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SONY PRS-300 E-Reader
I started to look into various E-readers a few months before christmas, as my girlfriend and I had decided
to buy each other one as gifts. After looking through pages of specifications on various manufacturers'
websites I found that the PRS-300 'ticked the boxes' for me, and here I shall explain why and some of the
limitations I have encountered.
The first thing that I required was that the product fit into my budget - at sub-£90 it came in with some
change for a few ebooks. In the end my lovely lady managed to aquire it for less than £80 delivered, after
some shopping around.
Secondly, the PRS-300 covered a multitude of file-formats including .EPUB, .RTF, .PDF and .LRF files that I
already owned for my PC e-reader program. This was a key point for me as I didn't want to be tied to a
proprietory format or provider, such as the Kindle, and have to start my collection over again.
At this point, once I owned the device, I encountered a slight issue: the software bundled with it is
appalling. It appears to only want to deal with .EPUB books, it seems entirely based around loading books
onto the device with very minimal library management functions. I dealt with this by uninstalling the
bundled software and installing the exceptional Calibre, a free Open Source application. It converts
between formats well, has awesome management functions and loads books onto devices easily.
The final point that was important to me was the screen resolution, rather than its size. The PRS-300 only
has a 5inch screen, which leads to the product's small form, but at a comparitively impressive 600x800
resolution (many that I had encountered were at 480x640 with a 6inch screen). I wanted the crisp clarity of
a higher resolution screen which more than makes up for the smaller form.
Compared to it's peers, the PRS-300 does not have copious storage or the expansion capability of flash
cards. It has approx. 500mb of storage, which is fine for me - I have around 300 novels, roleplaying books
and technical manuals on mine, but this is lacking compared to the 2gb of the Kobo Touch for instance.
The PRS-300 lacks some aesthetic features too - the lack of a 'cover browser' would irritate some consumers
- but it's practical navigation keys and functional simple menu system suit me. I'd rather be reading in a
few keypresses than scrolling through a flashy User Interface.
The overall build quality is exactly what you'd expect from a premium brand such as Sony - the brushed
aluminium case is sturdy but not too heavy, and button response is good without being 'clunky'.
The PRS-300 is a very good, no-fancy-frills e-reader. It does the important things very well, with a wide
range of formats excepted and displayed on a sharp, if small, screen. The build quality is good, and
overall represents very good value for money.
These handy little readers where out before the iPad and don't do anywhere near as many things as they do. They are basically only for reading ebooks. These are becoming more popular as you can pay far less for the books than the paper version. And you don't have them gathering dust for years to come. All publishers are making their releases available in this format. The amazon kindle is another very popular version of the same basic machine.
The reason I compared these to the iPad is some people may see a handheld computer like device and think they are similar. They are not. These have a easy to read screen with adjustable print sizes for comfortable reading. The screen does not light up. But you can buy a specially designed light for this reader.
It has a 5 inch glass screen that displays a gray paper-like easy on the eye picture. The Resolution is 800 x 600.
With the reader comes a software disc with 100 books ready to be downloaded on to your unit.
You can store literally hundreds of books on this and thousands more on a USB stick as there is a USB hub on the bottom edge and a USB cable is provided.
The reader is made of heavy silver coloured steel and feels nice and heavy in your hand. Not to heavy only 220 g
In my opinion the worst thing about this reader is the ugly 1970s looking yellowish brown cover that comes with it. There are other covers available such as a black leather one that look much better.
These are great for reading in bed or even on the bus and you can have all your favourite books on one stylish machine (stylish without the cover) instead of lugging them around yourself.
This is available on Amazon.co.uk for £87.00 + shipping
As an avid reader I was really excited about getting this Sony Reader when they first came out. The price was a bit excessive at the 200 euro that I paid for it in Argos but it really is a fantastic gadget for book worms. Although not everyone will appreciate this as my sister also loves reading but she cant stand using it.
It is actually the pocket edition so its really portable with a screen of just 5 inches. This could be a disadvantage for some but I loved how it is so easy to travel with. I have brought this on many holidays and it is great at the beach! Also with the sun shining it doesnt have a glare like a laptop does.
It comes with software that allows you the download eBooks which you must buy but they are still cheaper than what you would pay in a book shop. Whats great about this device is that it will also allow you to view PDF and Word files which is great for college and work.
I actually have used this in college and it became a great source of study when I was travelling on the bus in and out. Much easier than grabbing books out of my bag. I like to use it now to read novels in bed. I certainly dont miss chunky books anymore! One nice feature of this is that the text can be made larger. Sometimes when Im tired of staring at computers at work I find this a nice way of putting my eyes at ease.
