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REVIEW: Sony Reader Pocket Edition

Sony sent me the Sony Reader Pocket and Touch Editions for review.   I’ve had the devices for little over three weeks and they will be winging their way to another reviewer tomorrow.   My conclusion after spending some time with these new devices is that the Pocket Edition would be a recommended buy if it were only $50 cheaper.   You can read my review for the Touch Edition here.

I found myself reaching for this device time and again over its pricier and more full featured sibling, Touch Edition.   You can find more about the Sony Reader Pocket edition at the Sony site.

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SPECS: 5″ eink screen
IN THE BOX: soft neoprene case, USB charger, and device.
FORMATS:

  • DRM= PDF, ePUB, and Sony’s BBeB
  • NON DRM = PDF, ePUB, Txt, MS Word (requires software which will convert the MS Word to a readable format), and RTF

The Pocket Edition (PRS 300) retails for $199 and comes in Silver, Rose, and Navy Blue.   The screen size 5″ and as you can see by the following picture, the screen shows about 2/3 of a regular mass market page.   The font size of the mass market is approximately the same size as on the Pocket.

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As you can see by the picture, the contrast in low lit room is not as a good as the regular paper. As with all eink devices, the brighter the ambient light, the more paper like the screen appearance. Outdoors the Pocket’s clarity is very close to the paper. The problem for me is that I read most of the time indoors and at night. You will have to have decent light to read on either the Pocket or the Touch editions.

The Pocket edition says that the charge lasts for two weeks. I haven’t had to charge the device other than the first time since I’ve received it. I’ve read on the devices on and off for three weeks.

When you first connect the device to your computer, the computer will ask you if you want to install the Sony Reader software.   I said yes and this installed flawlessly for me.

There is only 512 MB of onboard memory and there is no way to increase the memory capacity. The Pocket does not have a card reader. On the top of the device is the power   switch and an LED light that lights up red when charging.

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The bottom of the device has inputs for the reset button, AC charger (which costs extra), the mini USB port, and a security lock.

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The controls are primarily at the front bottom and include from right to left:

Sony Pocket Edition Controls

  • Home button which returns you to the main menu
  • Return button which brings you to the previous screen
  • The joystick / circular control.   This rocker type of control will move you forward/backward and up/down.
  • The center of the rocker control is the “enter” button.
  • Bookmark button.   Press this and you will manually create a bookmark.
  • This is the font size button.   Pressing it cycles through S/M/L

On the front side of the device are small rocker buttons labeled 1 through 0.   These control the menu.   For example, to select “Continue Reading” you would press “1”.

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This photo was taken during the day (no flash) and as you can see the screen appears much brighter.   I liked the layout of the buttons, particularly the bookmark button.   I wish that there were page forward/page backward buttons on the lower right and right sides so that you can read one handed.   It’s a bit difficult to position your hand just so to be able to advance through the pages.

Moving to a specific page requires you to press the numbered rocker buttons and then the “enter” button.   For example, to get to page 150, you would press “1”, “5”, and “0” followed by the center button.

You can navigate between links by pressing the up/down arrow keys on the center circular button and the pages will advance forward by using either the right   arrow or the down arrow and will move backward when the up and left arrows are pressed.

BAD:   PDFs don’t work particularly well unless the PDF is specifically designed for the Sony Reader and will reflow the text.   You are limited to the 512 MB which can hold over 300 books depending on what formats you are buying.   I found myself accidentally hitting the numbered buttons on the right hand side thinking that they would advance the pages (they don’t).   If you were left handed, you might press those numbered buttons simply by holding it one handed.

GOOD:   The size. I really thought the size was nice.   It was small enough to hold with one hand and it fit into even the smallest handbag.   The back has a slight rubbery texture so it is easy to grip.   The refresh (how fast it electronically advances the pages)   is zippier than the PRS 505 but it’s not as fast as the PRS 600.   The bookmark button was convenient and I used that a lot.   The software allows for collections which helps in organization of books.

As I said in the opening paragraph, I really liked this device and at $150 instead of $199, it would be   great buy.   I was actually a bit reluctant to see it go.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

10 Comments

  1. Babz
    Dec 06, 2009 @ 04:14:16

    I would so buy that if it were $150. $99 is better, but $150 is bearable, even with currency and all.

