63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2011
As the title suggests, my focus of this review is using the Sony Reader as a tool for reading PDF files.
As a LOT of products (software, electronic gadgets, etc) don't print manuals anymore, I've amassed a bunch of PDF files that I would love to have easier access to, while on a plane, doing my business in the "library", lying in bed, or wherever. Realizing some kind of "e-reader" might just let me do casual PDF perusing under those aforementioned conditions, I started researching some of the e-readers a few months ago. After lots of Googling, browsing, and reading, it seemed that most of the then-on-the-market readers didn't handle PDF files so well. From what I read though, one of the older Sony readers was significantly better than the rest (Kindle, Nook, etc) for handling PDF's and when I learned that Sony was releasing the PRS-T1, I was hoping it was an above average PDF-reader as well.
So I went to YouTube to watch a few video reviews for the PRS-T1 and a few other readers that particularly addressed PDF viewing. I was impressed enough with what they said and with the price, that I went ahead and bought one (the Sony PRS-T1). Some other models didn't pan so easily or zoom as clearly.
And how is it? Well, from lots of other video reviews I saw, this really does handle PDF files better than a lot of older readers. LIKE a lot of other readers though, it is dependent on how graphics intensive the PDF file is. It handles graphics well-enough, but given the smaller screen size, it takes a bit of panning to sometimes see all of the graphic, and depending on the graphics complexity, it can also require a bit more processing/redraw time for the page view to fully come up.
I realize there are plenty of color readers that would probably process PDFs and graphics better than this product, but I really wanted a device that stuck with e-ink for easier readability and longer battery life, and minus the screen viewing size, and the occasional redraw lag time, I've been fairly pleased. Could be my expectations were fairly low, but they've mostly been met...especially considering what I paid for it.
Positives for PDF Perusing:
- If the PDF file has a overview/outline section, you can use that to more easily navigate your PDF file
- Graphics are presented in clear enough details
- PDF files are easy to load into the memory of the device...USB connect, and drag and drop
- Pinch-to-Zoom allows easy enlargement of small text
- Can increase the font size to more easily read non-graphic text
- Great battery life
- Sturdy enough construction (though supposedly less than previous Sony products according to a couple other reviews)
- Given the size, it's easy to drag along almost anywhere
Negatives for PDF Perusing:
- If there are a lot of graphics, the page redraw time can be slow
- If you increase the size of the reading font, the graphics in the PDF file disappear (are no longer presented)
- Using the pinch-to-zoom to increase text and graphic readability can (depending on your PDF file) require frequent panning to view all of the page because it doesn't fit so well on the smaller screen
- Given the size, you KNOW the screen won't be large enough for a lot of material that has graphics
Another use I've discovered is if I find articles on the internet I want to read later, I just "print" them to a PDF file using software (PrimoPDF or whatever) and load them on the eReader to browse through at a better time. Helping my wife research for a paper this last couple weeks, I've loaded a ton of PDF files into the eReader covering Government Policy for Cyber Security and been able to casually browse through them sitting in bed before I go to sleep (which, not surprisingly, has HELPED me fall asleep quite nicely).
Part of the success this eReader has with PDF files depends on how well the PDF files are put together. If you're mostly reading PDF files with fewer graphics and predominantly text, this reader is great. Its utility unfortunately drops off in direct correlation to how graphics intensive your PDF file is. And it does still work with graphics-loaded PDF files, and better than most the other e-ink readers, but you (like me) might get tired of having to pinch-and-zoom and pan as frequently (because of the smaller screen) just to read through something.
If I had to browse PDF files professionally, I would certainly consider an e-reader with a bigger screen, but for most of the casual reading I do, with a medium amount of graphics, this thing has worked quite well. Given the price, I've no major complaints and only a few minor ones.
