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Old 10-29-2009, 04:52 PM   #1
hippoherder
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Why I bought the Sony Pocket Edition along with a short review.

I am new to ebooks but have been an avid reader all my life. I recently decided to buy an ereader. I went through a long process of researching the various options before I made my decision. I researched the Kindle, Irex, Cooler, Sony models, etc online. I saw only the Sony models in person as I could not find any of the others. I found the PRS 505(discontinued) at Target and the Pocket and Touch editions at Borders.

First, I decided that I wanted an ereader for recreational use. For me this is novels and other books that are mainly text with few or no pictures and graphics. With this in mind, I was able to decide what features in the various readers are important or not for my needs. I have an mp3 player for audio books, eliminating the need to for audio playback and speakers. I have never made notes or annotations in the books I read, so that feature was unnecessary. I have an excellent vocabulary, so a built in dictionary would be nice but not essential. Wireless downloading would be fine to have, but I learned that it only takes a couple of minutes to download a book and transfer to a reader. I own a laptop and have found that even many fast food restaurants offer free Wi-Fi, so I am not worried about being caught without the means to acquire new reading material. I also placed a touch screen in the nice to have but optional category. Finally, there was the issue of screen size. The smallest screen was 5 inches, found on the Sony Pocket Edition. I read a few pages on the device in person and found the screen acceptable but not ideal.

The attribute I decided was most important was letter clarity. I wanted the text to be as clear as possible with minimal glare. I was also concerned about device memory. 5000 book storage would be nice, but I doubt I will read that many books on a reader before I replace it. I thought 100 would be the bare minimum considering that I could swap books on and off my computer in a few minutes if needed. A nice user interface was a must have. I wanted to be able to easily find and read my books. I also wanted the device to look good. This is subjective, but important to me. To give an idea of my personal tastes, I found the first generation Kindle to be hideous. The final attribute I considered in my purchase was price. I could spend up to $489 for a Kindle DX down to $199 for a Sony Pocket Edition.

After weighing all of the factors I decided on the Sony Pocket Edition. I bought one about a month ago. It had clear text, a user friendly interface, and was cheaper than the competition. This really tipped the scales as I had never used an ereader before and I was not sure if I enjoy it as well as reading a physical book.

Here are the pros: The device has a solid feel and has a surprising amount of weight. It is small enough to fit in the front pocket of a pair of dress pants or the back pocket of jeans which makes up for the small screen. The buttons have a good feel to them and offer good travel and feedback. I do not find the page turns slow at all. It is easy to hold in either hand and still turn the pages. I have read on the device every day since I bought it for at least an hour, often longer and it took between two and three weeks before I had to recharge. The device keeps the last page read for all of your books. This makes it easy for two or more people to share the device or, if you are like me, to read several books at once. The text is crisp and clear. It is as easy to read as a real book. The reader just disappears when I get into a book, which I think is the most important attribute an ereader can have.

Now for the cons. I am a fast reader and find that I have to turn the pages very frequently due to the small screen size. The reader does not come with a wall charger, which makes it necessary to plug it into a computer to recharge. While I like the neoprene slip cover that ships with the device, I which it had a real cover. I think the Sony OEM covers are overpriced and it does not have as many aftermarket accessories as the Kindle. I like the idea of being able to check out library books, but I have found I have few books to choose from and will probably not use this feature often. When the device is first powered on it is sluggish for about a minute. It seems to warm and run more quickly after that first minute. This also happens when a book is opened for the first time. I would like to have either more or expandable memory. The Pocket Edition holds about 350 books. I do not know if I will fill this reader or not, but I have always felt that you cannot have enough memory. I have to concede, however, that the ability to carry around even 50 books at once in your pocket is more than sufficient for most occasions.

In conclusion, I could not be happier with my purchase. My ereader has become one of my favorite gadgets. It is wonderful having 4500 pages of Sherlock Holmes as well many other books at my disposal almost everywhere I go. It is actually easier to read Sherlock Holmes on my reader because the book is so large and heavy. If all you are looking for is a device for reading, not listening to audio or surfing the web or anything else, then you will not regret buying the Pocket Edition.
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Old 10-29-2009, 08:28 PM   #2
Aristée
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Great review, and your description of what kind of reader you are fits with mine. I too am leaning toward the Sony PRS-300. But maybe I should wait till january to see if anything new hits the shelves before plunging. It's my deadline, kind of ...
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:32 AM   #3
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Just remember the screen is glass, so I wouldn't recommend trying the back pocket storage solution
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Old 11-03-2009, 08:35 AM   #4
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Great review! I was leaning towards the pocket edition
myself but went for the 505 as the small size wasn't a
necessity. Waiting for the delivery.......
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Old 11-03-2009, 02:02 PM   #5
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Your preferences and background are VERY similar to mine. I also wrote a similar review here for the 300, which I purchased about 2 months ago.

