This isn’t a full review. but consists of my thoughts on the two devices when used side-by-side. B&N provided me with a GlowLight loaner and I’ve owned a Kindle Touch (3G) since it came out.
Bottom line: if I were buying a non-3G e-ink ereader today I’d get the GlowLight. After using the GlowLight for a week, here are my thoughts when I compare it to my Kindle Touch experience.
Lighting: First, let’s get the GlowLight light out of the way. The built-in GlowLight is cool, even and soft and gives excellent illumination without excess glare. Of course, the Kindle has no such thing, so the only way to compare it is to use the Kindle case with its built in booklight. Originally, I thought this was rather clever, but after using it a while found it very glarey and it gives an uneven illumination. The light, itself, is visible and is a bright spot that is very annoying after any extended time of use. Here are two shots of the the units. Both are resting on my lap in a position that I would normally use to read. The GlowLight setting (it has adjustable brightness) was set to be about 20%. It can get very bright if you need it.
It’s pretty obvious which is which. To be fair. the dramatic fall-off in light is on the Kindle is an artifact of the photograph, but the fall-off is very noticeable in use. No question which is superior.
Weight: The Kindle weighs 7 3/4 ounces (without the case) and the GlowLight 7 ounces, and much to my surprise this is noticeable. The GlowLight definitely feels lighter than the Kindle.
Ergonomics: The GlowLight is far superior. The new Kindles have place the on/off button on the bottom of the unit and it is not recessed. I am constantly turning off the Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire by mistake when I hit the button by accident. As a matter of fact, I hold the Fire “upside down” so that the button is out of the way on the top. None of this on the GlowLight.
The Kindle has a “standard” rectangular shape, while the GlowLight is square and has a “well” in the middle. See here:
This makes the GlowLight much more comfortable to hold as your fingers sort of curve around it.
In addition, the GlowLight as forward and backward buttons on both sides along with the touch feature. This is very nice as I must admit that I get rather tired of tapping or swiping on e-ink screens. It is nice to be able to do both. The buttons are under the raised lines on both sides of the screen.
The GlowLight has 7 type sizes and the Kindle has 8, but the GlowLight has 6 fonts to the Kindle’s 3.
Operation: Here the GlowLight aces the Kindle. I have always found the Touch be too slow to respond and rather fiddly about where you have to tap. As a matter of fact I’ve given up on using it because I find it to be rather annoying and, if I’m reading on an e-ink screen, I now use my older Kindle Keyboard or Kindle DX instead. The GlowLight, however, is fast and responsive and is a pleasure to use. After I a week of use it’s a clear winner.
Overall: The new GlowLight has taken the lead in the e-ink arena, pushing the Kindle Touch to second place. It’s the one I would recommend to anyone who wants an e-ink machine.
As to my own preferences, I have been co-opted by my iPad and do the majority of reading on that. If I want a smaller unit I will use my Kindle Fire or, preferably, my Samsung Galaxy 7.0 Plus. Tablets have weaned me away from the lower contrast, more blurry (compared to a tablet) e-ink screens, but I must say that I’m about the only one I know who is going this route. All of my friends prefer e-ink. One thing must be mentioned, though. For me a 3G connection is a must and I have a Verizon iPad and have always had 3G on my Kindles. It’s not available on the Nook, so if this is important to you then the Kindle/iPad or other 3G Android tablet is the way to go.