Fully one short day after I questioned the utility and validity of crowd-sourced product reviews, the New York Times and PC Magazine post contradictory assessments of the Nook — Barnes & Nobles’ e-reader.
The NYT reviewer finds the Nook…
buggy. In four days, my Nook locked up twice and displayed an “Android operating system has crashed” message twice.
The PCMag reviewer finds the Nook…
might just be the most sophisticated e-Book reader on the market.
PCMag reports no bugs, but does not state whether the device was used for a prolonged period or merely tested for feature compliance.
Read the two reviews and you’ll come away thinking they’re talking about completely different products, with one exception.
From the NYT:
Those missing features are symptoms of B&N’s bad case of Ship-at-All-Costs-itis.
Many of the most interesting Nook features haven’t been rolled out yet.
Having read both reviews multiple times, I’ve concluded that the NYT review hails from the snide Manhattanite school, while the PCMag review represents the grand old tradition of Silicon Valley tech-hype optimism. If you want to know all the ways the Nook is going to deeply, personally disappoint you no matter who gave it to you or what else it does right, read the NYT review. If you want to know why the Nook will be cool tech after all the bugs are ironed out and the promised features are implemented, read the PCMag review.
As to whether you should buy a Nook now, the reviews thankfully also agree.
Now, the Nook may have some hardware advantages — a removable battery, a memory-card slot and (because of narrower plastic margins) a slightly trimmer shape — but the Kindle is still a better machine. It’s faster, thinner, lighter and much easier to figure out. Its battery lasts more than three times as long (seven days versus two).
If you simply can’t resist buying an e-book reader this holiday season, and you want something to put under the tree, the tried, tested, and readily available Amazon Kindle is probably the way to go—and it’ll cost you the same $259 you’ll pay for the Nook.
As for me, I say save your money — and not just because you may be out of job soon if we slip into a double-dip recession. All of these devices fail the most basic test, and that’s providing a reading experience which is as transparent as a book. Yes, they’re gadgety and geeky and feature rich and able to do things your Swiss Army knife can only dream of, but they’re still the technological equivalent of first drafts.
— Mark Barrett