Other Media Review

Digital Reader Review Week: The Sony Touch PRS-650

imageI think of the three Sony readers with the updated touch screens as the Lexus, the Mercedes, and the Hummer. The Lexus, or the Sony Pocket, is slender, trim, comes in pink and is luscious. The Hummer is the Daily and my gosh golly it’s huge. Built like a Zagat’s guide on steroids, with wireless and a touch screen interface and did I mention it’s huge? It’s like a reading sky scraper.

The middle one, the Touch, I think of as the Mercedes. And I want to be clear here, the high-end car analogy, which I will absolutely beat into the ground because that’s what we do with analogies around here, is pretty apt and I don’t mean it as an insult. The new Sonys are expensive. The Touch is $229 US, the Pocket is $179, and the Daily is not on sale yet but one presumes higher than $230. Compare that to the Kindle, which is $189 for Wifi and 3G, and $139 for Wifi-only. The Nook is $149 for WiFi-only access. In other words, for $10-20 more, you can get a device that has Wifi-connectivity for loading and buying books from the unit itself, vs. the Pocket which does not have any connectivity aside from a USB cable. This is a big issue for me as a reader and is the biggest difference, I think, between the Nook & Kindle and the Sony suite of devices.

Let’s get to the good part of the new Sony Touch. Oh my gosh almighty the screen is gorgeous. The touch screen film that was present on prior models from Sony is gone, and the text is now crisp and clear. The contrast has been improved and the screen itself is freaking awesome. The device is very light weight, despite being made of metal (vs. mostly plastic like the Kindle or Nook) and the red one I have here as a demo model is really quite spiffy looking. It is slightly thicker than the Kindle, and smaller in height, but they are about the same width.

Here are some pictures comparing the Touch to the Kindle 3 (I do not have a Nook and can’t photograph for comparison – I’m sorry about that).

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The touch screen on the Sony is incredibly easy to use. It has a quick response time, and I could both bookmark or, using the stylus, scribble a note on the page I was reading. Ultimately, I found myself using the buttons to turn pages, though, because if I accidentally rested my finger too long on the screen – while picking up the device while I was reading a book or moving it out of the way while I was reading, for example – the pages would jump so far ahead or behind that I’d have trouble finding my place. There isn’t a “back” button to return me to the last place I stopped reading so I would have to swipe swipe swipe to return to where I left off before I accidentally jumped a few dozen pages.

I would love it if I could customize the zone where the touch screen would turn a page, and allow some of the screen real estate to be non-responsive. Ultimately I had the same problem with the Touch as I did with the original Kindle. It was hard to find places to handle the device while reading that didn’t immediately cause the device to do something, like turn 10 or more pages.

I have been thinking a lot about why Sony went with all touch screen devices. Given the touch interface of the iPod, the iPad, the iPhone, the Android phones, and everything else, is the touch the standard method of device interaction now? I like a touch screen, yes. I have an iPad and a Droid and between them and other devices, there’s a ton of things I touch to get them to Do Stuff… but I really don’t mind pushing a button to turn a page. In fact, I prefer it. If I want to touch the screen to read something closely, I prefer it not turn pages without my meaning to. There’s a lot of room for inadvertent touching (ha ha) with a touch screen, whereas with a clicking button, that’s it’s only function and it’s a lot easier to avoid messing up your place in the book. However, this could be because I’m a bit klutzy with my fingers. I know many people who love reading with a touch screen and have no problems turning pages using a finger swipe.

That said, there is one thing Sony has that the other don’t. No, two things. Organization capabilities, and format friendliness.

Me, I love the organization. I love the ability to tag books in Calibre and have a lovely selection of collections organized by whatever crazy method I want. I missed that with the Kindle 2 and Kindle 3. The on-board organization of K2 and K3 is ridiculously poor, and can only be managed ON the device. With the Sony plugged in, I can categorize and tag my books in all manner of different ways, and tag several at once using Calibre, and on the device I know which books are coming out which month, which belong to what subgenre, which are for review and which are for reading without review, and which were recommended by which friend. I’m dizzy just thinking about the joy of that organization. I also love that the Sony has memory card slots on the top of the device, meaning there are even MORE ways to organize my content, whereas the Kindle, picture beneath the Sony Touch, has… none.

