Nook GlowLight Plus Hands-On: Water-Tight, Luxury E-Reader

Barnes and Noble added to the e-reader market today (Oct. 21) with the Nook GlowLight Plus ($129) that features a striking bronze aluminum shell around a bathtub-friendly, E Ink device. 

Not only is it dust and water resistant (up to 30 meters for half an hour in water), the new Nook features a high-res, 6-inch, 300-dpi screen, the same resolution that can be found on Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite. Weighing 6.9 ounces, the GlowLight Plus may be heavier than its 6.2 ounce predecessor, but it's still lighter than Amazon's 7.2-ounce Paperwhite (which also features a 300-dpi display). It's heftier and sleeker design of the Nook was a luxurious sight to behold, during our hands-on time. 

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The GlowLight Plus is the first Nook e-reader to feature Nook Profiles, which allows up to six users to set up their own accounts on the device. Individual users can decide which titles they want to share with the other profiles on the e-reader, and parental controls will also be available, so that kids can't run up the bill on the Barnes and Noble store.

The aluminum shell looks more like it belongs on an iPad Mini than an e-reader. The bexel is topped by a textured white surface, meant to add a grip to the sides of the page. Barnes and Noble also has simplified the user interface and menus since we last saw the GlowLight, and for the better, keeping the focus on the books. The company claims the tablet will have 6 weeks of battery life.

Flipping through a couple of titles, we noted that both text and black-and-white illustrations looked great on the GlowLight Plus' crisp, E Ink display. 

The GlowLight Plus is the first of Barnes and Noble's e-readers with B&N Readouts, a new app in the Nook software that looks to make discovering new titles easier. Readouts features short excerpts of titles from across the book-sellers' wide library, which it now boasts to be 4 million titles deep, and will be updated and curated by humans daily. 

Barnes and Noble told us some older Nook devices will be getting software updates to bring them Readouts and the other software enhancements. 

We also saw a variety of covers and sleeves that Barnes and Noble will be selling alongside the GlowLight Plus, which range in price from $19 to $29. The most unique offering is the Writable Cover and Pen, for eReader users who still want to collect autographs from the authors they wait in line to meet, presumably at one of Barnes and Noble's 650 stores. Those same stores offer tech support for Nook devices for life.

We will have to wait for a final judgement until we get our the Nook GlowLight Plus into our labs for testing and review. Stay tuned. 

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.