I recently bought the Nook Simple Touch made by Barnes and Noble as a simple and cheap alternative e-book reader. I currently have an iPad2 which works just fine but it sometimes seems just a little big and heavy.
I commute most days by bus and find the Nook to be a great little reader. The PDF support on it is, well sketchy though. It’s fine for reading documents but anything that has a layout of fonts and images tends to get a little messed up. This detracts from it’s use, however I find it very useful for loading camera equipment manuals and e-books onto. Reading Kindle books (more later!) and EPUB format books is perfect though.
The design of the Nook is great. A simple e-ink screen with a good contrast ratio from the light grey background and the near black text makes reading in anything above average light good. If it gets too dark though the screen does struggle a little as the basic Nook Simple Touch doesn’t have a backlight. Of course this is also an advantage as the reader only needs charged once a month.
I decided to play around with the Nook a little and load some unofficial firmware onto it. The device now supports the basic functions of the Android Operating System (2.1 I believe) which allows be to install Dropbox.com, Amazon’s Kindle Reader and other “near essential” tools. This is a great improvement. I keep lots of documents in Dropbox and have plenty books on the Kindle platform so these two make the entire machine worth the small £29.99 I paid for the device at Sainsbury’s.
I made a simple unboxing video of this Nook which I’ve posted below. Hopefully you will find this useful if you are considering buying such a device.