A Step Above the Rest: Nook GlowLight 4


I’m a long-term e-reader fan. They’re perfect for those who love to travel and read but want to save space in luggage. They’re also great for a distraction-free reading experience. I’ve always chosen the biggest name when it came to my e-reader of choice, but the Nook GlowLight 4 gave me enough of a reason to make a change. 

The first thing that caught my eye about the Nook GlowLight 4 was its blend of classic and modern features. Barnes & Noble, known for their dedication to book lovers, clearly put a lot of thought into this device. Unlike many other e-readers, the GlowLight 4 has page-turn buttons, which I prefer over swiping. This small but significant feature immediately set the Nook apart from its competitors. It’s these thoughtful touches that show Barnes & Noble really understands what readers want.

What also drew me in was the philosophy behind Nook e-readers. The team at Barnes & Noble listens to their customers and understands that different readers have different needs. They offer a variety of devices at different price points, each designed to enhance the reading experience. Whether it’s the ability to change fonts, adjust lighting, or use built-in tools like dictionaries, the focus is always on making reading as enjoyable and accessible as possible. This customer-centric approach really resonated with me.

So why the Nook GlowLight 4? Unlike many other e-readers on the market, Nook devices are known for their comfort and lightweight build. The GlowLight 4 has a special GlowLight illumination technology, which lets you switch from cool lighting to a warm sepia tone for night reading. This thoughtful feature ensures you won’t disturb others while you read at night. This was a clincher, as I often read for hours after my partner dozes off. 

Customer service is another area where Nook shines. Each Nook e-reader comes with a 1-year limited warranty and offers extended protection plans. What’s truly unique is the support network of over 600 Barnes & Noble stores across the U.S., where customers can walk in and get assistance. In-person customer support is more valuable than ever right now, so this is well worth your consideration. 

As someone who values both technology and the traditional reading experience, the Nook GlowLight 4 feels like the perfect companion for my literary adventures. So, now you know a little more about the product, let’s dive into some of the more technical aspects of this impressive e-reader. 


The Nook GlowLight 4 is a well-crafted piece of technology that brings together form and function, making it a compelling choice for avid readers. Let’s delve into the technical aspects that set this e-reader apart from the competition.

High-Resolution Display

The Nook GlowLight 4 boasts a 6-inch high-resolution display with 300 dpi, offering crisper text and enhanced contrast. This makes for an exceptional reading experience, akin to reading a printed page. The screen is glare-free, scratch-resistant, and fingerprint-resistant, ensuring clarity and durability in various lighting conditions.

GlowLight Illumination

One of the standout features is the GlowLight Illumination technology. This advanced, always-on ambient light provides an evenly dispersed illumination that’s powerful enough to read in bright sunlight or in the dim light of your bedroom. Whether you’re outside on a sunny day or tucked in bed at night, the GlowLight ensures your reading experience remains comfortable.

Night Mode

The GlowLight 4 includes a versatile Night Mode, which can be activated in two ways:

   – Manual Mode: Allows you to adjust the light intensity according to your preference.

   – Auto Mode: Mimics the natural progression of sunlight throughout the day, gradually adjusting the light to reduce eye strain and create a more natural reading experience as evening turns to night.

Long Battery Life

One of the most practical features of the GlowLight 4 is its impressive battery life. On a single charge, you can read for approximately one month, making it perfect for long trips or daily commuting without the constant worry of recharging.

Massive Library and Connectivity

With the GlowLight 4, you have access to millions of books from Barnes & Noble, allowing you to carry thousands of titles wherever you go. The built-in Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) enables you to download new books in seconds and take advantage of free Wi-Fi in all Barnes & Noble stores and at over 30,000 AT&T hotspots nationwide.


The device comes with 32GB of memory, providing ample space for your entire library. Out of this, 29.1 GB is available for NOOK Store content and side-loaded content, ensuring you have plenty of room for all your favorite books, PDFs, and other reading materials.

Page-Turning Buttons

For those who prefer tactile feedback, the GlowLight 4 retains physical page-turning buttons. This feature is perfect for readers who enjoy the feel of pressing a button to turn the page, enhancing the overall reading experience.

Nook Cloud and Cross-Device Reading

All your purchased eBooks are stored for free in the Nook Cloud. This means you can start reading on your Nook and continue on your smartphone or tablet using the free NOOK Reading App™ for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. This seamless integration ensures that you can pick up right where you left off, no matter which device you’re using.


The Nook GlowLight 4 by Barnes & Noble is designed to be waterproof, offering peace of mind for readers who enjoy reading in various environments. With an IPx7 rating, the device can withstand submersion in up to one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. This feature makes the GlowLight 4 perfect for reading at the beach, by the pool, or even in the bathtub without the worry of water damage. The waterproof design ensures that accidental splashes or brief immersions won’t interrupt your reading experience.

Free Lifetime In-Store Support

One of the unique advantages of the Nook GlowLight 4 is the free lifetime in-store support. You can visit any Barnes & Noble store for assistance, whether you need help getting started, organizing your library, or discovering your next great read. This level of customer service is a significant plus for users who appreciate hands-on help.

