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Old 10-17-2006, 10:05 PM   #1
WilliamG
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My little Sony Reader review.

So, I received my Sony Reader today, courtesy of Borders in Newark.

I've tinkered with it for a little while, and though I'd share my thoughts on the little device.

First, I was a little surprised upon opening the box. I expected the Reader to be a "greyish-blue," as in the picture on Sony's website. I was taken aback to find my Reader to be more of a black-ish blue (difficult to explain!). I much prefer the colour in my hand versus the colour Sony shows you on the website.

So far so good. William is happy with the colour! We're onto a winner, surely!?

I turned the device on, and waited for about two minutes while it loaded itself up. I was impressed from the very start by the text on the loading screen. I don't think I've ever been impressed by a loading screen, but even I was startled by how great this particular loading screen looked.

After the system finished loading, I picked a random book and was again, quite impressed.

But, I suppose it had to happen. Disappointment set in.

Here's why:

1.) The text. It looks amazing. It really does. However, there's just not enough of it. What I mean by this is there isn't enough black to the black. It's almost like taking a newspaper where the words weren't printed heavily enough, like the printer was running out of ink. I want MORE to the black. The letters aren't "filled in" enough.

2.) Second, I have this drive-me-to-distraction stuck pixel on the screen. It's a reverse-polarity pixel, from what I can tell. It's black when the screen is white, and white when the screen goes black (when you change page, for example). It's dead in the centre of my screen and it drives me bananas. Perhaps I'm anal, but none of my "real" book pages have this annoying "speck" in the same place on every page, if you get me...


Overall, I'm impressed yet disappointed. I'm going to exchange this one or return it (since my local Borders hasn't gottem the Readers in yet). I just can't help but wonder what the next iteration/generation of E-Ink readers will bring. This really is the next step forward for books. Is it worth $350? No chance. Is it the beginning of the future of books? I think so.
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Old 10-17-2006, 10:08 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamG
2.) Second, I have this drive-me-to-distraction stuck pixel on the screen. It's a reverse-polarity pixel, from what I can tell. It's black when the screen is white, and white when the screen goes black (when you change page, for example). It's dead in the centre of my screen and it drives me bananas. Perhaps I'm anal, but none of my "real" book pages have this annoying "speck" in the same place on every page, if you get me...
You're not anal at all. That would drive me to get another one, for sure.
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Old 10-17-2006, 10:16 PM   #3
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Thanks for the mini-review! The more perspectives, the better. It's really nice to get fresh views on it. And a shame about the reverse pixel. I guess you tried a reset on it already?

Also curious about the "not enough ink" comment. I noticed that very small print, especially in pdfs that are plopped onto the reader as-is will show up in a way that sounds like you describe. But text books at larger sizes (I like the first book I bought, for example, set at L when I read) haven't given me that impression. Do you feel the same way about bigger text?

"Beginning of the future of books?" I sure hope so!
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Old 10-17-2006, 10:24 PM   #4
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I am with you, WilliamG, this is a good start but it isn't worth the $350.
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Old 10-17-2006, 10:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Russell
Thanks for the mini-review! The more perspectives, the better. It's really nice to get fresh views on it. And a shame about the reverse pixel. I guess you tried a reset on it already?

Also curious about the "not enough ink" comment. I noticed that very small print, especially in pdfs that are plopped onto the reader as-is will show up in a way that sounds like you describe. But text books at larger sizes (I like the first book I bought, for example, set at L when I read) haven't given me that impression. Do you feel the same way about bigger text?

"Beginning of the future of books?" I sure hope so!

I have indeed tried resetting the device, to no avail.

About the text, I also tried making it larger and I still felt like there wasn't enough depth to the text. I'm sure this one is very subjective, though. I wanted to get out a black ball-point pen and fill in the letters a little more. That's the best way to explain it.

That said, I can surely afford the $350, so I'll be patient until I can get a new one from my Borders. It really is a fantastic unit, and I'll be exchanging mine just as soon as I can.

That said, I can't help but feel like new Readers are just around the corner...
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Old 10-18-2006, 12:00 AM   #6
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With other books that come in RTF, HTML, TXT, etc... I'm sure you could change the font to a heavier font with the bolder look you prefer.