59 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2011
overall this is a wonderful reader. you don't have to pay extra to get a version without ads. sony has been in the ereader business long before it was mainstream. the new improvement in adding the wifi to its reader and bring the price down to 149 is long over-dued and in my opinion is the main reasons that has kept it from competing well and being as well known as the other big name readers we all know now. this version is made in a feather light weight plastic and rubber and a touch of metal instead of the aluminum that the others were. the touch screen is very responsive and you can change which way for the swipe. there are more options of fonts and sizes than before. the multi language built in dictionary, notation, search on google and wikipedia are well implemented. the online reader store experience is decent and has the usual best sellers at about the same prices as all other online sellers.
the sony reader store itself has always been a bit quirky and at times difficult and slow. the web estore is fast but it only lets you see the books; to buy the books, you either go online thru the ereader itself or the desktop app. the desktop app has been the vain of my existence but probably because i run it on a mac however even when i run it on the windows side, i still have the program freeze or hang. the new desktop app has an annoying feature: you can't delete books that are purchased. it wouldn't be a big deal but it imported my library 5 times and now i have duplicates that i can't get rid of and uninstalling the program didn't help.
the great thing is about this reader is that you can bypass the sony reader store and buy your books from any other online seller that sells books that are multi-format that are epub. if you buy a book that has an adobe drm epub format, make sure you buy it with the email address that you signed up for in the adobe id. the sony reader is linked to that singular email and adobe id. this also means you can shop around to find free books and sales without being locked in like others-kindle, kobo and nook. pdfs and word docs look great and need no special conversions. you just make the document to fit a 6 inch paper while on the computer before transferring.
in the box is the reader, stylus and micro usb charger. there is no cover for this in the box. the user manual is preloaded in the reader but there is a quick start guide on paper. the stylus is plastic with a rounded tip. although the tip isn't small enough to fit the reset button and there is no place to put the stylus and the clip on it isn't wide enough for clipping onto the reader but they are only minor quirks for me. if the internal 2gb isn't enough for your tastes, you can put in a microsd card up to 32 gb for all the books, pics, mp3, audio books you like.
the web browser is quick and has the major news, facebook, email links one needs with pinch zoom functionality. there's no way to watch video / youtube as there's no flash but this is an ereader first.
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
I have the red version of this reader, identical to this except for its color, which I had a rough honeymoon with but have ultimately come to love when I'm using it for its most important purpose, reading. The touch screen is very sensitive, it's beautiful and light weight, there are multiple fonts and text sizes to choose from, and the wifi feature, especially the ability to connect directly with my local libraries to borrow books, is a mostly wonderful option.
Maybe because this reader can do so many things, it's more finicky than my Sony 350 which is a generation older than the PRS-T1. I have never had my 350 freeze, but in the short time that I've had the PRS-T1 I've had to reset it 4 times. Usually it has happened when I'm flicking the "pages", something that works perfectly most of the time, which somehow sets off wild unstoppable page turning ultimately freezing the device.
If you are used to earlier Sony readers, this one requires a tap, tap-hold-for-2-seconds instead of a quick double tap to highlight or call up dictionary definitions, which was a little hard for me to get the hang of at first. The good news is that the new tap, tap-hold-for-2-seconds also calls up a menu with options for text word search, google, wikipedia and note taking--it's very exciting to be able to google or wikipedia right from the reader. The bad news is that if you are used to how a tablet can access the internet, the PRS-T1 will seem slow and clunky. There are multiple negative-to-positive page flashes when navigating down a page or sometimes even when typing, which is distracting and annoying. Also the stylus is much bigger on this model and doesn't slide into the reader the way the 350 stylus does. I'm afraid of losing it so I keep it in a safe place which means I never have it on hand when I'm using the reader so my tapping is all done by fingernail which so far has worked just fine.
Books from your local library and free books from sites like Project Gutenberg and ManyBooks can be downloaded directly onto the reader when there is available wifi, but books bought from Google, Smashwords, or any site other than Sony need to be added via a USB link from a computer. There is new Sony software for the computer to use with this reader, but for me it has been unreliable, buggy and ultimately a nonfunctioning drag. After sort of working some of the time it now crashes every time it opens itself up on my computer--it comes alive automatically whenever the reader is connected to the computer. Fortunately books can be added directly to the reader through My Computer, a method the Sony User Guide describes but doesn't recommend--it's worked perfectly for me, unlike the Sony software.
Another problem with the new Sony computer software is that each time you connect it to your reader it syncs everything, which is time consuming and just gives the software more reasons to choke and stop responding. It's not possible to drag and drop a single book onto the reader they way you could with the older version of the software. Also, if you organize your books into collections on your computer using the Sony software, you cannot then move the books around on your reader, it will only be possible to delete books or move them in or out of collections using the Sony computer software and then re-syncing your entire collection. It seems a strange choice to me, creating new software with less options and less flexibility. I ditched the software and do everything right on the reader, which functions much more smoothly.
