Having just released its second-generation e-book reader in the UK, Sony has now introduced the third version in the States. Sony PRS-700 Reader Sony PRS-700 Reader: it was a .doc and stormy night... The PRS-700 won't go on sale until next month, but when it does it will sport a 6in E Ink display and enough memory for 350 e- …
Moving in the right direction
Not sure if it is just an optical illusion, but there looks to be less wasted space around the screen.
Personally I'll buy the first one that is almost all screen. The kindle, as clever as it is (I like the idea of the wireless connection) has that butt ugly keyboard getting in the way and making it much larger than it needs to be.
That's some serious improvement! I actually miss the light at night in my PRS-505, but it's not such a problem to turn on a small light (that doesn't drain the reader battery, btw)... but what about the touch screen?? it may be a real breakthrough! And what's that "search" button!! I want to know more!!!
Hang on a sec!
Whats with the stylus?
So the screen is touch sensitive? This seems to be more newsworthy than a LED light.
Need to know if this is worth importing, or just getting the 2nd gen model.
I saw the older model in Waterstones and I was quite impressed.
What really put me off though was the awful way the screen sort of flashes black and then resolves into the next page, it was just quite harsh on the eyes.
I'd like to know if the new models still do this, but it may just be how this type of screen works so perhaps it's unavoidable?
ok, next step in screen evolution is...
.... thin hinges. Thin, not thick.
Tony: Screen flicker
Yep, that's the way it works. After using mine for a bit I can say that I really don't notice the 'negative' screen change anymore in the same way you don't notice the page turn of a book.
...Just when I go out and buy a 505, Sony release a new model! Humbug I say!
Having said that, I'm very impressed with the 505 - the display is clear and crisp, the battery life is excellent and the controls are simple and intuitive.
The screen flicker (mentioned by Tony Chandler) is really annoying for about the first two minutes, but you soon get to a point where you barely notice it. I assume that the transitions are done this way to ensure that the display is redrawn correctly - there are other changes which don't update the entire screen (the 'busy' icon, the 'volume' slider and the 'denied' icon when a keypress is invalid), so it's not a direct technology limitation.
More info here: http://www.mobileread.com/
Basically for $100 more you get a lighted border (still not sure how well that'll work compared to turning on a bedside lamp), search function from onscreen keyboard, and a fingerprint-tastic touchscreen based on some questionable swipe-pageturn tech.
Think i'll not wait for this one. I like the design of the 505 anyway more than this.
Damn - I was hoping for a wireless link
I love my 505, but it is very much a tethered device that requires a PC to get new material. A wireless link - WiFi or cellular would turn the Reader into a truly stand-alone device and let people pick up new books no matter where they were - see an advert for a book or magazine, see an author interviewed - click a button, go get it.
Kindle is oh-so-close to being the perfect implementation of an eBook reader, but it looks like something put together by a junior craft class and it's tied to a non-standard EVDO network which prevents it from selling outside the US.
If it does indeed have a touchscreen, how on earth does this report not mention it? It would also explain the lack of buttons down the side of the screen like the 505.
One thing I like about the 505 is the fact that there are so many ways of turning the page (there are buttons everywhere) so it will be interesting to see how they've replaced that - presumably with the touchscreen plus the buttons at the bottom.
Native format support?
I'd love to use it to read tech books, many of which are in PDF format. Anyone know how usable their PDF reader is?
Also, according to Sony's site, you have to convert html, Word, and RTF to a native format, from your computer (not the reader). So you can't just dump a bunch of documents to a memory card without doing some work upfront. They need to do some work here!
Also would like to see native chm (not hard once you have html) and something like Plucker for the PalmOS. It lets you (from your computer) sync multiple websites or RSS feeds that you define to a data file, then vomits it to your geektoy where a reader picks it up. That'd be a tolerable compromise to not having a net connection (which I agree with. Hell, it's a book reader, let's TRY to keep it cheap).
Steve, till recently I had an imported PRS500, while it did support PDF, the support was pretty dire.
I found it nigh on impossible to read the text and while their was a zoom function, it never went past 'medium' for PDF, while with Sony's own format I could happily switch between small medium and large font sizes.
Was pretty sad to let it go to be honest, but the poor PDF support made it one of the lesser used gadgets I had. I'm hoping the 505 and the 700 PDF support is a lot better, since I'd seriously consider picking another one up if it is.
I still have one bugbear with electronic books
namely that I can't simply take my favourite books from the shelf, stick them into a device attached to my computer and then transfer them to the reading device. Am I going to pay again to get those books in a different format? Not unless it's very cheap, I'm not.
However, there's plenty of room for this market to get pretty exciting. Digital editions included with old'n'busted paper editions, direct selling by authors to their audience (iTunes Bookstore, anyone?) and simultaneous digital and paper publication, all the lessons learned by the music and video markets can be transferred directly, minus the birth pains.
Yes, people will still complain that there's nothing like a good old-fashioned book in your hands, but much the same was said of audio cassette and home video as they supplanted their forefathers.
Screen flicker put me off too, when I tested one out in Borders while in the US. If they can avoid that, the readability impressed me. I could see myself using one, if it was slim with a very minimal bezel and fast refresh rate.
OK, NOW I'm tempted
If start saving my NZ "money" now, then thanks to the effects of compound interest, I should just about be able to buy one of these the day before Ragnarok. Does anybody know if it's Unicode-compatible? If I could load this up with Hindi tuition materials and reading practice, I'd sell a kidney now for one.
These things need good PDF support. As soon as they have this I will get one.
I travel around the world a lot and often need to refer to technical manuals for various languages / operating systems. I can't take all of my books with me each time I go away and I hate reading from a downloaded pdf manual on my regular screen (even though I have dual screens in both of my offices), it just isn't the same as glancing at a book when doing something.
In time this will replace thumbing through tech manuals for me.
New firmware for the 505 allowed 3 levels of zoom on pdf instead of the original two , so you just have to update. The 700 lists as having 5 different zoom levels.
I will be updating my 505 to a 700 primarily for the new search ability as this is a lifesaver when going through my tech book archive.
Calibre - 500 and 505 content converter
The best tool I've found for my Sony Reader is the free and open source Calibre app (http://calibre.kovidgoyal.net/). It converts a whole bunch of formats and RSS feeds, newspapers, etc to your Sony. Does good PDF too. Really useful.