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New Sony Reader e-book: better, still not perfect

According to Mobile Tech Review, the new PRS-700 is better than the previous Reader:

Sony has worked a near miracle with their touch screen and touch-centric user interface. The Reader is simply a joy to use in terms of ergonomics, control and navigation. This is by far the most natural way to manage, navigate and read books we’ve seen so far. Alas, its lesser contrast doesn’t warm our bookish hearts, and for those in love with e-ink’s paper-like look, that’s a tough one to swallow. For those new to eBook readers or those who don’t mind reading from matte notebook displays, the PRS-700 has greater appeal. As always, the Reader is a great way to carry around a huge library of books and avoid the storage issues of traditional books.

I was actually playing with the current model yesterday, and while it’s a lovely wee gadget it’s still not the right reader for me. What I want is the Reader’s form factor with the iPhone’s wireless and two apps: NetNewsWire and Instapaper. That’d work.

As Engadget says:

with no wireless of any sort you’re stuck filling this one via USB, SD, or MS Duo. In other words there’s still no perfect choice in the world of the e-ink reader — but it is awfully hard to ignore the Reader’s sleek exterior when compared to the Kindle’s distinctively sci-fi doorstop look.

7 replies on “New Sony Reader e-book: better, still not perfect”

I can’t imagine I would ever want to fuck around with a device just to read a book. I mean, I do it for music or video because I have to. But what, for crying out loud, is wrong with the paperback that it so desperately needs to be “fixed” with an expensive gadget that needs its content and its power managed? World’s gone mad etc.

I don’t want to fuck around with a device just to read a book either. But the race appears to be on to create a device that does not require any fucking around with. Make it simple enough, and I can think of loads of advantages over books.

That being said, I do most of my book-reading in the bath. Any gadget will need to be steamproof and waterproof before I adopt it.

I kinda see the point in a book reader as carrying a large book (even a paperback) can be annoying. If you’re near the end of one then you need to carry two too. However, the whole DRM thing is troubling. To me it would make sense to be able to scan in your ISBN numbers and automatically have the book downloaded, but chances are that this is going to end up with a re-buy thing and also a “read within 2 weeks” type thing.

I’ve read books on a WinMob device and the iPhone and, once you’ve set the brightness right, it’s actually OK.

If you’re near a big Waterstones, they’ve got Readers on display – old model, not the one I’m blabbing about here. Worth having a look: the screen is superb, streets ahead of anything a phone or PC can manage.

I don’t think ebooks will replace books in the foreseeable future. Textbooks, yeah, but other than that they’ll be in the same niche as audiobooks. Where I do think they’re exciting is in newspapers and ultimately (when colour arrives properly) magazines.

If the new Sony Reader automatically downloaded my newspaper/RSS feeds in the morning I’d buy one in a heartbeat. It’d save me a fortune.

Hi Mark. That link is brilliant – I hope you’ve patented it :)

I agree about the portability, although I’m not sure holidays are the ideal environment – not when you have to buy the reader and then pay for the books. Paperbacks, even in the airport, are a lot cheaper and they’re not that heavy – I think you need to do a lot of travel for an ebook reader to be worthwhile right now. Where the portability is a big win, though, is at school: being able to have a single device with all your textbooks on it is a great thing.

You’re clearly an early convert to the ebook world. What would you like to see the next generation do – features, form, anything at all you’ve got an opinion on – ?

Some bright spark at Sony decided to hand out a bunch of free Ebooks to my father-in-law’s organisation, and he’s an instant convert. They’re the sort of business crowd who regularly handle huge bundles of documents, and he says being able to hand people a USB key instead is quite wonderful.

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