Early on I was having so much trouble getting everything set up and working--the biggest problem was trying (and ultimately failing) to get the new Sony computer software to work with my 350 reader--that I spent hours on the phone with Sony help personnel. They meant well, but maybe because the PRS-T1 reader was brand new then they didn't completely know what they were doing and their help caused me to lose the User Guide that came pre-loaded on the PRS-T1 (fortunately I had already read it and it can also be accessed on line) as well as all of the highlighting and notes I'd done on my 350. Even worse, all of the 350's 200-some books were tossed out of their well-organized folders into one mass list--a time consuming mess.
Now that the early problems are in the past I absolutely love this reader. I don't use the Sony computer software, but it's not necessary anyway. The new Kindles also have touch screens and the ability to borrow library books making them a good choice too, with any ereader 600 page books weigh only ounces and a massive collection of reading material can fit in a pocket or purse. For now I prefer the aesthetic of the Sony.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2011
I have a black Sony Reader and I could not put it down. This is by far the most elegant, lightest and easy to use ebook reader among Kindle Touch, Nook Simple Touch and others. Sony Reader's form factor is best among all three. It's narrow which means I can hold it one-handed. It's light therefore I will not get tired after long period of reading. I have played with both Kindle Touch and Nook Simple Touch extensively and Sony Reader's physical design beats the other two ebook readers hands down. A major gripe I have with Kindle Touch is the location and design of its power button. It's at the bottom and just sticks out without any guard around. It is so easy to accidentally press it when reading. The Sony, on the other hand, has a stiffer power button and plastic guard around it. You really have to try to activate the power button. The e-ink Pearl screen is fantastic (to be fair though, the other two uses the same screen and have the same quality). The infrared-based touch screen is accurate and responsive. I hardly use the physical buttons to navigate the pages. I do use them for quickly access home screen and the back button for navigating the web page. The integrated Google Book icon is convenient and let's me access out-of-copyright books wirelessly, without using the computer at all. I can also point my browser to Project Gutenberg and download free books there.
I used the open source calibre software to manage my library and stayed away from Sony Reader's software. I also believe Amazon's content platform is far better than Sony's. However, for what I read (classics), it does not make a difference to me and Sony's strength in making high quality hardware outshines Amazon's strength in content and delivery platform.
I would highly recommend this ebook reader to anyone. And for $99 currently, it's much better deal than ad supported Kindle Touch.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2011
I tend to ramble, so right up front here's the tldr; despite some quirks in the interface, I love this reader and it is a worthy successor to my absolutely indispensable PRS-505.
So, since I started using my cellphone as a back-up reading device, I realized how lovely it is to have wirelessly delivered content. I decided to try the Kindle Touch, since it had so many positive reviews. I bought it, and HAATED IT. Why was the frame so wide? Why did they remove hardware page up/page down buttons? Why did I have to create and add collections one by one on the reader itself? And the non-flashing page turns left artifacts on the page, until the 6th or so page 'flash' cleared them out. BAH HUMBUG, I said, and returned it.
Then I found out about the PRS-T1, and it was the same price as the ad-supported Kindle Touch. I bought it, and I have to say I am quite happy with it.
All modern eReaders have comparable eInk screen quality, internal memory and WiFi capability so that's not what I'm gonna talk about. Unfortunately, I can't say anything about the ecosystem because if you have a ton of Amazon books you wouldn't bother looking at this product anyway.
What other things can the PRS-T1 do?
- personalized screensavers -- yes, I put my dog's picture as the screensaver, no offense Virginia Woolf =)
- handwritten notes on any book. Yes! You can scribble, and save notes. That stupid stylus is worth it!
- bulk collection editing on the device and via Calibre - I mean, seriously, you cannot tell me that 'Add to Collection' then ticking boxes for all relevant books is not cool!
- page up/down buttons that work in the browser
- extra fonts!
- No ads!
- microSD card for my read-along music or audio books!
- lighter than the Touch, and basically a feather if you're used to the solid-aluminum construction of the PRS-505 line
ETA: It marks new books so you know which are unread!