I too think the Sony OEM covers are overpriced. But, given how much I carry mine around (in my FRONT pants pocket, or a jacket now that weather is getting cooler here!) I relented and bought one. I have a 505 that came with a similar cover in the box and worked great. I figure I'll get a lot of use out of the 300 OEM cover--nice simple design, with pegs that attach to the 300's spine, and magnets to hold the cover closed. 3rd parties may come out with less-expensive covers. But I do detest the covers that have cheezy corner straps to hold the Reader.

One final note: you can use any Sony PSP (portable video game) charger to charge the Reader. (Available everywhere, and cheap.) It is also MUCH better to charge thru the round yellow power port (same as the PSP port) than thru usb. The Reader charges faster and you can use it while charging. Also, connecting the wrong pc or charger to the usb port can DRAIN the battery. Another great solution is a Sony PSP power/data cable. This one cable will let you charge the Reader from ANY usb port (it has a round yellow power plug) AND transfer data thru the usb plug. I've found these cables online for less than $5.

Enjoy! I've been doing a lot more "fun" reading since I got my first Reader over 2 years ago.
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:30 PM   #6
pjhaas
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I second the above comment & review. I bought a PRS-300 a couple of days ago after worrying about the 5-inch vs 6-inch screen-thing. I figured an 8-inch screen would be ideal, but an affordable 8-incher will be another 12 months or so from now. After getting a larger reader in 2010/11, I could still use the PRS-300 for travel and commuting I figured.

I didn't buy the PRS-505 because it's essentially 2 year old technology (not the E Ink screen, but the implementation from Sony. The PRS-300 is designed in 2009, the PRS-505 in 2007).

If you read a lot you will end up with several readers anyway in a couple of years. Maybe I'll get a Kindle as well, just to be able to buy ebooks from Amazon next to the ePub offerings from all the other online ebook shops.

I did buy the Sony Standard Cover, expensive yes, but today I tested my PRS-300 in the metro (subway/underground) and found this cover to be very useful. It gives some extra protection when carrying the reader when changing trains.

Plus, of course, the PRS-300 fits exactly in the inner pocket of my coat. It's a 'go anywhere' reader.

For everybody who wonders which reader to get: buy the PRS-300 as a starter unit. Even if the screen is a little too small, just buy a bigger reader next year to use at home on the couch and in bed and use the PRS-300 for traveling or as a back-up (if you can afford 199 USD + roughly the same amount the following year)

Last edited by pjhaas; 11-06-2009 at 02:48 AM.
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjhaas View Post
I didn't buy the PRS-505 but it's essentially 2 year old technology (not the E Ink screen, but the implementation from Sony. The PRS-300 is designed in 2009, the PRS-505 in 2007).
It's not that clear-cut; the 505 was updated in 2008 adding ePub and PDF reflow support & from what I can so far determine, the display functionality of the 300 & the 505 is basically the same.

The differences are that the 300's physically smaller but got more RAM, but the 505's got the extra screen real-estate, external storage capabilty (although even it's smaller internal RAM's good for 2 or 3 hundred titles) and audio support (apparently some people use it!).
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:26 AM   #8
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I have the 300 and the 505.

I find the 300 to better to carry around, to read on the bus or at lunch.

OTOH, the 505 is better for reading at home, or to take on the plane or other trip where the convenience of the 300 is not a factor. I use the flash card for music that works while I'm reading.

Each makes me appreciate the virtues of the other!
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Old 11-06-2009, 08:59 AM   #9
hippoherder
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I may end up getting a cover from Sony. I wish they had designed as many accessories as the Nook for their release. As for the pocket issue, I use by back pocket for carrying only, and then I'm paranoid that I will forget and sit down. This is only an option when I need to carry my reader and my hands are full.
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Old 11-08-2009, 08:10 PM   #10
Aneleh
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Hi,
This is my first post ever! in any forum.
I spend hours reading through them but never written before.
Today I had to. The original post with the review was so great. After months of trying to decide which reader to go for I made the same decision, for the same reasons.
I just wanted to say it's the best buy I've done in a long time.
So happy with it! It's my new best friend!
Still trying to get use to it, kind of missing the feel of a real book in my hands but once I start reading I just forget about it.
So hippoherder, thank you for your review, even if I was confident with my buy after reading your post I felt I had made the right choice, I'm not the only one thinking the sony prs 300 is a great reader for someone who just want to read.
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