Kindle vs. Nook: Which Works Better?

Kindle vs. NookThe Kindle vs. Nook battle is tough to pin down because both Amazon and Barnes and Noble are both contributing furiously to the arms race. We’re going to assume that for whatever reason you’ve already knocked off the iPad Mini and the Google Nexus 7 or 10 from your list of possibilities.

The Tale of the Tape
Eventually there will be one device to rule them all, one portable gadget that does every single thing you want it to. Right now it looks like it will be a smartphone, but there’s still room for e-readers, especially if they come with the sort of features and functions that the new Kindles and Nooks do.

Kindle Weigh In
The Kindle started off humbly enough, with its big draw being a very crisp display that mimicked the look of a paperback book, but that was easier to read, and could hold a library’s load of books, and let you order more at any time. Since then it has evolved with the latest models Kindle Fire and Kindle Paperwhite. The Fire is trying to compete with the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 from Google, and the Paperwhite is trying to put the smackdown on all other contenders in the e-book reading market.

Nook Weigh In
The Nook doesn’t get quite as much attention as its Kindle rival, but it boasts similar stats and gets upgraded at a similar pace. You can now get a Nook HD and be on par with Kindle Fire HD owners and Nexus 7 owners. Upgrade to the HD Plus model and you’re taking on Kindle Fire’s HD upgrade to the 8.9 inch screen and going toe to toe with the Nexus 10.

Cost Comparison
The Kindle Fire HD with the 8.9 inch screen is $300, the Nook HD Plus is $270. The Kindle Fire HD with the 7 inch screen is $200, and so is the basic Nook HD. The Kindle Paperwhite is $120 if you get the one that shows ads on the screensaver, and is at the time of this writing the latest and greatest e-reader from Amazon. That would be for those that want a dedicated device for the best reading experience out there, and don’t really need an all-in-one gadget. It’s great to keep by the bed, or to take on long trips.

App Comparison
Both the Kindle and the Nook are running Android for their apps, so they match up evenly in this arena. And since they both come with HD screen apps like Angry Birds look phenomenal on them. The sound on the Kindle Fire HD beats out that on the Nook, which adds to the enjoyment not only of games and puzzles, but also movies and TV shows and of course music downloads.

Where They’re Similar
At first glance you might think that the two units are made at the same factory and are just given different branding when it comes time to package them. In fact functionally they’re very similar, and when it comes to the overall experience it’s like trying to tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi. Anything you can do I can do better must be the motto at Amazon’s and B&N’s respective HQ. You can be they’re hard at work trying to become more and more alike making the decision less and less crucial.

Where They’re Different
The biggest difference is what they allow you to access. When you go the route of the Nook you’re able to sync things up with your B&N account and buy all of the books that you’d be able to buy online. But with the Kindle you’re getting access to everything Amazon, which includes tons of music, movies, and audiobooks via Audible, a company they bought some time ago. In that regards you’re able to do much more with your Kindle than you are with your nook.

Another feature of the Kindle that is going to make this a no-brainer for parents is the ability to toss your young one the Fire HD and let them have at it thanks to FreeTime, a free service that is kid friendly and let’s parents not only limit the amount of time their child spends on it, but also allows them to let their child read as much as they want, but put a cap on how many games or apps they can use in a given day.

Final Kindle vs. Nook Feature Match-Up

Let’s take a look at the HDness of their HD screens: The Kindle Fire HD and the Nook HD+ both boast HD sharpness. You’re getting 1080p on a 9 inch screen with the Nook, and a similar-sized 8.9 inches and matching 1080p on the Kindle Fire HD with the added screen size. Audio goes to the Kindle, with exclusive Dolby audio installed and no distortion that is common in portable devices. Apps is a draw,

And the Winner Is…
The Kindle is getting the victory belt in this battle. It’s an easy winner if you’ve already got an account at Amazon.com. If you’re a current customer of Barnes and Noble then you may want to go with them. With similar features throughout it comes down to a matter of convenience. “All my stuff’s here anyway.” is the sentiment that is giving the victory to Kindle, with more people likely to have bought something from Amazon at some point in the last decade. Having all of your purchases in one place and being able to buy books, movies, music and more from one spot makes it a fun and enthralling experience.

Keep in mind that no matter what choice you make, your decision will be outdated in two years’ time and you’ll have a chance to make things right by getting the latest release at that time. It takes some of the stress out of choosing, since they’re similar enough so that you won’t rue the day you chose one over the other, and if it turns out you just don’t like what you have, there will be a new model razzling and dazzling you in no time at all.

