I popped into B&N yesterday.
I tried out the new NOOK. Unfortunately, I didn't have my original NOOK with me to compare side by side. It struck me that the new NOOK is smaller and at feels lighter. I haven't found a comparison of the weights yet though.
It looks good. I like it. I still like my original though. If one were to be given the choice between the two I'm not sure how the decision would be made. The original model has the pretty color screen that shows book covers whereas the new model does not. However, the new model utilizes all if its space for reading by not having the pretty color covers.
I am still convinced that eInk technology is the best for serious readers who want to convert to reading ebooks. The new NOOK model us affordable and has a friendly user interface. I think it would be a great place for most people to start.