Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Sony E-Reader: PRS-650

Some time ago I said, somewhere  (edit: here), that I couldn't see the point in having an e-reader as it would just give me another electronic item to cart around.  How wrong I was.

I have been buying books from O'Reilly for some years.  Last year I started buying them in the PDF format as it was a bit cheaper and I could have the PDF on the screen at the same time as whatever I was working on.  In reality this didn't work out too well as flicking between screens and windows all the time quickly annoyed the hell out of me.

As I had purchased these items as e-books I was able to download them in any of the available e-book formats.  This brought me round to thinking that perhaps having an e-reader would be a good idea.  Simply being able to discard the weight of the various books I tend to have lying around is what convinced me in the end.  After all, what is one more small electronic item compared to several technical manuals?

Having made the decision to buy I then had to decide what to buy.  Fortunately this was made easy for me as a colleague at work who is also a librarian had recently purchased an e-reader.  Being the type of person she is, she had gone out and tested all the models and decided on a Sony PRS650BC as being the best available and so that is what I bought.  In fact I bought two as I decided Camille would probably want one as well.

I ordered them online through the Sony store.  What an experience!  I am never, ever going to buy another Sony product online again.  From when I ordered them it took several e-mails (unanswered), 4 phone calls and 40 days before we received them.  The order - an electronic order, mind you - actually got lost on at least one occasion.

During this farce I discovered an interesting thing about the Sony website.  They have an area called "My Sony" which is impossible to sign up to using their links. Each link to 'Join' or "register' with "My Sony" actually leads to their Product Registration Page.

The links highlighted in the top image take you to the page in the 2nd image.

However, if you edit the links so they they go to instead of then you get the "My Sony" registration page.  I did inform Sony of this via one of my several unanswered e-mails but obviously the message didn't get through.

Here is a link to a Canadian Sony site's PRS650BC page as the product has completely disappeared from the NZ Sony website.

The e-reader itself is excellent. Very easy to use and very easy to read.  The e-ink technology is easy on the eyes - there is no glare from the screen at all and it is very visible in daylight.  I have imported all my technical books to it and find it very useful while working.  I can't flip from index to page and back again in the same way I would with a paper book but it is still a good experience.

PDFs can be read on it but I wouldn't bother with them.  They don't re-flow on the e-reader so can be difficult to read.  Also large ones are very slow.  With one manual which was around 1200 pages it was taking literally minutes to turn a page.  However, I installed Calibre, an e-book management utility (Windows, Linux,  MAC) and used it to convert PDF to the epub format.   Now it flows properly and the pages turn as they should.

My fiction reading has also gone up. I'm not sure why but this is a good thing.  I'm spending less time in front of my computer screen aimlessly reading pointless blog comments and more reading novels on the e-reader.

All in all, a good buy but I recommend avoiding the NZ Sony website for purchasing products.  Go to a physical store and get one.


Anonymous said...

My experience in Europe.I bought a Sony PRS 650 in a shop and a Kindle3 online (3 days from US to Italy): Both very good for reading and I agree : less computer screen in front of me.
Here my comparison :

Thrash Cardiom said...

Nice comparison.