Unlike other ereaders like Amazon's Kindle there is no wireless connectivity on this so you must plug it directly into a computer in order to download books. Which may not suit everyone but with the software that comes with this eReader it is pretty easy to use.
It isnt touch screen either and there are controls below the screen. I actually prefer this because I think it would look awful to have fingerprints all over your pages!
I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves gadgets and books. It is much cheaper now than when I first bought it and can currently be bought on Amazon for just 96 pounds.
I have owned my Sony Pocket Reader for just over 3 months and am very pleased with it. The device itself has a solid feel to it, it looks stylish and is very simple to use. I was surprised as to how slim it really is when I took it out of the box. The e-ink screen allows the user to read text outdoors or in bright light and this appealed to me as opposed to a backlit LCD display. You can also alter the size of the font to either make it easier to read or to fit more words onto the page meaning you neednt keep pressing the button to change page. You can also syncronise your computer with the Reader and sort your books by organising them into collections.
I have found that when you press a button there isnt an immediate response. I would recommend that you get a cover for it as with all readers it is better to have them in a case for carrying it around. There are a few more buttons than I would have liked but I am happy that it doesnt come with full qwerty keyboard buttons.
I bought it simply because of the price and look of it and expect that the Kindle is probably better, but I suppose you get what you pay for. I must say that the battery life is very good and I rarely have to recharge it unless I am using it for prolonged periods at a time. The Reader Library software is rather unattractive not least because it just isnt as user friendly as it could be. That said, I found that it was just a case of plugging it into my laptop, loading the software and buying books pretty much straight away.
I absolutely LOVE reading and for a long time now I have thought about purchasing an E-reader. I looked around at all the ones available and did a lot of umming and ahhing over what one to get. I didn't find it an easy decision to make as although I love gadgets and technology I could not imagine that I would ever be able to get used to reading on a screen instead of a nice paperback. However I was sick of lugging around books everywhere with me and my flat is almost over run with them so when I read reviews and nearly everyone was positive about the experience of reading on one of these readers I decided to bite the bullet and purchase one.
I originally was looking into buying an Amazon Kindle solely due to the fact that Amazon is a brand I trust to make a good product but as it could only be bought from the American site and the E book store was American it made me a little uneasy so I eventually decided on the Sony E-reader as they had them in my local Waterstones when I went in to browse. It was a little bit of an impulse buy as although I had looked into the Sony E-reader the one I eventually bought was one that I had previously dismissed as being too small.
The model I chose was the PRS-300 pocket reader in brushed silver colour. It cost me £139 which I didn't think was a bad price as the Touch edition that I had previously been looking at buying was over £200. The PRS-300 has a 5 inch screen and the Touch has a 6inch screen but after seeing them side by side I didn't think it was worth paying nearly £100 more for an extra inch and besides the PRS-300 looks much better in the flesh and is by far easier to carry around in a jacket pocket for reading on the move.
The PRS-300 has a width of 107mm, a height of 157.5mm and weighs 220 grams meaning that it weighs less than an average paperback making it truly portable. The metal casing not only looks lovely but feels nice to the touch and the overall dimensions really do make it the perfect size to hold.
There are a few external buttons on the reader including numbered buttons from 0 to 10 on the right hand side which are used for selecting options on the screen and on the bottom of the device there are buttons to take you to the home screen, a back button, a bookmark button to mark your favourite pages and an enlarge button so you can make the text bigger or smaller. In the middle there is a circular scroller for navigation.
It really is a lovely looking device but the main purpose of buying one is to read books. This is where the Sony PRS-300 excels. As it is a dedicated reading device and not a multi-purpose wonder product that claims to do everything (ipad I'm looking at you) Sony have concentrated on making sure that the one thing the PRS-300 does it does well.
The reader utilises E-ink technology which gives a more natural "paper like" display than reading on a computer screen. There is no backlight or flickering so it is much easier on the eye than a computer screen is where I often have to have breaks to give my eyes time to rest. The lack of an option for a backlight is a little bit annoying as it would have been useful for reading at night but the case I purchased has a light so it's not a great problem but I still think it should have been included.
The grey writing on the screen really does look like a paper display and is beautifully rendered with an 800x600 display and an 8 level grey scale.
One of the best things about the reader is that it can be used outside in direct sunlight with no problems or glare and there is no problem in reading the screen and as anyone with a mobile phone knows there is nothing worse than not being able to read your text messages in the sun.
