Dec 09 AT 6:09 PM Clark Wimberly 19 Comments

Hands on the Nook, unboxing and initial thoughts (photos + video)

The Nook has finally arrived. And while a full review is still on the way, today we thought we’d better get up an unboxing with initial impressions and photos of the hottest e-reader on the market this Christmas season.

It arrived late last night via UPS and we’ve only just opened it and played with a short period of time but so far I’m impressed. It feels very svelte and sturdy in my hands. All the buttons seemed to be in natural places and the e-ink screen looks just phenomenal. It looks sharp and clean from all angles. Overall the unit feels rather petite, although I’ve never used a Kindle so I don’t really have a real point of comparison.

The color touch-screen down below is a nice bonus. Seeing the covers of the books and being able to swipe through large lists is a definite plus.

The Nook isn’t the snappiest though, the boot-up and first load of some titles requires some patience. Thankfully this should improve with future software updates. The e-ink screen flickers a tiny bit when refreshing but the annoyance is minimal.

Below you’ll find a 10 minute walk-through of Taylor first opening his Nook and a gallery of Nook photos (full flickr set here). In the next few days we hope to shoot some more video of this thing and get a full review online. Let us know if there are any specific sequences you’d like to see on video or any points you’d like us to test or cover in the review and we’ll do our best to answer everyone.

Currently the Nook is back-ordered but Barnes & Noble is scheduled to send out the next round on January 11 (subject to change of course). Remember, the sooner you order a Nook, the sooner you are likely to receive it.

Clark is a developer living in Austin, Texas. He runs ClarkLab, a small web firm with his wife, Angie. He's a big fan of usability, standards, and clean design.

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  • http://Website Ross

    Couldn’t take it anymore, just placed my order. Jan 7th can’t come soon enough.

  • http://Website Gilbert Orbea

    It certainly looks nice and wouldn’t we all like to have the latest and greatest gadgets…

    but for me, I don’t read TOO many books and $260 for something that I’m not so likely to take anywhere other than my house is just a no-no.

    But it has Android!

  • http://None Jignesh Joshi

    I was initially going to buy one, but I checked one out at the local BN. While I have to agree in general that the Nook is a nice device but won’t be one I purchase until the next iteration or two is released and/or the business model of ebooks matures some more.

    I’m a book fan but I can’t convince myself that the limitations are worth it. Nook’s sharing is VERY limited, go check out the BN Forums and you’ll get the details. I love reading and sharing what I have read. My last book cost less than the ebook version and I was able to loan it out to several friends.

    In most cases when I’m done with a book I’ll resell it on the secondary market. Can’t do that with an ebook.

    Another example, I gave away my entire library of Star Wars books (>100 books). I know they’re not worth much on the resale market but my friends were happy to get them. I can’t do that with an ebook.

    In particular with Nook, BN has not made it clear what they plan on for the bottom Android based screen. Yes it’s a beautiful color screen which makes the Kindle look like crap, but tell me what else I’ll be able to do with it going forward…it’s Android after all!

    Last, none of the ebook readers does well with 8×11 PDF files from non-ebook sources. I read trade journals in PDF but none of the ebook readers does a good job of rendering PDFs well.

    I can’t wait till the market matures and if Nook is any indicator of what’s to come in the next year or two it’s going to be amazing! Until then I’ll spend the $200+ on new/used books.

  • nick

    does any one know if you can flip the screen for text where it is white lettering on a black background?

    • Ayman

      also no autorotate, no zooming in with pictures. u can autorotate on the kindle dx but not kindle 1-2 but the zooming is a go for kindle 2 for sure.

  • haydenTheAndroid

    Most reviews focused on features that use the LCD, but 95% of the time I’d imagine people are just reading. So, I’d love to hear how battery life is with MINIMAL LCD usage (only use to start up and occasional look up words and bookmark). So basically, like if all you are doing is reading :)

  • Ayman

    Okay well i got my nook yesterday and I like it a lot…but love it? I dont know. I use to own a Kindle 2 and it was awesome. A couple things that I like about the nook that the kindle 2 doesnt have:

    1) native PDF and epub support (tho an update is going to fix that for Kindle 2 users-great, as soon as I sell it, they fix it!)
    2) 2gb internal storage WITH expandable sd card slot (tho seriously more than 2 gb?…not really needed but cool)
    3)touchscreen display. I dunno if this practical but it sure does look cool!

    1)F***in impossible to take out of the packaging
    2)you cant return books (like if accidentally hit purchase, yes it does happen)
    3)if u read a sample book then buy the book it doesnt start off where the sample left off so ur flipping through it like an idiot trying to figure out where u left off exactly
    4)heavier than the kindle…yes u can notice it
    5)USB cable is short…yes size DOES matter!
    6)no text to speech synthesizer but im sure there will be a hack for that too
    7)no web browser (again, hope a hack will be out for that)
    8) cant email files to it to automatically store it

    i only used it for one day and not for a long time. im sure ill find other things i like about it when i use it more but coming from a kindle 2, it seems a little bit like a downgrade. just my 2cents.

  • Andrew Cullison

    Thanks for the unboxing. I’m curious about how PDFs from academic journals render on it.

    Here’s an open-access philosophy journal. They have free downloadable PDFs of all the articles the publish.

    The typesetting for this journal is very similar to other philosophy journals. I’m curious to see what one of the PDFs from that site look like, and hear what you think about the legibility of those PDFs.

    If the Nook renders those PDFs well, this would be huge for academics.

  • http://Website Dylan Andersen

    Looks really sweet, but damn.. $260? I might as well just go get another phone. hahhha.

  • http://Website JR

    As nice as this device looks, it seem painfully slow. The trasitions from page to page are too labored. Why can’t the hole device, top screen included run on Android, or does it? I would like to see it be able to finger swipe if it’s a capacitive screen. This needs a better chipset than it has now, which we don’t know what that is, but it’s not fast enough.

    Also, since it’s Android, where is the web browser? This is a miss for me. Great looks and nice color screen but the execution isn’t well thought out.

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