Barnes & Noble Nook (first generation)

The Good Large library with tens of thousands of e-books, as well as newspapers and magazines; built-in Wi-Fi connectivity (no PC needed); separate capacitive color touch-screen pad for navigation, and a virtual keyboard for notes and annotations; 2GB of internal memory (capable of storing 1,500 electronic books) as well as a microSD expansion slot for additional memory; font style and size are adjustable; displays image files and plays MP3 music files; compatible with Windows and Mac machines; battery is removable and user-replaceable; allows free browsing of full-text books while within Barnes & Noble stores; you can lend certain e-books for up to 14 days free of charge; EPUB format compatibility lets you read free Google Books and loaner e-books from your local library; page turn speeds are faster with firmware upgrade.

The Bad No protective carrying case included; color LCD has an impact on battery life; in-store reading and loaning capabilities come with notable limits and caveats; no support for Word or text files; no ability to download books when outside the U.S.

The Bottom Line The Nook Wi-Fi doesn't quite measure up to the Kindle in terms of design and overall performance, but it's a worthy alternative if you're looking for a more open e-reader that supports the EPUB format.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 9.0
  • Performance 7.0
7.7 Overall

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Design
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Review

Barnes & Noble Nook (first generation)

Editors' note (May 24, 2011): Barnes & Noble has announced that the second-generation e-ink Nook will be available as of June 10, 2011. It features a touch-screen, and retails for $139. The first-generation model reviewed here will be discontinued immediately. Remaining inventory will be sold off at closeout prices of $119 (Wi-Fi-only) and $169 (3G+Wi-Fi). The Nook Color remains in the line at a price of $249.

Editors' note: This review has been updated extensively to account for changes in the Nook's features and performance resulting from firmware upgrades on April 23, 2010, and November 22, 2010, as well as the availability of the third-generation Kindle and the Nook Color. Note that user reviews prior to April 23 and November 22 reflect the earlier respective versions of the firmware.

The Barnes & Noble Nook, the first Android-powered e-book reader, has had an interesting, if somewhat tumultuous, history. When it was first unveiled in the fall of 2009, a lot of people were excited because it appeared to offer some key competitive advantages over the version of the Amazon Kindle e-reader that was available at the time.

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Specs / Prices

  • Brand Barnes & Noble
  • Diagonal Size 6 in
  • Weight 11.18 oz
  • Supported Text Formats EPUB, PDF
  • Color Category black, white
  • Technology E Ink
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model 3G/Wi-Fi

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