Look at the nice organization on the right, compared with WTF is that on the left:

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Plus, there’s the ability to buy a book at more than one store. Sony accepts .ePub, .html, .PDF, .rtf, .doc, .txt, and probably several more I am not thinking of. There are more places to shop if you have a Sony, and more places to price compare, especially since most stores carry .epub format books. In addition, you can borrow ebooks from a library that has a digital lending option and read those books on a Sony. Presently, it is not an option on the Kindle to read library books, while you can read library books on the Nook.

So with the spiffy screen and the light weight device design and the fantastic organization, what’s the downside to the Sonys, aside from price? Ease of Loading and Buying a Book Wirelessly.

With the Sony Touch and the Sony Pocket, you cannot buy a book without purchasing it on a computer, hooking up the device, and loading it on. If I want to load a file onto the Sony, I have to download the file from my inbox or buy it from the store, authenticate the purchase by whichever means that store/file prefers, then upload into Calibre, then tag and make sure the metadata is correct (IF I can even edit the metadata, which I usually can since I strip the DRM), THEN connect the Sony and move the file.

With the volume of books I’m moving around on a given day, that’s too much, and far too many steps. If I elect to use a Kindle, I will have to be more vigilant with my on-board collections management on the device, but that’s do-able. Nothing is going to make the Sony book loading process easier so long as there isn’t a wireless connection on board each device. And that’s a serious shame. I am not someone who has the time to download, then upload then move a book file every time I interact with a new book – for me personally, that’s several times a week.

Plus, and this is something that folks brought up in yesterday’s discussion of the Nook, the corners of the Sony are somewhat pointy and not rounded, and after holding it in one hand for an hour, I totally had a sore indentation on my palm from the corner poking my skin. Plus, as you can see in the picture above, the text size options are more limited than in other devices, such as the Kindle, and the more ways to customize the appearance, the better.

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So the positives of the Sony: the screen is wonderful. You can organize your books easily, especially with free software like Calibre, you can shop in more locations, and you can buy more formats.

But it is more expensive, it does not have wireless, and those two factors mean that for me, it is not the right device. I have to return the demo model I have, but I kept asking myself, do I want to own one? Do I want to buy one and keep it as my main reading device?

For me: No, not right now. I will miss being able to look at the screen and see at a glance which books are October, which are November, which are paranormal and which are for review by request, etc. But the other factors that make the device more difficult for me to load are more of a negative than the slight positive of organizing my content once it is on board.

So, for whom does the Sony make the flirtatious come-hither expressions? If you are the type of person who:

- has saved up the good cash for a digital reader
– wants to borrow digital books from the library
– prefers to comparison shop for the best book price at online stores
– must have file organization with categories for your digital books
– loves a touch screen

The Sony Readers may work very well for you.

Do you have one? Do you adore it to no end? Share your preferences – or reason for not choosing the Sony. I’d love to hear your perspective.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Lori says:

    You left out one other advantage of the new Sony’s: the ability to highlight and make notes, using the stylus. OK, for normal entertainment reading, no big deal. But sometimes you do want to mark something. Nice if you have, for example, a recipe book on it, or PDFs of product manuals or study guides. I don’t get the lack of wifi, though. Even bluetooth would have been handy. I’m waiting for the next-gen Nook, whenever that happens, before taking the plunge into an e-reader.

  2. 2
    Lyn says:

    I think that I’m probably going to have a slightly different perspective from many people since I’m not in the US.

    I currently have the PRS600 and do have to admit the drawback with the touch screen is the page changes if you touch it wrong or for too long – but if you are using the reader regularly enough, you do get used to it and learn where not to put your fingers.
    I’ve had a bit of a fiddle with the demo model of the PRS650 in my local Sony store and don’t see enough differences between my current model and the new one to justify purchasing a new reader now.