  2. Linda Rader
    Dec 06, 2009 @ 04:45:36

    Thanks for this extensive review. I am in that next group of consumers to whom price matters. When they come down I will definitely buy one. Unless I win one before then!

  3. Tracey
    Dec 06, 2009 @ 04:46:49

    $199.00 is WAY too much. $150.00 is way too much. Even fifty dollars would strain my budget.

    Bottom line–e-readers are luxuries for people who have money, not people who are hurting in this economy. Until e-readers cost no more than a standard paperback, I’m not interested. I can’t afford to be.

  4. REVIEW: Sony Reader Touch Edition | Dear Author: Romance Novel Reviews, Industry News, and Commentary
    Dec 06, 2009 @ 05:01:11

    […] Dec 06 2009 REVIEW: Sony Reader Touch Edition by Jane ♦ Leave a Comment ♦ Email This Post ♦ Print This Post ♦ Tagged: dedicated device, eBook Reader, Kindle, Sony, Sony ReaderFiled under: Ebooks Sony sent me the Sony Reader Pocket and Touch Editions for review. I’ve had the devices for little over three weeks and they will be winging their way to another reviewer tomorrow. You can read my review of the Pocket Edition here. […]

  5. Darlene Marshall
    Dec 06, 2009 @ 08:06:52

    I’ve had the Pocket for a few months now and I really like it. I wanted something very lightweight and small enough to fit in my handbag, and it’s just right for that. I bought it a spiffy little lime green protective jacket at MEdge and just ordered the MEdge booklight designed for this unit (it fits in the jacket).

    I’ve seen special pre-holiday offers for the Pocket where the base price doesn’t change, but there are accessories thrown in, which may make it more attractive. I must say I wasn’t impressed with the Sony accessories. Ugly, somewhat bulky compared to MEdge’s products.

    It’s not the perfect unit for everybody, but for me it was a good choice.

  6. Anne Douglas
    Dec 06, 2009 @ 08:39:24

    I spied yesterday: Walmart $198 + 25$ Walmart Giftcard.

    I’m going to guess they might be like Apple at this point with a fixed pricing structure you can’t move from, and the only way you’ll get discounts is via a retailer offering a different method – such as giftcards and the like.

    Checking them out at Target the other day (to make sure I did have my sizing right for the new covers I was making) the Pocket really did seem to have it over the Touch clarity wise…but I have to admit, being able to add notes, it was tempting. So was the cuteness factor of the 300. But my good old 505 has stood me well, and I won’t be giving it up any time soon :)

  7. cecilia
    Dec 06, 2009 @ 08:53:56

    I bought one of these a couple months ago, and I also have a Cybook that I’ve had for awhile. I bought it mainly to have more flexibility in terms of what format I buy books in. Compared to the Cybook, the weight of it and the size of the screen are definitely not great, but it’s a nice little device. I also don’t like the limited selection of print sizes. On the Cybook, you can choose a font and sizes very specifically. On the PRS 300, you have to hope the file came with a reasonable size, because adjusting it usually means making it super tiny or so huge that you’re turning pages every 15 seconds.

    One thing I like about it (which isn’t a feature of the Cybook) is that if I borrow ebooks from my library, there’s an indicator that says how many days I have left on the loan. It’s a good reminder!

  8. Gillian
    Dec 06, 2009 @ 09:21:55

    I’ve been thinking about replacing my 505 lately. It’s been freezing alot after charging up…

    I just don’t know if I can justify the expense to the hubby. Maybe I’ll wait to see the Apple tablet first…

  9. devyn quinn
    Dec 06, 2009 @ 12:36:50

    Even though I’ve been looking at ebook readers, I decided to pass on buying. They are still wayy too pricey for me. Although my iPod Touch can read Kindle books, I am still not fond of the small screen and definitely would want a bigger screen for dedicated reading of ebooks. Also the cost of ebooks still really does not fit my pocket book as well as the public library. I mean, I don’t want to own the books. After I read them once, maybe twice, I am done with them.

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