Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Sony eReader

Earlier this month Sony added its newest E-Ink device to their repertoire with the Reader™ Wi-Fi PRS-T1. In a surprising move, Sony has discontinued their previous line of E-Ink devices, which included the Daily Edition, Touch Edition, and Pocket Editions. Although it wasn’t expected, it was probably a good move to only offer one version of the device (don’t worry, it’s available in three colors). Something else I was thrilled to see was the considerable price drop. The Reader Wi-Fi is available for $149 making it more competitive price-wise.

The interface hasn’t changed much since I last reviewed Sony’s devices back in December. There have been slight changes in the look of various buttons on the ‘Home’ screen. However, your most recently read book is still featured at the top, followed by the three most recently added titles listed just beneath. The most notable feature on the Reader Wi-Fi is a button to access your public library directly from the device. No longer will you need to side-load checked out eBooks as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection. (Be on the lookout for a demo video of how to directly download onto the Reader Wi-Fi in the coming weeks.)

The device name should give away this next bit. Wirelessly connect to the Internet with the ‘Browser’ button. Keep in mind this is E-Ink® and not a tablet. When using the browser, you will experience screen flashing as it refreshes with each action you take on a page. This, in my opinion, makes E-Ink devices not ideal for surfing the Internet.

I’ve given high marks to most of the E-Ink devices I have reviewed in the past few months. The same can be said of the Reader Wi-Fi. With 6 inches of reading room, the 16 level gray scale E-Ink Pearl is very crisp and easy on the eyes, just as you would expect. What’s unexpected is that the Reader Wi-Fi’s touch screen is actually a pinch to zoom or Touch Infrared Technology. The Infrared Technology also makes it easy to flip through a novel by swiping your finger across the screen. You could also use the directional buttons along the bottom front if you prefer the one handed approach.

With 2GB of built in storage space and the ability to insert a microSD card up to 32GB, there’s plenty of memory. This new release also includes note taking capabilities and even a handwriting option.

Overall I’ve enjoyed the Sony Reader Wi-Fi. The interface is intuitive and the ability to checkout and download library eBooks directly to the device is pretty great, and it’s a feature that sets it apart from the competition. At $149 it’s still priced a little higher than other similar devices on the market; however, there are some specialty features you won’t find elsewhere.

by Megan Greer is an account specialist for OverDrive.

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