Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nook versus Kindle

Today, I got my wife's Nook. It originally said expected ship date of February 1, 2010 but I got an email yesterday that said it shipped on January 26, 2010. I tracked it online early this afternoon and it was already out for delivery. And in fact, it was delivered. Unfortunately it was delivered damage. It turned on. It charged. The color touch screen worked fine. The actual reading screen, the eInk, jacked! It wasn't cracked. It just had a distinct line down the center of the screen. One side worked, sort of worked, and the other side was completely useless. It would illegible. It would double view lines of text or it would be very dim. Overall, the Nook expectation and delivery ended in utter disappointment.

As soon as I could when I got home from work, I jumped on the (1-800-THE-BOOK) to speak with customer service, or as they call it 'digital support', to get an RA# and ratify the situation. After holding on the line for two hours (yes, you read that right) on my house phone, I called a local Barnes & Noble store from my cell phone to see if I could return the Nook there. The person on the line said I could but they don't have any in the store that they could exchange it with. They would just send it back and I would have to purchase a new one. I asked if they could just do the exchange for me and have a new one sent to me because I still did want the Nook. After talking to someone off the phone, he said that they thought it would be easier/better for me to call the 800 number and work it out with them. I told him that I am on hold right now with that number and have been for two hours.

I thanked him for his time and continued to hold on the other line. I then started thinking that this is bullshit. Not just bullshit, but fucking bullshit! I don't know what kind of customer service digital support is but they royally suck! I did get an email from one person I spoke to before holding forever for the Nook support. It is I emailed them the Nook issue, the holding issue, and my complete dissatisfaction with their product and customer service line. I asked for a prompt response. We'll see how it goes. I don't expect a return email this evening but it should come within twenty four hours, in my opinion.

I finally hung up the phone after two and a half hours of the most dreadful hold music. I decided, "Fuck it!" I'm going to drive to my local B&N to return my damaged Nook. It won't cost me anything because it's obviously damaged (see the pics below). I'll have them credit my account and then in a few days or so I'm going to order a new one. I don't know if I want to because I'm not sure I want a Nook in my house now but my wife thought this would be a good solution. She wants the Nook but if this is the type of product and customer service I'm going to deal with, forget it!

Onto the Kindle...

So, I purchased a Kindle right after Christmas. My wife was bugging the shit out of me for not getting her a Nook before they delayed the shipping time until February 1st. Our family in Illinois already ordered one and the wife really liked it while we were there. In fact, I believe she read four, three-hundred+ page books in the 7 days we were visiting. Anyway, I didn't want to get a product without seeing it in action. The Nook was cool to see although the color screen is nothing more than a glorified touch mouse or menu button.

Anyhow, I purchased the Kindle the Saturday after Christmas while we were still in Illinois. I kept it secret to surprise the wife. I figured she really liked the concept of the e-reader and would like whatever kind it was as long as it functioned just as well as she experience with the Nook. The Kindle had been around a while and they had just come out with a firmware upgrade to support portrait mode and some other things like text-to-speech on certain books. I assumed I couldn't go wrong with the purchase, it would satisfy the wife's need for the Nook until she got the Nook, and once she had the Nook I might the lucky recipient of the no longer needed Kindle.

The Monday or Tuesday after ordering the Kindle, it as delivered to my porch. They delivered a package which contained the Nook and another one that contained the Kindle cover. They later mailed me the service plan I purchased.

Out of the box, the Kindle fired right up. It had about half to three-quarters of battery charge which was plenty of time for the wife to tinker a bit. Everything about the Kindle worked flawlessly. It came preregistered to my Amazon account which the wife didn't totally like because it said, "Jay's Kindle" in the top left corner of the screen. I also am emailed every time she makes a book purchase which she feels like it's helping me keep tabs on her. I just like to harass her about purchasing a book every two-three days because she has a reading addiction and that was before the e-reader made it much more convenient to get a book.

The only thing that was wrong with the Kindle is that I should have gotten two of them and foregone getting the Nook. It's not that the Nook is so much worse but I think the only thing that really gave it the overly inflated awe factor was the basically one-dimensional color TFT.

Having experience both the Kindle and the Nook, I'd have to say that the Kindle has won so far. Comparing apples to apples:
  • Kindle worked right out of the box without defect
  • Kindle page turn is actually much faster than on the Nook. Insignificant if you only have/use the Nook but quite noticeable when you compare them side by side
  • Kindle drawback is the previous/next page buttons. On the left-hand side there is a previous button and below that the next button. On the right-hand side there is a Home button and below it the next button. Personally I would have put the same buttons on both side (like on the Nook) and put the Home button closer to the Menu button or be able to select Home under the Menu choices. It just doesn't make sense the way they did do it
  • Nook's TFT screen is certainly cool but it has a learning curve and is not easily responsive. Kindle's joystick and Menu button aren't that much better but at least they are more tactile so you can know what you are touching and selecting
I guess there could be more but since I couldn't delve deeper into the workings of the Nook because of the defective screen, I don't want to be biased in further functionality without giving a run-through with a working Nook.

So, that's my story so far. I don't know if it makes sense or helps anyone out. I've been typing this over a few hours with multiple interruptions from the family but I think you get the gist. It's usually been my experience that if you come across problems from the start, they usually continue and get worse as they do. We'll see.

Here are the pictures I took of the problem I could see (may be more but, again, I couldn't get past this to find out). I took these pictures just in case B&N wants to be asses about the problem that wasn't cause by me but is indeed a manufacture defect.

So, this is one of the screen saver pics. You can see how his head is split by the line in the middle.
This is after using the color TFT to select a book. The left side shows that the book is formatting/loading but the right side still shows the man's head but also one of the other screen saver images, a rose.
This is after the book finally loads (which is longer than the Kindle but I don't know if it is affected by the screen issue or not). You can still see how the screen is split by the line (defect) and one side is lighter than the other.
Same as previous image but one or two pages into the book.
And once again, similar as the previous two pictures. You can also see that some of the text is dim and illegible.
Finally, you can see the color TFT is bright, gorgeous and seemingly functional (it is/was) but once again you can see the screen split. The left side is showing My Library and the right side still showing the book description from the previous screen or two.

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