Barnes and Noble has always released 6 inch e-readers and for years many serious readers asked the company to develop something bigger. The B&N Nook Glowlight Plus 7.8 is their love letter to the community and hit store shelves on Monday and it will be available online on Wednesday. The device has a slimmer profile and does not have big chunky bezels that all of the previous units employed. This e-reader might be the very thing the bookseller needs to bring people back into the fold.
The Nook features a E Ink Carta HD 7.8 inch display with a resolution of 1404×1872 with 300 PPI. It does not have a capacitive touchscreen display, instead it is employing Neonode zForce IR. You will be able to read at night via the front-lit display and it also has a color temperature system to help defuse the bright white light. There is an auto mode for the brightness, but the device does not have an ambient light sensor. Instead, it uses the clock to change the brightness, depending on the time. It is also waterproof with IPx7, which allows the device to be submerged in 3ft. of water up to 30 minutes. On a general level, it will be immune to spills from tea or coffee and can be used in the bathtub.
Underneath the hood is a Freescale Solo Lite IMX.6 1GHZ single core processor, 1 GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. It does not have an SD card, so this will prevent people from loading in a massive collection of content. I think it is important to note that this version of the Nook does not have any restrictions on sideloaded content and the internal drive does not have more than 1 partition.
The Glowlight Plus 7.8 has an 3.5mm headphone jack, but it is not for audiobooks. Although B&N does have an audiobook store for Android, they made the call not to include it on an e-reader. Instead it will be used to access the various Podcasts that Barnes and Noble produces. They tend to interview famous authors and literary figures every week or two.
The Nook navigation menu offers Library, Shop, Current Read, Nook Readouts and Search. On the left of the screen is a profile picture that has your Nook account settings. On the right side is a clock that shows you the current time, a light bulb icon to control the brightness of the screen, WIFI symbol and how much battery life is remaining.
When it comes to reading ebooks, this device has a number of preloaded fonts to choose from. They are Mundo Sans, Baskerville, Georgia, Ascender Sans, Malabar and Joanna Sans. You can also select Publisher Default, which displays the font selected by the publisher, but not all publishers have a recommend font in their metadata. Line Spacing has three different selections; Single, 1.5 and Double Spacing. The margins also have three options – Narrow, Medium and Wide.
The Glowlight PLus 7.8 supports Adobe DRM. This means you can load in ebooks that you borrow from the library. Overdrive is the most popular method and enjoys the most support from within the digital library community. This should save people money, since you don’t need to buy ebooks all the time.
The one thing I like about the new Nook is that it has manual page turn buttons on the left and right side. It is easy to press down on one to turn the page forward or backward and appeals to people who are right or left handed. The N logo on the bottom acts as a home button, there is a satisfying click when you press on it.
If you have any questions regarding the Nook, they just posted a user guide, which goes over all of the functionality.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.