    I do think that it would be nice to have WiFi capabilities – however, I also think that Sony has recognized what will help them to sell the readers outside North America and Europe.
    The newest models of Sony readers, the Kobo and the latest release of the Kindle are the first main-stream e-reading devices to be selling in the New Zealand market. Ultimately, I know for myself at least, even if the ereader that I owned had wifi capabilities, I probably wouldn’t use them as data charges for wireless connections are still somewhat expensive (and I’m guessing that may be true of other countries where Sony is entering the market)

    Um, what I dislike about the Sony Reader – definitely the price and this will potentially be the thing that will have me looking at other readers when I eventually replace mine (as much as I love it). Also the connection for the AC Charger (if you choose to buy one) has been changed with this latest range, which means those who have owned previous models are unable to use the AC Charger that they already have.

  3. 3

    I’ve got a Sony Touch and I like it-it’s particularly handy for writers, because of the touchscreen-you can make notes on your documents from older series and it’s far easier than it is on anything other device, just because of the touchscreen and because the sony reads more documents than any other.

    I don’t use the USB.  I just load them onto an SD card which I would do anyway because I like having my ebooks backed up-something I’d recommend all people do anyway.  If you’ve ever had your device freeze and you lose your library, you’ll know what that’s wise-and it doesn’t matter if you can store them in whatever store’s library for re-download or not-it’s far easier to have them all stored in one place anyway.

    I’ve also got the BN Nook and I like it, too.  I use both.  Both are are equally easy to read from.  I imagine Sony will come out with a cheaper wireless version and once they do, I’d say that will be a superior device-I hate it not being able to read a wider variety of documents.  It’s something that keeps me from checking out other readers.

  4. 4

    I find my first generation PRS 300 (Sony Pocket) does what I need it to do with no fuss or bother, and right now, that’s good enough for me.  I’m not a touch screen user, so clicking the button still feels quite comfortable.

  5. 5
    Kristie says:

    I have the Sony touch and LURVE it. Had a Kindle… sold it… for me the multi format ability that Sony offers was worth the extra $$ and also I am partial to the color red and ze kindle does not offer anything other that black or white.

    Yeah, wireless is good but having to use a mandated file type not so much:) as much as I am online transferring files not a problem

  6. 6

    I have the Sony PRS 600 (the red one, in fact) and love it!  Except for the software, which completely sucks.  It’s glitchy and buggy (yes, both glitchy AND buggy).  I’d love an alternative to the Reader Library software that comes with it, because I don’t hold out hope Sony is going to change it since the complaints all around the ‘net have been going on for a long time.

    I chose the Sony because of the ability to buy from other than Amazon and to download library books to it.  So far, I’ve not been disappointment with anything about it except the software interface. I’m okay without the wi-fi capabilities.  I have plenty of books loaded at any one time to satisfy my reading desires for quite a while, so I don’t think I really have the need for book purchases on the fly. Better for my pocketbook, too. 

    Thanks for the great comparisons!  I like knowing that I still would choose my Sony 6 months after the fact. 

    By the way, LOVE that the book you’re reading on your Sony when you took the pictures happens to be mine.  ;)

  7. 7
    Kristie says:

    Forgot to mention the SD feature on my touch. Ask Shiloh, she has seen how many ebooks I have on smart cards at RAW she even took a picture:)  so not being able to go wireless for me wasn’t a deal breaker. If I can purchase my books anywhere other than Amazon I will do so with great pleasure;)

  8. 8
    SB Sarah says:

    @Shannon McKelden: you have WAY better eyesight than I do, that is for SURE. :)

    @Lori: The Kindle does have note taking, though you highlight and type notes with the keypad and not a stylus. I use the notetaking feature a lot when reading, too, especially books I plan to review. The stylus on the Sony and the touch screen, I found, was much more responsive to cursive writing when you didn’t lift the stylus up and down to create separate letters. It worked marvelously though I can’t always read my own cursive handwriting!