For me although at first I did find it strange to be reading on an E-reader instead of a paperback I soon got used to it and began to forgot I was reading a book from a piece of technology instead of a paperback. The E ink really is marvellous and I do find it incredibly paper like and 100 times more comfortable on my eyes than reading from a computer screen.
Turning the page of the book is done at the touch of a button which I also soon got used to doing so that now I no longer need to even think about doing it as it just happens intuitively.
Even though I haven't had the reader all that long I am completely used to using it now and although the technology is very high tech it comes across as deceptively low fi which I love as this means it allows me to be able to enter the world of the author just like I would do with a real book without having to break away from it to press buttons or do anything technological.
The PRS-300 only has an internal memory of 512mb with no slot for an SD card to expand the memory however this tiny memory by today's standards is still enough room to store up to 350 books. A single charge of the battery is enough to let you go through 6,800 page turns which equates to about 2 weeks of reading. This is amazing and probably the best feature for me because I am terrible at remembering to charge things before I leave the house!
Talking of charging the PRS-300 doesn't come with a mains power charger but only a USB cable that you connect to your computer to charge. This isn't a problem for me as it lasts for so long between charges I have never found I needed one but it does annoy me slightly that Sony didn't include one just so they could have an opportunity to try and extract more money from those people who want to be able to charge at a power supply.
Adding books to the Sony PRS-300 is the only problem I have the reader as it is not the most user friendly aspect of it. You need to install the ebook library application to your computer as this is where the books you purchase will be stored. The files are then transferred to the reader by the supplied USB cable. Sounds easy enough but it practise it can be a fidlely time consuming experience.
This is definitely where the kindle has the edge over Sony as with the kindle books you buy from amazon are wirelessly transferred straight to your kindle and there is no need for wires or connection.
However what the Sony has over the kindle is the freedom of being able to get books from all different kinds of places as it supports all the major formats. There are the large shops such as Waterstones and Whsmiths who have good online shops but you can also download books from torrent sites or even find millions of free ones that are out of copyright.
A lot of library's now have an Epub section where you can download a book to your reader for free for a set amount of time just like how you would normally borrow a book. The kindle is not able to support this yet so the Sony definitely wins in the availability of books for your reader.
I hope I have covered everything people want to know about owning one of these machines but if not then I am sorry but rest assured that if you are thinking of buying one then I am of the opinion that it is an absolutely brilliant piece of kit and I am absolutely thrilled with my Sony PRS-300 and couldn't be happier that I finally succumbed to buying an E-reader finally after coveting them for so long.
The Sony Reader Pocket is a great device. Having had the larger Sony Reader Touch, as well as the Cybook Gen 3, I would recommend this reader over both the others.
I first bought a book reader because I was studying French and wanted to download French books and newspaper articles without having to buy them, and through sites like Feedbooks and Inkmesh, all three devices have allowed me to do that.
The advantages that the Reader Pocket version is has is the size, the screen quality and the usability. Although it has a small screen, the text is perfectly readable on its smallest setting and I don't find that I am turning the pages too frequently.
The Reader Pocket version doesn't come with the touch-screen or dictionary functionality that the Reader Touch has, but I found that I didn't miss either.
Although I haven't stopped buying normal books, the Reader has definitely saved me money!
For a company that deals with technological wizardry, Sony had opted for a traditional 'Last Century styled MP3 Player' design for their PRS-300. It certainly doesn't emulate the traits of a paper filled oblong that has a spine, and no smells of old must mixed with dying brain-cells are apparent. Perhaps an 'app' could make that a reality, then I'll really be at home, reminiscing about an insular librarian who had no idea how a tight cardigan can highlight the contours of pure genius.
I assure you size does matter when it come to e-readers. Sony; must have gone to a great length of research, when it came to deciphering on the weight (220 g) the feel and the miniscule details that make for an acceptable reading device for the consumer. The concept isn't far away from the more recognizable media device 'the MP3 Player.' - Visually, Sony doesn't break the mould; the device doesn't look dissimilar to the French model MP3 player, the 'Archos Gmini' series; except for the 5" viewer and obvious technological advancements. Working around the digital device, for a tech savvy consumer is as simple as turning on the 'Virgin Media Centre.' The only factor for me was whether the wholesome paper book that could mould with your body position, like a comfort blanket, was going to be missed; and replaced with a clinical 'PR' (Pocket Reader) which resembles popping to bed with a rigid cold kipper. Naturally, I got used to it.
