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Customer Review

63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars PDF viewing tool (3.5 stars with a round-up), December 9, 2011
By 
This review is from: Sony PRS-T1 6" Digital E-Ink Pearl eReader with Wi-Fi (Black) (Electronics)
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.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 12, 2012 8:34:13 AM PST
I agree with this review. I use my e-reader to read books and magazines from the eighteenth and nineteenth century available as PDF files from google books. The Sony e-reader allows you to format the page for two-column and three-column reading, which is great for old magazines. The one drawback it has is that when you want to download google books directly onto the device, you can't download the pdf versions, only the e-pub versions, which are full of awful formatting and scanning errors. Those books with only pdf versions don't even appear on the device.

Posted on Jan 26, 2012 12:41:20 AM PST
Laura says:
I was looking at this reader mostly for the pdf functionality as well, does this one let you switch from portrait to landscape as the other sony readers have?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2012 11:34:11 PM PST
wadrad says:
Yes it does...and I would say 75% of the time, I'm reading with the landscape view.

Posted on Feb 23, 2012 5:31:37 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 23, 2012 5:32:15 PM PST]

Posted on Feb 23, 2012 5:34:30 PM PST
I. Miller says:
Hi, thank you for this very helpful review as PDF functionality is key for me as well.

When you edit a PDF on screen, can you then transfer the file back to your computer as a PDF? If so, do the edits/annotations save with it?
(Kindle converts the format out of PDF so that it then cannot be re-downloaded to a computer as a PDF or edited)

Also, does this one come with a stylus?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 24, 2012 7:12:59 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 24, 2012 7:15:15 AM PST
wadrad says:
Not sure about the editing and being able to save it. I haven't annotated any PDFs and tried to save them.

And yes, it does come with a stylus, which unfortunately the e-reader doesn't provide a place to store or connect it. I bought a case for it (the Sony e-reader), and the stylus has a clip so I clip the stylus to the case.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 21, 2012 4:36:51 PM PDT
Tina says:
Yes it does.

Posted on May 17, 2012 3:06:36 PM PDT
anon says:
Thanks for the thorough review about the pdf reading function. I have the previous version prs-600, picked it over other just for the pdf capability. Looks like sony did not make any improvement on the pdf file reading, what you described is exactly the behaviour on the prs-600. I agree with the general comments here, the sony ereader is the best, in my opinion, for reading books, and the more simple pdf docs directly. For professional pdf docs I use an android tablet.
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