What can the PRS-T1 NOT do?
- email files to device (I think?)
- read Amazon eBooks (duh)
- cloud storage of personal files
What is the worst thing about the PRS-T1?
- the Sony Reader Library software for your PC -- DO NOT USE if you can avoid it; Calibre is a million times better, despite the quirks right now
What are these quirks you speak of?
- some issues have already been resolved by the firmware update (which you can manually download, no need for the sync-via-Reader Library software
- if you have books on both the SD card and the internal memory, there are some cases where the reader will open the wrong book when you tap it. Workaround: keep all books on the internal memory, since 1.3GB is plenty for epubs. (I loaded over 600 personal documents and googlebooks and I'm still at 1.2GB space available.) Save the microSD for music etc.
One final thing--I normally like a cover, but the PRS-T1 ships "naked" and I got used to reading in landscape, with my left hand conveniently on the page up/page down button, which a normal portrait cover will make uncomfortable. I bought a BUILT neoprene sleeve for the Kindle Touch, in the hope that it would fit. It is a little loose, but if I sew a loop inside, I can attach the stylus, and with the stylus tucked beside it, the PRS-T1 stays put. Perfect for tossing in my purse!
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2011
I recently purchased the Sony PRS-T1 and thought I would share my thoughts and observations. It is a great reader especially at the current price of $99. After months of researching and waiting for the holiday e-ink readers to come to market I found the PRS-T1 to be best match suited to my expectations.
My needs / wants:
E-ink reader for high contrast, easy reading.
PDF reading ability.
PDF annotation ability.
Light web surfing.
Music listening ability if I so choose.
Did not need / want:
Heavy web surfing.
Ability to watch movies.
The ability to read PDFs and annotate them was a real want for me. I found that most PDFs are large and contain images that render very slowly on any E-ink reader. Sony does provide a guide for producing PDFs that will flow better though: [...]
There is also another review on using the PRS-T1 to read scientific PDFs that comes to the same conclusion that large PDFs aren't handled well. If a PDF is prepared properly though I found them to be very easy to read and quick to load pages.
The PRS-T1 had the advantage of being able to annotate (either in writing or using the on screen keyboard) PDFs. The Kindle allows annotating it's ebooks but not PDFs specifically.
The PRS-T1 built in web browser displays gmail and Wikipedia surprisingly well. It will display other web pages as well and allows for pinch zoom in / out. Keep in mind anytime you alter the display (finger swipe, pinch, move, etc) the screen will need a moment (~1 second) to refresh to display properly. On the order of many seconds for large, improperly formatted PDFs. I read elsewhere that the Sony refreshes everytime you alter the display where the other readers refresh after some given number of alterations. Not really a big concern for me.
If you own any ereader I recommend checking out Calibre: [...]
It allows you to draw and manage ereader material from many different sources both free and paid for. I downloaded a few of the free ones (online magazine and news sources) that looked and worked really well on the PRS-T1.
Also, if you're a big technical book fan the O'reilly site has good ebook support: [...]
I found the Sony / Amazon / Barnes & Noble online bookstores to be pretty comparable in selection, although I think Amazon has a larger selection of more obscure titles in kindle format.
Overall I have been extremely pleased with the PRS-T1. My local sony store also had a sale on the covers recently too. My only disappointments would be the move from the metal case to a plastic case (probably a cost savings move to the detriment of rugidability), the external stylus that has no storage on the device although the stylus isn't really needed because finger recognition works very well even for handwritten notes / drawings and the newly introduced slight screen glare (albeit way better than tablet displays) due to the new touch surface reportedly.
I do not discount any of the other ereaders (e..g - Kindle WiFi Touch, Nook Touch, etc.). They just lacked PDF annotation or came without advertising aka "Special Offers" at an added extra cost as in the case of the Kindle.
06 January 2012 - Update
I finally decided to RTFM and found an extremely useful feature that I hadn't seen mentioned elsewhere. When you are viewing a pdf you have the ability to "customize view -> page mode" and select from: original, 2 column split, 3 column split and fit landscape. While reading a Nature article (typically 2 columns on a page I selected the 2 column split mode and it automatically splits the page into 2 columns by 2 rows for viewing (similar to zooming but instead of having to move the page around manually the next / back page moves to the next quadrant of the page and faster than moving manually! And it allows you to annotate in this mode as opposed to not being able to annotate in the zoomed mode. Who'd of thought reading the manual would be useful?! Only caveat is that figures smack dab in the middle of the page are split across the four quadrants so you have to use zooming to see it better.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2012
Well, I've owned this device for about 24 hours now. My first impressions are very favorable.