At least the effort of moving a page became simpler as I held a stylus in my mouth and nodded sporadically like an elderly hen playing with unwanted grain, whenever more data was required, leaving my hands to get cramp due to non-activity. The only thing which I did miss was my doodle pen; there is something warming to the cockles of making a physical note in a book, perhaps an underlining or a mark; as if your marking your territory, just as a feline would spray on a clump of toadstools. I should write to Apple and ask whether an 'app' could be introduced to Sony's Pocket Reader, called 'Kinda wanna doodle.'- Also, I feel an 'add-on' 'app' by which you can determine the temperature of the 'Pocket Reader,' for those cold/hot nights, that surely has to be a must.
Pocket full of my books:
The Pocket Reader, (e-reader devices) is still in its embryonic state, and I feel that it could be a lot simpler and more affordable to upload a e-Ink program to a portable media player instead, so you can have the best of both worlds. Also the idea would be more consumer friendly as more people have the media devices than the 'PRS 300;' it would be the logical answer, but not a long-term profitable one, for the corporations involved. However, the big player's do dictate the mode of device present in the market-place. Let me introduce you to 'Amazon,' the figure-head of digital book media. They're turning the everyday conventional book, into a mass of data so it can be uploaded to your Sony Pocket Reader.
Amazon had been toying with an in-house equivalent 'reader software,' called 'Kindle.' The platform according to Amazon critics was delayed several times in its process. It was Amazon's 'King Henry VIII' - 'The raising of the 'Mary Rose.' - Now if it was a Sony, we will be talking of the third generation by now, but the truth of the matter was Amazon's CEO: Jeff Bezes knew of the importance of getting the publishers onside, and within that long mesh of deals, the software 'Kindle' became compatible with the Sony Pocket Reader 300, as a gray coloured, simplistic, concise software package that is not ready for colour yet. Amazon certainly are exploring every monetary valued concept possible, leaving their other play-maker's Apple and Sony itching their heads no doubt.
We've had the full array of e-books since the turn of the Century and Amazon have reaped in the available technology and has made a gradual annual profit since their emergence. Now leaping into the 'digi-device' arena hasn't made a bigger splash as you might of thought. The Pocket Reader, sort of slipped into the crowded digi-device party, like a cat sliding through a cat-flap, hardly un-noticed.
Pocket full of 'no' cash:
One of the areas of expertise that was considered at detail for the Sony Pocket Reader; was the e-Ink application that brings 'Times New Roman,' printed quality to the user; it is suppose to be clearer text, but misses a trick whereby no back-light is introduced on this type of model. Something you forget to think about when looking for a device, as all portable media players always have neon lights, as it is part of their attraction. Well, for the price of 99.99 GBP, surely a back-light could be included, via the Amazon Market-place vender! Hasten a guess more usage thanks to lighter evenings will make the device more user-friendly. Not only is it a rigid cold kipper in bed, you can't even turn it on!
In the literature, the 'PRS 300,' clearly states that the number '300' is the amount of e-books you'll be able to store on the device, before deleting any in your library. The elongated buttons beside the screen on a line per line view, selects lines for highlighting; for those who require a book-marker to read each singular lineage. The main 'navigational' buttons reside at the bottom of the device, in a familiar fashion that is an 'Apple' trademark. A slider is the preferred on-off mode for activating the device; this is set at the summit of the Sony PRS 300. You don't have to be concerned with where you were in the book, for those worried about a lack of a 'conventional book-mark.' The interface directly takes you to where you ended up in the book, when switched on. A kind piece of technology from the platform 'Kindle.'
Pocket full of functions:
The device measures 15.5 x 10.5 x 1 cm. A thin slick piece of design; derived from the portable media player the Apple 'iPod.' You do have several freebie e-book downloadable files available from online bookstores, such as WH Smiths and these are worth looking out for, as a promotion is not far away, especially in the 'digi' book genre/format. Proving the more publishers is subsequently viewing the 'digi-world' in a more enterprising fashion. Equipped with an installation package with the 'Sony Pocket Reader,' the 'e-book library' package enables a elucidate journey as you take grasp of the features. They're logged as follows: "Continue Reading," whereby the program stores the placement of the page you stopped at", "Books by Title" - listings of the 'titles' downloaded. "Books by Author", listings of the books to the Author downloaded. "Books by Date", Log dates of digital download. "Collections" - Favourite genre section of Author/Book, specify by user. "Bookmarks"- Saved sections within script, for either research, or recreation purposes, and "Settings." - Self explanatory user protocol. The PR 300 is USB enabled (Universal Serial Bus) so downloadable data such as (doc,txt,pdf,ePub) file formats are compatible with (text) readable material, across the spectrum: but colour images are not accessible with the current 'e-Ink' installation on the 'PRS 300.'
