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Old 12-17-2011, 08:46 PM   #1
E-Cafe
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Smile Newbie on the fence - 350 or T1?

I have always wanted to get an e-ink reader because I got tired of filling up the bookshelves at home and reading on the computer screen. Recently all manufacturer have reduced the pricing of the base models and I really want to get myself one and pick up reading again.

After playing with all the sub-$100 e-readers at the stores, I like the Sony's e-ink and screen better. I cannot compare other features on these e-readers as they are all in demo mode. In the last two days, I have spent hours searching and reading the posts here but I still have not decided what my first E-reader should be.

The store have the PRS-350 for around US$60 and PRS-T1 for US$99. To the Sony owners, how do you like them? Any advice about which one I should get?

Here are my list of comparisons:

1) price - the 350 is cheaper. Since this will be my first e-reader, I don't want to feel bad if I do not like the e-reading experience. On the other hand, I do not want my first e-reading experience be ruined by the small price difference.

2) size - the 350 is smaller though the T1 is not much bigger. The screen size is also a bit smaller on the 350 so I am not sure if it will make extensive reading uncomfortable? However, I do not want a tablet.

3) software - I really need other user's experience. From what I researched here, the T1 is android based and it can be rooted while the 350 can use PRS+. Though I have read a lot of posts here, I still have no idea which one would work better.

4) wifi - the T1 has wifi which makes it easier for browsing, upgrading firmware, borrowing/shopping ebooks, ..... easier than the 350. But I have no experience whether this is important or not. Any comment?

5) audio - the T1 can play audio (songs and books) while the 350 can't. To me, it is a nice feature to have but not a must. If the E-reader can do text-to-speech then I will definitely choose it.

6) SD slot - the T1 has an SD slot while the 350 doesn't. This is a really useful feature. Does any 350 user have problem with the limited 2GB capacity for your E-books?

7) Support - the T1 is the latest model so it may have better and longer firmware support?

8) Stylus - both readers come with a stylus but the 350 has a slot for its storage while the T1 doesn't.

This is all I can think of right now ....... sorry for the long post but I am really serious about purchasing my first E-reader. Any comment or feedback is welcome and appreciated. Thank you!

Last edited by E-Cafe; 12-17-2011 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 12-17-2011, 09:31 PM   #2
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Get the T1. The 350 is a nice portable reader, but the T1 has a ton of new features (wifi, rootable android, a nice browser...).
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Old 12-17-2011, 09:52 PM   #3
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A quick look at eBay showed the last two completed 350 sales as follows:
- $60 for a 350 used one time.
- $80 for a new 350.

If you don't mind eBay selling, maybe you could trial the e-reader experience via the 350 cost-free, or nearly so. Probably not a good reason to choose one over the other, but it's a consideration.

$60 new is $15 less that many of us paid for refurbished 350s two months ago. But of course the T1 was $149 back then.
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Old 12-17-2011, 09:54 PM   #4
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E-Cafe,

Here are my personal views on some of your questions. Just for sharing:


1. $40 difference is not big. It's worth about 4 e-books. Personally, I would not take it as a factor.

2. I feel very happy with the 5" screen. 350 feels really comfortable hand held. It's screen is sharp and crisp. With PRS+, I can choose whatever fonts I like. To me, it is certainly better than an un-rooted T1.

3. PRS+ is easy to install and very stable. There's nothing to be afraid of.

4. wifi does bring convenience. But it's not significant to me.

5. I have both K3 and T1 and have tried to use their audio features once or twice. I never turn back. Audio in the e-reader is just inconvenient.

6. With 2 gigabites of memory, I can hold up to more than 1000 books. What more do we need?

7. Sony is notorious for its poor software support. There is an obvious bug in landscape mode in 350 it never fixes. I don't think they will do anything with the old models in the future. T1 is their future. But how much energy they will put on a gadget with 1 year life cycle? I don't know.

8. The design of T1 is certainly stupid regarding the Stylus.


Though I am biased towards 350, I have say

1. T1 responds much faster than 350. With 350, sometime you need to have a little patience.

2. Fonts in T1 are equally crisp. People have not time to develop the equivalent of PRS+ yet, or ways to install fonts without hacking. Who know what they can do in the future?
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Old 12-17-2011, 10:10 PM   #5
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And I'd say go for the 350. The smaller screen actually gives a bit better resolution than the 6" screen since both are 800 x 600 pixels. I originally bought the 350 when on sale thinking I wouldn't like the small screen and end up returning it for a 650, but instead I ended up loving it more for that reason. It's so small I literally take it with everywhere when I leave the house, it fits in just about any pocket. Which gets into more reading time for me. The size is also extremely comfortable to hold even in one hand.

PRS+ is a great addition to the 350, the main feature letting you change fonts from the Sony default.

