Other Media Review

Sony 700 Review: by Test Driver Sandra Coburn

Used by permission of Sony Electronics IncSandra says:I never seriously considered purchasing a digital book.  For the price, you can buy quite a few paperback books.  Digital books are not significantly less expensive than printed books, so it would take hundreds of books to realize the savings.  Netbooks, though not as convenient and compact as digital book readers, have a lot more power for a similar price.

Besides, I simply love a paper book.  You can’t take a digital book to the beach or in the bath or by the pool (or in the pool, as I have been known to do).  Electronics tend to rebel against sand and water.  If I drop a paperback book, I might bend a page, but if I drop a digital book, well, it might not be pretty. How does an author autograph a digital book? My favorite autographed books, if I don’t drop them in the pool, can be passed on to the next generation. 

This brings up the issue of licensing.  I am 100% against piracy, but if I buy a book, a song, or a computer program, I would like to enjoy the personal use of it wherever I please for as long as I live.  DRM may protect the rights of artists, but it is often at the expense of legitimate purchasers of their art.

My upcoming trip to Scotland kindled (pun intended) my interest in digital books.  Although I will be busy, there will be times when I will crave a book, but I won’t have the space in my suitcase. A digital reader seems like the perfect solution.  Thanks to SBTB, I have the chance to find out for myself.  I am only a few days into the test drive, but I have made some observations.

The Sony Reader PRS-700 is only slightly larger and quite a bit thinner than a standard paperback book.  It weighs only 10 ounces and fits easily in my purse.  Mine came with a black leather-look case – it looks a lot like a dayplanner.  I could be reading Virginia Henley’s Enslaved or Tolstoy’s War and Peace – no one would ever know the difference.  When I first got it, I had to charge it overnight, and then I had to install the Sony eBook Library software.  No instant gratification here.  I had some difficulties installing the software – the original version I downloaded was not compatible with Vista 64, and I had trouble uninstalling it.  Eventually, I worked out all the kinks with the help of Sony’s technical support chat.  I used the Sony software to download ebooks from the Sony site, but others that I already had on my computer I added to the Reader with a simple drag-and-drop.  The Reader is recognized as another drive on the computer.

Many of the books you will buy are under Digital Rights Management (DRM), a kind of access control that licenses the files to particular devices in an attempt to protect copyrighted material.  The Sony Reader recognizes several media formats:  DRM Text:  BbeBook (Marlin), ePub; Image: JPG, GIF, PNG, and BMP; Unsecured audio: MP3, AAC; and Unsecured Text: BbeB, ePub, TXT, RTF, Adobe PDF, and Microsoft Word.  The reader will hold approximately 350 novels, but with the use of removable memory—SD card or Memory Stick Duo—you can have your entire library at your fingertips.

And not just your library.  Handy things like ferry timetables, maps, and event schedules can be downloaded from the Internet in PDF format and saved on your Reader.  Nice!!!

The 6-inch grayscale touchscreen allows for page turning with a sweep of your finger or stylus.  You can also turn pages with the back and forward buttons at the bottom on the device.  There is a little glare from the screen, and I have found that, except in very good light, I read best with the backlight.  Supposedly, you can read for two weeks without charging the battery, but my experience is that when you use the backlight, expect to charge it every night.  You can charge the battery through your USB port on your computer or with an optional AC charger.  It takes about 4 hours to fully charge through the USB, only 2 with the AC charger.

There are five print sizes you can choose – very nice for those of us over 40 whose eyes aren’t what they used to be.  The backlight feature really works.  You can read in bed without needing a light or disturbing your partner.

The Sony Reader came with three sample photos installed.  The grayscale screen doesn’t do them justice, so I wouldn’t consider it a portable photo album.  It also came installed with two sample songs that you can listen to by plugging headphones into the headphone jack.  I could see storing a few audio books on an SD card.  The sound is quality is fine, and I was surprised to find that you can listen to music while reading the book.

