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Old 11-12-2008, 04:47 PM   #1
CanadianContent
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One week with the Sony reader...the good, the bad and the ugly!

Everyone was so helpful when I was looking for advice on a reader, so I thought I owed you some feedback. I have been reading a while on a UMPC, but while browsing Airmiles rewards came across the Sony 505 and couldn't resist. So a week in, here are my impressions.

I'll start with the bad and the ugly - Sony software is both! I had read that many people don't bother with the software that comes with the reader and I can now appreciate why. I mostly use my laptop and had installed Calibre (see below, but not in this part of the review) on it, but decided to install the Sony software on my desktop computer to authorise the reader so I could try out the Sony ebook store. Big mistake. For anybody that has not been through this process, after installing the software comes registration, then after logging into your account, you are asked to authorise the computer and the reader. The computer authorisation went through OK, but although the reader was recognised, every attempt to authorise led to the software freezing. After several attempts, I called Sony using the contact number and talked to somebody who told me to uninstall and reinstall the software. Tried to authorise again - same result. Second call to Sony, kept on hold several times while I closed and reopened the software, closed and restarted the reader, but no joy. I was also told to reset the reader using a paperclip in the back of the reader. I was quite concerned about doing this as when this did not have the desired effect, the Sony guy told me to push the paperclip harder. I could envision a broken screen before I ever got to use it! After trying several things, I was put on hold yet again for a product specialist. After waiting a while, the original guy said that the specialist department was closed, gave me a reference number and told me to call the following morning. Next morning I went through reset attempts again, before being talked through a hard reset procedure, which finally worked. The strange thing is that after authorising the reader, Sony then emails with information about 100 free classics. I received the email after the first attempt at authorisation, so according to the Sony rep, although the software on my computer was telling me I needed to authorise, I actually already had, and there had been no need to perform the reader resets. I know Sony is having an overhaul of the bookstore very soon and I hope the software is improved as I can't see myself ever wanting to buy from the existing store as is. Sony must be losing out in book sales due to this.

Anyway on to the good - I love the reader! I was quite unsure about getting one, as I had been quite happy reading ebooks on the backlit lcd screen, but the eink experience is wonderful. The text is clean and bright and it is true, I forget I am reading from an electronic device. There is a definite pause between pressing the forward button and the next page appearing but I find I anticipate this and press the button just before I finish reading. There is a flash between pages but after reading for the first time, I suddenly realized I was no longer noticing it.

I really like the actual hardware. I have the silver model and the casing is sleek and very cool. I am pleased that the reader feels quite substantial and tough, while not being weighty. The positioning of the forward/back buttons on the right hand side are perfect for me and I like that the bookmark button is directly there as opposed to being inside a menu.

When I first looked at ereaders, I was sure I wanted something with wifi, so I needn't use a computer, but I have completely changed my mind about that. I like that I can download to my computer and have my library stored there too. Which brings me to Calibre - thank you kovidgoyal! You are a star! Calibre is so good to use and the more I use it, the better I like it. (One thing I really like is the feature that lets you look at the covers of the books in your library - that is so cool! Please tell me somebody else really enjoys this feature - my family looked at me as though I was crazy when I was so enthusiastic about it!)

There could be improvements - I am looking forward to seeing my daughter's 700 frontlight. I read in bed and would like a reader directed light rather than the lamp I use for pbooks. I am investigating my options for that. Also I would like to be able to classify books on the reader differently and maybe in more than one way. I know there are collections, but I haven't really got my head around using them yet. If anybody has a neat way of ordering their books on the reader, I would love to hear about it.

Also I wish Sony would include instructions actually on the reader, maybe as well as the quick start and computer. Having them on the reader would be good for a quick referral when using it away from the house. I know Harry T will appreciate this - I was not at all bothered by the lack of dictionary support, but the first book I bought, the latest Elizabeth George novel, had three words that I had never heard before, that I would have appreciated the dictionary definition for. I hope dictionary support will eventually be available for the Sony, even if it is not for the 505.

I am very happy with the reader after the initial software debacle, wish I'd gone for a dedicated reader sooner, and I'm really happy with my choice - I could happily recommend the 505. I am looking forward to having news on my reader using a recipe, also improving my use of more complex features when I get around to investigating it further. Just short of time now, and fighting the urge to buy lots of books. There are definitely worse addictions though!

Last edited by CanadianContent; 11-12-2008 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 11-12-2008, 05:15 PM   #2
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Nice review, which echoes my own experience with the 505. I had a blue one initially, and the battery was faulty, so exchanged it for the silver. All's been well for months now. I had a few moments of "wish I'd waited for the 700" until I saw the 700, and like has been mentioned so often here already, the 505 has a superior screen, thus readability, thus usefulness, for me.
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Old 11-12-2008, 05:30 PM   #3
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Please use paragraphs, it will be much easier to read.
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Old 11-12-2008, 05:40 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by johnnyr View Post
Please use paragraphs, it will be much easier to read.
Yes you're right - sorry about that, done.
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Old 11-12-2008, 06:18 PM   #5
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The Users Guide is on the Reader, or at least it should be.
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Old 11-12-2008, 06:44 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by igorsk View Post
The Users Guide is on the Reader, or at least it should be.
Where would I find it, igorsk? Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-12-2008, 06:56 PM   #7
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Isn't it one of the books in the reader's library?
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Old 11-12-2008, 06:57 PM   #8
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Yes you're right - sorry about that, done.
Thank you! Much better
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Old 11-13-2008, 12:14 AM   #9
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Glad you're enjoying it! Welcome to the club!
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Old 11-13-2008, 06:01 AM   #10
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They might have changed the pre-loaded books & left it off? When I browsed one in the UK, it had a different set of samples from the ones I got on my 'old' 505. I didn't notice if the User Guide was still there, though. If it's not, the OP could download it from http://www.docs.sony.com/release/PRS505.pdf & copy it on!
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Old 11-13-2008, 04:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadianContent View Post
There could be improvements - I am looking forward to seeing my daughter's 700 frontlight. I read in bed and would like a reader directed light rather than the lamp I use for pbooks. I am investigating my options for that.
I bought the cover with the built in light at the same time that I bought my Reader, and I love it! I've used it in dim light and even in the dark -- it lights the page just right and there is no glare or anything distracting. I could probably use it all the time, except that I don't want to use up the battery unnecessarily.
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:04 PM   #12
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Thanks Heather, I am enjoying the 505 more than I ever thought I would. I just need some time to figure out some things, for example, news feeds.

The instruction file is definitely not on my reader, maybe it got wiped when I had to have the hard reset, I know I no longer have the sample novels on there. Thanks for the reminder about the pdf file gwyn, I would not have even thought to do that, just read it online.

sakura-panda - I have been thinking of ordering the cover from the Sony store with the built in light. Does it make the reader noticeably heavier? It would be good to have the light available at any time in the cover, rather than having a separate light, but just worried it might make the reader too heavy.
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:04 PM   #13
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double post

Last edited by CanadianContent; 11-13-2008 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 11-13-2008, 11:15 PM   #14
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The instruction file is definitely not on my reader, maybe it got wiped when I had to have the hard reset, I know I no longer have the sample novels on there.
Try checking the CD-Rom that the Library software came on. Mine has a copy of the User's Guide on it.

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