It’s been exactly 6 months since my first Kindle vs Nook review and now that we have Nook Upgrade 3 out it’s time to review Kindle vs Nook one more time.
August 3rd Update: Please check out the Kindle 3 vs Nook review for a more up to date comparison.
The Kindle is $189 and available from Amazon and Target (most stores).
The Nook is $199 and available from Barnes & Noble and Best Buy.
Kindle vs Nook Review 2010 – Nook Upgrade 3 and Areas Nook Wins
The addition of the browser in Nook’s 3rd upgrade is a huge win for B&N . Areas Nook wins include –
- LendMe – For certain books B&N lets you lend them out once, for 14 days, to one friend. This feature got a lot of buzz – Keep in mind that it’s only allowed when publishers allow it though there seem to be some bestsellers that allow it.
- Nook Browser – The new nook browser is very good. It’s very usable for news, surfing, and supports Yahoo Mail Classic version. It only works over WiFi.
- Internet is faster since it’s over WiFi. While you must have WiFi to use the browser it’s much faster than the Kindle’s 3G Internet.
- Library eBooks – Nook lets you read Adobe DRM protected ePub books from your library (if your Library uses OverDrive).
- 3.5″ color touchscreen – This supplements the 6″ eInk screen very well.
- WiFi Support – Nook has 3G for the ebook store connection and WiFi for browsing (also for the ebook store when 3G isn’t available).
- MicroSD card slot – This is a significant advantage if the 2 GB memory that comes with Kindle and the Nook isn’t enough for you.
- ePub Support – In addition to Library ebooks this lets you read unprotected ePub books and protected ePub books from ebook stores that support Adobe DRM.
- Custom Screensavers – Add your own photos as screensavers.
- Replaceable battery – The nook’s battery is replaceable although there are hardly ever reports of Kindle battery failures and Amazon replaces batteries for $80.
- Better Screen contrast – A combination of slightly better screen contrast and the thin black border around the eInk screen make the Nook more readable. Amazon has improved the screen contrast since the Nook first came out and my new Kindle 2 International has almost as good screen contrast.
- 3 Available Fonts. The fonts are Amasis, Helvetica Neue, and Light Classic. Kindle has just one – Caecilia.
There are some additional features that you might consider advantages –
- Browse in Store – When in B&N stores you can read some books for free for up to an hour in a 24 hour time period. Don’t find this to be a significant advantage – if you’re in a store you can read any paper book for as long as you like.
- Lend Me – Listing this again as it might not be as big an advantage as B&N paint it to be. You can only lend a book one single time and to one friend only.
- Support for Sony Store Books.
- Retail Presence – You can go into a B&N or a Best Buy and try out the Nook. Strongly recommend trying out the usability and the weight before buying the Nook.
- Sudoku and Chess – Two free games that are good for passing the time.
- Nook Cover Flow – When looking at books you’ve purchased or browsing the Nook store you can browse books by their covers.
- Support for PDB (it’s a format used by eReader.com and Fictionwise.com ebook stores – both are owned by B&N).
- Free WiFi in B&N stores.
B&N have done a good job and the addition of the Browser makes the Nook very compelling. Have to wait to confirm the supposed fixes – it will take a few weeks to see how much better the Nook is behaving.
Kindle vs Nook Review 2010 – Areas Kindle and Nook are in a tie
Amazon and Barnes & Noble are both improving fast and that means they tie in several important areas –
- eInk Screen. Both have the same screen.
- PDF Support. Similar, poor PDF support – Note that the 6″ screens mean that PDFs must have larger font sizes to be readable.
- Agency Model Prices – Books from Agency Model Publishers are at the same price.
- $199 and $189 Price.
- Support across devices – both support a rich variety of devices. B&N eReader has apps for iPhone, Blackberry, PC, and Mac. Their app for iPad is arriving in May. Kindle supports PC, Mac, Blackberry, iPhone, and iPad.
- Multiple devices on one account – Amazon allows 6 devices on one account and you can read a book on up to 5 devices at the same time (6 for some books). B&N allows multiple devices and reading in parallel – not sure of exact numbers.
- One Handed Use – they’re both usable with one hand though the Kindle’s lighter weight and thinness make it easier to use.
- Size – The Kindle is thinner (0.36″ vs 0.5″ for the Nook) while the Nook is more compact (7.7″ by 4.9″ vs 8″ by 5.3″ for the Kindle).
- Designer Covers. Kindle now has Cole Haan and Diane Von Furstenberg. Nook has Kate Spade and Jonathan Adler.
Probably missing some other areas they are both good at (eInk is good for reading in sunlight, etc.) – Luckily we’re contrasting the two and their differences are what we’re primarily interested in.