Below the main screen is several self-explanatory buttons that allows you to shift from page to page without becoming too dysfunctional with glances to the specific buttons. The option of viewing hyper sized text is available, however it will cause more forward button clicking on the 5" monitor. Navigational control is delicate and works a treat as you find your way through the features. For a tech savvy mind; it will take eight minutes for all the features to be swallowed up and digested. - I suppose the strongest reason to have one of these devices; are for those who research with physical books, carry huge books and who is also an avid reader, who hates being weighted down by the traditional leathered spine door-stoppers.
Due to the lack of slots on this device, no added memory is possible to build-up your very own 'Bodleian Library Archives;' however, by the time you get through the 300 or so books that you can store internally on the PRS 300, a cheaper device will be on the market. - My advise is to wait a couple more months and see what you can get for 75.00 GBP - You'll be surprised as this particular 'digi-device' will be forced to catch-up with the market trend of the crazy world of 'apps' and that means this particular reader will endure a much shorter shelf-life.
Hope you enjoyed reading about the reader.
I am a true gadget geek and also a bookworm, so this was definately an exciting buy for me.
My husband bought this digital book reader for me when I was pregnant with our second child and I love it. It came in very handy when I was stuck in hospital for three days after giving birth.
my first thought was how big is it going to be to be able to hold 350 books! I was very pleasantly surpised to find that it is very compact (mine measures 10.8 cm wide ,15.7cm long and 1cm deep) and isn't at all heavy to hold.My second thought is how the heck do I get the books on it !! well that turned out to be nice and simple too. It was just a matter of going on one of the many ebook websites ( I use waterstones and whsmiths but there are others) then setting up my account on their site and away I went searching for books to buy and download to my ebook library which I installed on my computer when I plugged my sony reader in for the first time.
The navigation controls are very simple to use, to switch it on there is a power switch on the top which you slide to switch on and off. On the front there are 10 numbered buttons down the side, which are used to select different options on the books display menu. At the bottom there is a large central cursor and enter button. To the left of that there are two buttons, one is the home button and the other is the return button. To the right of the central enter button/cursor is two further buttons which are the bookmark button and size button (to enlarge the text to one of three sizes)
when you first switch on the device and go to the home menu you are presented with seven options: continue reading,books by title,books by author,books by date,collections,all bookmarks and settings. you just select the number down the side which represents the option you want to open or alternatively you the cursor and enter button.if you want to go back to the previous screen its just a matter of pressing the return button.
I like the bookmark button, it comes in handy to bookmark more than one page of the same book ( I like to bookmark the funny bits ) or of several books. once you have book marked a page you can just select all bookmarks option on the home menu and pick which ever one you want.
The book is easy to charge and comes with a usb cable in the box. you just plug it in to your computer. A red light on top near the power switch lights up when charging and then goes off once fully charged. The charge does seem to last a good while, Sony say it will last 6800 continuous page turns from a single charge.
There is no built in light which I thought may have bothered me, but to be honest I wouldn't sit in the dark and read anyway. the screen is very clear and you don't get any glare or eyestrain whilst using it, The clarity doesn't seem to be affected when you hold it at different angles or if you are in bright sushine either. I also love that you can change the font size (this is very handy with my failing eyesight!)
mine came with a nice protective sleeve to put it in which does the job perfectly and also means no real need to buy extra stuff to go with it.
I would highly recommend this to any book lovers, I like that all my books are in one place and that it isn't bulky to use or carry about. it is also handy to know that my two inquisitive kids can't colour on the pages,rip them out of steal my bookmark when i'm not looking !!
It was only a matter of time before books went the way of music, and jumped headfirst into the digital age. Of course, electronic books have been available for a while now, but the devices used for viewing them have been slow to develop and rather cumbersome. However, Sony's PRS-300 (also known as the 'Pocket Reader') is anything but cumbersome, as it's a nice looking and small digital reader which is helping to drag the eBook into the mainstream.
Reading books from anything other than... well, a book, is something which many people frown upon - I myself found the concept a bit silly, and thought 'why would anyone want to read from a screen rather than paper?' - but I decided to give the Pocket Reader a go to see what all the fuss was about.
Just like an iPod can store hundreds and hundreds of songs, a Reader can store lots and lots of books - and in the case of this Sony model it's over 300. When you register your product on the Sony website you'll be given a selection of free classics, which goes some way to getting you started, and due to the very nature of these novels, will also make you look like a bit of an intellectual!
