The Nook vs. Kindle (2021) Comparison: Which e-reader is the best?
In a Nook vs Kindle comparison, there can only be one winner. Which one takes the cake now that the latest editions have been tried?
In 2021, even with the growing use of smartphones, tablet PCs, and other “in” gadgets, ebook reading devices like the Nook or the Kindle aren’t going anywhere soon. In fact, both the Nook and the Kindle, today’s top two ebook readers, have undergone some interesting changes over the past years.
Barnes & Noble and Amazon, the retail giants behind the two devices respectively, have put a lot of effort into these improvements to make ebook reading a more pleasurable experience for users.
Nook vs. Kindle: Comparing ebook readers
Screen & Display
6-inch, 300 PPI
6-inch, 300 PPI
4 GB / 8 GB
8 GB / 32 GB
up to 50 days
6.9H 5W 0.34D
6.7H 4.6W 0.36D
In our first review, back in 2015, the Amazon device came out as the clear winner, hands-down. Being a newcomer in the industry at that time, the Barnes Noble ebook reader was still deemed as “buggy” by some and had more than a few technical issues to deal with. It may have had some appeal as an alternative to the Kindle but offered none of the seamlessness that the Amazon device had.
This time around, in 2021, what has changed? Could the newly-upgraded Kindle manage to stay on top? And given the hardware upgrade and other modifications made on the Nook, is it finally a serious contender or possibly an Amazon Kindle killer?
Let’s answer these questions – and more – in our comparison review and see which one is the best. Please note, that this comparison will include the Nook Color and the Glowlight 3, which is Barnes and Noble’s latest ebook reader.
Without further ado, here’s what each of these ebook reading devices has to offer:
The Nook vs. Kindle: In-Depth Comparison
You may also like: Kindle vs. Nook vs. iPad
Kindle vs. Nook: Design
Even with the recent upgrades, the Nook has retained its original design while the Kindle shed off 25% of its body size and now sports a “sleeker” look.
Amazon machine comes in 2 color options, white and black/graphite. The Nook for its part comes in classic white or black, although the owner does have the option to replace the original frame and back cover with colored ones.
The more noteworthy concern here though is the Amazon’s ereader matte finish versus that of the Nook’s shiny one. This may seem trivial for many, but some of those who are actually using the Barnes & Noble ebook reader takes issue at its shiny frame which throws off reflections under certain lighting conditions.
Kindle vs. Nook: Screen and Display
Despite the difference in the size of their frames, the Paperwhite and Glowlight ebook readers have identically-sized 6-inch reading displays. The Nook Color is a little bigger with a 7-inch screen size.
All of them use e-ink technology which allows for glare-free (even under sunlight) and eyestrain-free reading. However, Amazon has upped the ante a notch higher by utilizing the latest e-ink Pearl technology, which reportedly provides 50% better contrast.
Size and Weight
Measuring 8.1″ x 5.0″ x 0.48″, the B&N Color machine is a tad bigger and thicker compared to the Paperwhite which has the dimensions 6.7″ x 4.6″ x 0.36″.
On the other hand, the Glowlight 3 measures 6.9″ x 5″ 0.34″ which is closer to the Amazon ereader.
And with the Amazon e-reader opting for a smaller size, it also weighs significantly less at 7.2 ounces than the B&N Color which tips the scales at 15.8 oz
However, the Paperwhite is slightly heavier than the Glowlight 3 which has 6.9 oz. But don’t worry the difference is invisible.
Kindle vs. Nook: Battery life
With the wireless turned off, the Paperwhite can last about a month on a single charge, the Color tablet can manage about 3 weeks under the same conditions.
Both of them are defeated by B&N Glowlight’s long last battery life up to 50 days.
The Nook though, makes it easier to replace the battery as it can be accessed from the back of the device, whereas the Kindle has to be sent back to Amazon for battery replacement.
Kindle’s standard memory can accommodate the storage of around 5000 books, which is more than enough I can say. You can also choose the 32 GB version and also you can access for free Amazon’s Cloud Storage making the storage space the most insignificant aspect.
