The Barnes and Noble Nook Glowlight Plus 7.8 is the company’s first large-screen reader.
It’s a bold step, not only to stay relevant but to compete outright.
Barnes and Noble didn’t introduce the first e-reader.
E-Ink, the company whose technology provides text screens for pretty much every device you see, has that distinction.
Barnes & Noble Pivots
Barnes and Noble did make itself a giant in the field, however.
For a time it was a dominant force and looked like it might overtake the competition.
There’s a saying that nothing looks worse than when a giant stumbles, and shortly after its rise Barnes and Noble started to
Declining readership worldwide, combined with Amazon’s amazing growth (and other market forces), dealt Barnes and Noble some major body blows.
It was an open question whether they’d survive, particularly since brick-and-mortar stores were closing left and right.
The company shed subsidiaries like B. Dalton and Game Stop. It went through several management changes and ownership shake-ups.
When the dust settled it was still standing as the largest national U.S. bookstore chain.
Printed books are its mainstay, and every store has a coffee shop and reading spaces.
The Nook e-reader line also remains an essential part of Barnes and Noble’s core business.
The Nook Glowlight Plus is its premium product, meant to compare directly with its competition’s best e-readers.
The Nook Glowlight Plus: What’s Under the Hood, And How Much Does It Cost?
Flash forward to now and I have the Nook Glowlight Plus coming in at $199 ($149 refurbished).
As I said, it’s Barnes and Noble’s first large tablet.
They’ve specialized mostly in the six-inch screen readers, but the Glowlight Plus has a 7.8-inch screen.
The tablet itself is 8.3 inches long and 5.9 inches wide. It’s beveled, so the screen is just slightly recessed.
The tablet is waterproofed, with specs saying it can stay submerged for thirty minutes under three feet of water.
That of course means it’s pretty safe to read this Nook by the pool or in a bathtub. It can withstand spills, so long as the liquid isn’t boiling hot or corrosive.
In terms of storage, the Nook Glowlight Plus has 8 gigabytes of space.
It has 1 gigabyte of RAM and a 1 GHz processor.
How Well Does the Nook Glowlight Plus Operate, And What Are Its Features?
The tablet is Bluetooth-enabled for audio listening.
It also has a 3.5mm headphone jack.
One of its more unique features is physical page-scrolling controls on the face of the device, at each side of the tablet.
Scrolling direction can be changed via the menu.
Screen brightness can also be changed, as can the screen’s color temperature.
The screen’s color range can go from a cool blue for daylight reading to a warm amber for night viewing.
The color changes can be done manually or set to an automatic timer to keep up with the time of day.
At the bottom of the tablet is the familiar button marked with an ‘N’.
That turns the device on and always returns the screen to the home page during the e-reader’s operation.
Battery power is good but discharges a little faster than that of Glowlight’s competitors.
There’s no loss while the device is turned off, but the decline is somewhat noticeable during operation.
What about the Glowlight’s Ecosystem: Is It a Bargain?
With impressive solid hardware, you’d hope the software could keep up.
It’s here the Nook Glowlight Plus slows down a bit, however.
In terms of general operation, things are fine.
Navigation of the Nook’s ebook store is pretty easy.
Once you’re connected, you can read any of the free ebooks one time on any given day.
There are a huge number of books, which helps justify the two-hundred-dollar price of Glowlight Plus.
The problems start when it comes to sideloading or viewing certain formats.
Barnes and Noble claim the Nook Glowlight Plus is compatible with a number of ebook formats, but too many people have complained of corrupted files, crashed systems, or an inability to read files altogether.
The PDF format also seems to give the Glowlight Plus fits.
The tablet’s ability to read them is buggy at best.
Considering the ubiquity of the format that’s a terrible failing in an e-reader.
Pros, Cons and Final Verdict
So is the Nook Glowlight Plus worth that $199? Its major competition is the Kindle Oasis, whose features are similar, as well as the Kobo Clara HD, which is a little smaller.
The Oasis goes for $249, while the Kobo Clara is only $119.
The Nook Glowlight Plus can’t beat the Clara at price, and the Oasis doesn’t have the format or comparability problems of the Nook.
Overall the Nook Glowlight Plus seems a good bet if you’re already into the Barnes and Noble ebook ecosystem.
Barnes and Noble have been a more stable organization in recent times, so you may not have as many concerns about their product availability going forward.
That could make owning the Nook Glowlight Plus a reasonable investment and purchase.
Final Thoughts on the Glowlight Plus
What do you think about the Glowlight Plus? Would you buy it?
If you have bought it, would you recommend it?
What are your favorite features in this ereader?
Catch this video where I give my candid insights into it.
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