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Old 11-19-2010, 06:57 PM   #1
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How tough are they? (350/650/950)

Hi all. As the proud owner of a Sony PRS-650 for all of ten days I have to say I am pretty pleased with it. (A few minor niggles but let's ignore those for the moment.) One thought did occur to me...

Certain people are known to go to sleep while they read (names withheld to protect the innocent). The book drops lower and lower until it falls to the floor (or the dog sleeping at their feet). These habits have made such people disinclined to try out my sparkling new toy (not that I'm sure I want to share just yet anyway). So this leads to the obvious question: How tough are these devices?

I am particularly curious about the *50 line because the new type of touch screen must surely have different properties, with regard to scratch resistance and so on, than the previous models. But if you want to share your experience with other models then that will be interesting too.

The device certainly feels quite sturdy, it was one of the deciding factors in the purchase. I've read on here about broken styluses (at this point that doesn't worry me much as I have not found I need it for my use), but in a brief browse I found little about other sorts of physical damage: scratched or broken screens, stop working after drop to carpet/wooden/concrete floor from 2ft, 3ft, 10ft etc.

I did get a cover for my 650 - one of those overpriced Sony covers (without the light). Overpriced but seems fairly well made and it certainly makes the device more pleasant to hold while reading ... I will have to tell you in another twelve months how well it has actually worn. However I am not convinced that the cover offers all that much protection - except perhaps from getting dusty sitting on the desk. The magnetic "latch" seems insufficient to protect the cover from scratches while being carried in a bag (presumably most people put their reader and cover in an additional protective bag or something), and if you drop the reader while reading the cover is likely to be open or folded back out of the way (or the reader may jolt free), and so the screen seems likely to be vulnerable despite the cover.

Obviously these are not the sorts of things we experiment on with our shiny new toys, so learning from other's accidents seems the best way to discover how tough the devices may be. Would anyone like to share their horror stories or miracle stories about how tough (or not) their Sony Reader has turned out?
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Old 11-19-2010, 07:29 PM   #2
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The new touch mechanism is infrared, emitters & receivers around the edges and unrelated to the actual screen, so I expect the screen material to have similar properties to the old ones (fragile). Anyone know otherwise?
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Old 11-19-2010, 07:51 PM   #3
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The new models are designed very well. The inned frame is die cast aluminium and looks impossible to bend. The screen is basically glued to it so I think there's very little chance of it bending far enough to crack the glass substrate. I expect it won't break from normal handling and accidental drops. I guess it still might break from a strong jab at the screen. I've dropped my 650 one or two times already, it works just fine.
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Old 11-19-2010, 10:33 PM   #4
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I've got no complaints, really. My 350 regularly sits in my work gear bag full of all sorts of nasty little things that can cause damage to sensitive technology. I've got a 350 in there with the sony cover and the soft case.

In all the time my sony has been there moved, thrown, dropped, dumped from one bag to another, I haven't as much as even scratched the damn thing. But I did break two pairs of unibody military grade oakley sunglasses.

I even dropped the 350 when it didn't have a cover from about 4 feet onto ceramic tile. Like the day I got it...I about crapped my pants, but picked the sony up with no more damage than a barely noticable nick on the finish.

Matter of fact, the only damage I ever caused was when my first 505 broke. It fell off a table and landed right on the little metal frame, breaking the spring in the power button. That only made it difficult to turn on because I had to push the switch a little harder. And the frame loosened. That lasted until I forgot to charge it for like two months straight and the eInk display died. But, that was a 1st gen eInk. Tech's improved since then..i hope

Matter of fact, my 350 has also sat in the same bag as my Macbook Pro. And while my Macbook makes a creaking noise on the hinges every now and then and there's also sorts of dimples on the face of the laptop aluminum, there's been no problems with my 350..

And every time I take it out I'm crossing my fingers hoping for no damage. I've been lucky so far
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Old 11-19-2010, 10:37 PM   #5
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a friend of mine says that a few minor nicks and scratches actually gives the damn things character.
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Old 11-20-2010, 07:53 AM   #6
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I have no problems with my 350 either. I remember that I was eating a sandwich and a piece of lettuce fell on the screen and at that point the pages started turning so fast, just scanning the pages until I picked up the lettuce.

So thats kinda how I knew that the touch screen was that sensitive.
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Old 11-20-2010, 10:33 AM   #7
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So thats kinda how I knew that the touch screen was that sensitive.
I would be sensitive too if someone dropped lettuce on me.
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Old 11-20-2010, 10:53 AM   #8
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My 350 is so light, I think if I drop it, it'll flutter to the ground like a leaf....

I haven't dropped the 350 yet, but I have dropped my 300 a few times (in a case) with no ill effects.
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Old 11-20-2010, 01:18 PM   #9
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My 505 survived a few drops just fine (and lots of time vibrating in a motorcycle top-case, though in a neoprene sleeve) but my 900 was not as lucky, my first drop caused display damage. And I do see it as luck in terms of exactly what axis the impact is on. I can hope my 650 is more durable but I need to be mindful since I'm essentially clumsy...
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Old 11-20-2010, 07:05 PM   #10
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Thanks all for your input.

Penforhire: I was thinking that the touch film over top of the screen on the older models may make them more susceptible to scratches than the new models (or less, depending on the nature of the film). But, from what I've read so far, there does not seem to have been a big difference. And yes, I think you are probably right, luck will play a big part in how the device fares after a drop.

Adityadubey: I don't mind a bit of character, I just don't want all that messy e-ink leaking out into my bag.

I suppose this is another distinction between ebooks and pbooks. If you drop a pbook and bend the cover you have damaged one book, but it wont stop you finishing it. If you do the same to your reader you may have curbed your reading until you can afford a replacement.
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Old 11-20-2010, 07:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by envy View Post
I have no problems with my 350 either. I remember that I was eating a sandwich and a piece of lettuce fell on the screen and at that point the pages started turning so fast, just scanning the pages until I picked up the lettuce.

So thats kinda how I knew that the touch screen was that sensitive.
Heh...I was reading my 650 in the breakroom the other day and got up to get my pasta out of the microwave. When I got back my napkin had fallen so it just barely touched the screen, and the damn thing was scrolling happily forward - I think I had to go back almost 70 pages to find my place again. Yeah, they're sensitive, all right.
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Old 11-20-2010, 09:25 PM   #12
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Old 11-22-2010, 05:41 PM   #13
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For what it's worth, i've dropped my 650 3 times onto floorboards, carpet-covered conrete and a thick rug... no hassles.
I just got back from a camping trip where i forgot that the reader was in the side pocket of my patrol pack and it got thrown around, sat on, dragged through various areas and had beer spilled on it.

Looks like new. Works like a charm.
Seems tough enough... or i was just lucky.
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Old 11-22-2010, 06:06 PM   #14
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Icewyche wrote, "Heh...I was reading my 650 in the breakroom the other day and got up to get my pasta out of the microwave..."

Dang!... I thought we were going to have a "650 on high in a microwave event"...
Now that would make a great tag-line and love to be the proverbial fly-on-the-wall at Sony Support when that one came in.
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Old 11-22-2010, 06:54 PM   #15
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>Dang!... I thought we were going to have a "650 on high in a microwave event"...

Oh I nearly had that. While my reader was sitting (fully submerged) in its bowl of rice on the kitchen counter, my husband was hungry late one night and considered making himself a bowl of rice in the microwave... luckily he decided not to.

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