My husband always knows what gadgets I should have, even before I know I need them. The most recent example of this is the Sony Reader Touch Edition PRS-600 that he gifted me with back in May. Now that I’ve been using it for almost three months, I can add my thoughts to the millions of words out on the ‘net on e-book readers.
I had no prior experience with any of the available e-readers. Even now, I’ve never actually had the opportunity to see or touch a Kindle. I have seen the Nook, and Dan owns an iPad (I know it’s not a single-purpose e-reader). When he asked me if I would want an e-reader, I really wasn’t sure whether I needed one. As usual, he was right that I did need one. I thought I would prefer not to be tied to a single vendor for the books, and I guessed that in addition to books or periodicals, I’d also want to be able to look at documents for work, documents for dog training, and proofreading for Total Rottweiler Magazine. Being able to read generic PDFs from multiple sources would be important. The screen needed to be easy for aging eyes to read, but not too large either.
The Sony Reader fit those requirements with a 6″ screen, a weight of approximately 10 ounces, and the ability to read a variety of DRM-protected and unencrypted formats, including ePub, BBeB Book, PDF, TXT, RTF, and Microsoft Word. It’s slim enough to fit easily into a purse or side pocket of a briefcase or laptop case.
So far, I’m liking it. I’ve seen the complaints about screen glare, which is an unfortunate trade-off for the touch screen capabilities. I haven’t personally had too much of a problem in the indoor or shaded outdoor locations where I’ve used it. Speed and responsiveness of the touch screen and buttons is fine. Files loaded on the SD card respond a little more slowly than files loaded directly on the Reader. Battery life seems fine; I usually recharge it once a week or less. I also have it in a cover which makes it feel a little more book-like and helps protect the screen.
No complaints about the selection or pricing of books available through Sony’s Reader Store. Their library is not as vast as Amazon’s for the Kindle, but the books I’ve most wanted to buy have all been available. This model doesn’t have WiFi (Sony Reader Daily Edition is the WiFi-enabled model) but I don’t know if I would have used it. Maybe some of you have moments where you just have to be able to purchase a book when you’re out and about, but it hasn’t been a problem for me so far.
I’ve only just started using some of the note-taking features, and I’ll talk about how I use them in a future post. Among the PDFs that reside permanently on my Reader are the rally obedience rulebooks for UKC, APDT, and AKC, so I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that my use of those features has something to do with dog training. A stylus is provided to allow sketch-type notes and marker-type highlighting, and an onscreen keyboard can be used to make text notes.
I can’t speak to the music or image capabilities as I don’t use them. I’m accustomed to using my BlackBerry as my primary music player, mostly with Pandora Radio, and it seems a little silly to duplicate my music library on another portable device. The Reader’s display is 8-level grayscale which is fine for reading text, but certainly not ideal for viewing images.
One true annoyance to those who borrow e-books from their public library, as I do, is the inability to have borrowed books of both PDF and ePub format on the Reader at the same time. If you forget, only the books of the most recent format downloaded are accessible, even if the other books haven’t expired yet. To fix it, you have to remove and re-download all of the books, and make sure to reload only books of the same file format on the Reader. Very big annoyance, and very disappointing to see that Sony seems to be in no hurry to supply a fix despite many, many customer complaints about it.
One factor that had to be considered is my preference for dark red personal electronics. As you see in the photos above, that requirement, too, was fulfilled.
Overall, I’m happy with the Sony Reader Touch Edition. I just wish I had more time to read!
(NaBloPoMo | August ’10: 11 of 31)