The Sony Reader makes reading easy.  No need for bookmarks – the Reader will start where you left off last time.  You can search, bookmark, even make notes for your own reference.  Having a library in one little package is irresistible.  It is early yet, but when the trial is over, I believe I will hate to say goodbye to the Sony Reader. 

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Mama Nice says:

    How is reading with the backlight on all the time? I have the 505, so I don’t have that option (I’m thinking of testing out one of the light attachments available).
    However, I get a major headache when I look at a computer screen in the dark, is it similar to that, or easier on the eyes?

  2. 2
    Natasha R says:

    Thanks for the review!
    A question, is there a screen locking mechanism? I’m a little paranoid about touch screens. They tend to do magical things when in my pocket/purse/backpack LOL!

    Thanks again for the feedback!

    Cheers,
    Natasha

  3. 3
    Brad says:

    I love the concept of the E reader. Then again I like tech =)

    There is just something about a paper book in hand that digital text just cant compete with. I love my paper books. I should, I have dozens of them.

    I have concerns are the durability of the unit as you mentioned, as well as it’s long term use. If I go camping for a week by dead tree book won’t run out of battery power for instance.

    We won’t even talk about if I left it out and morning dew got all over it.

    My biggest concern (based on the recent flap with Amazon and Kindle) is the security of the content that I am reading.

    I may be old fasioned, but I know the book I am reading at the moment has all the same content that it left the publisher with.

  4. 4
    ev says:

    Mama- both hubby and dtr have the book cover for the 505 and love it. I actually do like it better than the backlight on my 700 becuase of battery usage. It does make the book a bit heavier though.

    I take my 700 to the pool, hot tub, where ever by always keeping a gallon size Ziploc freezer bag with me. Works great and as long as it doesn’t get a hole in it at some point, you are water proof. Thankfully the bags are cheap and plentiful!

    I won’t give mine up for anything- unless Sony finds a way to combine the superior eink of the 505 with the touch controls of the 700.

  5. 5
    ev says:

    My biggest concern (based on the recent flap with Amazon and Kindle) is the security of the content that I am reading.

    Since you can put anything you DL onto the device or an SD card, it’s safe. Even my local library where you dl books, and they have an expiration date on the computer, have been safe on my SD cards. Once there, they haven’t “expired”.

  6. 6
    SB Sarah says:

    A question, is there a screen locking mechanism? I

    Yup – you can turn it off using the slider bar at the top. One problem I have with the Sony is that when you unplug it from a computer it does NOT turn off. So you have to remember to turn it off after you’ve disconnected it.

    One thing I wish any future Sonys would have: a timed sleep feature. I am forgetful, and my batteries are not so forgiving!

  7. 7
    Jessica G. says:

    Brad- I’d like to say that I used to think I’d be one of those people who would never like a digital book over the real thing. I was wrong. The last 50 books I’ve read have all been ebooks, and the ones before that I read wishing I had the ebooks.

    Also, as long as you fully charged it before you left (and don’t use audio or the backlight), yes, you could camp all week without charging it. They can go two weeks without a charge (mine’s a week and a half, but I’m a heavy reader).

  8. 8
    Angela James says:

    Also, as long as you fully charged it before you left (and don’t use audio or the backlight), yes, you could camp all week without charging it. They can go two weeks without a charge (mine’s a week and a half, but I’m a heavy reader).

    Jessica, do you have a 700? I have doubts that the 700 could go that long without a charge. Even when you don’t use the light, it still has significant battery drain. I think the 505 could go at least a week, but not the 700.

  9. 9
    Sabrina says:

    I’m testing out the 505 and I went almost two weeks before I had to charge it again. I read it 6 days a week for about 2-3 hours a day, but it doesn’t have a backlight so that didn’t drain the battery.

    I’ve been really impressed with how long the 505 holds a charge.

