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Old 09-04-2009, 01:51 PM   #1
Willo142
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Sony Reader PRS-500

I was just wondering if anyone had one of these, and what there opinion is on it? So far i cant find any way it significantly differs from the 505 (except bigger memory which doesn't matter to me because of SD card expansion slot) yet despite this it seems too be around £50 cheaper that the 505, is there any big flaw im missing that would justify me paying the extra 50? all i want it too do is read RTF and PDF and have the I-ink Display.

suggestions?

thanks
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Old 09-04-2009, 01:54 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Willo142 View Post
I was just wondering if anyone had one of these, and what there opinion is on it? So far i cant find any way it significantly differs from the 505 (except bigger memory which doesn't matter to me because of SD card expansion slot) yet despite this it seems too be around £50 cheaper that the 505, is there any big flaw im missing that would justify me paying the extra 50? all i want it too do is read RTF and PDF and have the I-ink Display.

suggestions?

thanks
The 505 has a better screen (faster processor???). It also supports PDF reflow which the 500 doesn't IIRC, although neither are ideal PDF readers if you're trying to read Letter/A4 size PDFs.
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Old 09-04-2009, 01:59 PM   #3
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The screen really is the biggest difference. The PRS-500 has a "first generation" eInk screen; the 505 (and all other current eInk devices) have a "second generation" screen which has much better contrast, and doesn't suffer the "ghosting" which sometimes plagues the 500.

Bear in mind too that all PRS-500s will now be something like 2-3 years old, which means that the battery will be losing its capacity to a greater or a lesser extent. The battery on the Sony devices is not "user replaceable", and is quite expensive to have replaced by Sony.
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Old 09-04-2009, 03:05 PM   #4
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but are all these problems worth the extra 50? i mean i can get one for just shy of £100, this is an ideal price, as im on quite a budget, are they any other budget readers around that price that perform better?
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Old 09-05-2009, 03:23 AM   #5
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For me it would certainly be worth paying £50 more. Whether it is for you, is a question that unfortunately only you can answer.
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Old 09-05-2009, 04:20 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Willo142 View Post
So far i cant find any way it significantly differs from the 505 ... yet despite this it seems too be around £50 cheaper that the 505, is there any big flaw im missing that would justify me paying the extra 50? all i want it too do is read RTF and PDF and have the I-ink Display.
I have PRS-500
The difference
- units are going to be much older
- with batteries that are past their prime
- with display that is one generation older (but still absolutely magnificent)
- PRS-505 supports e-pub, so you can borrow books from libraries
- there are different hacks available for PRS-505 and PRS-500. IMHO it is easier to install custom fonts on PRS-505, plus you can embed fonts in epub files

There is one big unknown. At the end of the year SONY is going to convert their entire ebook shop to epub and they promised "an upgrade path for PRS-500 owners" and nobody knows what they mean. It could be a trade-in, a firmware update, ...


Make no mistake, PRS-500 is great piece of hardware. It is very well suited for reading rtf files - that is what I use it for. BUT! If somebody offered me a chance to upgrade it to PRS-505 for 50 quid, I would not hesitate for even a split second.
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Old 09-05-2009, 06:15 AM   #7
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right, so basically its just an older peice of kit? the battery life doesnt bother me, aslong as i can read a book on a single charge (about 500-1000 pages) then id be okay with that.

and am i right in thinking i can just transfer RTF files from my pc onto the memory card? and do pdf's work in this way too? (this again isnt a problem, it just saves me converting them)
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Old 09-05-2009, 06:30 AM   #8
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A couple more differences:

1. The PRS-500 can only be accessed via the "Sony eBook Library" software (although you can, as you say, copy files to a memory card); the PRS-505 mounts as an external drive on the PC when you plug in the USB, so you can directly copy files to it.

2. Since the PRS-500 was never officially sold in the UK, if it breaks, you'll have to send it back to the US for repair. The PRS-505 can of course be repaired in the UK, since it's sold here.