The hard, sharp corners are not necessarily to my liking; it seems like they would create problems if you drop the device on a hard surface - the forces would be distributed unfavorably. However, the device is about the same size as a Kindle 4, and I see that in a standard Kindle 4 case which has corner straps, those right-angle corners would really effectively prevent the device from coming loose. The device is really not all that comfortable to hold in one hand in its bare form. It just seems like because of the lack of edges, and the size - it's kind of fiddly in a way that might make it easy to drop. However, again, when combined with a proper case... it's probably precisely the right size and shape and weight.
The cut-down version of Android it's using is really barebones. Even the design of the layout is all very much no-frills and no-nonsense. I had reservations when buying the PRS-T1 because of that. I like the friendly aesthetic interface of the Kobo, and the Iriver HD Story... however, even in the first hours, it's growing on me. It kind of becomes like negative space, and makes the books and their cover art become more meaningful and prominent.
One big selling point for me was the lack of ads. The most you'll have to put up with is the Sony Reader Store link in the lower right of the home page. Sony seems to really have the ethic that they are selling you hardware, rather than specifically trying to make money by pushing promotions into your face when you're not interested. I just feel that electronic devices I own need to be totally mine; I need to be able to customise them.
Currently, there's a really rickety modified stock Android ROM created by a Russian hobbyist which can be installed - however, it certainly is not ready for prime time. If you want to do that sort of thing, I think you'll have better luck going with the Barnes and Noble Nook Simple Touch. Xda-developers.com has a whole forum section devoted to installing custom Android ROMs on the Nook.
I like the open source commitment that Sony shows with this device. Please be aware that this reader basically does Epub, TXT, and PDF - and that's all. Without a custom ROM and some extra tweaking, you will not be able to use books bought through the Amazon Kindle store (unless you strip them of their DRM).
I realise that buying an ebook reader today is like buying a dot-matrix printer in 1993. Within a year, there are going to be huge improvements in the technology, and within five or seven years there's going to be a revolution. In some sense, one can say that a customer today is buying at the wrong time. However, if you want a daylight-readable, long-battery-life device now - you have to choose from what's available.
Before I bought it, I was concerned about the screen which refreshes after every page turn... The Pearl E-ink technology is certainly something that seems like a throwback to the days of the first Apple Macintosh computer, and to the black and white LCD screens of long ago. However, again here, I find that it is growing on me. There's quite a natural rhythm to the use of the device which involves either a small rectangle or the whole screen turning black and then white again.
I'm very impressed with the new touch-screen technology which is done through sensors along the edges of the screen, rather than through a touch-sensitive overlay. It's so much more responsive than a capacitive touch screen. Even though the screen and processor of this low-power device may take some time to respond to events, you can be rest assured that every touch you've made on the keyboard will have been queued up properly. This makes typing with the onscreen keyboard very quick and efficient.
After reading the entire manual cover to cover, and playing with the device for many many hours, I have some more thoughts to add.
- The software may feel minimalistic, but it's really well designed to make it quick to navigate from one activity to the next.
- I love the physical buttons. They're hard enough to press that they won't be activated by accident, and the functionality is well thought-out.
It definitely is an appliance rather than a workshop. It's designed to be a dedicated device with only one purpose. Most customers will probably like this - but it's too confining to me. That shows you where my mind is as I map out the cons, here.
- It doesn't have any built-in access to a Linux console
- It doesn't have any universal file manager
- It doesn't have cursor keys or a forward delete on the on-screen keyboard
- As mentioned above, it's a very droppable device. Without a case, the only way to hold it comfortably in one hand and turn the pages is with your thumb barely touching the side. The thumb cannot grip the touch screen, and that means the device is fiddly and will fall out of one's hand again and again.
- There's no native ability to integrate translation dictionaries for other languages outside of the Spanish, French, English, Italian, and Dutch ones.
- There's no built-in Sony wifi syncing function. Wifi is only for browsing the internet.
