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Nook Simple Touch learns to glow in the dark, stays cheap

Nook Simple Touch
Barnes & Noble

When Barnes & Noble showed off the Nook Simple Touch about a year ago, we praised it for being small, cheap, and easy on batteries. The next generation of the device, the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight, is all those things — and it glows in the dark, too.

Now keep in mind that when I say that this gadget glows in the dark, I'm not saying it's even remotely similar to the stars you used to stick to your bedroom ceiling. The Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight uses technology a bit different from what you've seen in equivalent gadgets. (Though it is rumored that the Amazon Kindle might start using something similar in the future.)

In order to show off just how great this new glow-in-the-dark technology is, some folks from Barnes & Noble led me into a dimly-lit room and asked me to hop into bed with a book, an iPad, and a Kindle. (Yes, the life of a tech reporter is a bit odd at times.)

Strange as this arrangement was, it reminded me of the downfalls of reading in bed. A regular book requires a blinding lamp, a Kindle needs the same or a clip-on light, and an iPad feels too bright on most settings. But then I was handed a Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight — which we'll call a new Simple Touch from now on, because I'm tired of typing all that — and suddenly my eyes were much happier.

The new Simple Touch uses a new (patent-pending) lighting technology which feels comfortable, can be adjusted, and doesn't take away from the benefits of the device's e-ink display. The lighting technology does affect the battery life, of course. While the original Simple Touch could go for two months on a single charge (under certain conditions), the new Simple Touch will go for only one month. 

That detail and a slight change in weight — the new model is about half an ounce lighter — are just about the only differences between the old Simple Touch and the new.

The Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight includes a power adapter and an anti-glare screen protector and is priced at $139. It can be pre-ordered now, but it won't start shipping until early May.

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