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Old 03-08-2010, 08:15 AM   #1
BrightLight
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My Love-Hate relationship with my Sony PRS-600

I’ve owned a Sony PRS-600 for a few months now, and still can’t make up my mind if I love it or hate it…

I use it mainly for reading articles for research, and general interest, and some of the classics that are available free. The concept is brilliant, a small little device that I can pick up at any time and delve into a range of subjects and reading material as required. And in this regard the convenience and flexibility of having a nice library of books and reading material with me, especially when I working away or travelling for a few days is brilliant, and has definitely made me read more material.

However… the niggles. It’s well documented the Sony Software is not the best, and as a Mac user, I’ve had all the bad experiences of the software temporarily not working at all, and having to dig around on these forums to find the solution to delete all the hidden files and start afresh. – Should it really be that hard? In fact if it were not for this site, I think I would have returned the unit in the first 10 days, after I first experienced the problems.

Likewise, thank goodness for Calibre – I think Sony should be paying that fine gentleman for creating a piece of software that is usable with their product, which gives users the opportunity to not have to battle with their own effort. – again, I wouldn’t have found out about that solution were it not for this site. And again would have probably given up struggling with the Sony software, had I had to fend for myself alone.

e-Ink, Hmm, the jury is still out on this one as far as I’m concerned. I love its clarity, the fact I can use it outdoors, and the battery life. However, indoors, especially of an evening, it can be struggle in a poorly lit room. Worse than real paper, and when I compare with something like my iPhone to check an email or something, it’s like looking at a faded out LCD screen from a 90’s PDA. Maybe a reading light will solve that problem.

But is e-ink really that good? and will it survive long term? On my Sony I’ve noticed a very tiny bit of ‘ghosting’, where for a page turn immediately following using with a lot of ink, such as the home screen, I can see a very fine impression of the previous page. Looking through the posts on here I see that this is an inherent feature of e-Ink displays.

I really wonder what is going to happen when devices such as the iPad become available. Now not wanting to spark off an Apple vs haters debate, but will Joe Public really be turned on by a slow faded B/W display with cranky software, over a device that just works (based on experience with iPods, and iPhone etc), and has a rich display that is more versatile to show many different media?

e-Ink appears to have its fans, but not always does the higher quality product win through in the marketplace. ….Betamax? and surely in 2010, we should be listening to high resolution Super Audio CDs, rather than inferior quality MP3’s? But the marketplace likes convenience it seems.

The Sony PRS has some good potential, but has been let down by awful software, and has irritating things such as non-persistent page zooming, so I really think they need to improve their game to keep in the top flight.

I think for me, there that been several occasions along the line where I would normally have given up with the product, but only through my persistence to want the convenience of the books on the go, which I love, have I been able to cope with some of the struggles in using the technology.

I wonder how much my Sony will get used when I get my hands on an iPad? If there were a 6” iPad, then the answer would be easy. But possibly whilst the 9.7” iPad will be too big for me to take and use in all places, it will still have a use in being a compact and convenient way to read more books, which, when not struggling with the software, has been something I can say the Sony has achieved for me.

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Old 03-08-2010, 08:39 AM   #2
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I kind of know what you mean BrightLight - I had a bit of a Love/hate relationship with the Sony prs-600 myself.

The niggles were the Sony software which I abandoned in the end as I struggled with it, instability issues where I had to reset the device frequently after freezes etc.

After winning the Pocketbook 360 on mobileread, it made the Sony (for me) seem vastly inferior. Partly because the screen on the pb was so much clearer to read (not having the extra touchscreen layer) and with extra features which the Sony lacked such as full folder support and file management on the device itself.

I also bought a Kindle and although compared with the super sleek Sony it looks like a brick, I still found I prefered using the Kindle.

In the end I sold my Sony. Looked nice but didn't work for me personally.

Could be that you've just not got the perfect e-ink device for you.
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Old 03-08-2010, 10:45 AM   #3
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Thanks for the note poshm. Yes, the Sony software is awful. I can see now how if their MP3 software was anything like this, how Sony lost pole position in the mobile music market.

I'd kinda been hoping there may have been one or two more fixes in the software since I purchased it, but from what I've seen there is nothing significant. I think we just have to accept that the device/software can be inherently unreliable, and will need a prod in its reset button every now and then, along with a software wipe on the computer.

