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Tech Report – All-New Nook

Perhaps no electronic device has transformed its reputation as quickly and successfully as the Nook. When Barnes & Noble first introduced its e-reader in late 2009, it was slow and buggy, with the tell-tale feel of a product that had been rushed to market.

But just a year later, the same company unveiled the Nook Color, a wonderful device that effectively leapfrogged the competition and transformed the market for high-end e-readers and tablets. Now Barnes & Noble is back with another offering – the All-New Nook – which they hope will have a similar impact on the lower end of the e-reader market.

The new Nook effectively replaces the original Nook, which had improved markedly from its shaky debut but which still trailed the market-leading Kindle in both performance and reputation. To their credit, the engineers at Barnes & Noble haven’t merely upgraded the Nook. Instead they have given it a complete makeover, transforming both the look and features of the original to give it the feel of a brand new device.

To start with, the new Nook is smaller than the original – just 6.5 inches tall by 5.0 inches wide – and it weighs less than 7.5 ounces. The 6-inch screen features a state-of-the-art E Ink display, which means crisp black-on gray type and easy reading even in bright sunlight. To accommodate the smaller size, the new Nook does away with the keyboard, instead relying on a responsive touchscreen to execute all the usual functions.

Again, when it comes to performance, the new Nook bears little resemblance to its clunky predecessor. Page-turning is instant and smooth, with none of the flashes that are usually associated with E Ink readers. There’s a choice of multiple fonts, font size, line spacing, and even page margins. Everything from calling up the dictionary to shopping for books is accomplished by simple taps on the screen.

The new Nook comes with 2GB of memory, enough to hold up to 1,000 books. Although there is no 3G option, books are downloaded in seconds using the built-in Wi-Fi. Best of all, the new Nook has an extra-long battery life: Barnes & Noble claims that a 3-hour charge can last up to 2 months with the Wi-Fi turned off.

Barnes & Noble also boasts the largest online bookstore in the world, with over 2 million titles, many of them for free. Any purchased book can also be read on a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android phone by downloading the free Nook eReader apps.

The new Nook costs $139 and is available online or in any Barnes & Noble bookstore.

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