Sony PRS-505 Review - Sony Portable Reader System

Paper books are so last year! There's now a new way of reading books and it brings with it all the advantages of the technological age. Welcome to the world of e-readers. Whilst Amazon's Kindle has gone down a storm in the US Sony have also released a reader, the Sony Portable Reader System. Currently up to version 505 I bought one of the Sony E-Readers I week ago and I've got to say that I've been very impressed.

The e-books you can buy speak for themselves, simply electronic versions of the paper books you buy in stores. Obviously the reader allows you to store many of these. 160 books on the default memory of the Sony with the facility to add up to an extra 16GB through memory cards. The real reason I wanted my Sony Reader though was to make my life easier when it comes to reading MS Word and PDF documents. In the past long documents have either had to be read via a backlit LCD screen that hurts your eyes or by printing them out. Not only is this a waste of paper but it also means carrying bulky A4/letter sized sheets of paper around. The Sony reader opens up a whole new world of comfortable electronic format document reading.

The e-ink system is everything it is sold to be. Text is easily readable in all light conditions from direct sunlight to bedside lamp. There is no backlight so you will need an external light source (just like reading paper). The viewing angle needs to be seen to be believed. You could read from your Sony Portable Reader at 179 degrees if your eyes were good enough! The bookmarking system makes having several books on the go a joy, I'm partial to technical reads that can be heavy going and the Sony Reader makes so easy to simply flip from one to another as they become a bit stale. The Sony does a great job of rendering PDF files allowing you 3 sizes of text and making intelligent guesses at page breaks.

The only downside that I've found so is not actually a problem with the Sony unit, rather the PDFs themselves. The reader uses the meta data from the PDF file. The trouble is that many authors don't bother to complete that data which makes the "Books by Title" and "Books By Author" almost useless. Luckily it's easily corrected by using this PDF Meta Update software to correct the files before you port them to the Sony Reader. Moving files is a cinch using the supplied Sony E-Library software.

Overall I've been hugely impressed with the Sony PRS-505. It's become a regular companion on my bus journey to and from work and has certainly had me reading more in general. Whilst traditionalists will always favour the feel of real paper the Sony ink system provides just as good a "read". If you're the sort of person who is used to reading long documents from your PC screen then the Sony reader will revolutionise your reading life, as well as saving your eyes.