This Sony Reader review is for the latest ebook reader to hit the market: the Sony Reader PRS-700. It was introduced to the market in November 2008 with a hefty price tag of $399. Reviews have been coming in from all kinds of people in the industry so I thought I would do my own review, but first let’s take a look at this quick video featuring the Sony Reader PRS700:
Visit Amazon.com for the Best Prices for the Sony Reader 700
eBook Readers Resource Official Review of the Sony Reader PRS-700
The PRS-700 is the latest and greatest ebook reader to hit the market. It was just released last month in time for the holiday shopping season. There are two major features of this reader that set it apart from the competition. The first feature being the touch screen display and the other one being the LED “reading light.” Ironically, it’s these very features that have some Sony Reader fans up in arms.
Touch Screen Navigation
The Sony Reader 700 has a beautiful six-inch touch screen display and it is currently the only ebook reader with this technology. For example, you can swipe left or right for navigation. You can also swipe and hold your finger down which lets you speed through a bunch of pages at once, and skip forward or backward. This is a nice feature for some but not everyone is a fan of it.
Some users have noted that the display screen isn’t nearly as clear or as easy to read as it was for the previous Sony 505 model. Both the 505 and the 700 models use e-ink technology. This technology makes the text on the display look just like printed ink on paper. The result is no eye strain whatsoever because the experience is identical to reading a paper book.
The problem with the new touch screen display is that some users claim it has reduced the readability of the device. Specifically, one user said that the display looks much more like a gray scale screen similar to those you find on graphing or business calculators. It’s not as clear as it was on the Sony 505 Reader. And many others have commented that the contrast isn’t as good (whites look more gray) and that the PRS-700 has more glare than the 505.
Another thing to consider with the new touch screen is that simple tasks can take a few extra steps. For example, if you want to change the text size on the 505 model, you simply press the font size button to cycle through the various sizes until you get the one you want. With the Sony Reader PRS-700, the same task requires a few extra steps. You need to press the font size key, then touch the screen to the desired font, then touch the screen to close the menu. For most users this will be a minor annoyance (if at all), but it is something to keep in mind if speed means everything to you when using an electronic device.
The most common complaint for all ebook readers is the lack of a built-in reading light. Sony tackled this issue with the 700 model. It incorporated an LED light but don’t get too excited. Again, not everyone is a fan of this added feature. What Sony did was incorporate LED lighting around the edge of the display. Some have reported it doesn’t work that great because while it lights up the display, it makes the text difficult to read. If you use an ebook reader in low light conditions, I wouldn’t rely on the built-in lighting. You may be happier with a clip-on reading light.
Take Notes, Highlight, & Search
In addition to the touch screen display, the Sony Reader PRS700 comes with a stylus you can use to take notes and highlight text.
Turn Pages & Navigate Faster
The Sony Reader PRS700 has a faster processor than the previous version which makes it much more enjoyable to use. With ebook readers there is a slight delay when turning pages. With the more powerful and faster processor in the Sony Reader 700, pages now turn much faster with virtually no delay.
Compatible with Many Formats
You are able to transfer adobe PDF files, Microsoft Word documents, BBeB files together with a range of other text file formats. This is done via the eBook library 2.5 PC software included with the Sony reader.
Large Storage Capacity
The PRS-700 has a larger storage capacity than the older model and claims to hold more than 350 average-sized eBooks. You can also increase this capacity by taking advantage of the memory slots that accommodate memory sticks and SD cards.
As can be expected, all these upgrades come with a price increase. The Sony Reader PRS-700 is $100 more than the previous 505 version and at the time of this review has a price tag of $399. The touch screen technology and the LED backlight are great first steps at improving these devices, but based on several consumer reviews, they need to be perfected because for many users these two “improvements” have made things worse as readability has been reduced.
Overall, I’m not entirely convinced the latest Sony Reader is the best ebook reader out there and I’m not totally convinced it’s dramatically better than the 505. It’s certainly stylish and the upgrades are great in theory, but when buying an ebook reader the most important things are usability and readability. And unfortunately for some, the Sony Reader PRS-700 may be lacking slightly in both categories. Ultimately, don’t rely on this review but take it for a test drive yourself and see what you think!