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Old 09-03-2009, 01:33 PM   #1
campee
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sony prs-600: a review

I bought the Sony PRS-600 yesterday at the Sony Store in Palo Alto, California. I have a large collection of IT related PDF documents that I wanted to read at the beach, on airplanes, etc. Sadly, this is not the device for me.

When you open a PDF, the default display mode is full page view. For some reason, it leaves roughly one inch of the screen on each side of the document as blank space and centers the document in the middle of this blank space. The PRS-600 screen is 4"x6". When you open a PDF, it only uses 2"x4" of the screen. It's taking an 8.5" x 11" document and putting it in a 2"x4" box. It's basically unreadable unless you feel like squinting and holding it an inch from your face. For the record, I'm 29 and I have perfect 20/20 vision. Ok, so that's useless. But wait, you can zoom in on the document, right?

There are two ways to zoom in on a PDF on the PRS-600. You can increase the font size, which actually does make the document readable, provided that the document supports PDF reflow. I have found that my collection of books is hit or miss in terms of whether or not the document supports reflow. I can fix the documents that don't support reflow by processing them in Adobe Acrobat and converting them. Problem solved there, but it's kind of time consuming to process multiple 600 page documents one by one. Once you increase the font size, all of the diagrams/special formatting in the PDF get screwed up and become unreadable. You have to set the font size back to "small", squint to see the graphic, and then change the font size back to medium/large to continue reading the document. What a pain.

The PRS-600 also supports the ability to zoom in on your PDF documents, which provides better results than resizing the fonts. It basically treats the page you're looking at as an image and zooms in/out on it. If I zoom in like 30%, the page takes up 100% of the screen. Why this isn't the default mode of viewing PDFs is beyond me. I can read the text and view the images/diagrams just fine in this view. However, when it comes time to read the next page, the zoom level resets and I'm back to incredibly small and unreadable text. I have to zoom in on the page again, click on the + icon to zoom in repeatedly until I get to the level that I like, and then I can read the page again. Repeat over and over. Annoying.

I haven't tried buying a book from Sony to see what that experience is like. I don't even own a Windows or Apple computer to install their software on. I just load my PDFs onto a memory card from my Ubuntu laptop and stick it in the reader. That process works very well, actually. Too bad that reading the document leaves so much to be desired.

I'm probably going to return this device. Unfortunately, they're going to charge me a 15% restocking fee. I guess that's cheaper than being stuck with a $300 device that isn't very useful to me.
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Old 09-03-2009, 01:57 PM   #2
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campee--

You might want to try the Calibre software. It has a verison that runs on Linux, and you can use it to convert books to either ePUb or LRF formats for your reader. Also, there are programs that will remove margins around PDF files.

Check out the Calibre forum on these message boards for more information.

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Old 09-03-2009, 02:36 PM   #3
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Talking Sony Touch screen PRS-600

Hands-on Review Sony Reader Touch Edition PRS-600 vs. Kindle
This one nailed it. Kindle is nothing as compared to Sony's new PRS-600 Touchscreen.
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Old 09-03-2009, 02:47 PM   #4
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I took an SD card full of PDFs to my local Sony Style store and had the exact same problems. If it even remembered the zoom when you went to the next page I might have bought it because I've been wanting an ebook reader for a long time. Sadly, I'm still waiting for "that" perfect device and getting closer to getting an iRex digital reader.
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Old 09-03-2009, 04:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonexx View Post
Hands-on Review Sony Reader Touch Edition PRS-600 vs. Kindle
This one nailed it. Kindle is nothing as compared to Sony's new PRS-600 Touchscreen.
"Sony has a more open model towards eBooks unlike the Amazon’s limited model. The result – Millions of cheaper eBooks, available via Sony library.'

Cheaper? Are they really cheaper on books put out by the major published agencies for fiction? Won't debate that there's many more technical software books available in PDF and also travel guidebooks, but that content fits a larger screen as campee has detailed.

