Hardly a Kindle-Killer: Barnes & Noble's Nook Cooked by Tech Critics

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amazon_kindle_2.jpg
The Kindle: Very much alive, and possibly in better shape now that its biggest competition got trashed.
Good news for Amazon. The two biggest kingmakers

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Hardly a Kindle-Killer: Barnes & Noble's Nook Cooked by Tech Critics

  • Hardly a Kindle-Killer: Barnes & Noble's Nook Cooked by Tech Critics

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    amazon_kindle_2.jpg
    The Kindle: Very much alive, and possibly in better shape now that its biggest competition got trashed.
    Good news for Amazon. The two biggest kingmakers in tech have just reviewed the Nook, Barnes & Noble's e-reader answer to the Kindle. Their verdicts: Just like Kindle, only not as good.

    Walt Mossberg at The Wall Street Journal said the Nook showed promise but lacked polish. "The Nook may be wonderful one day," he wrote, "but, as of today, it's no match for the Kindle, despite advantages such as lending, because it's more annoying to use."

    David Pogue at The New York Times was less restrained. Grabbing the largest Calphalon he could find, Pogue bashed the buggy B&N reader to bits. Although remarkably similar, the Nook claims it can do things the Kindle can't. But as Pogue points out, "every one of the Nook's vaunted distinctions comes fraught with buzz kill footnotes."

    Distinction #1: The Kindle only has one screen. And it's black-and-white. The Nook has two. One just like the Kindle and another, color navigation screen right below it.

    Buzzkill Footnote: The nav screen is slow. Real slow.

    It takes nearly three seconds to turn a page -- three times longer than the Kindle -- which is really disruptive if you're in midsentence.

    Often, you tap some button on the color strip -- and nothing happens. You wait for the Nook to respond, but there's no progress bar, no hourglass, no indication that the Nook "heard" you. So you tap again -- but now you've just triggered a second command that you didn't want.

    Distinction #2: The Kindle has a catalog of 385,000 books. The Nook has over a million.

    Buzzkill Footnote: Over half of those million are crappy, non-copyrighted scans from Google. Also, the Kindle has more New York Times bestseller list titles available. And they're cheaper, too.

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    Nook better than Kindle, you say? An absurd premise worthy of my finest cackle!
    Distinction #3: The Nook says you can lend e-books to friends.

    Buzzkill Footnote: You can only do this if the publisher approves. (Which most haven't.) When your friend has the book you can't read it. (Which makes it just like an actual book.) And you can only do it once. Ever. (Which is less times than you can lend that same, actual book.)

    From there, the Nook is helplessly immobile in Pogue's personal shooting gallery. The software is "slower than an anesthetized slug in winter." (Ping!) Nook navigation "makes the 1040 tax form seem like a breeze." (Thwap!) It's enough to make you wish tech writers only reviewed the crappiest products, just for the cheesy one-liners.

     
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