Product Type: Sony Tablet PCs / eBook Readers
Newest Review: ... love reading my favourite books in print format but I find myself using my Sony Reader more and more. The e-book reader itself holds ... more
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Sony Reader Digital Book PRS505S
Member Name: bamamo
Sony Reader Digital Book PRS505S
Advantages: Lightweight, easy to use, excellent battery life
Disadvantages: You will get interrupted from reading a lot to answer questions!
Well a couple of months ago I decided to splash out on one, having managed to pick up the old model (pictured, only mine is a sexy red!) on sale from John Lewis for £150, as the new touch-screen version was coming out. The new version, I should point out, is twice the price and the upgraded features are not particularly necessary, so I was very happy with my bargain.
Here's a question I hear constantly about the Reader: "It's nice and all, but reading on a screen strains your eyes doesn't it?"
Not this screen! The Reader, and competing eBook brands such as Amazon's Kindle, uses new technology called eInk, which is designed to look just like printed words on a page. And let me tell you, it's pretty impressive. This means that while it is not backlit, and as such you will need a reading light just like with a regular book, you can read comfortably in bright light (eg on a beach) and can read for as long as you want without getting strained eyes. And if the text is too small? Make it bigger, there are three text sizes to choose from.
Statement number two I hear a lot: "Well, it looks flashy, but it's not like holding a real book."
No, it's actually a lot more comfortable. There are two page turn buttons at either side of the screen, so you can hold however is more comfortable to you, easily in one hand if you choose. You can also set it down on a table to read without having to prop the pages open, and is considerably easier than wrestling with a weighty, thicker book.
I will agree that for all the bookmarking capabilities in the world some books, namely textbooks, are much better accessed in print where you can flip backwards and forwards as you like. However, for fiction the Reader is absolutely perfect, and this is coming from a tough critic as I like books, a lot.
So how easy is it to get a book once you have the Reader? Well, mine came with a CD of 100 classics for starters, although these and many other out-of-copyright books can be downloaded easily for free at Project Gutenberg and other websites. You can also use Sony's own store, or Waterstones, or, like me, you can cheat and get books for free. Yep, I have easily already obtained enough books gratis to recover the money I spent on the Reader, and not just classics. New books, such as the Sookie Stackhouse series, Dan Brown's latest, a lot of 100 Stephen King novels. A lot of books I had been looking for for months at my library. I will not give out links here as, quite frankly I am quite sure what the sites do is illegal and I want to keep my dealer, thanks! But if you have a Reader and require some reading material, drop me a private message!
If you download a book, it might be in the wrong format for the Reader, such as a .lit file, but there are many free programmes which you can use to easily convert the file. I find .txt files work the best (besides of course those designed specifically for the Reader), with .pdf sometimes appearing way too small on the screen as they are of course originally designed for an A4 page. Although you can make them bigger, this results in lots and lots of page-turning, and some pages being only half-filled, which is a tad distracting.
Battery life was a bit of a concern for me at first, but put it this way - in the almost three months I've owned the unit I have charged only twice - and those were not even full four-hour charges (through a computer, although you can buy a wall charger for a hefty pricetag). In this time I read over 10 books, which is really impressive. Even if you fall asleep with the Reader on (it does have a sleep timer I believe), the battery will not be drained as there is no backlight to operate and as such it only works on turning pages, etc (which by the way is really quick, I don't know what some reviewers are talking about!)
The main advantage for me is being able to take a lot of books away when I travel. I have often gone on a long plane journey knowing that the book I am currently reading will not last, so have had to haul a second along. Or been at a boring day at work and finished my book with no back-up. Well now I have over 100 back-ups whenever I want them, and I know the battery is not going to give up on me either!
Of course there have to be some negatives, but these are very minor. I do worry about leaving the book around when I am reading in a more public place, as it's so expensive. Not only that but everyone seems to think that, despite the numbered buttons down the side which operate the menu quite nicely, it is touch screen and frequently pick up the book to look at it and make huge fingerprints everywhere. I'm not entirely sure the best way to clean the screen as the eInk is so cutting edge and I do worry about scratching or breaking the screen, especially when the book is in my bag which maybe has heavy things such as my laptop in. Sony's eLibrary software is also clunky and frequently crashes, but it's very easy to just drag and drop the files instead.
All in all for me, someone who reads often and finds it difficult to keep up with the pricetag of books these days, it was a worthwhile investment while I can get the books I want to read for free. Gotta love the internet. If you were wondering about the Reader, now might be a time to pick one up (or hint for Christmas!) as the old model is being sold off at plenty of places, just do a Google search, but I'd say it's more one for the avid bookworms and travellers.
Summary: A purchase I'm very glad I made.
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