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Sony PRS-500 Portable Reader System

by Sony

Available from these sellers.
  • The Sony Reader is an e-book reader
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3 new from $138.95 7 used from $34.99

Product Information

Technical Details
Brand NameSony
Item Weight1.2 pounds
Product Dimensions7.8 x 6.2 x 2.4 inches
Item model numberPRS-500
Number of Items1
Additional Information
Best Sellers Rank #113,386 in Electronics (See top 100)
Shipping Weight4 pounds
Date First AvailableAugust 18, 2008

Product Description

The Sony Reader is an e-book reader. It uses an electronic paper display developed by E Ink Corporation that has 166 dpi resolution, eight levels of grayscale, is viewable in direct sunlight, requires no power to maintain a static image, and is usable in portrait or landscape orientation

Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

The font size can be adjusted VERY easily.
Wouldn't it be nice to have a competitive e-book marketplace without having to guess whose proprietary form of restricted content will win out.
Amazon Customer
Based on my experience with two units, I would not recommend this product and, thus, my one star rating.
Jim Alfaro

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

119 of 121 people found the following review helpful By K. HUANG on September 29, 2007
I got this a few days ago after seeing the high cost to get a physical paper print of a PDF book from an online publisher.

I have many technical computer documents in PDF format that I like to read. Most of them range from 200-1500 pages; having a print copy has always been more convenient to read a few pages here and there (especially on long road trips and while on the bus / subway).

I decided to get this item as used from a seller. Overall I really like my Sony Reader. If it was not for the cost I would have given 5 stars. In addition, the following are my personal scale from 1-3 (3 being the highest):

Reading clarity 2.8: Very sharp, but the brighter the surrounding light the better the contrast. I am thinking of getting a clip-on booklight so I can read in the dark (late bus rides home). When changing pages, you can see a slight "ghost" print in 15-30% of the previous imprint. However, it is very faint, and may be the limitation of the eInk technology. Ghost images do not seem to go past 3-4 page turns, however, imprints can linger in 5-10% for up to 3-4 page turns. (It seem that the screen does a single refresh when you turn the page.)

Battery Life 3.0: I've had it for the last 4 days, reading about 3 hrs / day, and it is still has 50% battery bars from the original charge.

Portability 3.0: Lighter and thinner than most of my books.

Size 2.2: The regular screen may be too small for my PDF manuals. I use the landscape and larger font for viewing. This is perfect for a novel / story book with "medium" font setting; however, most computer books and manuals are intended to be printed much larger.
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81 of 84 people found the following review helpful By KentR on November 26, 2007
We've owned a Sony reader for over a year now. First, it sure beats having to travel with a bunch of heavy and space consuming books. One reviewer said that the font size couldn't be adjusted. This is completely false. The font size can be adjusted VERY easily. Another reviewer mentioned that the screen wasn't backlit. Probably knowing more about electronics than that reviewer, I can assure you that there is a very good reason for NOT backlighting such a large screen... That reason is power consumption. Backlighting requires a great deal of power; even more power than creating the actual letters and words on the screen. Face it, a regular book isn't back lit either! If you would like to read in a dark environment, you can use any number of small, LED, book reading lights that are available for under $10. Otherwise, in standard light, reading the Sony book is just like reading a piece of white paper... very pleasing to the eyes, and, again, you CAN adjust the size of the fonts to suit your eyesight. In addition to being capable of holding up to around 160 books, the Reader can also be used as an MP3 player. Very Cool and Nice! You can listen to music by itself, or, while you are reading. Downloading both reading material and music on to the player is simple via your USB connection. If you want to increase the memory of the Reader, you can do so by using a Sony Memorystick or a standard SD memory card. And, the memory cards just slip in the side of the unit. After you use this product, you'll wonder why you have so many paperbacks laying around. It is extremely convenient, easy-to-use, space and weight saving, and downloading a book costs about the same as the best price you would pay for a paperback book. (There are also many books and publications that can be downloaded for free). This would be a wonderful gift for someone who loves to read.
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80 of 84 people found the following review helpful By John Schinter on August 31, 2007
The Sony Reader is an absolute marvel. First of all the screen - is incredible - the brighter the light - the easier it is to read the screen. It was described to me as liquid paper, and is a different technology than LCD's. An LCD is backlit - and in bright sunlight difficult to read.

Not the Sony Reader - It has no backlight, and is intended to be just like a book (ie. Needs light to read).

It is elegant, light, CRISP screen, and capable of storing E-Books, MS Word Documents, and Adobe .pdf files.

MOST Amazing is the battery life - it is rated in page turns, not hours on. It takes virtually no electric power and can stay on indefinately, and only takes power when you turn a page. (Allows 7,500 page turns on a re-charge)

I have read more than 5,000 pages already, and find it so easy to carry around many books that I have always wanted to read, but couldn't find the space in my briefcase to carry the book(s). I have 80 books currently on mine....... So many books are available for free on the internet.

Even better - is the Sony READERS ability to play your favorite music while reading your books, because it plays MP3's.

And if all that isn't enough - You can store pictures in it as well.

Could not recommend this product higher - MUST HAVE!!!!!!
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75 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Books on September 22, 2007
This unit has spent its life: on my book shelf, packed securely in my handbag or at the Sony repair facility. No one else has touched it.

I pre-ordered the Reader from Sony Style direct for my mother. It arrived last November and mom found it too complicated. I decided to keep it for traveling. I didn't really try it out until January and I noticed that the battery drained quickly (only used the AC adapter) and the buttons didn't work according to the manual. After many calls the unit went back to Sony - they did a firmware upgrade & shipped it back...no mention of the buttons. I took it on an extended trip and the battery ran out after 1,000 page turns. The screen also seemed to get greyer..and the buttons still didn't work.

Upon return, I started the multi-hour process of connecting with Sony and gave up. I restarted the process (literally 3.5 hours on the phone) and eventually sent it back in for repairs. I got a notice that while the ubited was no damaged in transit it (my packaging was fine) the unit was damaged - needed a new motherboard, screen, etc. to the tune of more than $297. Of course not covered under warranty. Luckily I had bought additional warranty that could pay for the repair.

The unit was never dropped - if there was damage it occured during handling by a Sony person. Since the unit never worked properly my thory is that it was defective. It seems disgraceful to throw "good money after" to repair the unit (yup - I grew up not only in New England, but before everything became disposable). I don't want to use the extended warranty coverage to have a repaired defective unit - I want a replacement.

Sony has trained all of its service personnel beautifully in the art of saying no. No replacement.
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