Wired: NOOKcolor Hands-On

Wired:

Magazines, children’s books and the web are all more exciting and more readable at ten inches. So are textbooks, if Nook ever gets there. The iPad, Kno and Kindle DX all went big to try to make that screen content work.

NOOKcolor resists it, and there are good reasons for it. First, there is something ingenious about the 7″ form factor. It fits naturally in a coat pocket or purse. It’s easy to hold, as I mentioned above. And it works really, really well for most books.

This infatuation with a portable device having to fit in some type of pocket is quite American. Guys in the US have a need to fit keys, wallets, phones, anything and everything into pockets. The rest of the world make use of backpacks, briefcases, man-bags, etc. to put all this stuff into. The ingenuity of a 7-inch form factor that naturally fits into a coat pocket is limited to American guys who need to stuff everything into pockets.

A 7-inch e-reader might be easier to hold than a 4:3 9.7-inch iPad but it isn’t easy to hold for everyone. Not everyone has large hands and most in the world have hands that are on average smaller than those who say a 7-inch e-reader is easy to hold.

When you’re picking up a book to read is your first reaction, “Wow, this book is so easy to hold. And it’s so pocketable!”?

The question of whether or not an e-reader works is to question whether a reader can get herself immersed in the content. At the very least the hardware shouldn’t get in the way of the reader’s experience of reading a book, magazine, or newspaper. Does the NOOKcolor allow for an immersive experience?

The Kindle’s superb E Ink display kicks you out of that wonderful experience every time you turn the page. The brilliant IPS LCD on the iPad jars you with that glossy cover glass. The NOOKcolor, from what I have seen, isn’t as good as either.