Kindle Paperwhite or Nook Glowlight?

by Thamisgith

Which is best - the new Kindle Paperwhite or the Nook Simple Touch With Glowlight?

Amazon and Barnes and Noble are the two big players in the e-reader market right now. They've been slugging it out for a couple of years now. Amazon is ahead, the Kindle is the market leader by some distance, but B&N's Nook range provides some stern competition.

The Kindle Paperwhite and the Nook Glowlight are currently competing for dominance in the market. Which one should you choose?

Paperwhite vs Glowlight

Head to Head and Toe to Toe
Paperwhite versus Glowlight

The e-reader market seems to have evolved into a bit of a slug fest between Amazon and Barnes and Noble. This time last year, it was all about the Kindle Touch and the Nook Simple Touch.

Many reviewers felt that the Nook Simple Touch had, from a technical functionality perspective, a slight edge on the Kindle Touch. B&N also got it to market somewhat in advance of Amazon's first touch screen reader.

Nevertheless, in January 2012, when the dust settled and the festive sales were totted up, it seemed that Amazon was buoyed up and bullish, whereas B&N was decidedly downcast. Round one to Amazon most likely.

However, that was almost a year ago - a long time in the world of electronic gadgets! Now each company has a new contender to send into the ring; the Paperwhite for Amazon and the Glowlight for Barnes and Noble.

Which of these two readers is likely to emerge victorious this time around? Which one should you choose - Paperwhite or Glowlight?

Let's take a look at the salient points of the two devices and see how they measure up against one another.

Paperwhite versus Glowlight - Dimensions & Weight

Paperwhite versus Glowlight - Dimensions & Weight

In terms of weights and dimensions, both readers are light, portable and easy to use with one hand - whether you're on a crowded bus or lounging on the sofa. The

Kindle is a little taller and narrower. The Nook's depth is greater - but that may be due to the specially contoured back. It's ergonomic you see - and a lot of people seem to like it.

Weightwise, the Kindle is a little heavier than the Nook - but in practical terms, there's not much to choose between the two of them.

Paperwhite vs Glowlight - Display And Light

paperwhite versus glowlight - light and display

Whichever way you look at it, the big deal with both the Glowlight and the Paperwhite is the fact that they have a light up, 6" e-ink technology display.

In fact, with the Glowlight, that's pretty much the only deal. It's full name is the Nook Simple Touch With Glowlight - which is exactly what it is. It's the Nook Simple Touch with the addition of a light.

The Paperwhite, on the other hand, is an upgrade of the Kindle Touch, which it now replaces. Yes, it does have a light, but it also has a whiter than previously seen display, more pixels per inch than either the old Kindle Touch or the Nook, and a slightly textured surface on the display.

The Paperwhite light is also more evenly distributed than the Glowlight's - thanks to Amazon's light guide technology which spreads the light from low energy LEDs uniformly over the surface of the screen. There are still some high spots at the very bottom of the display (where the LEDs live), but that shouldn't bother you too much.

It's worth pointing out that both the Glowlight and the Nook project their light onto the display surface rather than back-lighting it from behind, such as you might find on a computer or smartphone. That means that either reader still offers you the enjoyable readability of e-ink displays without eye strain.

Paperwhite vs Glowlight - Battery Life And Charging

Paperwhite vs Glowlight - Battery Life And Charging

One of the big advantages which e-readers have over notebook and tablet computers is battery life. E-ink displays only use power when the screen is being updated, so e-readers can go for weeks - rather than hours - between battery charges. That's a handy feature in a portable electronic device, and it should mean that you won't run out of juice just as you get to a good bit in your blockbuster novel.

The Paperwhite claims that it will operate for up to 8 weeks on a single battery charge. That estimate is based upon an average of 30 minutes reading daily - with the light on.

According to B&N's website, the Glowlight will last for "more than 1 month" on a single charge, so the Kindle edges a little further ahead.

The Paperwhite takes 4 hours to charge to full from flat. The Glowlight is a little faster at just three and a half hours.

Paperwhite vs Glowlight - Battery Life And Charging

Paperwhite vs Glowlight - Battery Life And Charging

Both devices have 2 GB of on-board memory. This isn't all accessible by the user as some of it is used for system resources. Broadly speaking, you should be able to store about 1,000 e-books on either the Paperwhite or the Glowlight.

Amazon and Barnes and Noble both offer free cloud storage for any content that you buy from their website. At a rate of a book a week, one thousand books will keep you going for just over 19 years. However, it's good to know that you have the option of storing your books in the cloud if you need to.

The major differentiating feature between the two devices is the fact that, whilst the Kindle has no SD slot available, the Glowlight comes with a slot for an SD card as standard. This will let you add another 32 GB of memory if you want - enough for another 30,000 books!

Paperwhite vs Glowlight - Miscellaneous Features

Paperwhite vs Glowlight - Miscellaneous Features

There are a few other miscellaneous features which you may, or may not, find important when deciding which one of these readers to buy. So here they are, in no particular order:

Textured Display
The e-ink display surface of the Kindle Paperwhite is slightly textured. Some reviewers say that it even feels like paper. The display of the Glowlight is a standard, smooth finish.

The Nook is available with Wi-Fi connectivity only. The Kindle comes in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi plus 3G options. If you usually have access to Wi-Fi, then that might not be a great big deal for you. On the other hand, if you travel a lot and sometimes find yourself out of Wi-Fi range, then the 3G option will let you download new e-books as long as you are within cellphone coverage.

Special Offers (Adverts)
$ 119 gets you a Kindle Paperwhite with "Special Offers"; adverts which appear on the screen saver and home page of your device. You won't see them when you're actually reading - but you can pay an extra $ 20 and have them turned off if you really don't like them. On the other hand, you could just buy the Nook which comes with "no annoying ads".

Charger (Or The Lack Of)
The Paperwhite comes with a charging cable which you can plug into your computer's usb port to charge the reader up. If you want to plug your Kindle into a wall socket, you'll need to fork out an extra $ 10 or so to buy a suitable adapter.

The Nook ships with a two pin plug as standard.

And The Winner Is?

kindle paperwhiteBoth of these devices are good e-readers - but it's rather obvious that the Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight is, just as the name implies, a Nook Simple Touch with a light added. The Kindle Paperwhite, with its whiter display, greater pixel density and more evenly distributed light is a more thorough update and upgrade.

Amazon claims it to be "the world's most advanced e-reader". It's certainly the most recently updated - which means that it's probably a justified claim.

For the moment, the Paperwhite is the leader of the pack and, unless you have a major problem with ads, or unless you really need to carry 30,000 e-books around with you, it should be your number one choice.

Updated: 12/18/2014, Thamisgith
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ologsinquito on 11/13/2013

I can see why there is such stiff competition, because both Amazon and B&N make so many books available to read on these devices.

Tolovaj on 06/19/2013

It's amazing how much can e-readers offer already and only future will tell where will this lead. I don't think better resolution can be huge factor for long time. More and more books will incorporate multimedia what brings us to energy efficiency again. Will we get better batteries? Seems lithium had hit the edge already.

Thanks for great presentation of top contenders!

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