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Sony Pocket Edition Reader PRS-350: Sony ereader Review

Screen: 5" e-ink display
Internal Memory: 2 GB
Connectivity: USB Cable
Dimensions: 5.7" x 4.1" x 0.3"
Weight: 5.47 oz. - chance, so you are to have better odds of winning.

By Sophia Schmidt


Sony PRS-350 ReviewSony has had several iterations of its e-reader currently available to consumers. Its first generation ereaders were, in Sony fashion, long on looks, but missed the mark with their digital book download software. Reading ability has We took a look at the Sony Pocket Edition Reader, model PRS-350 for those interested in a compact, yet long-lasting ereader.

Appearance rating: 96/100

Pulling the Pocket Edition Reader from the box, it's already fully charged, which is really a great attribute and thoughtful on the manufacturers' part. Many a college or university student will appreciate this feature when they're in their literature class and need to get cracking immediately on their classics ebook reading list. Display-wise, the Pocket Edition ereader only offers a 5" electronic ink display, but this actually gives users a screen view that feels similar to one if you were reading a paperback book in a single page format. In the hand, Sony's ereader feels very comfortable, although the metallic feel seems a bit too smooth and may require an ereader cover for the butterfingers in your family. Weighing in at less than 6 ounces (if I need to tell you exactly how much weight here, you've got too much time on your hands – ok 5.47 oz.), this ereader is something that could easily find its way into your purse, computer bag or jacket pocket to be pulled out whenever it's convenient.

Ereader Ink Legibility Rating: 95/100

Paperback Feel, Digital Ereader Memory

The e-ink which is black on white is really a soft taupe/gray-toned hue, with the black e-ink displayed in a few options to choose from, some of which sharpen the actual font. Supposedly the grayscale changes up to 16 times, but finding this was not as easy as it could be. Font size, which is much more important, is quickly and intuitively findable. In fact, much of Sony's ereader navigation setup is intuitive, even for novice computer users.

Because of the way the touch screen has been manufactured, it's actually possible to read on the PRS-350 in strong sunlight. If you're a night reader, then you'll still need light of some sort external from the actual ereader. In comparison to the LCD backlit screens, the e-ink display will be softer on eye strain versus a full color LCD ereader screen.

Sony PRS-350 Review
The Reader Pocket Edition E-Ink Screen.

An EReader, Plus a Small Child's Drawing Toy

Sony PRS-350 Key Features

  • 5" E-Ink Viziplex Touch Screen
  • Turn pages with the swipe of a finger
  • Touch screen highlighting
  • Compatible with PC & Mac
  • USB 2.0 Connectivity
  • Built in dictionary
  • 2 Week Battery Life
  • 350 Book Storage
  • Available in Silver, Navy and Rose
  • Memory Expansion Slots
  • Dimesions 6.25" x 4.25" x 0.38"
  • 7.6 oz

Once the user selects the book they'd like to read, it becomes very easy to take notes and highlight within the actual story. Sony's Pocket Edition Reader software also combines all of the notes and highlights into one quick reference section, which is especially great if you're a student or love to come back to reading your points.

Although it is already one of the few ereader manufacturers who have included text highlighting in their current ereader models, Sony takes it one step further and adds in a freehand notetaking feature. This becomes very attractive for any student, even students of life, especially as they get used to the display writing ability. Sony's stylus is a bit too slim, even for my average sized hands. I'd imagine that a large man would find this stylus too small for continuous use. However, Sony's PSR-350 ereader does an execellent job of enabling fingertips to be used for screen selections. Parents too know that this could be the magic tool to keep their children occupied while on an airplane for some time.

Compatability Rating: 82/100

Here's a Book, in Your Permanent Collection

The avid book reader will enjoy the selection of more than 100 classic books already installed onto any ereader offered at Borders, including the Sony PRS-350. Classics like Moby Dick, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Jane Eyre are just waiting for a page turning. The nook and kindle ereaders offer 4 books and zero books, respectively, upon purchase. Another striking difference in this Sony PRS-350 ereader is that any book that is downloaded through your Borders account actually remains in your library. Once you own the electronic book version, it is yours. However, with both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble ereader accounts, you only have a license of usage that is tied to what these two retailers have with booksellers, meaning when their license ends, your ebook disappears from your shelf.

