Kindle 3 vs. Nook Color: Yes, I Want an E-Reader

For someone who likes to think she doesn’t need a lot of material things, I sure like my gadgets. The past few Christmases, I’ve been lucky enough to receive a Nintendo DS, digital camera and a video iPod. While to many people, these aren’t exactly state-of-the-art electronics anymore — more a part of everyday life — I enjoy using them.

And now, as an avid reader, I’m considering getting an e-reader such as Barnes & Noble’s nook or Amazon’s Kindle. It almost seems blasphemous to give up the world of the truly printed word for an electronic device. It’s not quite the same to hold an e-reader, rather than a paperback or hardcover novel. There’s the fun of flipping the pages, finding where you left off when you lose your bookmark, or dog-earing the corners. I always have a book with me when I’m at home, and more often than not, it’s with me while I’m eating a meal — I can’t tell you how many books I own have ketchup or other minor food stains on random pages.

But to someone who’s not really tech-savvy, choosing an e-reader is a bit confusing. So I’ll share my research with you and we’ll figure this out together!

Kindle 3 Overview

The new Amazon Kindle weighs only 8.5 ounces with just the WiFi capability, while the WiFi/3G model comes in at 8.7 ounces. This version is 21% smaller than its predecessor, while keeping the same 6-inch display screen. It uses E-Ink technology, which has excellent contrast properties. With the wireless off, one charge is said to last 30 days; 2-3 weeks with it on. Either way, that’s some fantastic battery life. It also stores up to 3,500 books. You can buy books through the wireless interface and download them within 60 seconds.

Users have access to more than 700,000 books for purchase. There’s also more than 1.8 million free books; many published before 1923, so if you like the classics, it’s a great deal. I also like that you can read newspapers and magazines on it, and can “try out” books before committing to the purchase. The Kindle also has an “experimental” Webkit web browser and PDF readability.

Kindle WiFi: $139
Kindle WiFi/3G: $189

Nook Color Overview

Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader is pretty slick — first of all, it comes with a color LCD touchscreen. How useful is that for reading books? It’s not when the text is in black and white. But if you want to read magazines and color newspapers, it’s looks pretty sharp. The screen is larger, at 7 inches, but the weight, at 15.8 ounces, is almost double that of the new Kindle. It comes with WiFi (a 3G version isn’t available) and has an 8GB memory with an SD card expansion slot.

At 8 hours, the Nook Color’s battery life isn’t much to brag about. The backlit display sucks up a lot of energy and can be harder on the eyes than E-Ink displays because of the glare off the glass, which the designers tried to minimize with a laminate layer. The Nook Color also supports ePub, PDF and Word document formats (read-only), and allows the user to play games and listen to music.

B&N boasts a library of 2 million titles, and 1 million free books. I’m unsure whether the free books are part of the 2 million titles bragged about in the advertisements, but I tend to think so (creative license for the ads). I also like that you can lend books to other Nook readers. This feature already available.

Nook Color WiFi: $249

My Thoughts

I like the Kindle for my needs, as I don’t see myself reading magazines on my e-reader, especially with a ‘small’ screen. It’s lightweight and at a great price point.  You can listen to music on both, but I have an iPod for that. Amazon currently doesn’t charge for the Kindle’s 3G service, but like anything else, that could change at any time. I prefer the wireless since we already have a wireless router set up in our home, and I don’t travel much.

I don’t need it to do anything fancy — I just want to read. While I was resistant to e-readers at first, I’ve come to realize that it’s a pretty ‘green’ device, cutting down on using precious natural resources for actual hardcover and paperback books. Will it be the same experience? Of course not. There’s nothing that can compare to reading a book. But no matter which e-reader I choose, I think I’m going to grow to like it.

Do any of you have e-readers? Which of these two would you recommend?

13 comments to Kindle 3 vs. Nook Color: Yes, I Want an E-Reader

  • William

    I have both a nookCOLOR and a Kindle 3 (WIFI). Without question, the Kindle is the better e reader. But, for an all-in-one, the nookCOLOR is quite a deal at $249. If I could only have one, it would be the nook COLOR.