    @Lyn: thank you for bringing that up – I KNEW I’d forgotten to mention something. Obviously, if you’re outside the US, the Sony might be one of your very few options for standalone digital reading devices. Sony is much better off in the international market than in the US with this device, I think.

    Also: while the Sony didn’t necessarily work for me, I would only not recommend it for myself. In other words, the device itself is a pretty spiffy piece of machinery and while it isn’t ideal for how I use a reader, I can think of many different types of reading habits that would fit the Sony, especially since, as Darlene pointed out, you can use a Sony for a long, long time. Perhaps my analogy needs tweaking, and the Sonys are those cars that run forever, like Toyota or Honda or something.

  9. 9
    Kiersten says:

    I really want a e-reader for Christmas. I did my research, educated my family, and waited for the generation glitches to get worked out. Finally, I decided on the Sony. Kindle was never an option b/c I refuse to be limited to buying from Amazon exclusively, so it’s a principle issue for me, and neither the Nook nor the Kobo seemed to measure up to the Sony. Then the new ereaders came out and the price and lack of WiFi have made me dramatically reconsider.

    I’m still not sure what I’ll do; I suspect I’ll go w/the Touch in the end despite the lack of WiFi. Likely, I wouldn’t use it if I had it anyways. I’m very keen for the multi-formats and hope to use it to do edits on my and my critique partner’s work using the doc and pdf formats with the handy note taking function. And I even like the shiny red color. But I’m still stumbling over the inflated price in comparison with other readers who include the WiFi for less money. I guess that’s also a principle issue.

    I really appreciate the reveiws! I’m not a total Luddite, but the technical know how about devices still escapes me (I have no idea how to strip DRM, for example, but I know what it is), so I really on the reviews here and on DA for the info. Thanks!

  10. 10
    ev says:

    I’m still using my Sony DRS-700. I’m glad they did away with the backlight. Hubby had to get a new one when his 505 fell off the back of a truck, so he has the 600. I got to play with a 900 this weekend, and although it is bigger, I kind of liked it. I may hold out for the new 950 when it comes out. I like that you can turn it sideways and read bigger documents, although their choice of newspapers and magazines are not ones I would be reading.

    I was holding out hope that they might actually come out with color, like the nook and wi-fi on all of them, or even 3G. I have managed to figure out how to turn the 3G on on my Droid and I run off that when I am not near my secure network at home.

    I’m with Kierstan-I still haven’t figured out how to strip DRM and I can use Calibre when needed but it takes me a bit to get it to work right, for me anyway. I’m still one of those who needs to be physically walked thru it. Someone sent me instructions in and email to break it and I could never get it to work right. Eh, someday I will find someone to sit down with me and hold my hand while they walk me thru it step by step.

    I love that I am not ever saddled with one format. I also,when I travel, take my netbook with me, which is where my library software is too. I can read on there when needed which is why the wireless is not really all that important to me. If I download it that way, I don’t have it on my netbook as a backup. (and on there I get all the pretty colorful artwork!).

    I might just go get myself the new 650. Rats.

  11. 11
    SB Sarah says:

    @Kiersten: I really think that there is more than one way to use an eReader and it depends on what kind of reading you are doing. Do you borrow books from the library? Get a Sony or a Nook.

    Are you very not-tech-savvy and hate having to troubleshoot? The Kindle and Nook are bone easy. The Sony can give you fits, especially when authenticating books from various stores using Adobe Dastardly Editions. Etc.

    Good luck finding the reader that works for you. I hope you are very happy with whichever one you choose!

  12. 12

    After much thought I went for the Sony PRS650 too, even though the price was high. Reasons were, in no particular order: build quality, touch screen, lack of wifi (!), choice of places to buy, library borrowing.

    I’ve used an iPod Touch for reading, calendaring, and general PDA-type things for a couple of years now, and I can’t imagine going back to a non-touch screen. A friend showed me a Kindle, and the urge to touch the screen was very strong (and very annoying). I don’t want wifi or Internet, because it is distracting. I have Internet access (with a fast-refreshing colour screen) on the iPod, on my phone, and on my computer(s).

