It’s something that companies have been trying to perfect for years now, a digital book. A device that has all the physical characteristics and benefits of a book while also having the benefits of a digital device, including vast storage, annotation capabilities, networking, animations, and much more. So far, every launch has failed, but in the last few months Sony has come out with its Sony Reader, the PRS-500, and this might just have what it takes…
This is a contributed review.
I have literally hundreds of PDFs on my various computers. In my business I’m asked to review a lot and I enjoy reading them for the good ideas I’ll find.
What I don’t like is reading PDFs on a computer either a desktop or laptop. My posture is never good after long periods of reading from a screen. I will print them up sometimes, often 8 pages per sheet, but I still feel a twinge of guilt for “wasting” the paper.
The best answer I have found so far is the Sony Reader, Model PRS-500.
It’s essentially an iPod for books. (it holds audio too). You can download “real” books and carry a bunch of them around in a space smaller than one typical hard cover book. It takes up a lot less space in my suitcase and I use less paper too.
The reader accepts SD flash memory cards. It does have a USB plug, and could be used to download and read websites, JPEGs or PDF docs. The battery life is supposedly equivalent to “7,500 page turns”. I’ve only had it for a week so it’ll be some time before I can verify that! Based on the PDFs I have on there now and the disk space left, I don’t think the unit would hold 7500 pages at one time… as is, out of the box.
The books are available through The Connect Store, and they have over 11,000 titles available. Many of the major publishing houses already have titles there.
The Sony Reader is easy to carry and can be very inconspicuous. If you get tired of one book… press a button and you’ve got another one. Stuck in traffic or at the doctor’s office you can pull this out and make the time productive.
It’s a pretty neat unit but the Sony Reader is definitely not perfect.
The PDFs can only be enlarged to the MEDIUM font size and even that is a strain on the eyes. If you change the orientation of the page it’s a little better but not much. The only solution I’ve come up with is to convert the PDF to text files which can be set to the largest font. Doing it this way you lose the formatting and pictures but if it’s information you are looking for, it’s fine.
There is no way to adjust the brightness of the screen…. there is no backlight. If the room is dark, you will not see anything on the screen… much like a real book I guess.
And finally there is no way to advance the pages on the RIGHT side of the unit. All the page advance buttons are on the left… a minor annoyance to be sure and probably better for creating new pathways in my brain!
Oh… and no color. All black and white and grey.
The unit is pricey at $350 and if romance novels are the extent of your reading I’d recommend that you skip the Sony Reader and save your money. On the other hand if you learn or can profit in some way from your reading the Reader might just be a good option.
Review author Leo Quinn has been helping people reduce their stress about money by
giving them practical tools to handle credit, find more money, make more money, pay off debt and improve their “Moneytude” since 1997. Get more information at: www.leoquinn.com [aff]. Sony Reader image reproduced from PC Magazine.