Like Paul Newman’s character in Cool Hand Luke who gets up again and again after being repeatedly knocked down in the film’s infamous fight scene, the Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader is somehow back again with a fourth iteration of the Glowlight sporting modern upgrades and a thick retro-looking screen bezel.
Earlier this year, when the company’s e-readers and tablets were sold out online and almost impossible to find in stores, Barnes & Noble surprisingly released a new 10.1-inch Nook Android tablet designed and built by Lenovo with a sleek full metal body, a 2.3 GHz octa-core processor under the hood, an FM radio, and 32GB of storage that was expandable through a microSD card slot. It was also just $US130 ($183) making it a tantalising upgrade for users of older B&N devices. However, with an LCD display, the tablet wasn’t really an upgrade for the ageing Glowlight 3, first released in 2017, which used an easy-on-the-eyes E Ink screen.
Four years later, a true Nook successor is here with the new Glowlight 4. Powered by a 1.5GHz processor, a gig of RAM, and 32GB of non-expandable storage, the Glowlight 4 includes wifi for connecting to the B&N online bookstore or book-lending services like Overdrive. It’s using a 6-inch E Ink Carta HD electronic paper display with a resolution of 1,440 x 1,080 (300 PPI) and a series of white and amber LEDs that front light the screen at different colour temperatures for more comfortable reading at night or in the dark. As modern e-readers go, the bezel around the Glowlight 4’s screen is very generous, but we’ll award some bonus points for the inclusion of dedicated forward and back page turn buttons on either side of the device, as well as a physical home button. (You simply press the ‘n’ at the bottom.)
The Barnes & Noble Glowlight 4 also finally includes a USB-C port for charging its 1,400 mAh battery which is promised to deliver about four weeks of reading time, or side-loading files like ePubs and PDFs. It’s currently listed on the Barnes & Noble website for $US150 ($211) ($US20 ($28) more expensive than the 10.1-inch Android-running Nook) but won’t actually be available for sale until December 8.