The 350 does not have wi-fi as you said, but I purchase my books through my PC always to keep them all together and using Calibre I just transfer what I want to the reader and I much prefer that setup. If I remember from other posts, there's no way to protect your password on the reader, you're just automatically logged into the Sony Store. So if you should lose the reader, someone could buy a lot of books and have your Sony account pay for them. I also wouldn't risk all my books in one spot, as on the reader, which is the main reason I prefer to keep the library also on my PC (and backed up as well), and not rely on my books just on the reader. So for me, wi-fi isn't important at all. If you like to buy books on the fly though and can't wait until you get home for a particular new book, you might prefer wi-fi though. But with hundreds of books to read, there's never a time I "need" to purchase a book right now.

Using your reader as a browser isn't really the best option, you'll read various posts about the contrast being bad at many sites because they're done in color, which doesn't always look the best when in greyscale on an e-ink screen. It's usable, but not a big selling point to me at all because of the limitation. And I wanted a reader, not another way to connect to the internet.

I don't miss audio on my 350 at all, again I bought it as a reader only. It was something I thought would be nice to have, but I honestly couldn't remember the last time I listened to an audio book, and if I should ever want to, I have my cell phone, a much smaller 1" MP3 player, and 3 computers I could better use for that purpose. So you have to decide how often you would use the audio, if it's even worth it to consider. I believe one of the Kindles could do text-to-speech but not any Sony. But again, for myself, cute to have, but in reality would never use it.

SD slot - I also thought I wanted expansion room, but really do you need to carry 12,000 books with you at all times? The more books you have on the readers, they start to slow down. I have about 400 books on my reader now and I still have over 1.2GB of free space. I'm perfectly happy without the expansion slot, room enough for more than enough books to read for years.

Firmware support - Sony isn't known for updating it's firmware often, I believe the x50 readers only had 1 update. The only reason the T1s have had one so soon is because of all the problems and bugs with the original firmware. PRS+ takes better care of the firmware than Sony does IMO.

Stylus - While the x50 stylus is flimsy to some, it does have a nice slot it slides into and can't fall out. For myself, I would hate losing that convenience. Again, up to you whether you would mind a stylus clipped to the middle of the cover or wherever you could stash it.

At the current prices, I don't think you could go wrong with either reader, but when Sony announced the T1, I went and purchased a 2nd 350 to have on hand for when mine dies, I love it that much.
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Old 12-17-2011, 11:09 PM   #6
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Hi Rizla,

Thanks for your suggestion. The new T1 with new features does look nice. I am still trying to hear from other users if those new features are worthwhile for reading e-books.

I just read more posts on T1. Sounds like its fonts are better for reading and the wifi can be useful for reading daily newspaper or magazine without storing/loading the articles.
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Old 12-17-2011, 11:26 PM   #7
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jj2me,

Thanks for checking the eBay pricing on the 350 for me. I appreciate your suggestion of "free-trial" on the 350. I would certainly go this route if the T1 is not currently discounted at $99. And seems like Sony would raise the price back to $130 after December 24.

It also makes me thinking about the current $50 trade-in offer on the T1. I read some old posts about this kind of trade in program but I do not know how often Sony does that. Like you suggested, I can trade in or sell the 350 if there is compelling reason to do so. Hopefully the T1 will be at similar price or a more ideal e-reader will be available then.
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Old 12-17-2011, 11:36 PM   #8
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I have both. I love my 350 & it goes with me everywhere. Fits nicely in my purse with it's cover on. It is easy to side load books to the 350. I don't find the small screen a problem. And until I got the T1 I pretty much read on it exclusively. I don't have PRS+ but many love what it does for fonts.

I also have the T1. I like the size & that there is more to choose from for fonts & font sizes without having to root it.. Makes a difference for me in the evening after a long day of using my eyes.

I have never filled up a reader with books. But then I tend to delete ones I know I won't be reading again. But still in the year I've had my 350 I've only put around 200 books on it. And I do read a lot (also have a Kindle)

I doubt I will ever use audio so it's not something I can comment on.

Gecko has a nice cover with a slot for the stylus if you should go for the T1.

I tried the browser on the T1 & it's okay but not something I will likely use again. And the Sony Store via wifi is nice, but I will more than likely sideload books like I do with the 350 since I like other stores better.

In the end it is really what you find you like the most. I ended up with both, but then I like to try out e-readers. In the end, all have things that are positive & all have things that are a negative. But I don't think you'll go wrong with either.

P.S. I too bought an extra 350. Of course I don't know what I will do if the batteries fail.
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Old 12-18-2011, 12:10 AM   #9
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lkkmaths,

Thanks for sharing your view on these E-readers.

1) The $40 may not be a big difference, I still prefer to spend it on ebooks than on some features that I may not need. Hence, I really appreciate all the replies here to justify that.

2 & 3) I also like the portability of the 350. I only know that the PRS+ is a program that a lot of members use with their X50 e-readers. I will definitely try it if I end up with the 350.

4) I agree. Wifi could be a convenient feature.

5) The audio port on the T1 could be useful if there are ebooks + audio book combo where I can listen to it while reading it.