  • I have a Nook and I really like it. It’s not the new color version, it’s the original one that came out a few years ago. Before the first major software update came out, there were a few annoying software bugs, but once I got the update it ran great. When you turn off the Wi-Fi, you can read it for a very long time without running down the batteries. And ebooks are cheaper! $9.99 for the some of the latest titles. And no, I don’t get a penny for this pseudo Nook commercial! 🙂

  • kay

    Nicole, have you decided on your reader yet? I just got the Kindle 3 for Christmas and I’m enjoying it.

    From whatI read, the Nook color is good for magazine reading but Kindle is recommended for overall and if you mainly read books.

    The Kindle also has 1 month battery life w/out WIFI compared to 8 hrs with the Nook. I also like the Kindle is almost 1/2 as light.

    If you’re going to purchasing e-textbokos, however, the Kindle doesn’t use page numbers but “location indicators.” This would make it hard to follow along in class where the professor generally gives page numbers.

    Besides that, I’m liking mine so far. Good luck 😉

    • Nicole

      @Kay: I decided on the Kindle 3 with just the WiFi, as I’m primarily a book reader. And I chose it for all the reasons you stated in your comment. Enjoy yours!

    • Samantha Bryan

      Hello, I was just looking at this and now there ARE page numbers on some books. Its exciting!! 🙂

  • THanks so much I love this review! I was pondering the purchase of an ereader myself! Great timing! I would love to bring this to my ladies on my blog too!

  • Susie B

    You didn’t mention the regular Nook for much less than the color one. I have it and love it. While I liked the Kindle, the fact that you can replace your battery in the Nook yourself if need and you can add an SD expansion card sold me on the Nook. Nooks can also download library books which the Kindle can not. Either way, they are a great thing. You can test drive the Nooks but not the Kindles.

  • I thought about getting an e-reader type of device, but I really enjoy the feel of a book – the crisp pages. I love going to my bookshelf and seeing all the good memories and being able to physically share those with others.

  • leonhart

    Size? Seriously? I wouldn’t pay $379 to have 2 extra inches of display compared to my nookcolor. Plus, I’m starting to find more and more manga becoming available on it. And yeah, the battery does drain a bit faster, but when I’m at home, I just keep mine plugged in and read all day. Otherwise, with my average use (2-3 hours a day), I don’t have to plug mine in for at least a few days.

    One note though – Nook Color is not 3G capable yet. There’s way too much content to use on the web for free 3G service on it, so I’m guessing if they ever implement 4G (which I hope they would go to instead), it would involve a plan for it, and hopefully just an add-on you plug into the mini-usb port.

    As far as book selection goes, the kindle and nook are pretty much equal in their shops. However, I can go to my local library website and check out ebooks to my computer, which I can transfer to my nook for 2 weeks, for FREE! Can’t do that with my Kindle… And good luck finding tech support for kindle in any stores, walk into any B&N and the whole staff can answer questions for you, plus they have a 1-800 number that is open 24/7, and isn’t outsourced! I hope you give this some extra thought!

    • Nicole

      Thanks for your input — I goofed on the 3G inclusion on the Nook Color portion, I’ll fix that.

      I also agree that it’s not worth paying $379 for a 9-inch screen, versus a 6- or 7-inch screen for $139-$249. And I’m sure 3G/eventual 4G coverage won’t be free for much longer.

    • Julie

      Thank you leonhart! 🙂 I think you were the final persuasion in my decision of buying a Nook!

  • Right now, the Kindle is winning because of its size, but is a block for me because it doesn’t have an SD capacity upgrade option. WTF?

    I would’ve bought the Sony but it needs to be larger by 9″ at least so I can read manga (comics) on it.

    (Sony, Kobo and Libre are other e-readers by the way. There are plenty more, but those are the cheaper ones)

    • Nicole

      @FB: I know there are other readers, but these were the two I’ve narrowed it down to. I’m surprised there’s no SD expansion on the Kindle, but I think 3,500 books is a pretty good capacity. I’d probably be ready for a new Kindle long before this one would get full!