Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sony PRS 505 ebook reader review

I use Sony PRS 505 for more than a month now (see how it compares with other readers). It came with 100 classic books, all of which look very tempting. I have already read over 1000 pages of David Copperfield.

(BTW, the Reader shows the beginning of the first chapter of the new "IronPython in Action" book, by my colleagues Michael Foord and Christian Muirhead.)

They say that the battery life is 5000 page turns, but mine died after about 1000 pages of mentioned David Copperfield. I have been playing with it, and sometimes going back and forth, but for sure that was not 4000 page turns worth of playing. Anyway, the battery life is very good, but the 5000 page turns is misleading at best.

The device comes with software for windows. It is not really a problem for a Linux user, because you can mount the reader like a usb stick, and copy the books directly - that is how I do it at least. There is calibre project that is supposed to be heaps better software for the reader than the official one, but it doesn't start on my system and I don't see any reason to investigate -- I'm fine with cp.

I have it for over a month and think it was worth every single pound I payed for it. I write the review now, because I have finally bought an ebook on-line and put it on the reader. That feels right. Although, in the meantime I had to buy one dead tree book simply because there was no ebook available. Hopefully that will not happen often as amazon's Kindle gains popularity.

My biggest wish is that the screen was larger. Looks like the upcoming Kindle DX is going to be the right size, though it is going to have a lower resolution than the Sony Reader. I bet that other manufacturers are already working on a larger version to compete with DX.

The small size is not really right for books with code and mathematical formulae (most cs papers and technical books). I found that putting the reader into horizontal mode (buried down in the settings) helps a lot with that.