REVIEW: Sony Reader PRS-T1BC WiFi Touch Edition
The Sony Reader WiFi Touch Edition (Model PRS-T1BC) has a different look and feel than past Sony Readers. In the past, the Sony devices have had all metal chassis. This made the device a little heavier but solid in feel. Because of the price point and the metal chassis, it was easy to label the Sony devices as a luxury form of a reader. This new model is $149, a much lower price that it’s 6″ Sony Touch predecessor.
This is no longer the case. The front of the Sony Reader is metal but the back is rubberized. The weight is reduced. The previous 6″ Sony Touch weighed in at 7.58 oz and this device is 5.9 oz. Note to manufacturers: they do not need to be any lighter.
Whether this is an improvement is up to the reader. I kind of miss the heft of the old device, but I do appreciate the rubberized backing.
- 6″ E Ink Pearl™ with Clear Touch Infrared Technology, 16 level gray scale
- Memory is 1.3 GB after initial setting with an external Micro SD slot which accepts cards up to 32GB.
- Battery life with wifi on is about 3 weeks based on a half hour reading a day. (Half hour a day?)
- 6 7/8 x 4 3/8 x 3/8 inches
- Three colors: Grey, Black and Red
- DRM Text : ePub (OPS v2.0, .epub file extension, Adobe DRM protected), PDF (PDF v1.6 or before, .pdf file extension, Adobe DRM protected)
- Image : JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP
- Unsecured Audio : Unsecured Audio: MP3 (Non encrypted), AAC (Non encrypted)
- Unsecured Text : ePub, PDF, TXT
- NOT COMPATIBLE WITH NOOK BOOKS
- Seven different fonts at eight font sizes
The touchscreen is very responsive. An on board keyboard appears at the appropriate times, when you need to enter information whether it is notes or a password on the webpage.
The Reader also comes with a very cheap plastic stylus that has a loop on the end for hooking it to something but I don’t know on what you are suppose to affix the stylus as it is not big enough to slip over the Reader itself. The stylus design is somewhat of a mystery to me. However, you can use the stylus to write notes on the screen and it is very responsive.
It should be noted that the Sony Reader refreshes (or flashes white/black) on every page turn whereas the new Kindles, Kobo, and Nook einks cache a few pages so that the flash occurs only every 4-5 pages.
There are two main pages for content on the Sony Reader. The first home screen shows the current book you are reading, recenntly added and then a choice between: Books, Reader Store, Periodicals and Collections.
It is very easy to create and add to Collections. You select Collections and then a series of thumbnails of the books are displayed with a checkmark box Check each book that belongs in the collection.
The second home screen has your network connections: Public Library, Google Books (public domain only), Browser, and a list of purchased content.
Getting around the Sony is fairly easy. It has a touchscreen so immediate interaction is usually done on the screen itself. Make a bookmark by tapping in the corner. Highlighting is done by pressing your fingertip on the area which you would like to highlight and then dragging your finger down or use the “handles” at the beginning and end of the highlight text to expand or contract the highlighted area. Once highlighted, you can add a Note, or search for a term, access Wikipedia or Google.
Notes can be added via keyboard or using your stylus to write notes.
You can go forward or backward using the two buttons on the lower left hand side or by swiping to the left or right.You cannot tap to turn (which I find to be a bit irritating but it allows you to rest your fingers on the device screen without turning the page.
The other buttons on the Reader include a home button, a back button, and a context button. The home button returns you to the first home screen. The back button takes you to the previous screen (not a previous page). The context button changes given what is showing on the screen at any given moment. While inside a book, the context menu will help you navigate between pages, access the notes, change the font, or more. On the home screen, the context menu will toggle the top black bar to show the time.
From the browser, you can access most all sites. I was able to access my Kobo account and download encrypted pubs to be read on the Sony Reader. From Feedbooks, I could download public domain books. From Dropbox, I could download and access encrypted epubs and non encrypted epubs. IMPORTANT: BN.com Nook books cannot be accessed via the Sony Reader as BN uses a different type of DRM.
I was not able to download nook books or books from Gogole bookstore. I could also not access my account at the BooksonBoard site. The browser crashed frequently when trying to access the BN.com site.
It was far easier to use the Sony web browser than the Kindle browser but eink browsing is recommended in only the direst of circumstances.
From the Settings pages, you can access the browser settings and designate a different home page like your email account or twitter or even dropbox. You can also control whether you download images or how the page will load.
There are three basic ways to add content to your Sony device. The first and easiest is to use the Sony Reader eBookstore that is accessed via the device. Content purchased through a laptop or smartphone can be downloaded directly onto the device without a cord.
You can also download content directly from Kobo or sites that offer DRM free ePubs such as Carina Press or All Romance eBooks or content you have stored in the cloud such as Apple, Amazon or Dropbox cloud storage.
You can also sideload content by hooking your device up directly to your computer via the included USB cord. Simply plug in the device and swipe on the screen of the Reader when prompted. Your device should show up as external storage. Click through until you get to the “docs” folder and drag and drop your epub or pdf files into that folder. So long as they are not Nook books, you should be able to access your DRM encrypted ePubs.
- Ability to write on the screen
- Download books via wifi either from Sony store or other stores
- Download books via wifi from Dropbox or other cloud storage
- USB mountable harddrive to drag and drop files
- Integrated library lending direct from the device via Overdrive
- International usage.
- The Sony Reader eBookstore. Content is slower to arrive at the Sony eBookstore site and is often more expensive. There are fewer choices. Many sale prices don’t show up that are available elsewhere
- It feels a bit flimsy.
- Can’t tap to advance.
- Cost. The Kindle Touch WiFI is $99 with ads and $139 for no ads. The Kobo Touch WiFi is $129. The nook touch WiFi is $139. The Sony is $149.
- Customer Service. I was over at the Sony Reader page celebrating Sarah Wendell’s latest release “Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels” and many of the entries there were user complaints.