Barnes and Noble Nook Glowlight 4 Plus Review: Waterproof E-Reader With Buttons

Over the past few years, Barnes and Noble has consistently released new e-readers. The Nook Glowlight 4 Plus is the newest and best addition.

It’s one of three in the brand’s current lineup (there’s also a Nook tablet). It’s hard for any competitor to beat a Kindle, but maybe you’re trying to escape the Amazon-verse and need some alternatives. It makes sense for a bookstore to make an e-reader. The Nook works pretty well, unless you want to download ebooks from the library.

E Inked

Photograph: Barnes & Noble

I enjoyed using the Glowlight 4 Plus more than other Nooks I’ve tried. The screen is a large 7.8 inches, which is a joy to read on. You may like a smaller device for portability, but this fit into my purse just fine. It also has a 300-pixel-per-inch (PPI) resolution. It looks good, and it’s easy on your eyes—even easier thanks to the warmth setting that goes from bright white to very orange. You can adjust it manually or set it to adjust automatically. You’ll get 32 gigs of storage; that’s a few thousand ebooks or over a hundred audiobooks, which is plenty! As with most E Ink tablets, I didn’t drain the battery significantly after a week and a half; unless you’re reading for many hours a day, you should get a few weeks out of a single charge.

All Nooks have physical page-turn buttons, which I absolutely love. I think every e-reader should have them. I’m often trying to read one-handed, and being able to just hit the button closest to my finger is easier than sometimes trying to reach across the screen to tap in the right place. There are two buttons on each side, and you can program them for your ideal setting—I like the bottom button for page forward, since it’s typically easier to tap that one with little effort, and the top button for page backward. The Glowlight 4 Plus is waterproof too (IPX7), so I often floated around my apartment’s pool with this in one hand, a White Claw in the other, and not a care in the world.

Most e-readers connect to Bluetooth headphones so you can listen to audiobooks, as this one does, but there is also a headphone jack here. Though I rarely listen to audiobooks, I am grateful to see the return of a headphone jack. I’m also a fan of Nook’s screensaver art, which includes simple linework images of bookshelves and simple but cute doodles. It’s better than what Amazon supplies on its Kindles. However, with a Kindle, you can display your current book’s cover, which you can’t do here.

Read Between the Lines

Photograph: Barnes & Noble

Barnes and Noble has a large library with cheap and even free ebooks—I was even able to download Harley Laroux’s The Dare, a TikTok recommendation that was banned from Kindle’s e-library—but it’s not as extensive as Kindle’s. If you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can check out up to 20 books at a time without having to pay per book or return them in any designated time period. (Though that list leans heavy on romance, so if that’s not your thing you may not find a ton of options there.) But if you do pay per book, you should see the exact same price on Barnes and Noble as you do on Amazon.

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