  10. 10

    This sounds interesting and much better than the Kindle.  Might have to give this one a try :D

  11. 11

    Thank you for the helpful review.  I’m seriously thinking of investing in one, and these user reviews are appreciated.

  12. 12
    HeatherK says:

    A note about the AC charger. If you have kids who have a PSP, the power cord for that works with the reader as well. I have a PSP and had bought an extra power cord quite a while back that I found on sale for $8…way better price than what they want for the power cord labeled for the reader, IMO.

    The charge on mine seems to last a really long time, too (the red 505), which is great since I read super slow. My old pocket PC that I used as a reader before I got my Sony had a habit of dying mid-read on me. Really aggravating, especially when in the middle of a really intense scene.

    The only problem I’ve had with the reader is when I hook it up to the computer to transfer books onto it. When I go to disconnect, it still reads as connected even when the computer told me I had safely disconnected the device. Other than that, it’s my new best friend and well worth the money spent.

  13. 13
    Jessica G. says:

    @AngelaJames – Yeah I have the 505. Sorry for the miscommunication.

    @SB Sarah- There is a sleep feature. Mine shuts off after an hour (factory setting). Go to Settings, then Sleep Mode. It should be on automatically, but maybe your’s isn’t.

  14. 14
    Lisa J says:

    The charge on my 505 lasts at least a week and a half and I read everyday averaging a couple of hours a day. 

    I also put it into a ziploc bag and read in the bathtub.  It works great.

    I haven’t downloaded Calibre and have found the Sony library works just fine for me.  What does Calibre do that would make it something I need?

    Because I also read on my computer at work, I haven’t purchased anything at the Sony store.  I buy most of my books from Samhain, EC, and others in PDF format.

  15. 15
    Collette says:

    Heather, I’ve found that my ereader says I shouldn’t disconnect until I close out of whatever software I’m using on my computer to transfer the books (Adobe, ereader Library, whatever).  As soon as I close the software, my ereader says that I’m USB connected and can disconnect the device.  You may have already been doing that but just in case!

  16. 16
    Lita says:

    It was very interesting to read the review of the Sony 700, particularly from the POV of a Kindle owner.

    When the Sony Readers were first made available in the US, I was about to run out and get one.  Then I learned that the software was incompatible with the Mac OS.  Reports of poor build quality were also off-putting, but wanted to make my own judgment about that, so when they went on sale in Borders, I checked it out – and the build quality was not bad – not great, but not bad. 

    Another big problem was the cost of the books.  There was no price break for buying a NY-pubished book in e-format, and the library of available books from Sony’s proprietary store was minimal – especially in the catagories I wanted to read (romance, science fiction, fantasy).  In fact, unless I wanted to read mainstream fiction, there was little or nothing for me to buy via Sony.  I would have to hunt down titles through various epub sites and hope that I could get them uploaded via my office PC.

    I think the biggest decision-maker of them all was the lack of support Sony provided to its customers (at that time).  Leo Laporte, a noted technology reporter and author, advised against buying a Sony for this reason.  He had two eReaders break within the first six months of ownership, and Sony refused to provide any service after the first 3 months. 

    I didn’t rush to buy a Kindle when it came out in November ‘07.  I waited until late March, 2008 before I made my purchase.  I wanted to see how the issues I had with the Sony eReader would play out on the Kindle:

    Mac compatibility – Non-Issue.  Books purchased through Amazon’s web based store are sent wirelessly to the reader.  Books in PDF format on my Mac did require conversion and there was a nominal fee to transfer them wirelessly.  If I wanted to go on the cheap, all I needed to do was plug in the USB cable and drag the files to the Kindle, which appeared in the Finder as another hard drive.

    Build Quality – About the same as the eReaders I had handled, which is to say – not up to Apple standards, but acceptable.

    Price and Catalog – Pretty darn good – most of the titles I wanted were available in Kindle format, and were much cheaper than their dead-tree versions.  Actually, the availabilty of category romances, particularly a month’s run of certain Harlequin lines as a single title, for a really deep discount (almost half off of the eHarlequin store) was the tipping point to purchase for me.

