Other Media Review

Sony 505 Review: by Test Driver Shannon

Used by permission of Sony Electronics Inc

I never thought I would be in this situation—a woman torn between two devices. After six months of blissful monogamy with my iPod Touch, I believed myself to be settled and perfectly content with a device that gave me everything I asked of it.

But then came temptation—the promise of a no-strings-attached fling with a device promising a larger screen and a longer battery life. Size and stamina, baby!  But I’ve been a romance reader my entire life and I know this plot well—the fling becomes True Love and I live happily ever after (until September) with the Sony, the iPod having revealed some nefarious flaw proving it to be unsuitable as a hero after all.

My iPod is a device of many talents. I hold it in the palm of my hand, where it jumps to do my every bidding at the merest swipe of my thumb. I have to push the Sony’s buttons to get it moving and trying to find those metal nubbins drags me out of the book I’m trying to lose myself in. It’s awkward to hold, the controls not falling where my fingers can easily reach them. I need two hands to hold its package.

The iPod is always at my side, indispensable as it manages my life—everything from Twitter to manuscripts to recipes to my schedule to catapulting penguins—allowing me to sneak a little reading here and there without changing devices. The Sony makes me seek it out and, once I pick it up, all we can do together is read.

With the Sony, however, I can step out into the daylight. It doesn’t shy away from bright lights like a pre-midnight snack Gremlin—it embraces the sunlight and its amazing screen offers up the crisp text as beautifully as paper. Alas, we must part ways in the darkness. The iPod hides its words from direct sunlight, but it embraces the night. On sleepless nights, we can even play games under the covers and my husband never knows. (Of course, we can’t play very long before its battery needs recharging. Stamina. It matters.)

If devices were sex, the Sony Reader would be the missionary position, while the iPod is the entire Kama Sutra.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a little missionary position if it’s done really, really well, and the Sony Reader does it really, really well. Beyond the refolding of the ungodly instructional sheet, I had no problems giving it a boot and loading it up. The screen is amazing and the size of the page perfect. The battery life, compared to the iPod, is outstanding.

Book CoverBut, other than that screen size and battery life, as well as the instant gratification I’ve grown accustomed to, I find the Sony Reader almost as limiting as a hardcover. It doesn’t fit in my purse. I have to remember to bring it with me anywhere I might be going to read. I find it uncomfortable to hold. It requires adequate reading light.

I think if the Sony had been my first, our relationship would be orgasmic. But I’ve found myself buying recent books for my iPod Touch again and, halfway through the test drive, I suspect the Sony Reader and I aren’t going to live happily ever after. But the fling isn’t yet over and it could still steal me away…

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    brooksse says:

    It doesn’t fit in my purse.

    I used this as an excuse to buy a two new purses. 🙂 They each have two outside pockets, and the back pocket is just perfect for my Sony reader.  I take it everywhere! 

    It’s awkward to hold, the controls not falling where my fingers can easily reach them.

    I’ve started to switch the orientation to landscape when reading PDF ebooks so I don’t have to re-size. (I don’t like the way it messes up the paragraphs when increasing the text size on PDF ebooks.)  I’ve found the reader much easier to hold when turned sideways.  The cover doesn’t get in my way and the switch to turn the reader off is easier to get at.  And it’s much easier to turn pages when turned sideways – the page turn button is in the upper left corner and I usually rest my thumb on the button while reading. 

    On the downside, I find landscape mode more awkward when using the numbered buttons for the menus, and you end up with two page turns for each page since it only displays half a page at a time.  But if I don’t switch to landscape, I have to re-size the text anyway, which causes most pages to overflow onto a second page. 

    Haven’t read any ePUB or Sony ebooks in landscape mode.  But I’m tempted to give it a try.

  2. 2
    Caffey says:

    Is this the upcoming SONY where you’ll be able to buy the ebooks from pretty much anywhere? (But I assume not Amazon since they only have the kindle format?) I’m still using the old EBookWise so wondered too on the format to use with the Sony?  Can you use the ebooks you already have to put into this device?  Thanks!

  3. 3
    Karen in Ohio says:

    If anyone is interested in buying this device, Books-A-Million just announced a $100 off promotion for members of their “Millionaires’ Club”.

    I don’t see anything on their site about it, but you can join the club (for free) there, and then get the emails, perhaps:


  4. 4
    AgTigress says:

    I love this review, with its sustained sexual metaphor.

  5. 5
    Fiamme says:

    Almost made me want to go out and buy an iPod touch…  Although maybe I am a Missionary Position reader at heart.  Great review 🙂

  6. 6
    Christine M. says:

    She’s review the Sony 505 and not thr Wireless edition of the reader with a 7 in screen Sony should release shortly before Christmas. Actually, the reader Shannon is reviewing is not available in the Sony stores anymore (I’m talking about ‘actual’ stores you can walk in) in Canada (same for the 700) and the ones available now are the 300 (Pocket) and 600 (Touch) editions.

  7. 7
    LizzieBee says:

    Woot! An iPod Touch vs Sony Reader. I’ve wanted an Reader since I discovered them a few years ago, and a friend bought one and raved about it. Then, in June, I got a iPod Touch from my step-Dad. OH, how I love it. I wanted one for ages. I sometimes think about what my ereading experience could be, on the Sony Reader, but then I reach out and giggle at launching sheep, before continuing with last night’s book (or fanfic). I really dislike it’s minuscule battery life however. I can take it on the train and read a book all the way down to town, whilst listening to a CD, and do the same on the way home (it’s an at-least 3 hour round trip), but I can’t play a game. But it still lasts. But the Reader has like a battery charge that lasts 10,000 page turns!! But that’s all it does…


  8. 8
    Anony Miss says:

    Okay, I’ve been thinking this throughout these test drive reviews – isn’t it AMAZING the amount of literary talent in the randomly selected pool of winners??? Loving the fan base on this site!

  9. 9
    Barb says:

    Since I was thinking about putting an eReader on my holiday wish list, I have been reading the test drive reviews with great interest. I’ve been waiting in hopes that someone would make a comparison to the iTouch.

    I bought an iTouch earlier this year, for the email and calendar access, not thinking of it’s potential as an eReader.  Since then, I’ve been surprised by the readability of books on the iTouch.
    The compact size—it’s always with me in my purse or my pants pocket—is outweighing the issues of battery life & fear of direct sunlight.
    I have no problem being a multi-book reader, so I have a hardcover on the nightstand and read ebooks when I’m on the go.  I’m thinking this will more than tide me over until the next generation of ereaders.

    (Plus no one has taken away ebooks from my iTouch while I wasn’t looking).

    And of course in the print v electronic: as long as I have to pay more-or-less full price for something that I can’t lend or sell, I won’t be turning away from print purchases.

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