  13. 13
    StacieH4 says:

    I’ve had the PRS-600 since last Christmas and I adore it. I like the SD slot, the multiple file formats, file organization ability, and the sophisitcated design.  Mine is a pretty red one.  I think the Kindle looks slightly clumsy with it’s bubble buttons and plastic case. 

    I like the touch screen when navigating menus, but I tend to use the button at the bottom more than the finger swipe to advance pages when reading a book.  I like having both options though.  (As a consumer, I notice I am becoming accustomed to touch screens… I recently bought a new car with a screen for the navigation/GPS package.  We did not buy the nav package so the screen only displays the radio.  It has separate buttons alongside the screen to change stations but I keep trying to poke my pretty screen.  Nothing happens. Grr!)

    As for drawbacks, I agree with Shannon McKelden.  The software is less-than ideal and the firmware on the unit itself seems sluggish and glitchy.  I notice the filminess of the touch screen and get some reflection.  The new models sound better but the issue isn’t big enough for me to replace mine yet.  Not at the current prices anyway.

    Wi-Fi is not a deal breaker for me.  It would probably be more convenient, but I am home a lot and don’t mind using the USB.
    Overall, I am happy with it and will probably try to use it another year at least.

  14. 14
    Ridley says:

    See, lack of wifi/3g is a plus for me.

    Needing to hook my Sony 600 up to the computer to load books keeps my book buying under control. If I could just buy and have books with a single click, I’d be spending money like a madwoman.

    Combining a Kindle with an impulsive personality is the short road to financial ruin.

  15. 15
    anny cook says:

    I have the Sony 600. Actually, I received it for FREE. My Sony 500 needed the firmware update when Sony went to epub. My old Sony was past worn out and could not be updated. Sony sent me the new one in “exchange”.

    I love it.

    I do not use Wifi and have no interest whatsoever in downloading books directly to my reading device so that’s a non-issue with me.

    Absolutely love the organization aspects as all my books are organized by author.

  16. 16

    I like the Toyota analogy.  The Pocket ain’t fancy, but it does the job and is dependable.  I know the small size would bother some folks, but right now mine is sitting in one of my smaller purses alongside me, waiting to be taken out and enjoyed over lunch.  I can fit the PRS 300 into all my bags except for the evening bags—and if I have to take an ereader out for a night on the town I need to tweak my social life, not my handbag collection.[g]

  17. 17
    Lisa J says:

    I lokked at e-books and decided since I had so many e-books in PDF format, the Sony was the way to go.  I bought a 505 2 years ago and loved it enough to upgrade to the 600 (mysister was happy I upgraded since I gave her my 505).  I love my e-reader.  I especially love the SD slot.  I have over 1500 books loaded to the SD card and carry my library with me everywhere.

  18. 18
    Kerensa says:

    Without WiFi/3G, I’m assuming the Sony doesn’t sync with devices like iPhones or Droids, as the Kindle and nook do. For me, that’s a big deal. I have a 1st gen Kindle that someone gifted me. It has its downside (like being tied to OneReaderToRuleThemAll-Amazon), but since I don’t take it with me everywhere, being able to whip out my phone and continue reading FROM THE EXACT PAGE I LEFT OFF AT ON THE KINDLE, without doing a damn thing other than opening the file, is huge! I can live with the lack of organization, althought it’s annoying, and you CAN get some non-Amazon books on there, if you can convert them to MOBI. You can email Word/text docs to the device, and read those also, so it’s not a total one-note wonder.

    So basically, it works for me, because (a) it syncs with my phone, and (b) it was free.  ;)

    Spam word: each67 – there are 67 devices/formats out there, so, to each her own!

  19. 19
    CC Bridges says:

    I own a older Sony Pocket. I love it, I only wish the screen was bigger.

    I think there’s another argument for the Sony readers that you don’t touch upon. That’s privacy. I don’t have a third party company knowing what books I read. I don’t have a certain company deleting books from my reader without my knowledge, and claiming I’ve only licensed them in the first place.