    Support from Amazon – This was the biggest reason for my delay.  I wanted to see how Amazon handled customer problems – and given Amazon’s deep commitment to publishing consumer comments, I figured I would learn just what I needed to know from the reviews that were quickly piling up.  I was pretty well convinced that Amazon was not going to drop the ball when I read hundreds of reviews citing the company’s advance replacement policy for broken units (of course, I was a bit disturbed that there were so many people complaining of broken units to begin with). 

    I was pleased to read that the reviewer was able to get support for her software problems from Sony, but I’d still like to know about their hardware support.  The Sonystyle page for the eReader states that there is a one-year warranty for hardware, subject to the actual terms of the warranty.  I dug around a bit and found that the Sony warranty is VERY limited – it covers only manufacturer defects, and the owner is required (and her own expense and effort) to sent the defective unit back to Sony for repair or replacement – which could mean you’ll get a remanufactured unit. 

    For what it’s worth – one of the buttons on first Kindle developed a serious crack after 5 months, and they sent me a new unit – and by new, I mean a complete retail package – charger, case, USB cable.  Four months later, a slight crack appeared on the back.  I called Amazon’s dedicated Kindle support line, and again, I was sent a completely new unit.  I had 30 days to send back the damaged Kindle – and of course, I needed to send back all of the accessories too.

    I realize that this review is not eReader v. Kindle – but I think the review does fall short by failing to address certain points:
    1 – Mac compatibility
    2 – Build quality
    3 – Catalog and price
    4 – Hardware support from Sony

    Also, Sandra doesn’t make any mention of how well the touch screen technology works (the biggest difference between the two readers).  I do realize that this is a preliminary review, so it may not be realistic of me to expect all of my questions to be answered.  Hopefully, Sandra will provide a more in-depth assessment when she’s done travelling with her Sony eReader.

    Just a final comment about the Kindle and the recent Orwell flap.  That just sucked, and blowed.  It was handled terribly, and hopefully people will get fired for that decision.  However, it’s less egregious than Sony’s inclusion of embedded software in over 100 CD titles that installed rootkits into PC operating systems.

  17. 17
    Jessica G. says:

    Lita- Just a few followup comments.
    Sony has most mainstream fiction published now, with decent dicsounts. It’s usually a little more expensive than the Kindle (like $11.99 instead of $9.99, which I’m OK with).
    Sony is also supposed to have a software update by end of summer which will have MAC compatibility. Hooray!
    As for build, from all the comments I’ve seen consensus is Sony’s Readers are pretty darn solid. I’ve seen more complaints about the Kindle. I know I dropped mine on asphalt once and although the corner chipped, that was about it.
    Finally, I agree on support. I haven’t heard too many complaints about things under warranty, but Amazon’s support is amazing.

    Not knocking the Kindle at all by the way :D Different strokes, different folks. Can you tell I love my Sony?

  18. 18
    MamaNice says:

    Lita – your comments on Amazon’s Kindle customer service are making me lean that way verrrrrry strongly. As one of the test drivers, I received a refurbished 505, and after less than a month with the device, the sliding power button at the top jammed. Searching the web, I found other reports of 505 owners having the same breakdown. If I was the owner of this device – like you said, I’d be stuck footing the bill to send it to Sony for repair….and possibly paying for said repair if they decide the mechanical flaw is my problem, not theirs. All that adds up to a big FAIL in my book. The e-reader market is growing fast and furious – you’d think they’d want to build customer loyalty, not push irritated buyers to try other options.

    SB Sarah: the fact that that the 505 doesn’t turn off when you unplug it from the computer has been my saving grace! With the broken power button, it’s the only way I can get the thing to turn on right now…and like someone else mentioned – their is a sleep option, and I had to go in and turn it off, otherwise I’d be stuck running for my computer every time I wanted to turn the reader on…which kind of takes the convenience angle of it out, y’know? The battery life seems to be awesome, I have left the thing turned on non-stop for 3 days running now, and I still have 3 full bars of power. I worry a little if I leave it on a page too long there will be some screen burn out, but I’m not technical enough to know if that is even possible.

