With all the new tablets hitting the market these days, some might wonder what happened to the old-school E Ink readers? Well, Amazon and Barnes & Noble continue to answer that call with, respectively, the Kindle Paperwhite and NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight.
Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite is a Kindle all the way. If you’re already a citizen of the Kindle ecosystem, you’ll be very comfortable with this little reader. The specs include a 6-inch lighted screen, a weight of just less than half a pound (7.5 ounces), Wi-Fi, 2GB of internal storage and long battery life. The device’s profile is pencil-thin (literally).
The display lives up to its name, offering the look and feel of paper. To adjust the light, simply tap on the light-bulb icon along the top edge of the display. Unlike the early E Ink displays, which had a noticeable wait time when turning pages, the Paperwhite changes in the blink of an eye.
What else does the Paperwhite give you? In addition to access to Amazon’s large selection of books–and cloud storage—you also have access to thousands of Kindle-format eBooks via your library’s OverDrive collection.*
Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight supports both EPUB and PDF eBook formats, while offering a comparable look and feel to the Paperwhite. With its 6-inch lighted screen, weight just shy of 7 ounces, Wi-Fi connectivity, 2GB of storage (expandable to an additional 32GB with a microSD card), and a similar level of battery life, the NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight matches the Kindle Paperwhite in many ways—but it doesn’t include the built-in ads. The NOOK gives you access to the huge collection of books from B&N as well as the full range of EPUB and PDF titles from your library’s OverDrive digital collection.
The NOOK’s display is just as easily adjustable as the Kindle’s, however the lighting feels different on the NOOK. The Paperwhite display uses a special screen layer that projects the light toward the screen, with no glimpse of lighting from the edges of the screen, creating a look that makes the light seem to emanate from the screen itself. With the NOOK’s GlowLight, there’s a noticeable light around the edges of the screen, creating a halo around the otherwise evenly lit screen. That said, the GlowLight is a bit brighter than the more natural-looking light of the Paperwhite.
Both of these devices are durable, unobtrusive readers offering useful features and quality hardware. Either device is a solid, entry-level E Ink reader for anyone who prefers a dedicated reading device. Both devices let you enjoy thousands of titles from OverDrive digital libraries, and if you’re not concerned with installing a ton of apps, don’t want to spend time browsing the web, and just want to read, then you could be the perfect candidate for an old school E Ink reader.
Justin Noszek is a Support Specialist at OverDrive.
*Kindle-format eBooks available in the United States only.