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REVIEW: Sony Reader Touch 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. You can read my review of the Pocket Edition here.

I have the Sony Reader PRS 700 which was a touchscreen and integrated light. While the Sony PRS 600 or Touch Edition has a faster refresh, the lack of light made the device a disappointment for me. Further, the screen clarity is much lower than that of the Sony PRS 300 (Pocket Edition) and without the onboard light, it’s not worth the upgraded cost or screen size despite the touch screen.

You can find more about the Sony Reader Touch edition at the Sony site.

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SPECS: 6″ 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.   This device will also play MP3s and display JPGs.

The Touch Edition (PRS 600) retails for $299 and comes in Silver, Red, and Black. The screen size 6″ which is the same as the nook and the Kindle.    The 6″ screen is nearly the same size as a mass market page. I would say that the 6″ screen holds about 3/4 to 7/8 of the amount of text held on one page of a mass market.

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The clarity of the Touch Editions is slightly lower than the Pocket edition but the touchscreen also includes a stronger glare.   It’s harder to position the Touch edition to read under a lamp because of the glare.   My Sony also has a glare but because it was an integrated light, the glare issue is resolved when the light was turned on.   Because the Touch Edition has no light, the glare can only be resolved by  maneuvering  the device away from direct light.

The Sony site says that the charge lasts for two weeks but it did seem like the charge ran down faster on the Touch Edition than on the Pocket.

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 512 MB of onboard memory but the Touch Edition also has an SD memory slot and a Sony Memory Stick slot. With an SD card, you can easily carry your entire digital library with you.   You can also listen to music on the Touch Edition which will likely need to be stored on the SD card.   The top of the device is as follows:   SD slot, Sony Memory Stick slot, power slide, and LED charging light.

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

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The controls are five silver buttons that correspond to page forward/page backward, home, font size, and options.

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The Touch Edition includes five different font sizes: S, M, L, XL, and XXL.   The Pocket Edition only has three font sizes.   Advancing the pages requires a touch on the screen where the page numbers appear.

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The Home button takes you to the main screen and the magnifying glass changes your font size. Options gives you different options depending on what menu you are on.   In the book, options include these:

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The touchscreen allows you to write directly on the screen itself.   The refresh rate is fairly quick but I did find that if I laid the side of my hand against the screen while writing, the screen would recognize my hand and not just the stylus.   While my penmanship will win no awards, I promise that it is better than it appears below.

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To bookmark the page, you have to tap the upper right corner.   I’ve never been good at being able to get the device to respond to a finger tap up there. I end up tapping two or three times and then the bookmark takes and comes off.   It’s fairly frustrating.   I really wish that there was a button.   You can choose to have “create/edit notes” in the “on” position and that gives you an onboard button but it also reduces the screen display for the text of the book.

BAD: The screen quality is fairly low and because there is no built in light, it is hard to read in low light situations.   I wish that there was a bookmark button because four out of five times, I can’t get the bookmark to take.

GOOD:   The touchscreen is more intuitive than button pushing and allows for a greater range of menu items.   The ability to write notes on the screen is a bonus and the refresh is fairly good.   It has an expansion slot which makes it nice to swap out collections.   The on board software that allows for collections (an organizational tool) is wonderful.   It’s more attractive than the Kindle and easier to turn pages as you can simply swipe left or right to advance through the book.   This device also has a rubberized back that gives you a good grip on the device.

If the touchscreen is important to you and you want some ability to annotate your books, this is the lowest cost option on the market.   You will be trading off screen clarity for the touchscreen.

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

2 Comments

  1. GrowlyCub
    Dec 06, 2009 @ 05:59:09

    Several weeks ago, I compared both the Touch and Pocket with my 505 in a Borders store. I was extremely disappointed with the screen quality and the massive glare!

    I had expected there to be loss of crispness with the Touch due to the touch layer, but even the Pocket is so much worse in screen quality compared to the 505, even without any reason that any advantage re: one-handed use was totally obliterated.

    My recommendation would be to buy a 505 off ebay (there are still new and gently used ones around).

    I’m curiously awaiting the release of some of the other devices coming next year. Until then my 505 never leaves my side.

    ReplyReply

  2. Tae
    Dec 06, 2009 @ 21:13:27

    Growly> wow this really makes me glad that I purchased my 505 last year!

    ReplyReply

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