness, its library book support, and its faster and smoother page turns are probably the four key differentiators. Amazon has to find a way to match or counter these. It has promised library book support but it only means something when it arrives.
Engadget has a Nook 2 video and some photos that very clearly show the Nook 2’s strengths.
Unless Amazon drops the price of the Kindle WiFi by $39, and adds some big software improvements, B&N is going to increase its market share in eReaders significantly. Nook 2 is the clear winner in the Kindle vs Nook comparison.