Dec 6 2009
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.
SPECS: 5″ eink screen
IN THE BOX: soft neoprene case, USB charger, and device.
- 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.
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.
The bottom of the device has inputs for the reset button, AC charger (which costs extra), the mini USB port, and a security lock.
The controls are primarily at the front bottom and include from right to left:
- 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″.
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.