Overview of NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight

    After the reader from Amazon, another interesting device fell into my hands. This time experimenting with a reader from Barnes & Noble - NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight. The device differs from those devices that have already been described in this blog in that the operating system installed on the device is modified Android, which makes it possible to install many Android applications.

    The second bonus of the reader is the backlight, although personally it is more pleasant for me to read books from this device in natural light or when the lamp is on (my eyes get tired much less than when reading in pitch darkness with the backlight on). However, in the event that in those regions where you live there is an unlimited immoderate blackout, the backlight will be very, very helpful for you.

    The third feature of the described device is the Touch-screen. I ’ve already managed to describe one PocketBook reader with a similar chip, though I can’t make a qualitative comparison between the two devices in this review, since there are no PocketBook devices on my hands (although I note that both devices are interesting in their own way and make it possible read comfortably).

    About the huge amount of hidden features available after flashing the device, read under habrakat. Also in this article you will find many photos of the device, a video demonstrating how to work with the device before and after flashing, a slideshow demonstrating the possibility of backlighting in the device and many other useful things.

    Caution traffic!

    Appearance of the device

    During testing of this device, I also had a wonderful reader from Amazon and an Assistant AE-601 reader , so I could compare these devices with each other, as well as take photos of the NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight reader next to these devices. Since the last review I did on Kindle, picking up a new reader in my hands, I immediately felt that it was heavier, however, after several hours of testing I was completely used to the device described.
    I decided to personally weigh both devices for the sake of the experiment, the kitchen scale showed 167 grams for Kindle, and 201 grams for the NOOK Simple Touch reader.

    Dimensions of NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight - 16.5 cm x 12.7 cm x 1.2 cm.
    For clarity, I photographed the device next to a notebook, pen, and also other devices for reading electronic books that were at my fingertips. See the photos below (photos in the original resolution can be viewed by clicking on the thumbnails shown in this review).

    NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight and Notebook: NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight and Ballpoint Pen: NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight and Kindle 5 : NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight and

    Assistant AE-601 in the cover:

    NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight and Assistant AE-601 without cover:

    NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight and Lbook V3 +: NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight, Kindle 5 , Assistant AE-601 and Lbook V3 +: NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight - rear view: The device fits comfortably in one hand or in two. Flipping pages more conveniently by touching the borders of the touch screen. There are mechanical buttons, but when reading voluminous books, scrolling with these buttons after the hundredth page becomes a little tedious.

    Experimenting with the capabilities of the device out of the box, I found that for a left-hander, if he wants to hold the device with one hand (left), you will have to scroll forward only with the mechanical button located on the left (touching the left edge scrolls back). If you have the left hand for interacting with the world, for comfortable reading electronic books from this device, I highly recommend reflashing the device and installing Cool Reader (in addition to supporting FB2 and other useful formats, this program also has the ability to customize each of 9 sectors For a left-handed person, scrolling forward will be conveniently put on sectors corresponding to the left area of ​​the touch screen).

    Photos of the NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight reader that I made for this review, you can see as an album infolder on Dropbox .

    Product Specifications

    • Screen: E-Ink Pearl, 6 ", 800x600, touch
    • Supported formats: EPUB, Adobe PDF (pdf) (after flashing, thanks to Android, the device supports most modern e-book formats)
    • Images: BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG
    • Operating System: Android
    • Permanent memory: 2 Gb (the user is allocated 239 MB for personal books, it is recommended to use memory cards to use the reader’s capabilities more fully)
    • RAM: 256 Mb
    • Memory card: microSD
    • WiFi: Yes
    • USB: microUSB (12Mb / s)
    • What's in the box: E-book, microUSB cable, quick start guide, rechargeable battery (installed in the device), pre-installed Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition
    • Dimensions: 16.5 cm x 12.7 cm x 1.2 cm
    • Weight: 200g

    Device features when working out of the box

    Of the text formats, the device supports out of the box only the EPUB format. The device’s work with the PDF format without flashing is very far from ideal - there is no way to read books in landscape mode, which is critical for books in which the text is divided into several columns, as well as for books with small print.

    Nevertheless, if you plan to use the reader for reading fiction, the EPUB format should be enough for you (there is a version in EPUB for the flibust for most books). You can also convert books from other formats to EPUB using Caliber, similarly to converting FB2 to MOBI , the procedure for the implementation of which I have already shown in the video supplement to the Kindle 5 review .