  20. 20
    Lynn S. says:

    @Shannon McKelden:  Regarding your problems with Sony’s horrific software do you have calibre installed also?  If so, you can keep Sony’s software from autoloading by following the directions that I found in a post from BeccaAnn at the Mobilereads forum. “To stop Sony library from automatically opening when your Reader is connected, you need to go to start. Type msconfig in the search box (space at the bottom). When the dialog opens up, click on startup. Scroll till you find Reader Library and uncheck it. Hit apply and you are done. The Sony library will no longer startup automatically when the Reader is connected.”  Once you’ve done this the Sony software will stop autoloading every time you plug your reader into the computer and you can use calibre to manage your reader.  Someone else suggested not to load Sony’s software in the first place but I would suggest keeping it as occasionally I have a problem getting calibre to delete books from the reader and I’ll have to pull up the Sony library to get them off.

    By the way, I love my Sony PRS-300.  I have it in the silver color and I’m glad I made this choice as the color blends with the screen and doesn’t provide any distraction to the reading.  The new PRS-350 is tempting me due to the note taking ability and dictionary, but I’ll have to behave for now and hopefully the price will go down while I’m exercising restraint.

  21. 21
    library addict says:

    I’ve been researching ereaders for about 2 years now and have finally decided this is the year I will get one.  I was really hoping when the new models came out that the prices would come down. But I simply don’t want the Kindle.  Call me shallow, but the keyboard is so ugly.  Plus I want to be able to borrow books from the library.  And I like the multi-format capability of the Sony as I have so many PDFs from when I first started buying ebooks way back in the day. 

    The lack of being able to buy books directly from the device is a non-issue for me. 

    Even though I really don’t want to spend so much on a ereader, I decided to look at it from another direction: I’m worth it.  I now have to decide between the Pocket and the Touch models.  Hard to do when none of the stores in my area have the new models yet.  Whenever I ask about them at Target they tell me they don’t know if they will get them, but hey we now sell the Kindle – grr.  The folks at Staples are just as useless.  And my local Best Buy customer service people don’t seem to know what an ereader even is. So even though I have convinced myself I am worth the cost, I refuse to plunk down that much money without getting to examine the models in person before buying.

    Which means I probably won’t get one before my trip at the end of the month (and I really wanted it for the airplane).  I am hoping Target or Best Buy get them in for the holiday season and offer some giftcard deal to offset the cost.

    Thanks for these reviews Sarah.

  22. 22

    @Lynn S. Wow! Thanks for the info!  As soon as I get a chance, I’ll definitely give that a try.  The software hangs up syncing all the time.  I thought for a while it was hanging up on free e-books I got from Borders, but when I deleted all of them, it just picks a different book to hang up on.  Which requires me to cancel syncing every single time.  Doesn’t matter, because the books are already on the reader, just that it can’t ever complete a sync after that. 

    Thanks for the info!

  23. 23
    Rebecca says:

    Having examined all three devices in-store (thank you Staples, for making a sample Kindle available!), I’m leaning toward the Sony for school use.  The main problem with Kindle for me is that I’m thinking about this for academic purposes and Amazon still refuses to put in page numbers, and only uses “locator” numbers.  Major fail for citing sources.  Nook and Sony both offer the page number of an actual edition (which can then be cited in the text).

    The lack of wi-fi is a plus for me too, but the reports of buggy software with Sony are a worry.  Also, I liked the metal casing because it seemed a little sturdier (rule #1 of school supplies is that teenagers will accidentally/on purpose sit on anything that should not be sat on).  Can any long-term Sony owners of earlier editions comment on durability?  Will a Sony take the abuse high school students mete out?

  24. 24
    meoskop says:

    As you well know, I’m all about the Sony 505 since you introduced me to the e-reading world. I wish I could figure out how to get a Sony and Kindle to make sweet, sweet love and pop out my perfect e-reader, and I wish Sony wasn’t losing retailers left and right, but overall it’s Sony and me 4-ever.

