PROS / This NOOK has a great high-resolution display for reading.
CONS / The GlowLight Plus' reading interface can be slow to register commands.
VERDICT / Its high-resolution display may struggle to keep up with your touches, but the NOOK GlowLight Plus provides a premium reading experience at an affordable price.
As the flagship eReader of book retailer Barnes and Noble, the NOOK GlowLight Plus sits in a unique position compared to competing eBook readers. It's the sole eReader with a physical brick and mortar store, which gives it a handful of service- and catalog-related advantages. While the NOOK isn't without its occasional missteps, these strengths carry over to the GlowLight Plus' hardware and software.
Display resolution is one of the most important parts of an eReader, and with its notable high-resolution screen, the NOOK excels in this regard. Even with its entry-level pricing, the GlowLight Plus features a great 1448 x 1072 display with a pixel density of 300 pixels per inch (ppi). Displays with this pixel density are typically only found on the best premium eBook readers. In our hands-on testing, we found the NOOK to be stellar to read on – text was sharp and on-screen pixelation was virtually imperceptible.
As strong as the NOOK's software is, the reading experience does have a few rough areas. In our testing, we found that page flips required a second or two to successfully load. In addition, the formatting on several sample books we downloaded had occasional quirks like misaligned headers and indents.
From the inside and outside, the GlowLight Plus is an upgrade on its predecessor in many ways. With dimensions of 6.4 x 4.7 x 0.34 inches and a weight of 6.9 ounces, the NOOK is both compact and easy to carry around. It has some physical limitations that it mostly succeeds in working around. The body is made of a plain smooth plastic and lacks the no-slip rubberized exterior commonly found on higher-end eReaders. Still, the plastic has a nice dense feel, and it doesn’t feel flimsy or cheaply put together. The front of the NOOK is lightly textured to provide some grip for reading.
There is a discreetly placed home button on the front bottom of the device. The button is the main navigation feature, and it simplifies the user interface, keeping it from being cluttered. As reported by Barnes and Noble, the NOOK has a respectable manufacturer-rated battery life of 21 hours.
The NOOK benefits from a standard slate of content offerings. Along with standards like public library and sharing support, you can subscribe to major market newspapers. The NOOK’s general interface is straightforward and visually clean, even when you search the dictionary and add annotations.
More than anything else, the NOOK is a value option for a potential owner. While the GlowLight Plus' features occasionally bump up against its price tag, its 300 ppi display helps it earn its ranking as one of the best eReaders on the market. Readers looking for an affordable eReader will find the Barnes and Noble NOOK GlowLight Plus provides versatility in a compact package.