- There is no way to lock the screen when reading. It would be nice to be able to disable the touch functionality sometimes.
All in all, I'm quite refreshed to finally have real access to electronic books. Project Gutenberg has been there for a decade or two, but I found the only way to comfortably read one of their books was to print it out and bind it by hand. That's all too much trouble. The battery life of this machine, and the ability to use it anywhere you'd use a real book is just super.
32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2011
Ok, let's start with the first look. First, be aware I owned a PRS-300 and I own a PRS-600, PRS-950, PRS-350 and now this PRS-T1.
Right out of the box, I did not like the cheaper look or feel of the shiny plastic (I got the black).
The reader is lighter than any of the other readers, the buttons are different on the bottom, and surfing the menu is different. Bad, for me, I do not like it. I like the 950/350 feel of the menu. The menu on the PRS-T1 has a more choppy placement of topics in different menue places.
Loading books is going to be a deal breaker for me. You can NO longer use the old Reader Library to load books. You have to use the new Reader library, which is supposed to be on the reader. NOT. Can't find it. I've read that those that did have the new Library found where there was an option to incoporate the books they have in the old Reader Library into the new one. That is a relief, if you have the software. Calibre doesn't recognize my reader, nor does ADE. I have read where there are ways to correct this, however, what I read did not have instructions. So, to load books, I loaded them by sending them to the reader from the folder the books were in. Then I went to the reader folder/drive and re-copied them into the correct folder. Yeahhh....NOT.
Now that I cannot use Calibre, my collections do not show up. Arrrggghhhh!!!
Twice, while reading a book last night, the pages went haywire and changed by themselves. The only way I could find to stop it was to push the power button, after the reader did a mini-freeze. In other words, when I did back out of the book when the pages kept flipping, it took me to the front menu page. Then, the screen froze by not letting me make any choices. I turned the reader completely off and the reader went back to normal operations.
I LOVE the font choices as verdana is my favorite. I love the easy page changes and how much quicker the reader recovers after loading books onto it from the computer. Downloading my books from the Sony store was so fast, it was darn near instantaneous.
Pros: Much more reasonable pricing at 149.99, loading and downloading speed is awesome for me. Love the font choices and set up of the Reader is super easy.
Cons: Cannot use the current Reader Library as it won't recognize the reader, do not like the power button being on the bottom of the reader and it is an akward button, do not like the changes in buttons to manuver around the reader: no longer have an options button to delete the book or change the font as you now have to tap the screen to bring those options up. I know, it is a personal like/dislike. Next con, and the biggest to me, the lack of software to load my books on the reader, i.e., calibre will not recognize my reader and the new software is not available to me, unless I go to the Sony store and download it on my PC.
I will update this review in a few more days. However, if it stays the same and freezes again and I cannot get Calibre to recognize my reader, I will take it back and be happy with my 950/350.
I still stand by what I posted before. However, I will add that if the corrections to the freezing of the unit can be fixed, I would definately upgrade my review to a four if not a five. I have also heard, yet not confirmed, that Caliber has updated to now function with the T1....Awesome, should this be correct. This was a major issue for me, but, not it seems to just be the freezing of the unit and Poor customer service from Sony, who constantly state they have not heard of the freeze issue, although I talked to two other reps and it is posted on their website by others.
I still do not like the Sony Reader Software and would recommend using alternate methods to load books.
I still do not like the navigation of the menu's.
I do like: the library function, the font selection/change options, the light weight of the unit, the way it leaves the book cover as the cover page when the unit goes into sleep mode, the battery life, and the collections set up.
I hope this review helps and welcome any suggestions to the main issue of the freeze/touch application.
I have changed my rating to 5 stars. Here is why:
1. I installed the firmware update to fix the issues a majority of people were having. It works perfectly now.
Although Sony's customer service is still EXTREMELY bad and I still do not like the location of the power button, the update fix made this reader what it should have been in the begining...a flawlessly light weight ereader that allows you to change the font (6), download direct from the library (via wifi), and sort your collections of books easily (do NOT use the Reader Library).
Thank you Sony (FINALLY)
Hope this helps!!