For the stuck pixel, have you tried to "rub" it out? Often this is how stuck pixels on LCDs can get worked out. Just rub the area gently but with a little pressure in a circular motion about the size of a quarter with a soft cloth/lint free paper towel. Just for 10-15 seconds when it is black. See what happens, what can it hurt.
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Old 10-18-2006, 12:12 AM   #7
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I have the problem with the little line too in the center of the screen (about 1 inch and has a hairline breadth)- I get it only when I'm changing pages and not while reading so it really has'nt bothered me.
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Old 10-18-2006, 12:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamG
About the text, I also tried making it larger and I still felt like there wasn't enough depth to the text. I'm sure this one is very subjective, though. I wanted to get out a black ball-point pen and fill in the letters a little more. That's the best way to explain it.
I think what you're saying is that the black isn't black enough; there is not enough contrast between the background and the text to create the appearance of crisp text. This was a complaint I read about the Libre too.
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Old 10-18-2006, 01:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmeister0
I think what you're saying is that the black isn't black enough; there is not enough contrast between the background and the text to create the appearance of crisp text. This was a complaint I read about the Libre too.
The background is, indeed, quite gray. However, the contrast improves greatly with ambient light. (I.e. outside in daylight.)
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Old 10-18-2006, 01:12 PM   #10
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I've noticed that mine seems to get a bit "brighter" after I've read/turned several pages. That could just be a trick of the eye, I suppose.

On the occasions when I pick it up after leaving it lying around on for a while (but less than an hour, when it turns off) I've been clicking page forward 3 times and then page back 3 times to get it to refresh 6 times rapidly, that seems to loosen it up some.
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Old 10-18-2006, 02:54 PM   #11
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I just flip the power switch whenever I'm going to sit it down for more than a minute. I think this just blanks out the display, because when I'm ready to start reading again I just flip it again and it comes back up at the same page within a second or two. Certainly faster than turning six pages.
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Old 10-18-2006, 03:06 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the responses, guys. I have tried the "rubbing of the pixel" trick, and it didn't work. Goodness, I wish it had.

Oh, and please Sony let us turn the page with our right hand sometime soon. Gosh, what an oversight! We're not ALL Japanese, you know!
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Old 10-18-2006, 03:09 PM   #13
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I found last night you can! You can turn the pages with the little joystick. I remember specifically accidentally hitting it to the left and the page going back one. Of course this was about 2:00am as I was trying to finish a book, so it might be my crazy sleep-deprived imagination.

Besides that, I have sometimes found myself holding the bottom with my right hand, with the thumb on the front and my fingers on the back. I can change the pages with the bottom left circle this way. It's not as comfortable as the left hand/side buttons, but it's good for changing positions.
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Old 10-18-2006, 03:12 PM   #14
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I would love a button more convenient with the right hand also. I miss it every day when I think about switching hands. Right hand is okay, with thumb on the big page turn button, but a more convenient button (where the joystick is) would be really nice.

The reason there is no page turn on the RHS column is that apparently there is too much electronics in there, so there's no room.

Now that I've read a couple of books on it, I also would have appreciated if the little page buttons on the left column were raised a little more. They sort of sink into the fleshy part of my thumb so I have to press a bit, and it also doesn't have much travel or a good click response, which is less satisfying. But now we're being really nitpicky.

One thing I'm keeping an eye on is whether or not anyone finds that the page buttons wear out from lots of usage. My Sony Clie's main up/down button got worn out and finicky from excessive use due to e-book reading. (Lots of page turns because of the tiny screen!) But I think the Reader is made with lots of clicking in mind, and the controls are sturdier looking than the little control on my Clie. Besides I have the extended accidental handling warranty, which I assume would cover any problems in the next two years at least.
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Old 10-18-2006, 03:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaping Gnome
You can turn the pages with the little joystick.
Technically yes, but it won't do what you want. It's actually just navigating backwd and fwd through page history.

.... but if you really have the joystick turning to pages that haven't been viewed before, we want to know the trick!
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