Kindle vs Nook Review 2010 – Areas the Kindle wins
Amazon has added a lot to the Kindle since the Nook was first announced – PDF Support, Kindle apps for PC and Mac, announcement of Kindle App Store, and more. The Kindle wins in lots of areas including –
- Ease of Use – The Kindle wins this hands down. It’s easy to use and lets you focus on the reading.
- Read to Me Text to Speech feature. Publishers have the option to turn this off but a lot keep it in. It’s also available for all your personal documents and all converted files (which means public domain books can be read out).
- Support for Audible audiobooks – Nook only supports MP3 audiobooks.
- Cheaper Prices for books from non Agency Model Publishers – Amazon has cheaper prices for ebooks that don’t fall under the Agency Model.
- Wider range of books – If you leave out public domain books the Kindle Store has far more books. All public domain books are available for the Kindle (and for nook) – Internet Archive and Gutenberg without conversion, Google Books you have to convert for the Kindle.
- Faster Page Refresh Speed – Page refreshes are still faster on the Kindle though Nook has cut the gap.
- Speed – The Kindle responds faster in general and having a keyboard makes a lot of things like adding notes faster on the Kindle.
- Lower Weight – The Kindle is noticeably lighter at 10.1 ounces. B&N lied about the Nook’s weight – it’s actually 12.1 ounces.
- Battery Life – The Kindle has better battery life and lasts 2 weeks with wireless off and 1 week with wireless on. Nook lasts 10 days with wireless off.
- Free Internet over 3G connection – It’s very convenient to have free Internet. However, the connection is much slower than WiFi and Kindle’s browser is very basic.
- International Availability and International Usability – Kindle WhisperNet is in 100 plus countries and when you travel you’ll still have your connection to the store and for US owners free Internet too.
- Free Wikipedia Access all over the world.
- Physical keyboard – This is surprisingly useful when taking notes and using shortcuts. Note that the keys are tiny and awkward – It is however easier to use than the Nook’s awkward touchscreen keyboard.
- More newspapers and magazines – Kindle Store has far more newspapers and magazines (a couple of months ago it was 100 newspapers to 20 newspapers).
- Screen rotation.
Open item to be updated after some more time with upgraded Nook –
- Kindle has very few bugs. Nook had a lot of bugs that are supposedly fixed in Nook Upgrade 3. Will only know after a few weeks.
Some other things you’d consider potential advantages –
- Longer return period. B&N only give 14 days for returns. Amazon give 30 days.
- More Font Sizes, Larger Maximum Font Size – The Kindle has 6 font sizes (1 more than the Nook) and the largest font size is larger on Kindle than on the Nook. Amazon have also said that in the middle of the year they’ll introduce a super size font which is double the size of the current largest font size.
- Option to change line spacing and number of words per line (width of each line).
- Forthcoming folders feature – Amazon have said that mid 2010 will see the introduction of a Folders feature.
- Support for .txt files and support for .doc files after conversion. Nook doesn’t support .txt which is strange.
- Stereo speakers – Better than the Nook which only has a mono speaker.
The Kindle has been evolving fast – adding support for a lot of devices, making the service better, making the software better.
Perhaps the biggest potential Kindle advantage is the Kindle App Store which is in Beta and might release sometime this year.
The Conclusion for 2010 – Kindle and Nook are almost in a tie
Kindle and Nook are very close – though the Kindle is a bit better in my opinion, Kindle vs Nook comes down to what particular features you’re looking for in an eReader.
The Nook is better in –
- 2 crucial areas – Browser, Library eBooks.
- 7 important areas – Screen contrast, LendMe feature, 3.5″ color youchscreen, WiFi support, MicroSD card slot, ePub support, 3 available fonts.
- 8 other areas – custom screensavers, replaceable battery, browse in store, support for Sony Store, retail presence, games, cover flow, free WiFi in B&N stores.
The Kindle is better in –
- 3 crucial areas – ease of use, wider range of books, International availability/usability.
- 7 important areas – lower prices on Non Agency Model books, free Internet and Wikipedia, text to speech, speed including faster page refresh speed, lower weight, more and larger font sizes, physical keyboard.
- 6 other areas – line spacing and words per line options, battery life, stereo speakers, support for audible audiobooks, wider range of newspapers and magazines, screen rotation.
Cheaper eBook prices was the #1 critical Amazon advantage and the Agency Model has reduced it to just an important advantage.
Two potentially crucial Kindle advantages are – the promised addition of Folders in mid 2010, (perhaps biggest of all) the Kindle App Store. However, these aren’t yet available so are not factored into this Kindle vs Nook review.
Kindle vs Nook comes down to what’s important to you – Consider the features from the above lists that matter to you and pick the eReader that’s better on those. At this point Kindle vs Nook is almost a tie and you have the deciding vote.