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2012
I purchased this reader in October 2011 and can now comment on its usage and performance. Overall the reader is attractive, has good battery life (I keep the wi-fi off) and Sony sells a sturdy protective cover (purchased separately). The dictionary function works well.
But the Reader has problems. The software is as buggy as my Palm Pilot was 10 years ago. It is subject to frozen screens, slow page turning, pages that only turn when you use the button, inability to mark the last read page on a consistent basis, re-opening anywhere from one page back to the beginning (I need to write the page number on paper since I can't rely on an accurate bookmark).
The PC software does not remove books that are downloaded from free sites like Google nor library books that are no longer accesible becuase they were "returned." Sony is aware of this last shortcoming and seemingly has no plan to correct this. Lastly, the wi-fi is clunky and slow.
I waited years to buy a reader since the local libraries did not offer an adequate selection of e-readers to warrant this purchase. I researched over months to find the features that were most appealing and decided upon this model for it's price, weight, wi-fi capability and battery performance. Unfortunately, I selected a dud. When a simple e-reader with inherent limited functionality cannot consistently easily turn pages or keep a bookmark, it's not a viable product.
Since October the software has been updated twice with no change. It would appear that Sony is working on the software problems since perfomance is a reason indicated for the updates, but there has been no improvement. I do not recommend this reader or brand.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2012
For me, the Sony Reader is the best of the current generation of touch-screen eInk readers. If you just read books, especially newer ones, you might be better served by the Kindle Touch or Nook Touch and the extensive store libraries of Amazon and B&N. If you primarily need to read PDFs or want to read articles online, the Reader is the only reasonable choice. I have owned and used all three products, and I will compare them to the Sony Reader in this review.
The primary activity my Reader gets used for is reading scientific PDFs. I read many PDFs with graphs and mathematical equations, and this is the only eInk reader I've encountered that handles them well (except to some extent the discontinued Kindle DX). All of the tools you need to successfully read PDFs on a 7" screen are included: pinch-to-zoom, auto-crop to eliminate unnecessary margins, landscape mode, and contrast settings. Neither the Kindle Touch nor the Nook Touch even support landscape mode, much less cropping. There simply is no comparison: for PDFs, the Reader is the way to go if you want an eInk device. The option to use a stylus on the Reader to markup PDFs (and make handwritten notes) also sets the Reader apart.
The real downside to the Reader is the weak selection from Sony's Reader Store. For me, its not really a problem because I generally don't read many new or popular books. When I do, I check out physical copies from the library or occasionally take out Library eBooks through the device. The Public Library implementation on the Sony Reader is better than the Nook (for now), but not as seamless as on the Kindle. Google Books are easy to find and download to the Reader, but they are hit-or-miss; the books in Google's library that were scanned in and converted with optical character recognition are typically unreadable. Most of the books I read are public domain ePub books ("the Classics"), which you can find for free easily enough online and transfer via USB or download directly through the Reader's browser.
I also use the Reader's browser to read the news online while I drink my morning coffee. This is an important feature for me, and the Reader is much better for this than its competitors. The Nook Touch's browser is unsupported, hidden, and crashes constantly, making it a non-starter. The Kindle Touch's experimental browser is good, and it has "Article Mode," which formats the content to be more readable. However, the Reader is still better than the Kindle for one simple reason: the Reader's next button scrolls down the page by an uniform amount. I know it sounds absurd, but hear me out. Scrolling on the Kindle is a frustrating exercise that goes something like this: "tap, drag, wait for screen refresh, looking for where I left off ... oh no, did I scroll too far? Better scroll back up, no wait, that was it before. Time to scroll down again." It's hard to explain, but if you try to read many articles on the Kindle Touch browser you'll find that it wears on your nerves and completely destroys the flow of whatever you're reading. The "next" button on the Sony Reader is really critical for your sanity if your online reading needs are anything more than sporadic.
I did encounter a couple of minor disappointments with the Sony Reader. First, the time isn't displayed on the screen while reading; it seems like a small thing, but I find myself checking the wall clock regularly, particularly in the morning before work. (The Kindle displays the time, the Nook does not.) Secondly, the stylus does not attach to the device, leaving it vulnerable to being lost. Thirdly, it comes with a USB cable but no charger. (The Kindle also doesn't come with a charger, the Nook does.) Finally, it doesn't have speakers -- audio is supported, but only with headphones.