Excellent device in general
Apologies for length of the comment!
I bought the PRS-500 about a week after it's release (in the US), and have read somewhere in the region of 1000+ books on it. I love reading 'real' books, and have 750+ kicking around at home. Overall I'm exceptionally happy with the PRS-500, and have been toying with the 505 - a UK version (at sensible price) may push me into doing so.
- Ideal when travelling (I spend >50% of my time away from home, and read 2-3 books a week - a lot of paper)
- Excellent contrast: easy to read, in fact easier the sunnier it gets, whilst still not bad with a torch.
- Not too much wasted real-estate: (on the 500, the 505 IMHO wastes too much - I prefer the look/feel of the 500 physically)
- Battery: lasts around 2200 page turns for me
- Supported media: RTF and TXT - allow me to read pretty much anything I acquire, although some backend processing may be required first
- USB Charging
- Reading in bed: I can just prop the reader up without worrying about losing my page.
- Page history: Related to the last, it keeps track of what page you were reading - no more losing your place.
- Geek-chic: May or may not be a pro, but I've had _lots_ of people asking about it when I've been on trains, buses, planes, etc.
- Sturdy: I've banged it around, fallen on it, dropped it from 6+ feet, it's been rained and snowed on, and it's still happily working.
- Font size: You can cycle through 3 different font sizes, useful for when eyes are tired etc. However, if you're reading an RTF, font size 8 is not trivial to read even on the highest setting - I tend to convert my RTFs to font 12+.
- Just a reader: This is just an eBook reader and not a massively multifunction device. Which is what I want. For anything more I'd just get my laptop out.
- Battery: Would be nice to be able to swap in/out some AAA batteries. plus as noted above, the battery does run down over time when not in use.
- PDF: Whilst supported, really doesn't work well. I normally do a copy/paste of any PDF into a txt or rtf, which I then put on my device
- DRM: DRM sucks. I refuse to buy anything (book, music, video) which I will not be able to play in 5 years time because the standards have changed. But, that said, there are lots of non-DRM resources out there, legal and, ahem, less legal.
- Page refresh: This really isn't a problem when reading a book. However, when you have a few hundred books on the device, and have to flick through the list of them to find the one you want, ... which brings me to...
- Seeking: There's no way to go to page X in a book, or page Y in the list of books. The 1-10 buttons only put you a % of the way through. Completely destroys usability for textbooks etc IMHO. I believe this may have been fixed with the 505.
- Sony bookstore: Firstly, you need a US credit card. Including to get th 50USD initially 'included'. Secondly, the books are all DRMed. Thirdly, whilst some books are very cheap, others are waaaaay more expensive than a hardback - that's inexcusable.
- Size: It's a bit too large to fit in a pocket. Not a major complaint.
- Price: 300USD (as it is now) is expensive, but not too much so. However, if Sony think they can sell this for 300GBP then they're in for a shock.
In summary, I think it's an excellent device. A bit niche, yes, and a bit expensive, but fantastic for people who travel a lot. The paid-for ebooks are pretty nice, but DRM is a pain. SD card support is cool, but does drain the battery a bit. Supported formats are sufficient, especially if you're willing to do a bit of preprocessing of downloaded books. I've tried reading on other devices, mobile phones, etc, and they're in a different, vastly below, league.