The reader currently costs £149 from Waterstones, and is available in a brushed silver finish and a shocking pink colour. The device measures 15.5 x 10.5 x 1 cm, with the screen being 5" from the diagonal (strange how everything is measured in centimeters these days apart from screens!). The reader is comfortable to hold, and all the buttons are in easily accessible positions. If I have one criticism with the design, it's the fact that the reader's metal body can get really cold if you're reading outdoors, resulting in frozen hands after a relatively short time. Of course, this can be remedied by purchasing one of the numerous Sony cases and covers which are available for this model. Speaking of cases, the reader comes with a soft black pouch which is nicely padded and would go someway in protecting the device if dropped. However, as this particular case is a 'slip-in' design, you have to remove it when you want a read.
Normally, reading from a screen can result in eye strain, and anyone who has read novels on an iPhone can probably testify to that. However, this isn't a problem you'll be facing with Sony's Pocket Reader. The product uses a screen technology called 'eInk', which is the closest you'll ever get to actual print on paper. The screen itself is black and white (colour eInk isn't available yet), and the clarity of text really is fantastic - you can even read in direct sunlight without any nasty reflections. Unfortunately, the PRS-300 isn't backlit, meaning you will have to purchase the Sony cover with a light if you want to read in dark conditions - or use a torch of course! Most readers aren't backlit, and this is done for a couple of reasons - firstly because it would significantly reduce the battery life, and secondly because it would increase eye strain.
Apart from the frozen hands issue which I previously mentioned, the reader is comfortable to hold and isn't too heavy. It's great for reading in bed, and you won't feel that it could drop on your face and kill you at any moment like some large hardback books might! The construction feels well made and solid, and the whole thing has an air of quality about it.
Turning on the device is done by slider switch which sits on the very top of the PRS-300, and flicking it to the right will instantly bring you to the current position you were in the book you were reading. The buttons on the front of the device include the 'Home', 'Back', 'Bookmark', and 'Enlarge' keys, plus a four way directional controller for navigating through the menu system. The functions of each of these buttons are as follows;
- 'Home' takes you back to the main menu screen.
- 'Back' moves you back one page, whether it be in the book or in the menu system.
- 'Bookmark' allows you to mark a certain page as you could in a 'physical book'.
- 'Enlarge' cycles through three size settings for the onscreen text.
I generally use the smallest text setting, although I have fairly good eyesight, and some might struggle with this size. The next size up is very easy to read, although obviously you'll be fitting less text on each page if you choose this option. The final size is huge, and although no-one should have any sight issues with this, you can only get a few lines of text on each page, meaning that you'll end up having to press the page turn button every few seconds.
The main menu is really easy to navigate, and the options are kept to a minimum. These include 'Continue Reading', 'Books by Title', 'Books by Author', 'Books by Date', 'Collections', 'Bookmarks', and 'Settings', all of which are self explanatory. The settings section is rather limited - but let's not forget this is a device designed for one thing and one thing only - reading. If you want a whole range of additional features, then you'll probably want to look at Sony's next model up - the PRS-600, which has a larger screen and a plethora of functions.
One thing that is highly impressive about this particular Reader is its extraordinarily long battery life. Apparently this is due to the fact that when pages are static, no power is consumed. Speaking of power, the PRS-300 doesn't ship with a mains adapter, which means having to charge the unit up through your computer's USB port. To be honest, this isn't really an issue for me - but I know many people have expressed dissatisfaction with Sony for making them pay extra if they want one. From the USB it takes around three-and-a-half hours to fully replenish the battery, and you'll know when the charge is complete as the red charge light on top of the device will turn off.
So, you may well be wondering 'how do I put books on the damn thing?', well, fear not, it's actually quite a straightforward process. eBooks are available from a number of places these days, with two of the most popular being the Waterstones and WH Smith websites. There are also sites offering free eBooks - but these are usually self-published titles which are of low quality.
To transfer books to the Pocket Reader you must first install the 'eBook Library' program which comes free with the device. When you purchase books online, they will be downloaded to this eBook Library software, and therefore it's an extremely important tool. When you attach the PRS-300 to the computer via USB, the eBook Library will automatically open up, allowing you to transfer all (or a selected few) of your books onto the device. Both the software and the reader is compatible with PC's and Mac's.
eBooks come in many file formats, and whilst some other makes of reader can only accept a select few, luckily, Sony's Pocket Reader can handle most varieties. These include ePub files, Adobe PDF documents, Microsoft Word files and anything saved in the .TXT format.
