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The Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight is the best e-book reader we've ever tested

Consumer Reports News: May 04, 2012 09:53 AM

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The new version of the Nook Simple Touch has the highest overall score we've ever awarded an e-book reader, thanks in large part to an illuminated screen that improves reading in dim light without compromising it in other lighting conditions.

The Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight edges out, by a point, the original Nook Simple Touch, previously the top-scoring model in our Ratings of e-book readers.

The GlowLight model, which costs $140, was a little less readable in normal light conditions than its sibling, largely because its screen comes with an anti-glare coating that slightly reduces the crispness of type. But the coating (which is also available as a $20 extra with the regular Simple Touch) does reduce glare in bright conditions, including outdoors. And the screen is excellent in overall readability, and on a par with the Simple Touch and other of the best models in the Ratings.

As we noted previously, the GlowLight version is very similar in most other respects to the regular Simple Touch and is even about a half-ounce lighter. Turning on the GlowLight, which you can turn off when it's not needed, does reduce claimed battery life by half. Yet the device still claims a more-than-ample run time of one month, when you're reading for 30 minutes a day.

At the opposite end of the performance continuum is the Ectaco JetBook Color, the other new model we've added to the Ratings. This 9.7-inch-screen device is distinguished by being the first to hit the market with an energy-efficient color E Ink screen, rather than a monochrome E Ink screen, as found on most other e-book readers, or a power-hungry LCD screen, as used on tablets and other color e-book readers.

Unfortunately, as expected based on our early impressions, little else makes the JetBook Color worthy of consideration. It's heavy, colors are disappointingly inaccurate, and page turns are sluggish. This isn't the worst e-book reader we've ever tested, but it's close.

Paul Reynolds

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