I'm considering the PRS-300 for use with my local libraries, but so far I've found that the book selection I'm interested in is readily available for kindle and usually 20% off the print price. Paperback fiction from major publishers is often cheaper on amazon than booksonboard and fictionwise. Honest question - do the sony library store prices compare to amazon azw books?
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Old 09-03-2009, 04:58 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by freecia View Post
do the sony library store prices compare to amazon azw books?
You can compare prices, Sony's store is at http://ebookstore.sony.com/ (note you need to use their software to buy). Sony has lowered prices a fair amount from what they used to charge, but I haven't really compared since I don't buy from Sony.

For Amazon I've personally I've found that other than the $9.99 books most books I've bought have been a few cents cheaper at BoB. However the price savings with those $9.99 books has almost saved me enough that it's paid for my K2 already (bought on release day).
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Old 09-03-2009, 05:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
The PRS-600 screen is 4"x6".
Not 6" diagonally?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Kindle's 6" screen measured diagonally?

Clarification here might help settle a discussion on another thread in regards to whether the Sony 7" Daily Edition's screen was measured diagonally or tall.

If true, how much more screen area does the PRS-600 have vs the Kindle? Likewise, the Daily Edition screen area might approach that of the Kindle DX.
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Old 09-03-2009, 05:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by sforce View Post
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Kindle's 6" screen measured diagonally?
Yes. The Kindle and the PRS-600 have exactly the same 6" diagonal screen size.

I agree, though, with campee's basic point that Sony could have significantly improved PDF support with a few simple upgrades that were suggested over and over by PRS-700 owners. Firstly, include a "trim margins" full screen option and secondly change the zoom option to make it persistent between pages. Sony actually did have PDF margin trim before they added ADE, and it is (now) an option in mobile ADE because the Kindle DX is using it.
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Old 09-03-2009, 06:40 PM   #9
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You don't have to click on the plus sign to zoom; you can also slide the indicator into the correct position. I find this to be more convenient. I personally don't find having to reset the zoom to be that annoying. Have you tried looking at the PDFs in landscape mode?
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Old 09-04-2009, 06:14 AM   #10
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wow the repeat zooming can get tedious. that was just stupid of sony.
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Old 09-11-2009, 01:15 PM   #11
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I ended up returning this device. The guy at the Sony Store wanted to know why I was returning it and I told him "I just don't think this device is very good". He was curious why I said that, and I offered to demonstrate my issues with the device and reading PDFs. He seemed to agree that it didn't work very well for my needs and waived the 15% restocking fee, so that was nice. I'm going to wait until these devices get better in general (not just Sony's, but all of the readers out there) before I buy another one.
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:31 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by scoff View Post
I took an SD card full of PDFs to my local Sony Style store and had the exact same problems. If it even remembered the zoom when you went to the next page I might have bought it because I've been wanting an ebook reader for a long time. Sadly, I'm still waiting for "that" perfect device and getting closer to getting an iRex digital reader.


PDF viewing / zooming is the weakest link for almost all current generation readers (Dont know about eslick).

The hardware in some of the readers are good enough to process pdf, but few seem to come up with a functional solution for the readers.

Any one know a reader that can zoom in on pdf and maintain the zoom if jump to the next page?
or any reader can do the same for .jpg?

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Old 09-11-2009, 10:47 PM   #13
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Campee, the problem is that most PDF is made for letter size with huge margins. And on a 6" screen, it's going not be all that wonderful. You'll be needing a device with a larger than 6" screen to be able to handle letter sized PDF.
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonexx View Post
Hands-on Review Sony Reader Touch Edition PRS-600 vs. Kindle
This one nailed it. Kindle is nothing as compared to Sony's new PRS-600 Touchscreen.
If this is a 600 vs. Kindle 2, it was a rather poor review. They barely mentioned the K2 and what with this Apple Tablet nonsense?
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