You are right the Sony does look and feel well built though, which was one of the things that attracted me to it. But I think with the Japanese manufacturer's mentality of obsoleting products very quickly, and introducing a new model, I doubt if there will be much in the way of improving operation and reliability midway through its lifecycle.

The screen on the PocketBook does look to have a much better contrast. (I suspect the 505 does as well). Most of my documents I read are PDF's where I chop the boarders off, and read in landscape mode on the 600. Unfortunately I think going to a 5" screen will be pushing what my eyesight can cope with. Even though the additional features of the folder management do look attractive too.

I'll probably just live with how the Sony is, unless someone makes a 6" device that can read PDFs well, has a fixed variable zoom that carries over from page to page, and doesn't crash (software and hardware) so often.

The haters may not like the iPad, because it is something produced by Apple, but if nothing else, it's going to have to make other manufacturers up their game. And for me at the moment if I could have bigger iPod Touch or iPhone that has the same reliability and easy of use, I'd probably jump ship straight away. Ironically the much larger size of the iPad, will probably mean I work with both the Sony and Apple for a while. e-Ink or not, I can guess which one will give me less hassle based on how stable my iPhone has been.
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:00 AM   #4
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I think it's safe to say that all of the current e-readers are pretty primitive. My 300 is great, for what it is. But I think the next few years will bring much better products. I think eInk will not even make it to the next generation of readers, it is really so limiting.

As far as the Sony products, it is really personal preference. The exception to that is that their software is truly lame, but the reader itself is just fine. The touch screens on any brand are a compromise of readability and convenience.
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Old 03-08-2010, 02:21 PM   #5
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Hi Bemen,

I think I can live with the primitiveness of these devices, and accept that they are not rich multimedia products, and are not meant to be. I think my frustration with my Sony is that for a product that costs £250 and from a major manufacturer it does seem to still be flaky and cause many of its users hassle in everyday use with sync problems, and hardware freezes etc. I just would have thought Sony would have sorted a large number of these things out by now.

But that said, even with all the niggles I've had with the product, and the few things I still don't like about it, I still very much like what it allows me to do, which is read more, and (on the whole) with more convenience. The glare and slightly reduced contrast on the touch screen is a bit of a pain sometimes, but I can live with that for the benefits it gives me for my usage.

My message to Sony, if ever anyone from there ever reads these posts, is make the product more reliable and think about how your customers will use these devices, if you're to stand a chance of keeping up when the next range of devices start to come on stream in a month or two's time.

BrightLight
PS the PRS-300 is a lovely little machine, and if I were only reading text, I'm sure that would have been my choice for something clear and pocketable.
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Old 03-08-2010, 02:54 PM   #6
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Yes, I can agree with you that it is a touchy product. Sony is not noted for user friendly UI design, and these readers are no exception. I have had mine about 3 months.... and if I were buying today, I would not buy an eInk device.... I love the battery life, but that is really about the only plus for me. ... For my day to day reading, in many ways my hacked DS Lite is a better reader.

But, as I said before, I think better devices are ahead.....
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Old 03-09-2010, 03:59 PM   #7
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I'm loving the 600 but my goodness what a hassle once you go even vaguely beyond wonderful Calibre and public domain books. Authorising was a nightmare, the Sony store UK has no option to authorise a device in the 'my account' fields - how very mad is that!

No support from them. Worked round that (by saying I was in the States when launching the library software for the first time so finally got taken to a place where I could authorise).

Then found Calibre wouldn't recognise the Reader post authorisation. Had to start all over again on another Mac. Over 400 books on Calibre on the lap top and no reader recognition, empty Calibre that does recognise the Reader on the desktop. Confused, try living it!

Now ADE won't handle library books on PC, even though all authorised and registered and using the same ID details.

So yeah, that bit is a complete nightmare. Such a struggle.

But the Reader is great, compact, lovely style, intuitive setup in the Reader itself and I'm loving the ability to make notes in mid book. Screen fine for me and capacity is great.

Just wish it was plug and play. I've been spoilt by Apple. Audible through iTunes onto iPod, very slick and totally trouble free.
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