Review: Nook Glowlight 3

The Glowlight 3 returns to the old style of previous Nooks. We’re talking large bezels, tactile buttons to flip pages, and the always fashionable black color with a soft coating. Now, I was one of the few who actually liked the look of the Glowlight Plus. I thought it was bold and eye-catching, but I can see where people are coming from. The Glowlight 3 is super comfortable to hold.

The buttons are going to be what brings a lot of interest from readers again. There is something satisfying by that tactile click of the buttons, which are located on both sides of the device for both right- and left-handed users. The touchscreen is also present, in case you like swiping to turn the page. I did find that I gravitated to clicking for the next page rather than touch. It helps that the click is satisfying, not just for the page turn buttons, but the Home button and the On/Off switch. Honestly, it feels more like a fidget cube than anything else.

Let’s talk size. The dimensions of the Glowlight 3 are similar to the Plus. They have the same width, but the Glowlight 3 is thicker and taller, which means your old carrying cases and covers won’t fit, even though it looks like it should. Even though the new Nook is bigger, it never feels uncomfortable to hold. The soft texture of the device helps conceal the fact that I’m holding a machine rather than a book.

Somehow with all this, the Glowlight 3 is lighter than the Plus. This is probably due to not being water-proofed. I can read for longer without the uncomfortable switching of hands or changing grip positions. I’ve used it as one-handed reading in my dominant and non-dominant hands. The button placement means on both sides of the device.

While the buttons may be a big return for old time ereader fans, the biggest selling point is the blue light filter.

Anyone who’s ever used Flux on a computer knows how straining harsh blue light is to look at. In fact, it’s one of the critcims of ereaders. Outside of Kobo, no one else is doing blue light filters for e-ink, and certainly not at $120. At night, I can read for more comfortably with the orange hue, and if you want, the Glowlight will auto adjust your screen throughout the day so the user doesn’t have to manually change it. It’s easily the best feature that helps Nook stand out from the crowd. 2018’s Kindle refresh will no doubt include this feature, but until then, the Glowlight 3 is the most affordable option for this feature.

One of the biggest news for Nook readers is that an update from Barnes & Noble is removing storage partitioning. This was a long time coming, and something everyone should be excited about. This means the user has full access to all 8GB of storage for Nook books and sideloaded content. That means you can buy DRM ebooks from places like Smashwords, or rip DRM from Kindle and Kobo, and fill up your Glowlight 3. Previously, the Glowlight 3 only had a gigabyte for sideloaded content, and the Glowlight Plus had half that. It seems Barnes & Noble listened to their users and implemented a common sense feature. Good job.

Storage isn’t the only thing upgraded either. This Nook has better screen response time. When adjusting highlits or maneuvering through the menus, there seems to be a more responsive input than compared to the last Nook. It may be due to the almost non-existent screen stuttering e-ink tends to produce. What I think the smoothness ultimately comes from is the lack of bugs I’ve experienced. The hardware seems to match the software, instead of the hardware being under-powered compared to what the software demands from it.

All in all, my final verdict on the Glowlight 3 is a glowing one. This is the best ereader hardware a reader can buy for the price range. Tactile buttons, full use of storage space, a light and comfortable design, and a blue light filter all help with decision. If you’re looking for a new ereader to use for the next several years, go to your nearest Barnes & Noble and try one out.

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