    Except for that touch screen thing. Hate it. So I didn’t buy the new model even though I want the updated screen like woah. Here’s the thing about Sony (for me). It’s well designed, it’s easy to use, and the experiences with it pre and post DRM were radically different. If someone is going to leave the DRM on the file, I’d buy a Kindle. If you’re comfortable stripping it, Sony all the way with a big fat kiss to Calibre.

    With the amount of reading I do the ability to organize books by collection, ratings, make some disappear forever (or at least for a long time) etc is vital. I have an SD card for when my kids might use the reader, and for when they won’t. I can mark a book or author as must buy more, must never buy again – any kind of little notes I want. Can’t live without.

    (Plus, library support. Since I am boycotting some pricing, I use the library for certain lines or go without.) When I was living the DRM life it was pretty brutal. The permissions issues are beyond frustrating. Changing that for every new system or computer could quickly drive a person the arms of another reader. Sony is thislose to perfect, but they insist on meeting needs I don’t have instead of listening to me talk about our relationship. If I leave them, they’re just going to tell everyone I was a bitch instead of seeing how they drove me away.

  25. 25
    Kristi says:

    I have the slightly older Sony touch and even without the improved screen, I love it.

    I don’t have trouble holding the book, but I bought a cover for it that opens like a book so I just read it like I do paper.  No problems there. And my cover is pink, which matches the rest of my gadgets ;) (the closest Sony touch color was red, drat them)

    I love the stylus and ability to write directly on the pages. That means I can use it for editing my own crap instead of killing trees (I can’t really transfer those markings automatically back to Word, but I can’t do that with dead trees either).

    And, I can have authors sign books. With the stylus. Handwritten signatures. I think that is totally cool. Why don’t more tablet/gadget/handhelds include styluses (or am I just an oldfashioned throwback to the Palm Pilot days who needs to move into the new millenium?)

    So far, I think the lack of wireless is saving my bank account from impulse buys which is a really good thing for me. Its faster for me to buy a paper book from Amazon and then feel guilty about it the next day.

    I haven’t figured out if I can make the Android Borders app I use on my phone and my Sony share books, which would be nice.  Any idea if that’s possible? Or has Borders screwed me (and my sony) over by focusing on Kobo? Or maybe the Android app doesn’t sync up with any other mobile device? I haven’t really tried more than 5 minutes one day. I do have a handful of (mostly freebies) on my phone that I’d prefer to read on the Sony screen. 

    I also use the Kindle app on my phone (again, mostly for freebies), and its very nice also, but small and battery-intensive.

  26. 26
    Ridley says:

    @Rebecca

    Re: abusing a Sony, I’ve had a Sony 600 with the Sony leather cover for over a year now and I haven’t had a problem with it yet (/knockonwood). I read ebooks because of a neurological disorder that’s left my hands weak, spastic and cramp-prone, making mass-markets uncomfortable to read. This also makes me likely to drop things. I’ve dropped my reader on its ass more times than I can count, on my hardwood floors. It goes everywhere with me in my bag, and has met the car floor many, many times as everything flew off the front seat in a short stop. I’ve spilled coffee on it, soaked it in soda when I tried to use my bag as a cup holder (if only walkers came with an actual cup holder) and gotten rained on. It works fine, though the power button stuck for a bit after the soda incident.

    My cats sleep on it, I’ve slept on it and my husband’s sat on it and it’s fine. I’d say it’d fare just fine in a teenager’s employ.

  27. 27
    tracykitn says:

    I also have a 600 and am in luuuuv with it—like several others on here, I’m actually glad not to have the Wi-Fi capabilities because we soooo would bleed money if I did. As it is, I’m thinking I should get a part-time job just to support my book habit. I also love the memory cards; my kids sometimes use my reader (at, for example, the doctor’s office) to read or draw and it’s so quick and easy to make sure that my 10YO daughter or 7YO son (not too worried about the 5YO yet; he can’t really read…) don’t stumble on…*ahem* inappropriate content by accident.

    I *do* use Calibre b/c the Sony software is crap, but I haven’t actually figured out the stripping of DRM yet. And I have a nifty little cover to protect the screen from getting banged about—and which provides excellent reading light for when I have to camp out on the bottom bunk in the boys’ room so that they’ll actually Stay In Bed And Go To Sleep!!

