Sony PRS 950 Review

Overview 

Although the Sony 950 Daily Edition Reader won’t come out until November, Sony has provided the FCC website, via MobileRead, with a few tidbits of information. This device essentially carries forward a lot of features found on the Sony PRS 900. This includes the 7″ screen, 2GB storage and support for either landscape or portrait orientation.

Additionally, you will find the familiar aluminum enclosure and memory stick expansion slots. You still have the ability to borrow books from the library, download books from many different stores, or websites, and have access to literally millions of books from Google.

However, the Sony PRS 950 is aimed at improving readability. It’s fitted with an eInk Pearl screen, and the touch layer from the PRS 300 will be replaced with one that incorporates optical sensing. This optical screen allows for more response in the interface with none of the worsened contrast that previous models exhibited. Both finger and stylus inputs are supported by the unit. In addition, a virtual keyboard supports text input.

In the same way as the Nook, the unit supports internet surfing through WiFi connection only. To get to the Sony Reader Store and download books and periodicals, 3G is used. Upon the wireless radio being turned on, the unit will look for WiFi network first. If unable to locate, the unit will link to the AT&T 3G network, automatically. If you’re trading up from an older Sony device to this device, your Sony Store purchases automatically transfer to your PRS 950.

Positives

Responsive touch screen without glare or bad contrast; 7-inch eInk Pearl display with high-contrast; 3G and Wi-Fi; faster than the device preceding it; works with Sony’s e-book store; long battery life (22 days maximum); support for EPUB standard, meaning users can download e-books from libraries and elsewhere; audio support; SD and Micro-USB charging.

Positives

Costs more than competitors; Sony’s online store pales in comparison to Amazon’s; many platforms don’t support the Sony Reader app; lack of protective cover.

Bottom Line

Of all the eInk eBook readers, the one I like the most is the Sony PRS 950. It’s light and easy to carry, but the display is larger and will show more words per page. This is great for quick readers. The device also handles PDF files better.

The display of the eInk Pearl is a lot better than the former Vizplex eInk. The contrast is higher and doesn’t need as much ambient lighting, so you don’t have to turn on a lot of lights in a room just to see it. Its touch interface feels a good deal more intuitive than that of the eInk devices from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Once you’ve tried the Sony Reader, you won’t want to use the others again.

Design

The little size of the eBook reader was one of its exceptional features. Under half-an-inch thick, it weighs under 10 ounces. It’s small size makes it very portable, so it can be carried in your bag, backpack, or packed in your suitcase when traveling.

The eInk technology incorporated in the Reader Daily Edition PRS-950SC makes the reading experience much like that of print books. The touch-screen functionality of the 7-inch display screen boasts anti-glare technology. While we still had a bit of trouble with glare in direct sunlight, generally we were quite satisfied with the display screen.

You can choose from 6 font sizes on the Daily Edition PRS-950, so it seems a lot more like reading a real book. You can also customize your reading with up to 16 levels of gray scale. Choose whichever one feels most comfortable.

Content

A great deal of content can be accessed from the PRS-950SC. The eBook reader lets you get into the online Reader Store. There is a wide selection available in the online store; however, it’s not as big as the competitor’s stores. Nevertheless, the store can be accessed for free and it lets you download magazines, newspapers as well as books.

Additionally, since the Reader Daily Edition PRS-950SC is able to support more than one format, it can access PDFs and ePub online. Because of this, you can access more online bookstores. You can also download PDF and ePub documents from their sites. We really enjoyed this feature and felt that it gave us a lot more options in reading matter.

Memory/Battery Life 

With the Reader Daily Edition PRS-950SC, you should have a 10-day charge with wireless enabled. Sony asserts the eReader will operate for 22 days with the wireless turned off, but actual battery life varies according to wireless usage.

With 2GB of internal memory, the eReader is okay but could use a bit more. Nonetheless, we were happy the unit provides media expansion slots. The Sony PRS 950 can store up to 50,000 books if memory cards are used.

Added Features 

The Reader Daily Edition PRS-950SC lets you take notes and highlight the text, a feature many appreciate. The capacity for taking notes and highlight was easy, clear and handy.

In addition, this eBook reading device has Wi-Fi and free 3G wireless access. You can download books from the online Reader Store free of charge using the 3G mobile broadband. It also allows you to download documents very easily. We accessed the book and information we desired very quickly and easily. Easy to use, the eBook reader is particularly nice for all of its advanced features.