Prizefight (week of July 21)
Amazon Kindle vs. Nook Touch
Amazon Kindle vs. Nook Touch
The third-generation Amazon Kindle has been considered the go-to choice for black-and-white e-book readers...until now. The 2011 Barnes & Noble Nook adds touch-screen support and easier navigation than its predecessor e-ink model, making the Kindle's keyboard and directional pad look downright old-fashioned.
Who will come out on top in this battle of the bargain e-book readers?
Round 1: DesignDesign and looks count for a lot, so here's where we examine the look, size, feel, and sex appeal of the devices.
|Amazon Kindle Keyboard (with Special Offers, Wi-Fi, graphite)||4I still like the look of the Kindle, but have never been a big fan of the keyboard.||3The Kindle is small and light, but the keyboard now seems like an old-fashioned relic.||3The black finish on the current-generation Kindle is nice, but that keyboard and D-pad stick out like a sore thumb.||3.3|
|Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch Reader (Wi-Fi)||5My only gripe with the Nook's design is that it could be a little narrower, but touch-screen-plus-smaller footprint gives it a definite edge here.||5The Nook's all-screen design and contoured back is about as clean a reader design as I can imagine.||5It's the best-looking e-reader on the market right now. Simple, clean, and ultraportable.||5|
Round 2: Navigation and InterfaceLooks matter, but how easy are these e-readers to use? In Round 2, we examine the usability of their navigation and controls.
|Amazon Kindle Keyboard (with Special Offers, Wi-Fi, graphite)||4The Kindle is easy to operate, but the D-pad navigational system just feels old-school and requires more steps to get to where you want to go.||3Kindle operation is mostly straightforward, but the D-pad navigation isn't as intuitive as a touch screen.||4The menus are laid out nicely and the D-pad works just fine, but my nontechy friends were instantly intimidated||3.7|
|Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch Reader (Wi-Fi)||5For those who are used to touch-screen smartphones, the Nook's touch interface just feels much more natural.||5Touch-screen navigation and the single home button make navigating the Nook almost as simple as an iPad.||5This is a pick-up-and play e-reader with a responsive touch screen that's a real difference maker. It's very natural to use.||5|
Round 3: Features and technologyWhat do these e-readers offer under the hood? Here we examine the features in each device and rate which reader offers more.
|Amazon Kindle Keyboard (with Special Offers, Wi-Fi, graphite)||4The Kindle has a few extras--such as audio support, text-to-speech reading, and basic Web browsing--that the Nook is missing. It also has a growing selection of games, if you're into that sort of thing.||4In addition to books, magazines, and newspapers, the Kindle can handle audiobooks, music playback, and basic Web browsing.||4Kindle is king of bells and whistles beyond reading books. It plays audiobooks, MP3s, and there's a native Web browser. You'll also be able to use it with the library-lending Overdrive service by the end of the year.||4|
|Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch Reader (Wi-Fi)||3The Nook Touch is designed to be an e-reader. If you want fancier features, Barnes & Noble wants you to step up to the Nook Color.||3The Nook lacks multimedia playback of any kind, but EPUB compatibility enables reading borrowed library e-books.||4The Nook Touch may not play media, but there's a workaround with "Search" to access the Web, it hooks to Facebook and Twitter, has Nook friend lending, Overdrive access (library books), and an SD card expansion slot, all of which counts for something.||3.3|
Round 4: PerformanceWhich e-reader offers the best reading experience? And which delivers the best battery life?
|Amazon Kindle Keyboard (with Special Offers, Wi-Fi, graphite)||4Overall, the Kindle is zippy, though e-ink still has some lag. Up to two month of battery life with wireless off--no complaints there.||5Great battery life and the latest Pearl e-ink screen combine for optimal performance for weeks on end.||4Both devices use the latest Pearl e-ink screen and claim to have a two-month battery life on standby. They both perform about the same when navigating through menus.||4.3|
|Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch Reader (Wi-Fi)||4This Nook is noticeably faster than the previous model, with faster page turns and much better battery life.||5With the same basic screen as the Kindle, the Nook delivers roughly the same performance.||5The Nook's ability to have that gnarly black screen flash only once out of every five to six pages makes a huge impact on the quality of reading.||4.7|
Round 5: ValueThe Kindle costs between $114 and $139, and the Nook Touch costs $139. At those equivalent prices, which offers the best bang for your buck?
|Amazon Kindle Keyboard (with Special Offers, Wi-Fi, graphite)||4If you can live with a few ads, the Kindle With Special Offers provides very good value for as little as $114. That's the Kindle we'd buy now.||5E-books, audio, and a basic Web browser for as little as $114--the Kindle maximizes e-reader value.||5The Kindle offers an ad-supported model(which doesn't intrude on the reading experience) for $114, making for a great value.||4.7|
|Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch Reader (Wi-Fi)||4You're paying a little extra for the touch-screen interface, but at $139 the Nook is still a solid bargain.||4The Nook delivers a great touch-screen e-reader for less than $140.||4The $140 price still isn't close enough to the $99 sweet spot for an e-reader. But it's a solid price for what you're getting. Would I pay for it? Yes.||4|
The winner is...
Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch Reader (Wi-Fi) (4.4 pts)
Amazon Kindle (4 pts)
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