    Regardless of whether you plan to read books in the DJVU and FB2 formats, it is convenient to view images, as well as use the Opera Mini browser, I highly recommend reflashing the device. In addition to the ability to choose a beautiful desktop design and install some useful Android applications, you can also install a keyboard that includes a Russian layout (which is not by default), use the high-quality search built into Cool Reader, and conveniently organize your book collections. I’m a little ahead of myself, here I want to write a few more words about the capabilities of the device out of the box.

    I already wrote that the device from the start supports the EPUB format. Reading books of this format on the reader is quite comfortable: choosing a font from 6 predefined options, adjusting the font size (7 options are available), choosing the size of the fields and indenting between lines - all this is possible with the basic EPUB reader.
    For clarity, below I’ll briefly show the available options for displaying text in books of the EPUB format as a GIF slideshow:

    Folder on Dropbox

    Also, when working with the EPUB format in this reader, I liked how the transition to the desired page is organized. It looks something like this:

    Folder on Dropbox

    A distinctive feature of this device from those readers that I already managed to describe is the presence of backlight. Personally, I do not recommend using this chip unless absolutely necessary. It is more pleasant for the eyes to read in daylight or lamp lighting. But if you have no other light sources besides the built-in backlight, then this option will definitely come in handy for you. I took several shots at a fixed shutter speed in a dimly lit room, on which I showed how the brightness adjustment of the backlight in the device looks approximately. Below I show the features of the Nook Simple Touch backlight in the form of a slideshow.

    Folder on Dropbox

    I made a short video in which I showed the reader's capabilities before and after flashing:

    In this video I show: available options for displaying text for books in EPUB format (in a standard reader); the use of backlight in the daytime ; use of backlight at night ; reading books in FB2 format using Cool Reader after flashing the device ; reading PDF books using the Orion Viewer (reading DJVU with this program did not show, but everything is the same there); as well as viewing images using this device.

    On this, a brief overview of the capabilities of the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight reader in the basic configuration will end and smoothly proceed to the description of the chips available for this device after reflashing.

    Features NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight after flashing

    I will not describe in detail the procedure for flashing the device, but I will give links to information that helped me to upgrade the device qualitatively. Before reflashing and configuring the device, he mastered about 65 pages of discussion of programs supported by the modified Android installed on this reader.

    After that, I went to the topic with the description of the Nook Simple Touch firmware algorithm on w3bsit3-dns.com and began to improve the device. In the header of this topic you can find all the necessary information on how to reflash the device (I personally took all the information from there).

    In my case, the approximate sequence of actions for flashing the device was as follows:
    • I made a backup of the standard firmware of the device (I had firmware version 1.2.0 installed, for information on how to backup Nook Simple Touch firmware, read the topic heading for firmware on w3bsit3-dns.com, opening the spoiler "Creating a backup of NOOK Simple Touch and NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight ");
    • Updated the official firmware of the device to version 1.2.1 (read the information on this event by opening the spoiler "Updating the official firmware");
    • I made a backup of the official firmware of the device version 1.2.1;
    • I reshooted the device, taking the image for flashing and all the necessary information in the ZeroLab Nooter post - Universal package for Nook Simple Touch on w3bsit3-dns.com.

    After reflashing, the first thing I installed was Cool Reader, after which I started experimenting with other programs available for this reader.

    In the new firmware from the start, 2 launchers are available for you, displaying the Android desktop and tools differently ( ReLaunch and Zeam Launcher Rus ). I set myself the first option on the recommendation of the author of the firmware, and personally I had enough opportunities to read e-books in the ReLaunch launcher.
    Below are some photos of this launcher, combined into a slideshow:

    In this launcher, when you turn on the device, you will see a file manager in front of you. If you assign convenient programs to electronic books of various formats, the folder structure will give you the opportunity to conveniently catalog your personal library (go to the desired folder, select the book you are interested in with a simple touch, and it automatically opens in the program you selected for this action). In the bottom panel you will find buttons to go to the last open applications, selected applications, as well as to the list of all applications installed on the reader. Also, you can see which application is the most voracious in terms of system resources (for this you need to click the leftmost button in the bottom panel).

    Below I’ll talk about some features of reading electronic books from this device.

