Sony PRS-600 Review

The Sony PRS-600 can get millions of eBooks cheaply or at no cost because it is compatible with PDF and ePUB formats.

The most important feature to be included in an eBook reader happens to be the quality of the text on the display. It is crucial to take into account how the device affects the eyes after long reading sessions. I am excited to say that I am convinced that eInk displays (EPDs) are the best.

On the subject of the price, I think $299 is a fair deal for most but there are those who argue that it’s better to buy a Netbook. I assure you though that reading from this Sony Reader is a pleasure.

Positives
The Sony PRS-600 is smoother than the Kindle. The touch screen is more responsive than the predecessor that was released last year. The interface has better features and is easy to use. The user can store thousands of e-books on the optional memory card which is SD or Memory Stick Pro. The user can customize to read five different font sizes.

The battery life is reasonable and the Reader can display Word, PDF (with zoom), and image files and can play MP3 and AAC audio files. The Library software is compatible with Windows and Mac with bestsellers going for $9.99 like Amazon.

The Reader is also compatible with EPUB files allowing the user to view thousands of free classic Google books and loaners from local libraries. Included is a built in dictionary.

Negatives
Sony PRS-600 screen is not glare proof and the contrast isn’t up to scratch as competing models. There is no wireless access meaning all files must be selected, dragged and dropped from the PC. The battery is sealed onto the device. The notation and markup functions can be ineffective. You can only charge using the USB when connected to a PC.

Inside the Sony Reader
There are three colors available for the Sony PRS-600, red, black and silver (as shown above). It comes in a small package as does Apple. Just like the iPhone or other like gadgets, you charge this device from the USB.

It is a simple process to upgrade the software on this device as all you do is plug it into the PC and a pop up shows you any available new software. The current release usually looks like 1.0.01.xxxxx. Once you click OK you will find the latest Firmware. Note that Kindle’s firmware upgrade can take a long time to download.

Overall Feel
I never fully adjusted to working with a Kindle because it was tied to a cellular network and a single books store. The hardware too was not up to standard. Sony has from the beginning designed great looking gadgets and the Sony PRS-600 is no exception.

This Reader has the same dimensions as the PRS-505 with a semi-metallic front and the soft back offers a good grip.

More on Hardware
The Sony PRS-600 has an attractive 6 inch touch screen with five navigation buttons allowing the user to easily browse through the library collection.

Standard buttons like power and reset, mini USB port and the 3.5mm jack are on the bottom of the device but I would have preferred if these were on top.

What adds value to it is the fact that it has a thickness of only 0.4 inches, making it very easy and light to hold.

A stylus comes with the device and I found it rather useless since touching the screen with your fingers gets the job done. You can learn more about this on the touch screen section.

Formats and Media Support
This reader is a market leader when it comes to this. It delivers quality music playback and it can play almost all MP3s. I successfully ran 448kbps VBR. You can customize the bass and treble.

When it comes to documents, the Reader can easily open all .DOC files except for .DOCX. I am yet to receive a response from Sony support about that one.

Another important asset to this Reader is the ability to get PDF files with soft and legible fonts for prolonged reading. Page scrolling occurs smoothly and is the best among eBook readers though not as good as the iPhone.

The Sony PRS-600 Touch Edition supports text file formats like Adobe® PDF, Microsoft® Word, BBeB Book®, EPUB/ACS4 and Adobe Digital Editions. It is can play unsecured MP3 and AAC audio files and is compatible with the PC and Mac.

Touch Screen and UI
Sony listened to reviews and redesigned the UI small icons to replace them with big buttons for actions like Continue Reading, Collections, All Notes, Text memo, Handwriting and Books. The touch screen is valuable and most of the interface supports it successfully.

Available on the screen is a keyboard which is a good substitute for a physical keyboard. The keys are however not large and those with thick fingers might find it a challenge to use. The stylus would be useful in such instances.

Though screen visibility is not compromised by touch, fingerprints mar the look when using the Reader outdoors. This could be why Sony saw it fit to include the stylus.

Library
Unlike Amazon’s limited reader model, Sony has more access to eBooks resulting in the availability of millions of cheap titles in the Sony library.

Sony PRS-600 is a good deal for the busy traveler, daily commuter or leisure reader as it can carry up to 350 of your favorite titles. The optional Memory Stick® PRO Duo™ or SD media can be bought separately to expand capacity and add more titles.

Battery Life
The battery life is put at two weeks with 7,500 continuous page turns. I was personally able to leave the device on and get a battery life of 48 hours, which translates to 16 days of exactly2.5 hours of reading everyday. This is pretty good for an eBook reader and is much better than the Kindle 2 or 1.