Back in 2010 I actually bought the first B&N Nook. The device was curious, shortcomings were somewhat annoying, and beyond a crowd of enthusiasts that would buy practically anything Android-powered, it was an “Ok” device.
Since then, Barnes & Noble released another “new” Nook — the color one, which I skipped (I’ll wait for the real tablet, maybe even from Amazon). And now yet another new “new” Nook. This time black and white, devoid of any extra buttons, secondary screens, and surprisingly good.
The new form is practically a hand-held from the Star Trek that Seven was poking before giving to Captain Kathryn Janeway. Well, I suppose those were in color, but we’ll get there when color e-ink will get beyond “Oh, neat, but it costs how much?!” phase. It lays well in hand, not too heavy, and soft-touch back makes it pleasant to hold. Unlike Sony readers, this one is almost square. It feels smaller that the very first Nook, and lack of physical keyboard makes it “all screen”.
Practically all of my gripes pertaining to reading navigation have been fixed. You can flip pages back and forth by using buttons, or just touching screen in the corner. Or swipe. I don’t think software cares what exactly you’re doing at the edge of the page, as long as you place the “poke” in free area (otherwise you get menu/dictionary).
Upper/lower buttons on the edge of the frame can be configured, though there’s no “all buttons on the right — forward, on the left — back” option. Given that screen is responsive, I don’t use them any more.
Screen itself is quite nice too. No milky-white overlays or films, just regular e-paper with reasonable contrast. Battery use supposedly was optimized, but I haven’t had the reader long enough to figure out how long the battery really lasts.
Menus seem to be logical, and all my B&N content automatically synchronized. Flipping back and forth between menu and the book you’re reading is a breeze. And, finally, you can navigate around the book by going to arbitrary page. It’s a bit slow, but not too much to be annoying.
Generally reader feels responsive, though page flips are not completely instant, but it’s a great progress.
And finally, the fun part — when you first turn the Nook on, you’re greeted with standard marketing blurb, after which you’re presented with lawyer’s wet dream: Terms and Conditions that are … 178 (one hundred and seventy eight!) pages long. As one of my twitter follower said: “[A]ircraft lease agreement with all schedules takes less pages!”. And she’s technically right, though here these are “small” pages, but still, the first Harry Potter was just 320 pages. Not bad for an evening reading, before you’re supposed to click “Agree” (you did read T&C, right?)
Technically, there’s no getting out of the terms either, as they state:
By using your Nook, you agree that you have read, understand and agree to be bound by this agreement.
(I’ve toned down ALL CAPS that lawyers love to use in addition to mouse-print, making the whole thing feeling passive-aggressive, where they shout at you once in a while, seemingly without any reason)
But guess what, you can only read T&C by… using your Nook. So you have agreed to them 😀
To be fair, a large part of the legalize is taken by third party licenses (Apache license etc). But still, I long for the time of a sensible lawyering. If they want to force you to read it, make it in a comic book form, right after “Do not feed this device to your cat” and “Do not store in the activated microwave oven” warnings.
Now if you excuse me, I must finish reading the next werewolf story.