In the Box

When you purchase the Nook GlowLight 4, it comes with everything you need to get started:

  • Nook GlowLight 4
  • USB-C Cable
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Rechargeable Battery (installed)
  • Built-in anti-glare screen protector


When I decided to get the Nook GlowLight 4, I was eager to dive into a new reading experience. The unboxing was my first taste of what was to come. The device arrived in a sleek, sturdy box with a minimalistic design, setting a sophisticated tone. However, the initial excitement was slightly dampened by the mandatory setup process. Right off the bat, you’re required to register on the Barnes & Noble website. While I understand the need for registration, it felt a bit unnecessary and added a small hurdle to what should have been a seamless start.

One minor hiccup was the need to charge the Nook before its first use. While this is pretty standard for electronics, it detracted a bit from the immediate gratification I hoped for when unboxing a new gadget. Once charged, I found that powering on the device required a firm and prolonged press of the button. This isn’t a huge deal, but it could become tedious over time, especially if you’re someone who frequently switches the device on and off.

Physically, the Nook GlowLight 4 is quite appealing. It has large, clear physical buttons, which are a stark contrast to the more subtle buttons on devices like the Kindle Oasis. These buttons are a godsend for those who prefer tactile feedback over touch controls. The e-ink display is fantastic, providing a crisp and clear reading experience that’s easy on the eyes, regardless of whether you’re reading in bright sunlight or a dimly lit room.

One thing I immediately noticed was the Nook’s speed—or lack thereof. The device takes over two minutes to start and load books, which is significantly slower compared to other e-readers. The home button, in particular, was unresponsive at times and lacked tactile feedback, making navigation a bit frustrating. This lag was one of the more disappointing aspects, as it interrupted the otherwise immersive reading experience.

On the upside, transferring files to the Nook GlowLight 4 is a breeze. The device connects to a computer via USB just like an Android phone, allowing for easy drag-and-drop of PDFs and EPUBs. This process is much more straightforward compared to the Kindle Oasis, which can be a bit more cumbersome. 

The rubbery, matte texture of the Nook, combined with its comfortable weight, makes it easy to hold for long reading sessions. I found that using a cover could enhance this comfort even further. The battery life is decent, clocking in at about 10 hours, which is sufficient for most reading sessions. However, for those who love graphic-heavy content like graphic novels or magazines, the Nook might not be the best choice. It handles standard book formats well but struggles with more visually demanding media.

Navigating the device and managing settings could use some improvement. The process for wiping the device, for example, is cumbersome and not very intuitive. These operational quirks mean there’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to fully utilizing the Nook GlowLight 4. 

Overall, my time with the Nook GlowLight 4 has been a mixed bag. While the initial setup and some operational delays were frustrating, the actual reading experience was quite enjoyable. For someone who primarily reads standard e-books and wants a straightforward, no-frills e-reader, the Nook GlowLight 4 is a good choice, especially at its price point of $149.99. It offers good value without requiring a big investment, making it suitable for readers who don’t need a lot of extra features.


After spending ample time with the Nook GlowLight 4, I can say it’s a solid choice for anyone looking for a straightforward, no-nonsense e-reader. Despite some initial setup hurdles and occasional lag, the device delivers a comfortable and immersive reading experience that’s perfect for book lovers who appreciate physical buttons and a clean, paper-like display.

The GlowLight 4’s standout features include its clear, responsive e-ink display, and its user-friendly file transfer process. These aspects make it an excellent companion for daily reading, especially if you enjoy carrying a large library of books without the bulk of physical copies. The soft-touch finish and comfortable weight mean you can hold it for hours without discomfort, a significant plus for avid readers.

However, it’s important to note that this e-reader isn’t designed for graphic-heavy content like graphic novels or magazines. The device shines brightest with standard e-book formats and is perfect for those who enjoy traditional text-based reading. Additionally, while the Nook GlowLight 4 may not be the fastest device out there, its other qualities help to compensate for this drawback.

In conclusion, the Nook GlowLight 4 is a reliable, budget-friendly option for readers who want a dedicated device for their e-books. It’s particularly well-suited for people who:

  • Prefer Physical Buttons: If you like the tactile feedback of physical page-turn buttons, this e-reader is a great choice.
  • Value Ease of Use: The simple file transfer process and intuitive design make it accessible for users of all ages.
  • Enjoy Long Reading Sessions: The comfortable grip and long battery life mean you can read for extended periods without discomfort or frequent charging.

This e-reader is ideal for casual readers, students, and anyone who wants a dependable, easy-to-use device for reading e-books. It’s also a good fit for those who prefer a more traditional reading experience without the distractions of apps and the internet. If you’re a hardcore tech enthusiast who needs the latest features and fastest performance, you might want to look elsewhere. But for the everyday reader who values comfort and simplicity, the Nook GlowLight 4 is a fantastic option.

Ultimately, the Nook GlowLight 4 provides a good balance of functionality and affordability, making it a worthwhile investment for anyone looking to enhance their reading experience. Whether you’re curled up in bed, lounging by the pool, or on a long road trip, this e-reader will keep you happily engrossed in your favorite books for hours on end.


Nook GlowLight 4 Plus


All images are curtesy of Barnes & Noble.