the new nook (aka Nook second edition, nook simpletouch, etc)

Well I happened to be in the US after many years, and despite being sent a nook 1, (wifi only model) by my brother a couple of months ago I was tempted enough by the reviews of the nook 2 to buy one.

[By the way, the nook 1 (wifi only version) was $150 when my brother bought it for me. A scant few weeks after he sent it to me, they announced the Nook 2 at $139, and dropped the price of the nook 1 to $119! Timing issues like this have been the story of my life, <sigh>...]

So here're the pros and cons of this one compared to the old one.

Summary: lighter and smaller and better navigation make it attractive. But there are lots of negatives to consider, and if I'd known all of them before I bought it I may not have done so. Even now, I'm sorta tempted to attempt returning it but that's only fueled by "righteous indignation" so I will probably just laze around until it's time for my flight home and then claim I didn't have time!


  • much better interface -- the main screen is a touch screen now! (For people who're wondering what's the big deal, remember this is e-ink, non-backlit display -- totally different technology to the normal stuff on your Androids!)

  • much smarter navigation. Both because the main screen is touch, as well as the fact that you can reverse the meaning of the top and bottom buttons if the size of your hand makes it so that the upper button is better for your thumb to hit when you hold it. Reading is a real pleasure with this thing!

  • reviews say it has a much better battery life. Sounds believable, because there's no longer a battery draining lighted touchpad! I can only hope, because the old one sucked rocks through a pipette in terms of battery life!

  • no touchpad means it's much smaller and lighter, while having the same actual screen size (800x600)

  • has a built-in dictionary (accessible only from EPUB files, not from PDFs... wonder why)

  • (minor: now actually knows about GMT+0530 in its time zone list! yeaaay!)
  • no device password. This is a big problem for someone like me; limits what I can use it for. I can no longer grab a quick PDF of some work document I need to read and take it with me, in case the device gets stolen.

    You may think you can use encrypted PDFs, but that won't work. There's no way to make it "forget" the password short of completely shutting down, so if you opened a document it's now visible to anyone who grabs the device. (In the old nook, the moment you open another document (even an un-encrypted one), the password for the previous one was forgotten. Not great but I was happy enough to use it as a workaround...)

  • no document delete. If you did take along a sensitive file, you can't delete it once you've read it, to limit exposure. The old nook would let you delete documents from its interface; this one needs a PC to do that. This is the worst problem from my point of view because it could have somewhat mitigated the previous one.

  • non-replacable battery. This is the second worst problem as far as I am concerned. For people who live outside the US, like me, this could be a killer. I'm crossing my fingers hoping I don't get burned...

  • mandatory registration. A new nook 2 won't even get to the home screen unless you register. Fortunately, it doesn't insist on a credit card for a new registration, but even so, that's badbadbad(tm)! [And I'm willing to bet some corporate fsckwit at BN will read this and make a note to make the credit card mandatory for nook 3!]

    I have no intention of ever buying any content -- most of my reading is PDFs from work or web pages converted to EPUBs with my own script built around calibre's ebook-convert program. So the question: at $139, do they still have to resort to the razor/blade revenue model?

  • probably for the same reason, only 236 MB for "sideloaded" documents. ["sideloaded" apparently is the phrase to describe docs you install through USB instead of from BN using their interface]. This is barely one-fifth of the 1.3 GB the old nook had. The nook 2 reserves the rest of the free space for BN content, which means in my case it's just sitting idle. To be honest, this is not a big deal, but one does feel somewhat cheated at the forced space wastage.

  • no music. I never used the music on the old nook anyway so I don't care.

  • no browser. Well the browser on the old nook was crap so I don't miss it, but it could actually have been usable on this one, because of the touch screen! Why did they do this?
And finally, here's the biggest WTF: when you start the machine and eventually read the 100-page user manual, it says somewhere toward the end "You can purchase a Nook only if you have a billing address in the United States".

Huh? Why? What earthly logic do you have for this? We're the best customers -- we don't have much opportunity to return it, call your customer complaints, and generally make your life miserable if we don't like it.

More importantly, how the fsck am I supposed to know that before buying it? The sales clerk at BN, Stevens Creek (CA) didn't even ask. Clearly he is smart enough not to lose a sale for crappy reasons, so what's with the corporate stupidity?

And don't tell me it's legal reasons to do with geography specific licensing for books, like DVD region codes. You're not going to let me buy content until I give you a credit card with a US billing address anyway ...

All in all, psychologically very disappointing. So now that I have "pensieve"d all these comments, I will try and purge them from my mind and try and enjoy the damn thing...


rule #1 for a home user

don't let your mom do your packing/unpacking. She'll drop the 1TB
hard disk that contains your only backup while trying to help you.

-- my son


happy passwords, here I come!


Interesting... I know what my future passwords are going to be themed around now!