Overall then, The Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-300 is a great little device which does exactly what it is supposed to do. I'm impressed by the fact that it doesn't try to take too much on board, and focuses primarily on the sole purpose of reading books. The screen is beautifully clear, and provides the closest reading experience to ink on paper that you can possibly get. On the donwside, the PRS-300 only has internal memory, meaning you can't add an SD card in order to expand its capacity. That said, it can hold over 300 paperbacks, and that's more than most people's physical book libraries - highly recommended.
I was given the PRS-300 for Christmas, 2009, and it has not left my side since. Have been using it for just a few weeks now but already I can tell this little beautiful shiny gadget is fast becoming my favorite.
I am a complete bookworm, with more books than I care to count but Im starting to run into a little problem. Storage. There are only so many nooks and crannys you can hide books in! I had considered parting with some of my collection, and painfully managed to send a few of them on their merry little way, but there are some too meaningful or good to just cast out into the land of owner-less. If I can't part with them though, where will all my new books live?
The answer was digital!
I had been eyeing up these little e-readers since I saw the display go up in Waterstones a few months back. I got a little too excited in the store, oogling over their shiny-ness. I raced home and started to eat up reviews about all the different models out there, comparing prices, size, pros and cons but no matter what I looked at, I was constantly drawn back to the PRS-300, especially with its impressive 350-book storage!
One of my major worries was my eyes. When I read, it can be a short 5 minute burst, or a all day long indulgence and the last thing I wanted was for my eyes to fizzle out of their sockets after staring at the little digital display for so long. E-ink was my savior! The E-reader is designed to be read as you would read ink on paper. There is n backlight and the screen is coated in something magical. Anywhere you can read a book; you can read the text on the e-reader, which also comes in three different zoom sizes so there is a comfortable level for everyone. I have noticed that some books text goes much larger than others on minimal zooming.
Reading itself on the e-reader is one of life's little pleasures. The reader itself is lighter than most of the books I own, slim and stylish and very comfortable in the hands. There is no wrist strain when holding it for a prolonged time, and its very readable when placed on a flat surface. Its navigation is very simple and easy to follow, and turning the page is with just the click of a button. Page turnig is quite quick, possible a fraction of a millisecond slower than if you where doing it by hand, but I hardly notice it, the words fizzle in and out quickly enough for me to keep consuming the text.
On the face of the reader, you have a directional pad, with a middle selection button, similar to the 'ok' button you would find on mobile phones. There is a home button to return you to the main menu, a previous/back button, book marking button and magnifier. The bookmaking button is quite useful if you want to refer back to those pages later on for quotes etc, it 'folds the corner' of the digital page and all bookmarks are stored in a bookmark section so you can choose which one you wish to go back to. There are numbered buttons down the right side of the reader, numbered from 1 - 0. These are useful when selecting a chapter to move to, or a particular page. Want to carry on reading where you left off? If you turn off the reader, then turn it back on, it will automatically open up on the last page you where reading. If you turn it off on the menu page, at the top there will be an option to click the 'last read' book and move straight to that.
The only con I have with the PRS-500 is the Sony Library software you have to install to put e-books on the reader. It too me almost 3 days to download it from the official site, as the copy that came on the reader refused to install. Considering its the digital age, I was surprised Sony did not supply the software on a Cd-Rom, it would have been so much easier and less hassle to install that way. Being unable to use the reader for those first few days took the shine off it, especially considering it was a Christmas gift.
Once I finally downloaded the Sony library software, I was not impressed at all. It's very slow moving and seems to take a very long time to load and add books to the reader itself. I have since downloaded Adobe's Digital Editions. Free to download, I found it on Waterstones website after purchasing an e-book. Once you have connected the reader to the computer via usb, load up Digital Editions and it will have a little PRS-500 icon on the left side. You simple drag the e-books you want from Digital Editions to that little icon and in about 5 seconds, the e-book is on your reader and off you pop to read it. I would definatly recommend that you use the Adobe software with this product instead of what Sony asks you to use.
Another little bug bear is that it does not list titles or authors alphabetically. I only have a handful of e-books on it right now, but if started to build up quite a collection I can see this being a problem when looking for something specific. I hope that there will be a software update to correct this at some point!
Apart from these little glitches in its perfection, I cannot argue with what Sony has created for me, because in a way it does feel that way, as if it was created for me because it is so perfect for me and what I need it for. I would recommend this for anyone who like me, loves their books but has nowhere to keep the beauties. It's a great travel companion, and if you tire of one book, its only a few clicks to open another.
