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Old 03-05-2009, 10:53 AM   #1
Dr. V
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Dr. V began at the beginning.
Posts: 1
Karma: 10
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Baltimore, MD
Device: SONY eReader PRS-505/LC

I have to tell you guys, that I've been reading all those reviews about Kindle and SONY for a while and still could not make my mind. Luckily, we have a Sony Style store in Annapolis, MD, which is 40 minutes drive from Baltimore. I am so-o-o-o glad that together with my wife we've decided to take a drive to Annapolis. We came prepared with memory stick cards, containing the files of papers and documents, which we wanted to test simultaneously on both PRS-505 and PRS-700 readers. Well, I can tell one thing for sure: If you have a chance to test it in Sony Style store near you, then you better do it, because NO review is going to help you until you PUT your own hands and FOCUS you own eyes on this 'NEW' and 'IMPROVED' SONY device. To tell you the truth, this is another example of wasting a good idea and ruining a perfectly good product.

Yes, PRS-700 has a screen glare in direct light, and it is no so pleasant to read because of 'foggy' touch screen. I agree that a touch screen is a great idea, but not at the price of quality in respect to its primary function - reading books! If you are a student, who has lots of papers and need to take notes, ect., then obviously PRS-700 is a good choice, considering that this single benefit will outweigh its lack in text quality. As for reading image PDF files, i.e. those when text is 'scanned' and is 'as image' in the PDF file, then this new PRS-700 device is as useless as its PRS-505 predecessor. I haven't had a chance to test image PDF files on Kindle, but my guess is that it would be the same as on SONY Reader. All I know is that my old Toshiba laptop with only 256MB memory module reads the same files much faster than the 'NEW' PRS-700. Yes, I admit that at least in PRS-700 you could zoom into such PDF page, but it would work only for a file with a couple of pages in it, not with a couple of hundred pages, because PRS-700 just 'hangs' forever with all its so-called 'increased' and 'improved' memory, etc. As I've told you already above, my old Toshiba handles those image based PDF ten times better and faster.

There is also a good idea about built-in lights on left and right side in PRS-700, but I wonder why on Earth SONY didn't put those lights all around the screen, i.e. including top and bottom, because it definitely would make it much better compared to the way it is done in PRS-700 now.

You've probably guessed by now what my wife and I decided to purchase for reading books... Yes, we've bought PRS-505 (and we LOVE it), a much better choice for book lovers, because it really gives an impression of reading a REAL book, when compared to how text looks and feels on PRS-700. Forget e-ink technology on PRS-700, because there is nothing left of it, and you just get this feel which you have on all those PDA’s and cell phones.

To read PRS-505 at night we’ve purchased a $69.99 leather book cover with the light, but even this one SONY couldn't do right! I always wonder if all those SONY engineers, who design these things, actually try to use the products they design, or it is the case like everywhere and with everything, i.e. all those designers don't really care how is it going to work? Instead of making (in the book cover with light) the plastic screen cover with equal thickness all throughout it, they've managed to make it thicker at the base, i.e. where it is attached to the center of the cover, and it becomes thinner and arrow-like the further you go from the center. Since the source of the light is in the base (i.e. closer to the center of the book cover) of the plastic plate, it gives a foggy 'wave' effect when the light is turned on and text looks uneven like if you are reading through a prism. If it wouldn't be for this angled piece of plastic, the light would be spreading evenly throughout the plate, and it would be a pleasure to read at night, but… It is just another example of a perfectly good idea and its bad implementation. Jeez, I wonder how all these companies, including SONY, are actually staying in business, if they don't even bother to test their products before offering them to consumers? What a waste of money....

Yeah, there is one more thing! Neither PRS-700BC, nor PRS-505 have multi-language support. You would think that SONY should have thought about it, right? Nope, they didn't. SONY probably thinks that EVERYBODY in the USA reads in English only, while everywhere you'd turn, you'd hear a foreign language. My point is, that in the USA and pretty much everywhere in the World we live now in a multicultural society, and it would be nice to give people a choice to read in language they'd prefer, say, for example, in German, Italian, Spanish, French, Chinese, etc.

Actually, the multi-language support problem in SONY Reader was already solved for SONY by some programmer in Russia, who wrote a BIOS flashing program for SONY Readers. For those of you who don't know, SONY uses free Linux platform as operating system for their Readers. I've downloaded this BIOS flashing program and already flashed my PRS-505, and now I can select and read in any language I would prefer, in addition to English, of course. In addition, there are much better sets of icons and other cool additions, with which you could 'flash' your SONY reader.

I think that what SONY should do, is to THANK and PAY that Russian guy for the program he wrote, and start distribution of his multi-language support program on SONY website, instead of making customers like me wonder the Internet in search of multi-language support.

I hope that some of you have found my comments useful and got out the main idea:

If you've got a chance, try it before you buy it, regardless of whether you consider buying either Kindle, SONY Reader, Irex Iliad, etc. It is especially important, if you would take into consideration the fact that SONY Style stores take a 15% re-stocking fee, if you decide to return or even to exchange your reader within 14-days from the day of your purchase.

I cannot tell you what to do and what to buy. Obviously, it all will depend on what you really need. Actually, if I would need something like PRS-700 for school and reading all those papers and taking notes, I probably would end up buying a Tablet PC or a small laptop, but definitely not PRS-700, especially not for $400!
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