If you're buying this for the long term, I honestly do think that the 505 is worth paying the extra for, but that's just me.
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Old 09-05-2009, 06:40 AM   #9
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hmm thats a good point, are they prone too breaking? (more so than any other 5yr old hardware)

i think it may be a case of paying the extra 50, maybe i could get a decent deal and maybe get one for 130?
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Old 09-05-2009, 07:16 AM   #10
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and am i right in thinking i can just transfer RTF files from my pc onto the memory card? and do pdf's work in this way too?
Yes. Load txt, rtf, lrf or pdf on a memory card, insert card into reader, wait a little bit until reader looks what files are on card and then read the file.

Be careful with pdf files.
The size of the screen minus status line is 90x115mm.
Can your pdf document be displayed on such a small space?
Print out your pdf document on an area 90x115mm and doublecheck if it is acceptable.
If you prepare pdf specially for reader, the results are useable. If you load random document with small text that was prepared for A4 or Letter format, the text will be too small.
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Old 09-05-2009, 07:22 AM   #11
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hmm thats a good point, are they prone too breaking? (more so than any other 5yr old hardware)
My PRS-500 has survived quite a few drops and other mishaps.
I am very careful when I handle my Reader and I have built an armoured case for transport, but if you use a device for several years, for at least an hour every single day, wherever you go, there will be some drops on the floor and similar accidents.

Last edited by kacir; 09-05-2009 at 07:26 AM.
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Old 09-05-2009, 09:11 AM   #12
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Also note that Sony isn't doing much to support the PRS-500 anymore. Their drivers for it will not work on a 64-bit operating system, so you would wind up having to use the memory card to transfer data onto it. This may not be a big deal now, but new computers are increasingly coming with 64-bit OSes installed... it's not just for hardcore techies anymore. I helped pick out a laptop for my little sister a few weeks ago and it came with 64-bit Vista straight from HP.

I went through this same process this past week and wound up with a PRS-505. So far, I couldn't be happier. The PDF support is what really sold me on the Sony line and why I didn't wind up with a Kindle like everyone else I know.
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Old 09-06-2009, 02:38 AM   #13
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Most everyone here has paid more for a device than you are looking to pay so their perceived value is higher and they would all spend more. However, I would look carefully at the answers. Everyone has said, do what you will, but I would spend the extra $50.

There are three things I think you need to consider.

1) Don't assume you can read PDFs on this device. I have heard some very satisfied folks who read pdf's in landscape mode on a Sony. However, the general consensus seems to be that you will not be satisfied with pdf's on a six inch device. Those who are most satisfied are usually willing to specially process the files to trim off unwanted white space and even resize the pages before loading them onto their Sony, so if you aren't a tinkerer then think twice about pdf's on 6".

2) I'm not sure where your 500 to 1000 page calculation comes from. Remember that a e-reader screen size is not directly comparable to a paper book. Furthermore, don't ever believe that 8,000 pages on a single charge that the ebook manufacturers give you. There are quite a few factors that make it the battery life considerably less than that. Some folks report reading about three weeks per charge. I'm lucky to get three days, and I've used four different e-ink devices and seen this consistently across all four. I suspect it has to do with how you read. However, I can usually complete a single book on a full charge. If your battery is beginning to weaken; however, I wouldn't count on getting through an entire book.

3) If you aren't aware of it, the 505 is being discontinued and replaced with an upgraded model. I expect this to mean that you will find better prices on the 505 in the near future. However, just to be contrary I will report that some people like the 505 better than the upgrade. This could lead to a rising price for the 505 since it isn't manufactured any more.

Good luck
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Old 09-06-2009, 03:21 AM   #14
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3) If you aren't aware of it, the 505 is being discontinued and replaced with an upgraded model. I expect this to mean that you will find better prices on the 505 in the near future. However, just to be contrary I will report that some people like the 505 better than the upgrade. This could lead to a rising price for the 505 since it isn't manufactured any more.
Given, though, that the ADE renderer (which displays ePub and PDF files) is the same on the new Sony models as it is on the existing ones, there's really little to choose between them as far as actual book display goes.
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Old 09-06-2009, 01:08 PM   #15
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Some very helpful advice there emellaich, but i do not mind tinkering with pdf's, and as far as batteries are concerned i see no reason i couldn't replace it myself, im pretty tech savvy. and iv managed too find some that are £70 cheaper than 505, so atleast for the time being, ill be getting a prs 500
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