With many great e-book sites out there now and the ability to read PDF files on it, your reading list will never wear thin. Prices of e-books are coming down, with many sites such as Waterstones and WHSmiths having e-book sales and special offers. You can also download a number of free ebooks with just a few Google clicks. Many libraries are also starting to offer e-books on loan (hoping mine will soon!).
It is definatly a product you will get much use from!
Sony Reader PRS-300
For my best Christmas present I was very lucky to be gifted with a Sony PRS-300 E Reader. I am honestly over the moon with this gift and I hope this review will be helpful in you finding out more.
What is it?
The E Reader is best likened to an Ipod - only this plays books and not music. It is an Electronic Reader, you load books in to it and then you can read them on the go.
How big is it?
It's more compact than a Mills and Boon. It fits perfectly in to a handbag in the same way a week to view diary or filofax would. It is the 'Pocket Edition' there are more powerful and larger capacity E Readers in the range, but this is the baby. Good things come in small packages!
It has a 5inch display, easily viewable and there are 3 adjustable font sizes, using the quick touch zoom button. I wear reading glasses and this is larger print than most books on the 2nd largest font. The 3rd would be suitable for someone who needed strong reading glasses. The screen is anti glare so you can read it in sunlight - plus you don't use any extra power by staying on a page if you want to nip and make a cuppa.
How does it work?
All you need to do is plug the reader in to your PC using the USB lead and then you wait. Auto-run / Auto-play will then ask you if you want to install the reader library. Similar to I Tunes application you then drag and drop your purchased / downloaded books in to the library which synchronises them on to the E Reader. Then you simply navigate through the pages using the directional arrow keys on the reader. As you would through your song list on an MP3 player.
You get 440MB of internal accessible memory. As an example Eclipse - Stephanie Meyer is 489 physical book pages and it takes up 2MB of storage. So there is room for around 200 or more books.
I have just finished reading Eclipse, 489 physical pages, each representing around 3 screens full of print on the reader i.e. 1200 viewed pages and I have used half of the battery. I would estimate the battery on a full charge lasting 2 full books minimum, so you would need to charge it on holiday if your like me and read one book every 2 days (can't wait to save so much space in my case!). However, you can purchase a wall charger seperately.
Where to purchase your books?
When I was first given this I had a free download from the Sony site when I registered of either a Shakespeare, Poetry, Romanticism, etc collection - plus I had been bought a couple of Ebooks from Waterstones website. You create an online Waterstones account (there is a loyalty card too, I had enough to buy a book as my partner had used the card when she bought the E Reader for me), then you search for the title you require. You purchase it like you would any online item and then you download it and drag it in to your reader library. Simple! I have also found that if you scour the internet you can find many free and legal downloads - you just need to find the novel / text in a PDF format. Plus as with anything you can also buy some Ebooks on Ebay for much cheaper than on Waterstones.
You can change the screen orientation and the contrast within the settings menu. You can also 'bookmark' pages using the bookmark key, or simply turn it off and then on and you will still be on the same page. Plus you can have multiple books on the go (I can't personally manage this!). In addition to the wall charger you can also buy a bed time clip on light, which wont disturb others and can be used in bed, on planes, or other poorly lit areas.
My E Reader cost £140 - you can shop around online to find one cheaper, or you could consider buying second hand. However, I think this represents good value for money for such a useful and thoughtful gift... (I would say that when I didn't pay!)
This gadget is great even for people who don't have a clue about gadgets - its slim, compact and light, great if you struggle to hold up bulky books when your reading, and even better for carrying around with / taking on holiday with you. The screen is easy to read and the menu easy to navigate, books simple to download and software simple to use. Good value for money and my best Christmas present this year!
And did I mention that it's PINK! :)
I have had my Sony Reader for just over two months and have yet to find a problem with it. It is a brilliant buy for avid readers that like to travel or have a long commute to work. A perfect for gift for someone headed off for a gap year in need of entertainment. The page turn seems slow at first but is necessary and you soon get used to pressing the turn page button when you reach the second to last line. It does weigh less than a paperback and takes up less space than one too! There are lots of cases available but it comes with a sleek black one which I find does the job. The battery lasts a long time - I went on holiday for a week and read 5 books and the battery only ran out on the last day. You can buy a wall charger seperately, although it would be better if one was included in the purchase especially as you may not have access to a computer on holiday. eBooks can be purchased from a few sites, the best of which I've found is Waterstones.com. Also, classic books are available for free from the Sony website as well as other websites. New books are being made in the eBook format but at the moment are still the same price as equivelent paperbacks - hopefully this will change soon.