I wrote the following letter today to Barnes and Noble regarding the issues I’ve had over the last year with my Nook SimpleTouch. Overall the Nook is actually a great device to read on. But it has a number of very specific failures that when put together are starting to make me regret I bought it.
Almost exactly a year ago I bought a Nook simple touch. I have subsequently read almost 60 books on it. Over all, especially after the first major update, I was really happy with my Nook. The screen was clear and easy to read. The controls were simple. The battery lasted forever.
But now I’m seriously having to consider buying a Kindle.
The reason is that over time my Nook has developed a number of problems that have made using it a real pain. Those issues, in order of how annoying they are:
- Button Failure - It started with the upper left button. After I had the Nook for 6 or 7 months sometimes when I pressed the upper left button to turn the page the button would get ’stuck’ (I don’t know if this is a hardware or software issue) and the book would race ahead a huge number of pages. Leaving me with the task of trying to manually go back to find the page I was at. This is unbelievably annoying. So I reconfigured the Nook to use the lower buttons as ’page forward’. Sure enough, just a few months later, the lower left button developed the same problem. Now I primarily swipe my finger to turn the page but this is actually inconvenient in many cases so it really lowers the joy of using the Nook. Note that I don’t smash the buttons, I just lightly press them.
- Slow to unlock - I sit down, ready to read, press the Nook button at the bottom, swipe my finger across the active unlock bar (e.g. the unlock bar shows the animated arrows) and.... nothing. This happens not infrequently and I typically have to just wait a while or try multiple swipes or dance a little dance before it finally unlocks. Imagine a book that randomly decided to not open? That is my level of frustration.
- Highlight is a nightmare - When I read non-fiction I like to use the highlighting feature to help me remember key passages that I can review later. But trying to highlight a word or phrase is a nightmare. First, the Nook often refuses to acknowledge my attempts at highlighting if they are anywhere near the ’turn’ zones on the left and right hand the screen. Second, trying to drag my finger to control the start and end of the highlight zones is like some buggy video game with broken controls.
- The touch sensors sometimes don’t work - I have lost track of the number of times that the touch sensors just lose their minds. I press one part of the screen and the sensors think I’ve touched somewhere else. This effectively renders the touch interface unusable. Sometimes blowing into the areas around the infrared sensors helps (e.g. they seem to want to collect dust) on other occasions I’ve had to power cycle the device before the behavior stopped.
- The dictionary is really, really bad - Not only does it not have a lot of words and of course is hopeless when hyphenation crosses lines but my personal favorite is when the dictionary defines a word in terms of some base word and then doesn’t provide anyway to see the base word!
There are many things I really, really, like about my Nook. I listed them at the start. But the previously listed issues are severe enough to override the joy that the Nook normally gives me and leaves me thinking I really need to get a Kindle.
I’m not sure what to do at this point but I wanted to write you and let you know how I feel. I really like what the Nook could be. But the issues above aren’t minor annoyances. They are serious bugs and are ruining the Nook for me.