    Reading FB2 books with Cool Reader

    Cool Reader is an excellent reader that gives you the opportunity to read most of the popular formats, including such a wonderful e-book format as FB2. In this program, you can flexibly customize the displayed text according to your taste. Another powerful feature of this application is the thoughtful support for Touch-screens. For me personally, the basic settings for working with the touch screen in Cool Reader came up completely and completely (while reading books, I held the device in my right hand, in my left hand, and also with two hands, in each of the three cases the reading was comfortable). However, if you like to experiment, the Cool Reader settings allow you to arbitrarily configure any of the 9 touch sectors (for each sector, you can set 2 actions - the first by a short touch, the second by a long or double touch,

    Below, in the form of a slideshow, I show how you can get into the settings for interacting with the touch screen in Cool Reader, as well as a list of available actions that you can assign to any of the 9 sectors of the screen.

    Folder on Dropbox

    Another cool feature of Cool Reader is its large selection of pre-installed fonts, as well as the ability to add its own fonts to the program. I will not disclose the topic of adding an arbitrary font to the version of the Cool Reader application for Android here, but I will show how the fonts installed in Cool Reader look by default.

    The following fonts are available from the start: Amasis , Ascender Sans , Caecilia , Charis SIL , Courier Std, Droid Sans , Droid Sans Fallback , Droid Sans Mono , Droid Serif , Gill Sans , Helvetica Neue WGL , Malabar and Trebuchet .

    The settings for displaying the text in which I photographed the display of different fonts in the Cool Reader program installed on the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight reader look as follows: Look at the fonts themselves in the form of a slideshow below: Dropbox folder I briefly talked about Cool Reader features, read below how the Nook Simple Touch reader handles PDF and DJVU formats.

    Orion Viewer is a handy tool for reading PDF and DJVU books

    Experimenting with several programs that can work with PDF and DJVU formats, I liked the Orion Viewer application the most. This program has many useful features such as cropping fields, changing the scale of text display and working with bookmarks, but I was primarily interested in a convenient and nimble transition from portrait to landscape display mode. The program copes with this task with dignity and without the slightest complaints. Also, I note the high speed of the application, both with light and heavy books. I recommend this application at least for review!

    You can

    switch from the book mode of displaying text to landscape mode as follows: The procedure for switching to landscape mode for books in PDF and DJVU format is completely similar.

    Work with images

    After flashing, the device displays images at a very decent level, taking into account the features of the E-Ink screen (16 shades of gray). During my experiments with images, the reader coped with both light and heavy pictures. When viewing images, you can enlarge and reduce the picture in question, the reader handles such operations surprisingly quickly.

    I showed a little work with images in video addition to this review, which I already posted above, here I’ll add a photo of the device with a picture open in it so that you can visually assess the image quality on the reader’s screen.

    In addition to the e-book reader programs described above, I also experimented with the Opera Mini browser, which showed quite stable operation. However, for me personally, access to the Internet is definitely much more convenient from a computer, laptop or tablet than from a reader.
    Of those applications that I personally have not tested, but theoretically find useful, I would mention Dropbox and AFlibusta. Also, if you have time and desire, you can experiment with other launchers.

    This is where I will end my short review of the NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight reader.
    Summarizing, I note the strengths and weaknesses of the device.

    Strengths of NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight:
    • convenient control, touch screen;
    • modified Android on board makes it possible to install many applications running on Android OS after flashing the device;
    • backlight;
    • installing Cool Reader and Orion Viewer after flashing the device makes it possible to comfortably read all the main formats of electronic books (including FB2 and DJVU).

    Weaknesses of NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight:
    • no support for DJVU and FB2 formats out of the box (fully compensated by flashing the device);
    • little space for books on the internal memory of the device (239 MB available to the user, the disadvantage is compensated by the use of memory cards);
    • there is no way to turn PDF books in landscape mode using official firmware (fully compensated by Orion Viewer, or other similar applications that you can install after flashing the device).

    To maximize the benefits of the reader, I highly recommend reflashing the device! This will give you the opportunity to install Android applications on this reader to solve a variety of problems (e-book readers, image viewers, organizers, programs for working with the Internet and much much more).
    I liked the device, I read books from it with pleasure. I recommend the device at least for review.

    The NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight reader was provided by Sokol.UA for this test review.
    I took all the photos and videos for the review with the Nikon Coolpix P7100 camera , which I was kindly provided by Nikon Ukraine

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