Monday, May 24, 2010

The Battle of the eReader: Kindle vs. Nook - Round One

So, one day my mom calls me and tells me that she knows what she is getting me for my birthday. "A Kindle," she shrieks, all excited! She just got her Kindle and it is the best thing since sliced bread...possibly even before that. Now, you have to understand - I love reading and I love books, and I learned this from my mom. I was initiated at an early age, I picked up the TV Guide at four years old and started reading from it. (With beginnings like that is it any wonder that I love television and have a degree in Film and TV production? Yeah, I didn't think so either.) Sorry, shiny objected there (and no matter what else you hear, or who you hear it from, that is MY phrase...I turned it into a verb. Yep, me.) Ack, I did it again easily distracted. Where was I?

Oh, yes, "The Kindle". So, my mom, after telling me what I was getting for my birthday (which, by the way, this particular conversation was at least a good six months before said event (it's next month, if that matters)), proceeds to tell me that I need to forget that she told me, so it can be a surprise. Yeah, right. Cause, as much as I love books, I love techie stuff, and the Kindle, well, it's pretty much a techie dream!! (Well, for books anyway...and maybe .PDFs, but you get the point.) Well, sometime around our conversation, this shiny new product came out, from my favorite bookseller no less - the nook, by Barnes and Noble. Oooh, color touchscreen, android platform, browsing full books when inside a B&N, look ma, shiny things!!! (The actual origins of shiny objects and shiny objected). So, now what? My mom LOVES her Kindle, she's pretty sold on that, but I'm not my mom - for the most part. I am, however, a researcher; there are plenty of Kindle vs. nook websites out there, with reviews on design, speed, reliability,
and a host of other things.

So, lets get started, cause there is a lot that each eReader has going for it.

Now, I've noticed that whichever way people are leaning towards is typically the ones the reviews start out with, I mean you have both Kindle vs. nook and nook vs. Kindle, with each one giving slightly biased reviews based on the device listed, I'm breaking that particular mold...and going with the underdog first.

The nook - Yep, I said it...the nook is the underdog in this case. I mean, it certainly does have the Android platform going for it (I love the Android platform...a discussion best saved for another day, before I get shiny-objected again). And a pretty slick color touchscreen component. And yes, expandable memory, Wi-Fi, and a multitude of other cool things - wait, which side am I on here? Oh, yeah, underdog...ok, better now. But there are two big downfalls of this reader - battery life, and speed. From everything that I have read, which, trust me is a lot at this point, even though the nook says that it gets up to 10 days on a single charge, that isn't always the case, 5 - 6 seems to be more the norm...and what is the big drain on the battery you might ask? Well, I'll tell you - the slick color touchscreen, and Wi-Fi. Surprised? No? Me either. : )

The second thing I mentioned was speed. From the majority of the reviews that I have seen, the nook is sorely lacking in speed, from power up to page turning, it's slower, hands down (or so they say - and whoever "they" are is also a story for another day). Now, those things might not seem like a big deal, but wh
en we are talking about 3 seconds from power button to reading vs. 1 minute and 30 seconds for the same action, that is a gaping chasm. And, for someone like me who can churn out approximately 100 pages of printed text in an hour, an eReader needs to keep up with my reading pace. Which brings me to...

The Kindle (or, Kindle 2 more appropriately) - What the nook offers in flashy "upgrades" the Kindle balances out with all that a true bibliophile needs...but nothing more. And while it lacks some of those nice options, Wi-Fi, expandable memory, and even a removable battery (truly a downfall of the Kindle, IMHO), the purported speed of the device, with its unmatched and unparalled battery life, if true, will keep me a Kindle customer for a very long time. The speed I mentioned above, and it is the lack of "bells and whistles" that allows a much smoother, sleeker start-up process. I don't necessarily need to see the image of the book that I want to read, I (usually) already know what it is about, so the simple "home" page with it's list of titles is fine for me. And the touchscreen on the nook is said to be somewhat clumsy as well, so I'll stick with the KISS principle (look it up if you don't know) on this one. And if the pages turn and load as quickly as they say they do, well, that will be a big plus for me.

Additionally, I'm terrible for charging things, I usually forget until they, well...die, so the longer this lasts on a charge, the better. Websites and reviews claim up to 14 days, but the norm seems to be about 10 when hand-ons reviewers take over. (Which, if I can "math it up" right (another term I coined...) is still better than 5 - 6)

I am aware of one other thing...I am only comparing two eReaders, while there are a ton of others out there, not the least of which is the shiny, new iPad. But that isn't what this blog is about. Because, even though the iPad is definitely a cool device, at this point, I'm not looking for that many features, options, and other stuff going on. (Yet) I want an eReader. Something that I can easily take with me on trips, to work (for lunch hours only), or anywhere else that I might have some down time, and not have to lug all of my books along with me. And don't get me wrong, no matter which way this ax falls, visiting Barnes and Noble will still be one of my favorite relaxing activities, and I by no means intend to dispose of, or stop, my book collection.

Here's my dilemma though, I'm a visual learner. So, "Round Two" of this particular topic will have to be once I actually have my Kindle (that is, if my mom actually does get me one for my birthday (sorry mom, I tried to forget about it...sorta)). If not, well, Round One will be the only round in this fight until I can afford the frivolity.

-- Kelly ( :

(Oh, and P.S. in case you're keeping track (and I'm not entirely sure why you would be), this now matches my total posts in 2008, and is more than my posts in 2007 and 2009, both separately AND combined. Just saying...)

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