  19. 19
    Kalen Hughes says:

    One thing I wish any future Sonys would have: a timed sleep feature. I am forgetful, and my batteries are not so forgiving!

    My CyBook has a sleep feature, and the battery seems to last forever. If/When my CyBook dies, I might look into a Sony though . . . *shrug* I’m hoping this isn’t an issue for a good, long while.

  20. 20
    liz m says:

    ? My 505 has a sleep mode – what am I not understanding?

    Lita – there will be a number of reviewers and some of us have macs and some don’t. This is the first Sony I’ve used, everyone around me has a Kindle. For myself, the ability to price shop is huge.

  21. 21
    Melissa S. says:

    Jessica, do you have a 700? I have doubts that the 700 could go that long without a charge. Even when you don’t use the light, it still has significant battery drain. I think the 505 could go at least a week, but not the 700.

    I can usually get through two books before I need to recharge my 700. It usually takes me about a week at about 2-3 hours a day to read. It’s a little bit less when I use the light on low, but I can get through week with the 700.

  22. 22
    Tina C. says:

    @ Lita

    I realize that this review is not eReader v. Kindle – but I think the review does fall short by failing to address certain points:
    1 – Mac compatibility
    2 – Build quality
    3 – Catalog and price
    4 – Hardware support from Sony

    As liz m said, there are several (30, in fact) test drivers and the review is supposed to cover our experience with the Sony.  The first is our initial impressions and the last, I would assume, is our over-all experience after having had it for a couple of months.  As these reviews are meant to cover our individual experience, the items on your list may not come into play.  I’m sorry, but your comment about the review falling short seems a little insulting—especially when you add that she should, hopefully, do a more in-depth review later.

  23. 23

    Test Driver chiming in: Indeed, I’m not going to be able to talk about Mac compatibility at all, as I don’t own a Mac, and I haven’t had occasion to test Sony’s technical/customer support services, as my unit has worked properly from day one.  (And depending on what’s meant by “build quality”, we may not get too deeply into that, either.  I can tell you whether my unit seems sturdy and/or well-constructed from a layman’s POV, but I am not an engineer nor do I play one on YouTube.)

    That said, I’ll certainly be doing my best to convey my impressions of the Reader’s features, capabilities, value, and suitability-to-task, and I will try to be both thorough and objective.  At the same time, we’ve been specifically encouraged to be fairly concise—and for good reason.  If I go on for a dozen screen-lengths worth of close analysis all at once, I’m going to lose most of you by the end of the second or third screen.  So any individual review is very likely to home in on one or two subjects—but in combination, the reviews from all of us should cover the full range of issues people are interested in.

  24. 24
    Lita says:

    As liz m said, there are several (30, in fact) test drivers and the review is supposed to cover our experience with the Sony.  The first is our initial impressions and the last, I would assume, is our over-all experience after having had it for a couple of months.  As these reviews are meant to cover our individual experience, the items on your list may not come into play.  I’m sorry, but your comment about the review falling short seems a little insulting—especially when you add that she should, hopefully, do a more in-depth review later.

    @Tina C

    Ooooh, bitch slap!

    No insult was ever intended.  I am more accustomed to reading product reviews on Ars Technica and the tech columns in the NYT, and come with a different set of expectations from a product use and review.  A layperson’s piece is going to be quite different from a technologist’s.

    THAT being said, with the exception of the point about hardware support from Sony, each of these items are things that could be addressed at first look. 

    Lita

  25. 25
    Madd says:

    Gah!!! Smart Bitches HATES me! I just did this super long post addressing several people’s posts and it just disappeared into the aether. It’s not the firs time it’s happened to me either. So frustrating.

