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Sony PRS-600 Reader Touch Edition; E-reader Review

Screen: 6" E-Ink Screen
Internal Memory: 2 GB
Connectivity: WiFi, USB
Dimensions: 6.9" High, 4.8" Wide, 0.4" Depth
Weight: 10.1oz

by Jack Burden

Introduction

The PRS-600 Sony Reader dubbed by Sony as the "Touch Edition", is the replacement model for the PRS-700 model. This model represents Sony's high end touch-screen e-reader. It is available in three colors as opposed to the PRS-700 which was only available in black. We reviewed the red edition, with Black and Silver being the other options.

Print Legibility 95/100

So important in the world of e-readers is the ability to easily see the verbage on the page. How many times have you picked up a paperback in the book store and opened it to find illegible small ugly print. Nix, pass, on to the next copy or even hard back to get a good looking text copy.

Ereaders are no different. But in opposition to actual books, the contrast and lettering size may be adjusted to the persons liking. Encased in the Sony PRS-600 are 8 gray scale levels for adjustment and 5 fonts of adjustable size. Contrary to some reviews I've read, I did not notice a lot of screen glare when I reviewed the ereader. However, I was inside during the review and not in direct sunlight. The PRS-700 included side lights, while the PRS-600 does not. As far as I could see the contrast was fine without them, as Sony introduced more anti glare technology in the PRS-600. This technology has been around for a while with LCD TVs and Sony has had plenty of experience with it. I found the anti-glare technology quite effective. There is no eInk bleed around words, which are clear and crispt. I also felt the eInk in the Sony PRS-600 was of a good quality consistency, meaning not broken in places, and very smooth.

Overall I thought the legibility testing was excellent.

Page Turn Speed (Swipe) 90/100

Sony PRS-600 Key Features

  • 6" 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, Red and Black
  • Memory Expansion Slots
  • Dimesions 6.9" x 4.8" x 0.4"
  • 10.1 oz

Of course, this has been one of the major drawback categories for e-book readers since their introduction. This feature has been much improved in the PRS-600 especially since the PRS-300 which was almost unusable due to slow page turn. If you were speed reading a book, the page turn might still be slightly slow for you on the PRS-600, but that said it's a fairly natural speed, meaning about the same as if you were turning the page of a book. The feature speed of the page turn is not yet adjustable in the Sony PRS-600. You may choose instead the forward or backward page turn button, however it does not result in a faster turn. Many ereader owners begin the page turn a little early in order to no have to slow down.

Overall I felt the swipe speed was good but there is room for improvement.

Compatibility 95/100

Currently, the Sony PRS-600 has some of the best options for e-book formats available with EPUB, PDF, Microsoft Word, TXT, RTF, BbeB all supported. It has a more open support format than Amazon's Kindle which some may like. The readers are compatible with the millions of "public domain books" (think classics) that are offered on Google. Word format files require special optional software, or by use of a memory card. Sony of course has a storefront from which to purchase books, which are in either ePUB, or BbeB format.

Battery 90/100

Always of huge consideration is how long one can use the ereader without having to recharge the battery. The PRS-600 can be read for almost 2 weeks (6000 page turns) without a recharge to its sealed lithium ion battery. The PRS-600 battery supports USB charging and via the optional AC adapter. Given how seldom the battery will need charging, we believe it should last for about 5 to 6 years depending upon use. The battery is user swappable shoud it ever need to be changed

Appearance and Added Features 88/100

A dictionary has been included in the PRS-600 from the New Oxford American Dictionary (one of my favorites) no doubt to keep up with the Kindle. The ereader is sleek, small and light (10 ounces), one could almost fit it into their back pocket. The actual display screen is 6 inches diagonally. There's not a lot of extra visible buttons to distract you, which is nice since I always want to feel like I'm reading from a book and not a computer. Compared to the Kindle 2 it's slightly smaller.


Touch controls on the PRS-600.

The interface is intuitive enough that even Grandma will not be intimidated by using the PRS-600 (and she will love the large optional lettering). Function keys are horizontally placed at the bottom of the screen – nearly out of site. Swipe left to turn the page, swipe and hold to turn several pages.

Lastly, the PRS-600 can play MP3 and AAC non-DRM files and has a stereo jack.


The PRS-600 is very slim.

Value 80/100

With Sony products you pay a lot for the nameplate. The PRS-600 retails for around $170 which is the same price as the 3G enabled Kindle 3 and Barnes & Noble Nook but doesn't have the WiFi or 3G connectivity options. It has better file compatibility than the Kindle and is smaller, thinner and lighter than the Nook but the WiFi only versions of it's direct competitors retail for 30 to 40 dollars less than the PRS-600, however, the PRS-600 works exceptionally well and will be fantastic for those wanting to read a lot on trips or while traveling – cutting down on the need to carry books or magazines.

Overall Rating 89.5/100

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