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Barnes and Noble Nook Wi-Fi (second generation)

Melissa J. Perenson, PCWorld | June 1, 2011
The latest-generation Nook offers a dramatically improved design, interface, and reading experience on a monochrome E-Ink screen.

The e-reader runs Android 2.1, which makes changes and tweaks via firmware update viable. Sadly, as of now B&N says it has no plans for opening up its E-Ink Nook to apps. The device also has no Web browser, and no on-board e-mail, disappointing omissions given how central these can be to reading.

Setting up the 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi was easy, and the device automatically searches for and reconnects to your last network, even when booting up after a complete shutdown. Users get free Wi-Fi access at AT&T hotspots nationwide.

Battery life should be up notably: Barnes & Noble says that the Nook can last up to 2 months on a single charge, with the Wi-Fi turned off. We’ll have to check in later with an update on how its battery life does in the real world.

At $139, the new Nook is competitively priced with Amazon’s Kindle. It also replaces current Wi-Fi-only and 3G Nook models, and will co-exist going forward with the Nook Color/Reader’s Tablet.


Macworld’s buying advice

I can’t say that the Nook is the absolute best e-reader available today, but it comes close. Nook gets marked down for its terrible button design and inconsistent contrast; and yet, it wins favor for its interface and touch navigation. Those factors, coupled with its light weight and long battery life rating, make Nook a solid choice, as long as you plan to use the touchscreen and not the buttons to page through your books.


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