Barnes & Noble’s new Nook e-reader, which released yesterday, filled me with jaw dropping awe. It looked extremely sleek, with page turn buttons just where I wanted them and a cool LCD touchscreen panel. It also featured Android as the operating system and allowed you to lend books, play MP3’s, buy books using Wi-Fi and 3G :). And it cost just $259.

I almost suffered a giant case of buyer’s remorse over my recently purchased Sony PRS-300. Then after a little while, reality set in and the rose tinted glasses dropped from my eyes. Looking at the features a bit objectively, I noticed the following:

  • 3G doesn’t work internationally. Wi-Fi only works in B&N stores, none of which are in India.
  • The lending feature sounds cool, but in order to use it you need friends with the same device. Something that I feel isn’t going to happen soon for me.
  • The device’s second LCD is going to drain some battery power. But that is a minor concern I guess, as it is, even 10 days on a single charge is a lot.
  • Biggest drawback, only supports ePub, eReader and PDF (or so the website says). What? No RTF, TXT, DOC ? A big fail in my opinion. Looks like B&N is only interested in having users of its device read DRM’d content on it. On a side note, I feel that the very model of E-book retail needs to change, but I’ll save that for another post.
  • And since I don’t listen to audio books and would rather prefer a dedicated MP3 device instead of in-built MP3, MP3 support isn’t that big a deal.
  • Ditto for the 2 GB storage and card expansion. Doubt I’ll ever use up 512 MB let alone the 2 GB storage.
  • RSS support is apparently limited to what B&N wants you to read. No web support as of now. However, with Android as the OS, I’m sure this will change in the near future.

So all in all, I’m still all for my humble Sony PRS-300. As they say the best camera is the one you have with you when the action happens, similarly the best reader is the one you have currently. For me, I’m better off reading on the Sony Reader now than waiting till next year to get my hands on the Nook.

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