B&N NOOK GlowLight 4 has a pair of big advantages over Kindle

Chris Davies - Dec 1, 2021, 10:07am CST
B&N NOOK GlowLight 4 has a pair of big advantages over Kindle

Barnes & Noble has revealed its latest ereader, and if you’re still not on Team Kindle then the NOOK GlowLight 4 could prove persuasive. Headed to shelves on December 8, the newest NOOK takes the core features of the GlowLight 3, and upgrades design, battery life, and charging.

So, there’s now a USB-C port for recharging the ereader, replacing the old microUSB port. That’s useful, as it makes it far more likely that you’ll be able to use your phone charger to top up the NOOK.

The display is a 6-inch 300 dpi e-paper screen, with a scratch, glare, and fingerprint resistant coating. It uses B&N’s GlowLight illumination system, which can be set to Night Mode and automatically adjust the lighting according to the sun’s progression through the day. Alternatively, you can control GlowLight manually.

Battery life is lengthy, too. Barnes & Noble suggests you should see up to a month on a single charge, albeit based on reading 30 minutes per day, with 1 page refresh per minute, and the GlowLight backlighting at just 10-percent. It also assumes you’ve turned the wireless off.

The simple black casing has been given a soft-touch finish, for easier holding. While the bezels are significantly larger than, say, those you’d find on the latest Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, Barnes & Noble puts them to good use. Not only should they make holding the NOOK GlowLight 4 easier without inadvertently touching the screen, they also include a pair of physical page-turn button sets – one set on each side – so you can navigate through ebooks without having to reach across and swipe the display.

As for those ebooks, there’s now 32 GB of storage inside; just north of 29 GB of that is available for NOOK Store content or side-loaded books. WiFi b/g/n is standard, too – there’s no cellular option – and NOOK owners still get free WiFi in Barnes & Noble physical stores, along with at AT&T WiFi hotspots. Compatible file types include ePub, PDF, and Adobe DRM ePUB/PDF, together with JPG, GIF, PNG, and BMP images.

It’s easy to assume that, at this point, Amazon has the ereader market all sewn up. After all, Kindle is now a household name, and getting to the Kleenex point of brand ubiquity for ereaders in general. That’s an uphill battle for even an established retailer such as Barnes & Noble to face.

Still, the continued existence of the NOOK line suggests B&N isn’t planning on giving up any time soon. The retailer boasts “millions” of ebooks on its virtual shelves, and the ability to easily side-load your own content is something long-time NOOK users still appreciate. Sales of the NOOK GlowLight 4 kick off December 8, online and in-store, priced at $149.99 – putting it in-between the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition – with folio cases from $19.99 each.


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