Wednesday, November 18, 2009

First Impressions of the Sony PRS-600 Reader Touch Edition

I decided to purchase the Sony PRS-600 Reader Touch Edition this morning and I've been playing around with it all day. I was relieved to see that the Sony salesperson was familiar with the offer (although I was the first such transaction handled in this store) and that everything was set up to make it all go pretty quickly. I was given $75 off the price of a new reader for turning in my old one.

I was able to get my new reader "authorized" by the Sony e-book store and had all of my e-books on the new reader within an hour of having arrived back home.There were 113 e-books on the old reader and I had quite a few others in formats not supported by my old PRS-500. So after uploading the 113 books I knew would work, I started in on the ones in .txt and PDF format - and they all seem to work just fine on the new reader.

I hated to see my old PRS-500 being carried to the backroom but after playing around with the new version in the store for a few minutes I knew I would never be happy with the old one again. There are just too many new features - the very ones I've been wanting to see for a long time. I'm not saying that the PRS-600 is perfect, because it is not.

There are definite pluses and minuses:

1. Handles multiple formats, including epub, .txt, PDF, and Word documents
2. Offers five font sizes to help overcome formatting differences
3. Allows for "highlighting" and written notes on book pages
4. Has slots for Sony Memory Stick and SD cards
5. Touch Screen makes turning pages quick and natural
6. Notes can be written by hand, using a stylus, or by using the pop-up keyboard
7. Internal Memory can hold approximately 350 books
8. Extended battery life of 2 week or about 7500 page-turns (Old reader was good for only 1400 page-turns)
9. Battery takes charge much more quickly than the one in the PRS-500
10. Pop-Up Dictionary that defines any word double-tapped by stylus
11. Works with library e-books downloaded from public library systems
12. Screen Orientation can be switched to horizontal to better read certain PDF documents


1. Touch Screen means that the "ink" appears a bit lighter than in the old reader
2. Touch Screen makes the new reader more susceptible to glare problems
3. Lacks WiFi connection to purchase and download new material
4. Sony e-book store is still clunky and slow, requiring lots of patience
I'm happy with what I've experienced so far and I hope that I feel the same way two weeks from now. I have placed about 140 books on the reader, mostly classics, and have "borrowed" my first e-library-book (although the choices seem very poor here in Harris County, Texas). I don't use the reader for music or pictures so I won't be testing those aspects of the PRS-600. I can't imagine ever having such an urgency to get my eyes on an e-book that I'll miss the WiFi option so that won't be much of a minus for me. At this point, the only thing that has bugged me at all is the glare I get in certain lighting situations.

E-books will never replace physical books for me; they are just not the same thing. But I suspect that I'll be reading more of the classics because of this new reader and I'll be more likely to accept review copies in e-book format now. And, frankly, my wife is thrilled with the idea that the rate at which physical books come through the front door might slow down a bit. Maybe that's the answer - buy physical copies of books I want to keep and electronic copies of ones that are more disposable. We'll see.


  1. I'm glad I didn't upgrade. I went to UPS to ship my reader back. I got detained explaining the product to the very interested UPS guy. Then I got to work where I got an email inviting me to pre-order the NEW Reader Daily Edition Digital Book‏ that allows you to digitally download. However this version comes with a whopping $399 pricetag and was not one of the models they were willing to give a 500 owner a break on.

    I'll let you know how long they have my Reader. Thank goodness for "real" books eh? I might go crazy waiting otherwise.

  2. Kristi, I'm just not worried about the WiFi part, so that didn't tempt me at all. I had my first chance to really use the reader today. I spent the whole day at my granddaughter's 5th grade field day and there was a lot of down time. I brought the reader with me and probably got in somewhere close to two hours of reading while out snatches of 5-10 minutes at a time. Strange thing is that there is almost no glare on the screen with natural lighting.