BarnesNoble ebook reader, on the other hand, can store up to 3000 books, although it has an expandable memory slot that will give the user more storage space if needed (up to 32 with a memory card).
Books & Library
Whichever ebook reader you pick, the sheer variety in content is staggering. The Kindle Store has over 3000,000 ebooks to choose from while Barnes & Noble claims over 2 million books in its Book store. The classics, the latest bestsellers, and the freshest titles are all there for the picking.
A feature that the BarnesNoble has always had and one that Kindles recently adopted is the sharing of books. Ebooks may be shared from one Nook owner to another, and between users, for 2 weeks.
As with the first-generation model, the device uses push-button technology for navigating through titles and text, while the Nook has a 1-inch color touch screen navigation panel as well as pushbuttons for turning pages.
The colored navigation menu does bring a touch of brightness to the device but if the functionality is what matters most to you, the 5-way controller of the device does the job simply yet effectively.
The new Paperwhite also boasts of 20% faster page turns.
For even more ease in reading, you can customize the font as to type and size to whichever you are most comfortable with. All of these three ebook readers have 3 different font types available.
The Glowlight e-reader has 6 different font sizes; While the Paperwhite now has 8 sizes plus fonts which they say are “crisper, darker.”
Both the Barnes Noble Glowlight and the Amazon device have Wi-Fi and 3G with Wi-Fi versions. Amazon’s ebook reader also offers cellular connectivity.
Games and Other Features
The two gadgets being compared here are both dedicated ebook readers and are in no way meant to compete with multi-tasking devices like the iPad and other tablets. But they actually have a few more apps integrated.
The Kindle, for instance, has games (ranging from free to a few dollars), a text-to-speech feature, built-in Twitter and Facebook to share meaningful passages with, and a Webkit-based browser.
BarnesNoble device, on the other hand, comes with games Chess and Sudoki, built-in Merriam Webster dictionary, and a basic web browser.
Both devices support a variety of file formats including pdf, doc, html, jpeg, gif, mobi, and even mp3 files which can provide background music while you are reading.
It’s a known fact that apps for both devices can be installed across different gadgets such as PCs and smartphones. Because both ebook readers allow you to sync across all these devices, it’s easy to pick up where you left off on your reading – from the Nook to your MacBook, or from your iPhone to the Kindle.
Kindle vs. Nook: Price
Comparison won’t be complete without a mention of the price tags that go with each. As expected, the costs don’t vary much for them to remain competitive. The Amazon Paperwhite retails between 100 $ – 200 $ respectively. Barnes and Noble’s Color and Glowlight versions are priced at around 90$ – 150$.
Kindle vs. Nook: Conclusion
In our comparison, there can only be one winner. Which takes the cake now that the latest editions have been tried and tested by consumers?
For sure, there’s no lack of praise for either gadget. According to the New York Times, “New Kindle leaves rivals farther back.” On the other hand, Money Magazine calls Barnes & Noble’s device the, “#1 Pick for e-Readers.”
But after a close study of their features and after reading what actual users had to say about each, which device did we find to be more consumer-friendly, value for the money, and simply the better ebook reader?
We said it then and we’ll say it again: the Amazon Kindle is the ebook reader to beat. That decision was harder to make this time because the B&N device has become a more formidable competition for the long-time front runner.
But if you do look closely at the features in our review, you’ll find that the Amazon device just manages to edge out the Barnes and Noble’s device in many features – and especially where it really matters.
For instance, the BarnesNoble e-reader obviously has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to international 3G coverage. And with the Kindle’s smaller, sleeker, and lighter design, it has put portability to a whole new level.
While the Nook does offer the option of expandable storage, the Kindle’s built-in memory should give any user ample storage for entire libraries at a time.
At the end of the day though, it is still up to you to decide. Whatever your needs and preferences may be, hopefully, this comprehensive comparison will help make that choice easier for you to make.