And Sony gets thumbs up for including a batch of English and translation dictionaries, accessible directly or by double-tapping a word in an e-book. You can only use one dictionary at once, but swapping is straightforward. Words can be highlighted, as can all the instances of the selected word, if you choose.
The Reader's odd shape makes sense when you hold it in landscape orientation
Incidentally, Sony wins Reg Hardware's Jack Vance 'what the bloody heck does that mean' award for including a dictionary able to present definitions for all the recherché terms and archaic verbiage I threw at it.
And it's only £160. Cheaper than all but the lowest price Android tablet, that, and with a darn sight better battery life - two weeks' continuous reading, according to Sony, and I can well believe it.
But... it's still £51 more expensive than the new Kindle, which comes with Wi-Fi, and pricier too than the Kindle with 3G. Lack of connectivity doesn't bother me, but the thought I can get an e-book reader with a comparable-quality screen and twice as much storage for a lot less money does.
Compact, cheap and easy to use - what better write-up can a handheld gadget get? Sony's Reader Pocket Edition is all of these, making it as close to the e-book reader ideal as any of its rivals, and closer than most. Only its inability to present unprotected PDFs out of the box grates, and the absence of Wi-Fi and storage expansion may disappoint some potential buyers. But Sony must take note of Amazon's Kindle pricing. ®
More E-Book Reader Reviews
Sony Reader PRS-350 Pocket Edition
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.