The Reader is simple and clean of line. Unlike some other devices of this type, there is little in the way of adornment to distract you from the words on the screen.
Micro USB is the only way to get content onto the Reader
Which is a 5in, 600 x 800 panel based on the lastest, Pearl generation of E Ink technology - so the text is crisper and the 'paper' less muddy than older E Ink screens, though it's still some way from white.
And unlike Sony's previous touch-sensitive Reader, the PRS-600, the addition of the tap sensors hasn't resulted in darker, less well-defined text.
Just as well, because it's the touch capability that makes the Reader. Swiping to turn a page comes so naturally now we've all become accustomed to touch-controlled user interfaces on our iOS and Android phones. Tapping on the title of the book you want to read or the setting you want to apply is even more so.
The back-cover blurb
You might wonder why Sony includes a stylus at all, but the new Reader's UI has some elements that are small and up close to the edge of the screen - the alphabet down the right hand side of the display that you can use to speed your navigation through long lists of books is a case in point - and folk with big fingers may find they can't quite hit the letter they want to.
ePub is widely supported
The ePub format is a standard. So if your reader supports it, you can buy or borrow DRM'd eBooks from anywhere that sells/lends them in your country.
The crazy thing with Amazon is that the publishers supply the books in ePub and then Amazon has to convert them to Kindle!
One other thing, ePub is a much more modern and versatile format. It handles graphics and tables better. Compare a Kindle book with illustrations and tables with the ePub version to see the difference.
However, I guess this is more a battle of the DRM's than the actual underlying format. It's a pity the actual book format couldn't be DRM agnostic. We might get somewhere towards a single standard then.
I really, really wanted to like this
But when it got to the point of mentioning that you need special software from Sony and have to ask Adobe nicely simply to put an unprotected PDF (even one I made myself) onto the device in a readable format, I decided I couldn't buy it. (PDF is an ISO standard - Adobe do not own it!)
- The alternative Calibre software is interesting, but it still means I can't simply plug my eReader into a computer, copy the PDF onto it and have it work - which I do a *lot* with system drawings.
(Not to mention that Sony have repeatedly proven willing and able to wilfully disable 3rd-party functionality, so I can't trust them not to do that again.)
At some point the manufacturers of these eBook readers need to realise that their foolish insistence on ridiculous DRM is badly damaging their market.
I know one person who's got a Kindle (she bought it before Amazon broke into hundreds of houses and stole a book out of them), and fifteen who'd really like one if it wasn't so badly castrated by ill-conceived 'protection'.
I fly a lot on business, and I really want an eBook reader - it should be great for books on the flight, taxi, hotel, and manuals on-site as it should be much faster to start up and load the relevant document than my laptop.
But Amazon have proved they can take back a purchased work without asking (and therefore can be compelled to do so by the courts), and also decided to rely on their own proprietary format (so I can't borrow from my library), and Sony have decided that they won't allow me to read my *own* documentation without additional software (and asking Adobe).
Not to mention that the prices for an eBook are still astronomical and appear to be bound to the brand of device (if not a specific unit) - so not only am I forced to buy my next device from the same people, but if they decide to stop supporting that model, go out of business or get taken over I lose everything.
So that leaves me with no product I can trust.
Well, Apple plays by their own rules.
I guess Apple has extended the DRM so books only open on an Apple device. Only one thing worse than lock in and that's double lock in.
Jobs is quite happy for iPad users to leverage Amazon though. Two faced or what.
Amazon and Sony have a different focus
Amazon's primary goal is to make it as easy as possible to buy books, Sony makes it as easy as possible to read books.
I was all set to buy the new kindle and then the new Sonys came along. I bought the 350 because I wanted something small and light and it has better format support. Having a touch screen means they were able to do away with the mostly useless keyboard. The Kindle is bigger because it takes up space with a keyboard which will primarily be used when buying books. How much time do you actually spend buying books every month? For those 15 minutes or so each month I'll just use my laptop to find the books I want.
+1 internets for saying so in public
This so enrages me, I refuse to do it, and all gadgets that work this way will be marked down for it.