6) Thanks. I think the 2GB storage is sufficient then. Besides, I plan to store the e-books on my computer.

7) Yes, Sony does not have the best supporting software for their product. And I do not know that the Sony ereaders are supposed to obsolete in 1 year.

8) I guess Sony expect the T1 user to get the E-reader cover to store its stylus? Since both display units did not have the stylus, I have no idea how well the stylus work at all.


Does the T1 respond signifcantly faster the 350? Would it get worse if there are more e-books stored on the 350? Also, how fast does the T1 read from the SD card?
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Old 12-18-2011, 12:25 AM   #10
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I have both 350 w/ PRS+ and T1 (not rooted). Both are great for different reasons.

Why I love the 350:

* The screen is a tad sharper than the T1. (But the T1 is still very readable.)

* It's small and portable.

* When you add PRS+, the 350 has the best customizing options of any reader I can imagine (better than the T1).

Why I love the T1:

* The screen is larger so you can see more of the page at one time. (Though the 350 is still comfortable to read.)

* WiFi! No, it's not a necessity, but it's soooooo nice to be able to download books wirelessly rather than having to tether to a computer.

* Landscape orientation works perfectly. (In the 350 you get repeated lines on the screen. ADDED: This feature will be coming to PRS+ soon. Yippee!)

* ADDED: Menu navigation is more efficient (for the way my brain works; other brains may conclude differently).

If I had to give one up, I'd let go of the 350 and keep the T1, but honestly, I don't think you can go wrong with either choice. It's just a matter of which features you value most.

Last edited by pssquirrel; 12-19-2011 at 10:59 AM. Reason: updated info
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Old 12-18-2011, 12:35 AM   #11
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Ripplinger,

I also like the portability of the 350 and I hope that would get me into more reading as well.

I do not know much about PRS+ but I will install it for sure if I end up getting the 350. Hopefully it is not too difficult to use.

I also plan to keep all my E-books on my PC. And Calibre is another software I need to explore.

Wow! I did not know that the password is saved without protection on the T1. To me, purchasing e-books through wifi on the T1 is more like a concern than a feature then. Would it do the same thing to my library card info for borrowing E-book?

I also do not plan to use the e-reader for web browsing.

Though I like the text-to-speech feature, I prefer the Sony to the Kindles at the moment. But thanks for this piece of information.

SD slot - if I get the T1, I imagine I would be using the SD card for transferring e-books. However, I do not know how responsive the T1 is to read from the SD card versus the onboard memory.

As for firmware support, I am hoping that the readers work fine and we will not need the support. And I am a bit concern how secure the Android based programs are if I use the T1 for browsing and online purchasing.

I read some other posts here about 350 users buying additional 350 as back up, and there is another recent post about users buying discounted 350 than T1 in Canada --- which makes my decision between T1 & 350 more difficult =)
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Old 12-18-2011, 12:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E-Cafe View Post
Wow! I did not know that the password is saved without protection on the T1. To me, purchasing e-books through wifi on the T1 is more like a concern than a feature then. Would it do the same thing to my library card info for borrowing E-book?
You can password-protect your T1 so that no one can get past the sleep screen without your 4-digit PIN (same as on the 350).

You can also set the browser not to save passwords, and you can delete browser cookies whenever you like.
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Old 12-18-2011, 02:00 AM   #13
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forget the agonising - at those prices, get both...

350 for pockets, T1 for more "formal" ocassions!

You'll use 'em both, believe me...
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Old 12-18-2011, 02:11 AM   #14
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Go for the 350. You can get extra features with prs +. After holding both the 350 just feels better in the hand than the T1. The T1 has a cheap feeling about it. Yes it has some additional features but nothing ground breaking.

Where the heck are you getting a brand new 350 for $60??
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Old 12-18-2011, 02:56 AM   #15
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E-Cafe,

Have you ever tried Nook Simple Touch? To me, it is one of the best readers in the market. I suggest you try to get a first hand experience before buying. Anyway, my personal feelings are:

If your need is just reading, go to

(1) 350 for a superb 5-inch screen, highly portable and comfortable e-reader;

(2) Nook for a non-expensive, crisp, 6-inch and most responsive reader.

If you want extra functions besides basic reading, then get T1.

But personally I do feel that using T1 is not as comfortable as the other 2. To me, the fonts in Nook are just darker and sharper than those in T1. They are even more appealing. But it's a matter of personal taste.

Referring back to the questions abovt responsiveness of 350 vs T1.

(1) With over 200 books loaded in 350, it takes me more than 10 seconds to return from a book to the HOME page. The response of T1, on the other hand, is instantaneous. Otherwise they feel no difference. 350 is still my favorite reader.

(2) I have lot of audio books. I once intended to read and listen with the same gadget. But I quit very soon. Handling the audio software and the reader at the same time is just clumsy. I prefer an independent mp3 player.

3. Kindle does have text-to-speech function. But the sound is mechanical. The feel is non-human. It can never be compared to audio books.
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