    Part of me would kind of like one of the new version—but it’s less than a year since I bought my current one, and I can’t justify the expense unless they offer some sort of “exchange rate” for sending them the old one.

  28. 28
    Midknyt says:

    I bought a Sony 505 a little over two years ago as a graduation present to myself, and I still love it.

    When I was picking between it and the Kindle 1, long ago, there were two things that made me debate for a good minute over which one to go with.  The Kindle had the dictionary built in, something I would have lurved, because it really kills from the story if I’m trying to context clue a meaning or have to whip out a dictionary.  But the Sony had the ability to check out library books.  That means free reading, and considering I rarely if ever bought a paper book, and never new, that was what clinched it for me.  (Oh, and the Kindle was ugly as sin when it first came out.  We’re talking hideous).

    While I didn’t have the funds to upgrade to a 600, I wasn’t sure I wanted to.  It finally had the dictionary I always wanted, but I had read and saw in the stores that the touch screen made everything a bit fuzzy.  Now that eInk has improved again, and from what I’m reading, the screen of the new 650 should look like my 505, I just need an excuse to buy me a new one…even though I only want to upgrade for the sweet, glorious dictionary.

    I’m in the same boat that I wouldn’t want to opportunity to buy books at a moment’s notice, and shopping around is a big thing.  While the Sony might be more expensive intially, I get books a lot cheaper (or free from the library) instead of being stuck with Amazon’s prices, so it probably evens out, actually.

    On a random side note about the touch screen – when people ask to look at my Reader, most of which have never seen any type of ebook reader, they ALL automatically try to get to the different parts of it by touching the screen.  It just looks like it should be a touch screen, or everyone’s used to devices being touch screened, but every single person touches my screen when they play with it.

  29. 29
    Kaetrin says:

    I’ve had a Sony PRS700 for a while and I recently upgraded to a Sony PRS650 (ie, the new Touch).  The new touch screen is much better and the reading experience is 100% on the previous one – the words on the page are so much clearer – and it’s black on nearly white instead of black on pretty much gray so it’s easier on my eyes. 

    I’ve only had the new one for a couple of weeks so I’m still playing with it.

    The good – they are being sold in Australia now so I have actual support if I have a problem.  Yay.  Most of my books are in pdf or epub format so it would be a waste to go to a Kindle now.  The lack of wi-fi doesn’t bother me – I’m happy to download to my PC and transfer over to the reader.  They didn’t have any covers in stock when I bought it but I plan on picking one with a light in it up when they’re in.  The new reader re-loads MUCH more quickly after I put books on it via the PC – the 700 used to need a good lie down after – this one only takes a minute or so to get going.

    The bad – the back button went away.  Now I have to select Options and choose “return to list” on the touchscreen whereas I could just use the back button on the 700.  It’s a pity the old AC cable doesn’t work with the new Sonys. Still the screen is SO MUCH BETTER I’m prepared to live with these little things.

    The confusing.  None of my DRM books work on my new Sony.  Can anyone tell me how to fix that?  I legitimately bought the books and I legitimately bought the Sony – why dont’ they like each other?  I figure I have to enable the device somehow but how?  Help welcomed!!

    (I have stripped DRM from many of my books and can of course load those versions on but still…)

  30. 30
    Rory g says:

    My hubby just purchased a new Sony 650 for me and I think it is pretty spiffy.  On the durability issue – within the first week it took a 5 foot drop onto a metal heat register and all it got was a little ding in the finish.  Still works perfectly.  Not sure how some of the other plastic bodied readers would fare making that leap.  I also like that I own the books I buy – they are not on lease to be removed at the vendors whim.  I live in Canada so the wi-fi is not a big issue for me.  I figured by the time I shipped it, paid the customs and taxes it would have cost almost the same as the Sony.  Plus if there are any issues with the Sony I can just return it to a local retailer which I would not be able to do it I purchased a Kindle.

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