After changing its mind about spinning off Nook Media into a separate company, Barnes & Noble have doubled down with a new eReader designed for anyone who has ever had an unpleasant experience with an eReader in the great outdoors. The Nook GlowLight Plus is built tough, but its performance in direct sunlight is what really might get you to hooked on the Nook.
The GlowLight Plus might be the first eReader we’ve come across that really seems built for outdoors reading — a pretty pleasant experience when the weather permits. Considering technology is supposed to make things better, it’s more than a little annoying when your new reading device can’t hack it in your favorite outdoors spot, mostly because your book-devoted friend will make fun of you and you won’t have any good response.
Barnes & Noble has made their new eReader both waterproof and dustproof, making it a solid beach companion for anyone who loves bringing books to the beach, which seems like a pretty large group of people. The GlowLight Plus has a glare-free screen for use in direct sunlight, too, completing the whole beach day package. For low-light conditions, the eponymous GlowLight automatically adjust to ambient light, making reading comfortable as the sun goes down.
The E Ink display itself is 300 dpi, a drastic improvement over the original GlowLight, and has enhanced contrast for more comfortable reading in any lighting. The usual set of custom-made Nook reading fonts is also available, so the GlowLight Plus really does seem like an eReader capable of being all things to all kinds of readers (well, besides the ones who reject eReaders entirely).
Barnes & Noble gave the GlowLight Plus a premium build — an aluminum body with a white border and a bronze-colored back that gives it a distinct look. The bezels are a little bigger than we’d like, but given how strong it performs outdoors, we can live with it. It’s pretty light, too, at 6.9 ounces.
On the software side, Barnes & Noble is adding something called B&N Readouts, which will push a selection of short reads and excerpts to your device every day based on your preferences. There are also carrots to get you to actually come out to physical Barnes & Noble stores, like special Nook events and Read In Store, which lets you connect to in-store Wi-Fi to read anything from the Nook Store for one hour per day.
This would all be for naught if Barnes & Noble couldn’t compete with Amazon on price, but it looks like they’ve been able to keep costs down enough to manage that. The GlowLight Plus is available today for $130 and can be purchased in Barnes & Noble stores or on Nook.com. The new Amazon Paperwhite is $120 regularly, but is currently on sale for $100. That said, the GlowLight Plus comes without ads by default, putting it about level with the ad-free Paperwhite.