Pocket ebook reader that now includes touch-control
So far Sony is the only manufacturer of ebook reading devices that has attempted to break away from the slightly-larger-than-a-book-sized devices that everyone else is making.
Its last Pocket reader, the PRS-300, was good if a little expensive. The new PRS-350 model shares the 15x10cm dimensions of its predecessor, with a 5in screen. That’s a little smaller than that of the new Amazon Kindle but it doesn’t make a big difference in practice, and it has allowed Sony to keep the size down (it’s noticeably smaller than the Kindle).
The screen uses the new e-ink Pearl technology as found in the new Kindle, which means it’s much whiter than previous models, which in turn makes reading a lot more pleasant. The default font Sony has chosen for books is not quite as nice as Amazon’s but books are still quite readable.
Speed has been improved too, so that turning the pages is faster than before, which makes for a much better reading experience.
Ebooks may be bought from any online shop (apart from Amazon) and are loaded onto the reader using Sony’s software (which installs itself the first time you plug the reader into a PC). It charges over the same USB connection that’s used for copying books, the cable for which is supplied. It will read PDF documents but they must first be converted by the Sony software, which was a quick process.
It’s even possible to borrow ebooks from public libraries, and the Sony here has the advantage over the Kindle, which isn’t compatible with the borrowing system. Check with your local library to see if it offers the service. Buying books for the Kindle is easier, however: by and large the big name ebook-buying websites such Waterstones and WH Smith are dire (the exception is the impressive www.kobobooks.com).
In addition to the buttons at the bottom of the screen you can control it by touching the screen, making a flicking gesture to turn the page and tapping icons to get to the menus and options. It’s a shame it can’t be set up to change pages with a single tap on the side of the screen, however. It can resize text automatically, however, and be used on its side in ‘landscape’ mode.
Although the PRS-350 is well made it felt overly plasticky and the metal-effect rear cover felt quite cheap to us. That aside, it’s well designed and can be held in one hand which is useful for commuters.
At £159 it is a little expensive compared with the Kindle, but at the time of writing John Lewis is selling it for £129, which makes it a very good deal.
Read more reviews
A good-sized pocket ebook reader that’s not too expensive Good points Fits well in a pocket; easy to read screen; fast Bad points Feels cheap; touch control could have been better
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