Posts Tagged ‘e-book’

Sony e-Readers

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

The e-Reader Wars – Sony e-Readers

Continuing on the theme of the coming e-Reader Wars, it is time for the big gun named Sony. Sony took versatility to a new level with its e-Reader, in more than one way, which I know sounds redundant but bear with me. First, they took a great product and spun it off into several viable versions. Next it focused on content and in cooperation with Google Books and others, offers several different ways to get your books whether online or from your local library.

Sony’s star players are the Reader Touch, Reader Pocket, and Reader Daily Edition. These are the latest and greatest, one-upping even its own original reader. I have been waiting to get my hands on a Sony Reader for a long time, but the trick was to decide which one I wanted. The pocket version is handy for travel, but I think it is better for people who travel with purses, as I wouldn’t try actually pocketing the device. The Reader Touch is what I am leaning toward, and played with it a bit. The Daily Edition, if only by price, is the creme of the crop. Let’s compare some of their features.

  Touch Daily Pocket
Display 8-level gray scale
800 x 600 pixel resolution
6 inch screen
16-level gray scale
600 x 1024 pixel resolution
7.1 inch screen
8-level gray scale
800 x 600 pixel resolution
5 inch screen
Supported Formats DRM Text : ePub, PDF, BBeB Book
Image : JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP5
Unsecured (and unencrypted) Audio : MP3, AAC
Unsecured Text : ePub, BBeB Book, PDF5, TXT, RTF, Word
DRM Text : ePub, PDF
Image : JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP
Unsecured (and unencrypted) Audio : MP3, AAC
Unsecured Text : ePub, PDF3, TXT, RTF, Word
DRM Text : ePub, PDF, BBeB Book
Unsecured Text : ePub, BBeB Book, PDF5, TXT, RTF, Word
Memory 512 MB (User available capacity: 380MB)
Dual Memory Card Expansion Slots for Memory Stick PRO Duo and SD Card up to 16GB.
User available capacity: Up to 1.6 GB
Dual Memory Card Expansion Slots for Memory Stick Duo and SD Card up to 32 GB.
512 MB (User available capacity: Approx. 440MB)
Transfer Mode USB 2.0 cable transfers files and charges device Wireless : Supports HSPA, UMTS, Edge, and GPRS data services with two bands (850 and 1900 MHz) USB 2.0 cable transfers files and charges device
Price $299 $399 $169

As you can see, the pocket version is really designed for on the go usage. It doesn’t support audio or images like the other two. The Daily Edition is the most attractive based on size and free 3G access. The Touch is $100 cheaper though, so one needs to decide if price or 3G are more important.

Someone I was talking to recently had trouble using an earlier Sony Reader, and was limited to Sony content. Sony has since opened up to a wide variety of formats, including PDF. This means you can check out an e-book from your local library, buy a book on Amazon or other bookseller, and upload your own PDF files. Throw in Google Book for some free classic literature and you have quite the e-Reading capability.

As I mentioned above, I have only played with the touch version hands on. I picked up the pocket edition while I was looking at the touch, but I quickly moved back over to the touch version. I found the navigation pretty easy to use. The e-Ink made popular by the Kindle is included on the Sony readers. I am a fan of e-Ink. I noticed a book light in the model I looked at, but later read a review on some bad design on the lighting feature. I need to check it out again to see if things have improved.

3 choices of hardware, tons of choices on content, and lots of sleek Sony style. The Sony Reader is a winner to me, whichever version you end up with.