Kindle v Nook – Which is the better eReader?


kindle-fire-vs-nook-tabletThe Kindle from Amazon and the original Nook from Barnes & Noble are two very popular eReaders available to buy today. Both have been around for a while and both have upsides and downsides. In this Kindle v Nook review I will provide you with an honest and unbiased look at them both so to make it easier for you to make the right decision for you. At this point I would like to inform you that I am a long time eReader enthusiast and I would never review a product I hadn’t tried and tested (which is not the case with most other so-called “reviewers” out there). So, I hope you enjoy my review and feel free to comment or ask any questions you may have.

I have categorized the various features of the two as to make it effortless for you to navigate your way through this review.


In the world we live in, speed tends to mean everything to people. Our lives race along at 100 miles an hour and if we can save 5 minutes per week having a more zippy eReader, it matters to some. If all you care about is speed, the Kindle is your obvious choice. Amazon took the old Kindle 3, which was already quicker than the Nook, and made it even faster with the Kindle Fire Tablet. The time it takes to turn a page feels like an eternity on the Nook compared to the Kindle. Now, not all of us are in such a hurry, but I have to say having tested both, once you have tried the Kindle it somehow feels like you are wasting precious seconds of your life with the Nook.

Another thing that is much quicker with the Kindle is the navigation. This means its ability to move the cursor around the page in a smooth and predictable manner. The Kindle has what is called a rocker-button which can be moved around 5 ways and it moves very quickly. On the Nook you have to activate the LCD screen which lights up a little virtual rocker-button that has to be touched to move the cursor around the screen. Compared to the Kindle, the virtual rocker-button on the Nook appears very slow and sluggish. Again, this might not matter to you, but when you get used to the Kindle, going back to the sluggishness of the Nook can be rather irritating. I do know that Barnes & Noble have released software updates that has made it quicker, but it still does not perform like the Kindle.

Screen Contrast

The quality of the screen of an eReader is really important. I could handle slower page turns, but if the screen has glare or it hurts your eyes to read more than half an hour it’s going in the bin. Amazon took the Kindle 2 and improved the screen drastically when they released number 3. The official numbers say 50% better contrast than the Kindle 2 and I believe them. The screen contrast of the Nook is about the same as Kindle 2 so the new Kindle is miles ahead. Effectively what this means for you as a user is an eReader that can be read both inside and out in any conditions and keeps the strain on your eyes to a minimum. After an hour or so on the Nook I’ve had enough, especially if the lights are a bit dim, but I still haven’t reached my limit with the Kindle.

If you are reading in well lit conditions the Nook will do just fine, but if you are anything like me, you may like to read in bed, and bedrooms may be poorly lit. Take the Nook to bed with you and you’ll have a headache within the hour unless you have a decent bed side table lamp.

Battery life

Kindle Fire: Out of the Box
Kindle Fire: Out of the Box (Photo credit: Brian Sawyer)

The new battery fitted in Kindle is truly amazing. I charge mine every couple of weeks and that is with the WiFi on. If I turn it off it will last me about a month. Unfortunately for the Nook, its touch LCD screen drains the battery very quickly and it is unlikely to last you more than a week. Does it matter much? Well, if all you do is have the eReader at home and read before bed it probably doesn’t. But if you go on holidays of any significant duration and want to take your library with you, the Nook will require you to bring the charger. Personally, the big difference in battery life doesn’t really matter. I have no problem plugging the charger in once a week.


In the blue corner, from Barnes & Noble, weighing in at 11.5 ounces, the Nook! And in the red corner, straight from Amazon, weighing in at only 8.5 ounces, the Kindle! If this was a boxing match the Nook would probably “nook” (did you get it?) the shorts off the Kindle, but unfortunately for Barnes & Noble, it is not. 3 ounces may not seem like a lot, but when you hold the Nook for a while and then switch to the Kindle, you can feel the difference straight away. The Kindle just feels nicer in your hand and because it is lighter it is easier to bring with you. The case that comes with the Nook makes it even worse as it is quite heavy, while the Kindle case is light and works really well.

So far, the Kindle has slaughtered the Nook. But, for all you Nook fans out there, don’t despair. There are reasons that may make you consider the Nook as well. Let’s go through them one by one and check the summary at the end for the result.

Having a physical store

Barnes & Noble eReader Software Coming to iPad
Barnes & Noble eReader Software Coming to iPad (Photo credit: John Federico)

Should you ever need any help with your Nook, all you have to do is take it to a Barnes & Noble store and they will look after it for you. Should you happen to be at Barnes & Noble with your Nook you can read any book in their library for free for an hour per day. If you are lucky they may even give you a free book which will just pop up on your screen.

User-replaceable battery

The batteries used in both the Nook and the Kindle will eventually lose their charging abilities. With years of use, what used to last two weeks may now only last you a few days. Nook’s battery is easy to change for the user and inexpensive to purchase. To replace the Kindle battery on the other hand, you have to ship it (at your own cost) to Amazon and they will replace your whole Kindle with a refurbished one (not yours). That said, according to Amazon the Kindle battery should last you for as long as 3 years and I guess most of us would have upgraded to the newer model by then anyway.


As opposed to the Kindle, the Nook uses the widely used open format, ePub. This means that with a Nook you have the ability to “borrow” eBooks in the ePub format from many digital libraries. Amazon uses their own eBook format which is not recognized by other eReaders. What this means for you as a user is that you cannot take a Kindle eBook and transfer it to your Nook, unless you use a free program called Calibre which will translate eBook formats for you. The only catch here is that Calibre does not work with copy-write protected books.

Nook’s LCD screen

English: Cropped version of File:Nook color je...
English: Cropped version of File:Nook color jeh.jpg showing its article in Wikipedia, tethered in a B&N store to allow demo without theft. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having a color LCD screen on your eReader may be a pro for some and a con for others. It really depends on what is important to you. It does make the Nook look pretty cool if this is important to you, but when it comes to being user-friendly, the Kindle is both quicker and easier to use. Looking at the LCD screen is pretty much like staring at a computer, so if this gives you a headache, chances are the Nook will do the same.

Expandable Memory

The Nook comes with 2 GB as standard, but you can add on an extra 16GB if you wish by buying a microSD card. The Kindle comes with 4 GB as standard, but can not be expanded. Now, I am not sure who would need 16GB of books on their Nook, but the 4 GB that comes standard on the Kindle is definitely enough as it will hold up to 3500 books.


Look, both the Kindle and the Nook are two of the very best eReaders on the market today. Hence why they are put up against each other in the “fight of champions.” Most other eReader fall short of these two and it seems as if every time a new and better model is released, the gap widens. Both the Kindle and the Nook come with their advantages and disadvantages as you have already read about. When it comes down to actually putting your hard earned cash down however, I would back the Kindle, any day of the week. Why? Well, there’s only two things I like better about the Nook. Its user-replaceable battery and the fact that you can have an actual person fixing it while you wait. But at the end of the day, these two features does not make up for the fact that the Kindle is faster, lasts longer, has a better screen which is easier on the eyes, much more user-friendly, smaller and lighter which makes it more portable and better to hold for those long hours of reading. So, ring-a-ding-ding, Kindle‘s the king!

Alexander Hope is a long term eReader user. For more great reviews on kindle v nook, visit

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