    What I can remember of my post.

    Glare is not an issue for me. The angle I naturally hold the reader at leaves very little glare and if it becomes a problem I just tilt the reader until I find a good angle.

    A question, is there a screen locking mechanism? I’m a little paranoid about touch screens.

    The touch screen can not turn on your readers so if you have it turned off it won’t just accidentally come on in your purse. There is also a device lock intended to keep casual snoopers out of your reader, but there is no way to just kick it on while the reader is powered on and so can not act just as a screen lock. best to just shut it off when not in use.

    I have concerns are the durability of the unit as you mentioned, as well as it’s long term use. If I go camping for a week by dead tree book won’t run out of battery power for instance.

    We won’t even talk about if I left it out and morning dew got all over it.

    My biggest concern (based on the recent flap with Amazon and Kindle) is the security of the content that I am reading.

    I’ve gone a week with out a charge on my 700 and I’m a heavy user. With the light, which I usually only use for an hour or so, I can go maybe three days. As to durability, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ve dropped my reader several times and it’s still running perfectly. As for dew … I wouldn’t want that on my paperbacks either.

    Sony reader has no wireless, so Sony can’t just creep in to your reader while you sleep and delete your stuff. Their TOS does not give them permission to remove files from your pc, but it might be possible to make the book inaccessible via DRM. I’m not sure, so I’ve e-mailed support and they will hopefully let me know in the next 24.

    One thing I wish any future Sonys would have: a timed sleep feature. I am forgetful, and my batteries are not so forgiving!

    The 700 has a Power Management feature that will turn it off after like an hour of inactivity.

    I have a PSP and had bought an extra power cord quite a while back that I found on sale for $8…way better price than what they want for the power cord labeled for the reader, IMO.

    You can get a cord for the reader on ebay for about that including shipping.

    The only problem I’ve had with the reader is when I hook it up to the computer to transfer books onto it. When I go to disconnect, it still reads as connected even when the computer told me I had safely disconnected the device.

    About the computer saying it’s safely disconnected, is that the reader software telling you that or your computer? Are you ejecting the book and/or closing out whatever library software you use or are you just using a USB hardware disconnecting feature your os has?

    I’ve picked up some of my favorite romance paperbacks in ebook from Sony for less than $6 a pop.

    I’ve read that support can be a pain with Sony, but after half a year with my reader, I’ve yet to need any support so I don’t have any personal experience either way.

    I worry a little if I leave it on a page too long there will be some screen burn out, but I’m not technical enough to know if that is even possible.

    eInk doesn’t burn-in. I’ve read that there can be ghosting, but that it goes away when you change/refresh the page.

  26. 26
    Wired says:

    I have a very early ebook (Rocket). I have loved it for years. To read it in the bathtub, I put it in a ziplock baggie. The pageturn mechanism is buttons instead of a touchscreen, so this worked fine. I also had it signed by a couple authors by virtue of handing them labels, having them sign those, and then sticking the labels on the ebook.

  27. 27
    liz m says:

    THAT being said, with the exception of the point about hardware support from Sony, each of these items are things that could be addressed at first look. 

    Was it Toyota that had the ‘you want it you got it’ slogan? Or was that Burger King? Anyway – on with the show!

    Sony & Mac

    I didn’t really address the iMac issues with the Sony, because Sony says that support for Apple users is just a blink away. That would make a review almost instantly obsolete. However, because one of the things holding me back from e-reading was that very issue, I’ll hit a few points. I did not order a Kindle when all my friends and neighbors were primarily because of the lack of open format. I don’t want to order from one e-tailer, I want to look around. So I assumed (naively) that Sony’s current lack of Mac support would be a non-issue. For non-DRM files it is. However, once DRM enters the picture (and that means HQN and Avon and the like) The issue arises.