With more than 400 books on the model in review, page turn speeds feel just right. In fact, it feels like you actually turn the page… it's that good. There was no delay in the page speed, which has been mentioned in some peer reviews. I'm partial to using the buttons to toggle the pages, but the screen swiping was sensitive on this Sony e-reader model and picked up hand movement correctly. Like many ereaders, the screen does flash when it turns pages (the black font becomes white and white becomes black) to denote a page turn. It's an element that some technology genius thought would be a game-changer for the ereader industry, but this indicator light shall we call it ends up as an annoying item you have to deal with when turning the page, and it likely a battery suck. Hopefully, future iterations will remove this feature and do a better job of displaying the page numbers and chapter reference.

Memory size for the Sony Pocket Edition Reader is 2 GB, although only 70 percent is available for book downloading. One drawback is the memory is not upgradable or swappable. DRM Text, including ePub (Adobe DRM protected), PDF (Adobe DRM protected), BBeB Book (PRS DRM protected), Text, RTF are all supported by Sony's ereader software. This open compatability software is an attractive feature, particularly if you're familiar with computers, because you can download free books ranging from online ebook sites to your local library.

Sony PRS-350 Review
The PRS-350 and the included Stylus.

Sony's website offers an array of reading material, including magazines and newspapers. However, for this 5-inch ereader, a full spread magazine or newspaper will be difficult to navigate. These would be more appropriate for a larger screen ereader or tablet, but is the reason we lowered the compatability rating. Another, although more minor drawback is that there is no audio player in Sony's PRS-350 ereader. One could imagine a future world that will have the ability to go from text to audio for consumption depending upon the situation. Other e-readers have MP3 capabilities but the Sony does not. It didn't make much of a difference to our review, but that's because we use other devices for music procurement.

Users need to download software onto their computer to get Sony's system up and running. Both Mac and PC computers work well with the software. Once the software is downloaded on the main computer, you can easily sync Sony's PSR-350 ereader connects to the computer to download additional electronic books through a USB cable. Drag the title or icon of your eBook from your personal Library to the 'Reader' icon located of your Reader Library software. Apps to download onto your iPhone or Droid also exist, putting the reader in touch with your ebooks anywhere anytime.

Battery Rating: 94/100

Will Travel for Work

If you like to travel light and leave the battery chargers home for a trip, you'll like the Pocket Edition because this ereader's battery life will last up to two weeks. The Sony does a good job of managing its battery life, seemingly shutting off every several minutes until it is prompted again. Recharging can thankfully be done through a USB port or adapter, which is clutch when you're trying to keep gear to a reasonable level, let alone minimal. Our other reviewers believe the battery life is between 5 and 6 years, which is 2 to 3 years more than a laptop.

Sony Pocket Edition Reader ereader is a solid choice for individuals who want portability, functionality, breadth of reading offerings and the ability to read under most light conditions. The highlighting and note taking features are very useful for individuals who like to take notes while reading or for students in general. The fact that the PRS-350 ereader provides access to multiple content portals is a key consideration in purchasing this product. If you're an avid library card user, then this may just be the ereader selection for you. If you are a technology novice or average user, you may prefer an ereader such as the nook or kindle ereaders. These offer a captured elibrary offering with a more simplistic downloading software solution with a more limited selection, which may be right for those just stepping onto the technology highway.

Sony Looks to Convert Early Adopters to Its Sony Reader series

Good news coming from Sony this holiday season. If you are typically among the first to purchase new technology, Sony wants you to try its Sony Reader product. Sony's current offer is a $75 credit towards a new Sony Reader when you trade in any brand eReader.

Overall Rating: 91/100

Sony's 5" ereader touch screen is a solidly functioning, intuitive and easily navigable tool. Even despite the fact that the device can only be synched by USB cable, it is a good purchase for those on the go who enjoy reading and want many books at their fingertips.

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