What do you think? Which Works Better or Kindle or Nook?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Ivan February 16, 2013 at 6:28 am

I agree with this review. I also think at the end of the day kindle just has more features and the convenience of being backed up by Amazon doesn’t hurt either. It was a tough choice, but I’ve finally chose the winner after reading this review, so kindle it is.

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Randy February 22, 2013 at 4:32 pm

When I went to purchase another e-reader, I went with the Kindle Touch because Nook doesn’t have games available – like Scrabble, word games, etc. the E-Ink is excellent for reading, the Touch is very responsive, and Amazon is ridiculously easy to use (and spend your money). I would have preferred the Paperwhite, because I read in the dark a lot. It just hadn’t come out yet. Sideloading with ECalibre is also easy with any of these ereaders. Checking out library ebooks can be done, but it’s torturous. My only complaint with the Touch is that to advance the page, you have to physically reach out and touch it – my old keyboard kindle has buttons on the side that were easily pressed with a thumb. The best part about eInk readers is the ease of outside reading: bright sunlight works the best – perfect for a pass-the-kindle-Scrabble game on the beach. Battery life is tremendous, charge it up once a month or so, even with heavy reading.

My wife has the Nook Tablet, 1st generation, and she loves it: clear, easy to use, responsive. The only real complaint is that it’s heavy and kind of clunky (the new ones are better), and the B&N store is a bit limited in its offerings, especially the free categories.

Each platform has a tradeoff: e-Ink is great in bright light, not in darkness – Paperwhite and Glowlight take care of that. Surfing the Web can be done, but it’s really painful. Video? Nope. Pictures? Eh. Audio? Not bad, but still kinda clunky. The Kindle has speakers and a headphone jack, but it’d be better for background while you read, not a great MP3 player.

Tablets are best for web surfing, pictures and video. Reading is pretty good, especially in low light, but can be kind of a strain. Battery life is so-so, maybe a day or so, eight hours for heavy usage.

I hope this helps!

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Lynda Schab July 10, 2013 at 7:44 pm

My mom has a Nook, and I have a Kindle, so we are always comparing whose is better. I personally love my Kindle not only because of the many features it offers, but because Amazon is usually cheaper than B&N and offers more free ebooks. I do wish I had the Kindle Fire (which came out just a couple months after I received my Kindle as a gift). What it comes down to is that both the Kindle and the Nook provide an easy and convenient way to read books. And that’s really all that counts to me.

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Alex Manea July 14, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Kindle vs. Nooks is turning into an Apple vs. Samsung fight. Although I’m a Kindle owner, and I’m extremely satisfied with it and wouldn’t switch to a Nook for anything in the world, I see the two as equal. I don’t think one is better than the other. It’s just a matter of choice, just like with the other two I compared them with. In response to what Randy wrote I want to add that the Kindle and Nook are just for reading and you shouldn’t talk about how good they are to surf the web, watch movies or listen to movies. As I said earlier, I am a Kindle owner. I started with Kindle 3 but I moved on to Paperwhite. At first I thought my first model was all I need and I didn’t want to buy anything else until it broke. But then Kindle Paperwhite was launched and I had to switch because the front light was what the Kindle, and any e-reader in general, needed. Now the Kindle really is perfect in my opinion and I can safely say I won’t be switching to a newer model anytime soon.

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Vanessa B. July 26, 2013 at 9:09 am

My husband got me a Nook tablet 1st Generation as a gift. I honestly don’t use it much anymore after the initial novelty wore off…ever since I got an iPad it’s about all I use when it comes to technology. When I used the Nook regularly, I did like browsing through the free e-books section and downloading free books to read. It also came in handy when I got to buy a textbook for school as a Nook book for quite a bit cheaper than the actual book, and it was easy to store the Nook in my purse to use during class when we read from our textbook.

I also loved the e-ink feature because it’s easy on the eyes and feels like reading an actual book, however, pretty much the only appeal of ebooks to me is that they can be read in the dark (since you can’t read an actual book in the dark) but the Nook (1st generation) doesn’t have a backlight.

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Rhonda G August 4, 2013 at 12:42 am

I purchased my Kindle Fire a year ago and I love it. A friend of ours came over yesterday with a Nook that they just purchased and wanted my son to put Android on it. I didn’t understand why. My friend said the Nook doesn’t allow surfing the net, playing games and basically is just for reading. Why would you pay close to $200 for a Nook, then have to have android put on it so you can use it? My Kindle does all this and much more for the same price.

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