    Plugging the 505 into a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo running OS X 10.5.7 (yes, that’s where all my money went, why do you ask?) via the USB access on the keyboard permitted the initial charging without difficulty. The 505 shows as any other drive on my system. The installation of Calibre went well, and it converted all the misc Google and Gutenberg files I had and placed them on the 505. Once those were exhausted I decided to investigate Books On Board.

    The major publisher files required a download of Adobe Digital Editions. (Here I ran into a 13 hour problem that I could detail for you in a few pages, which was not the 505’s fault, but an artifact of the upgrade process from my old lamp shade Mac to my shiny newish brick.) ADE installed smoothly, but required me to authorize the 505 via the Sony bookstore, which is not currently available to Apple users. I obtained a laptop running Vista and installed the Sony bookstore software directly from their site. I authorized that computer, then downloaded Adobe Digital Editions. I authorized the 505 to both programs, and disconnected.

    Returning to the Mac, I plugged the 505 back in. Now I can drop and drag the files purchased from Books On Board directly to the 505 from the Digital Editions folder on the hard drive. The ADE software on the Mac has no ability to recognize the existence of the 505, but the authorization files placed on it by the quick and dirty session with the Vista laptop (and I hate anything of mine touching Vista, I feel like I whored my tech out somehow) allow the DRM to open for the files transferred via drop and drag.

    So, my 505 and my Mac are making sweet, sweet love for any ADE based files I purchase from this point on. However, should I need to reset my 505 (due to repair, etc) upgrade ADE, of anything of that ilk, I may find myself having to once again meet in a cheap hotel with a low priced laptop and pray I don’t catch any viruses. In short – Sony support for Mac not yet available, but Mac users can use the 505 nicely and shop around almost at will. We cannot, however, shop the Sony bookstore. I’m okay with that since other sources are much cheaper. Also, Books On Board wants my money and explained all the hoops I needed to jump through to give it to them clearly and concisely.

    (herself43? I am not!)

  28. 28
    joykenn says:

    Interesting report.  I’m NOT an early adopter but I lusted for the new Sony 700 and waited for it to come out.  I saw it in the Sony store but they had no stock.  What really decided me was the choices on the Sony store so I bought a Kindle.  Luv me some Kindle.  Not loving however all these formats and DRM issues.  I HATE DRM.  I buy some SF books direct from the publisher without DRM at really reasonable prices.  I’d buy my Harlequins direct from them also except their DRM isn’t compatible with Kindle.  Now I’m wondering if all the lovely books I bought through Amazon are going to be lost if some new machine comes along in a year or so.  Yes I have them on my SD card but will the Amazon format be read by a different machine.  Not the Sony…nor many nice SF titles without DRM either that I’ve bought.  Arghh!

    As I said, I’m not generally an early adopter (and this is not particularly early) but I have waited and wanted an electronic book reader for so long I thought I’d take a chance so I drank the Kindle-aid.  Lets hope I don’t regret it in the future.  Still love, love, love carrying around a bunch of books to read anywhere in a small package.

  29. 29
    RKB says:

    @Lita

    I realize that this review is not eReader v. Kindle – but I think the review does fall short by failing to address certain points:
    1 – Mac compatibility
    2 – Build quality
    3 – Catalog and price
    4 – Hardware support from Sony

    I have a Sony 505 and a Macintosh.  I have had no issues putting my ebooks on it because I have all non-DRM books (I refuse to buy DRM books on principle.
    ).  The Sony 505 looks like another hard drive.  If you add an SD card, it looks like a 3rd hard drive. 

    The only problems I’ve had with my 505 is the screen.  I have to really baby that thing or it breaks.  I’m on my third one.  I broke my first one, thus my husband bought me another one for the holidays in 2008, but he also bought extra warranty so that if I broke it again, we could RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) it and get a new one.

    The very night I got my 2nd Sony 505, my nephew broke it accidentally.  The RMA process was a bit of a PITA, but it worked and I am on my third Sony 505.
    My husband also bought me a 2gig SD card and I have yet to use 250M of it.

    I hope this answers your questions.

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