Friday, December 03, 2010

Sony eReader, Part 2

I've now had a chance to work with the Sony eReader for a little over a week. I'll post some pictures here, as well as a screen capture video of how it works. Here are the pros and cons as I see them:

-Extremely easy to set up and transfer files to the device. Here’s a video of the procedure. (Please note that Overdrive offers a nice guided tour video of how to check items out in their system. My video here in this post is only the transfer procedure.)

-Sony eLibrary: easy to find titles by category, including NYT bestsellers

-Sony eLibrary: current bestsellers from $9.99 to $14.99, classics from 99 cents

-Does not associate with one particular computer, so you can have eReader software on more than one machine and transfer files from each to device.

-In addition to the Sony eLibrary, this device is compatible with public library download collections.

-It is compatible with PDF, EPUB, and MP3 formats. It will also open .doc or .docx (which are then converted to .rft), .txt, .rtf, and BBeB files like .lrf and .lrx (these last two I've not heard of...) It will open a variety of picture files, but not video. Animated GIFs will show the first frame only.

-Light weight

-"Feels good" in the hands - almost like a hardcover book!

-Buttons seem pretty well-labeled and the mst important features are in the most obvious places

-Has memory card slots for "Memory Stick Duo" and SD.

-Comes with a nice cloth sleeve to carry it around in.

-Has features to write notes, draw pictures, and a built-in dictionary.

-Includes a stylus for more precise writing, drawing, and tapping, but you can use your finger for all of these activities.

-To return a PDF or EPUB title to a library collection before its expiration date, open the Sony eReader software, right-click the title in the Library that you want to return, and choose "Return Borrowed Item." The title will be removed from your library account automatically, freeing you up to check out more titles and freeing up the title's license for someone else to check out.
Here's a video of this procedure.

-Can’t use reader while it is charging or connected to a computer for any reason

-Display is a bit dark, and can not be lightened. It uses e-ink technology, which is fantastic in direct light, but not so good in shadow or dim light.

-When you unplug it from charging it turns on automatically. I didn’t realize that, and left it on all day. When I went to use it, it was dead.

-The bookmarking feature is not easy to figure out without directions. I ended up finding the users manual online to look it up. You just double-tap the screen and an icon of a dog-eared page shows up in the top, right-hand corner of the screen. It's pretty easy to do, but not so obvious to figure out.

-Many screens and menus have more "options," and you have to push the Options button when you are within the screens and menus to get them. This is a plus, actually, but again, I didn't realize intuitively that menu items had more options. I accidentally pushed the Options button at one point and realized it gave more options for that menu. I thought it only gave options for the Home screen. In retrospect...duh!

-The page turning is backward. You can swipe your finger across the screen to turn the page (plus!), but you have to swipe in the opposite direction than you think you would. If you swipe from right to left, as if you were turning a real page of a real book, it takes you back a page. To go forward a page, you have to swipe from left to right (and with a fair amount of pressure so it "takes," too).

-The page turn buttons are at the bottom of the display, not on the sides where your thumbs naturally are when you hold the device.

-The screen flashes every time you turn the page. This isn't horrible, but it flashes more, or longer, than some of the other devices I've seen.

-There are no speakers, so you can only hear audio books with headphones plugged in. -No web browsing, no wi-fi, no 3G. Therefore, no wireless downloading of titles to the device. You have to connect it to a computer. Overall, I give it 3 1/2 stars out of 5. I'll have to see how the other eReaders compare (maybe my rating will go up or down after experiencing them!)

As an aside, I'm reading "My Name is Mary Sutter" by Robin Oliveira on this device. It's about a Civil War era midwife who longs to go to medical school to be a doctor, but the medical school won't admit a woman, and she can't find a doctor to sponsor her as an apprentice.

Reading a book:

Drawing a map:

Looking up a word in the dictionary:

Options Screen:


  1. Nice review! Very informative!

  2. The page turning preference can be changed in the settings. I prefer to "flip the page" right to left.