REVIEWED: Sony Reader Wi-Fi PRS-T1 e-reader

This six-inch, 168g device with a whopping 32GB maximum capacity makes a nice alternative to a Kindle

Sony Reader Wi-Fi PRS-T1 e-readerIs the e-reader dead? With so many of us relying solely on tablets and even larger smartphones for reading, the demise of this genre of gadget is being predicted, but we’ve still got a soft spot for e-readers like the Sony Reader Wi-Fi PRS-T1.

Kindle killer?

Sony’s latest reader looks every bit a Kindle killer. This six-inch, 168g, 173x110x8.9mm device has a nicely responsive touchscreen, and unlike the Kindle, it comes in a choice of red, black or white.

Big capacity

Its killer app is capacity. While most e-readers offer a couple of gigabytes, the Sony Reader Wi-Fi PRS-T1 has a microSD card slot on its left-hand side (as you read it) that allows expansion to a massive 32GB capacity, which in ebook terms is so voluminous as to be almost embarrassing.

2GB built-in

However, you won’t need to expand on its basic spec: the PRS-T1 is fitted with a more sensible 2GB of built-in storage – and around a third of that stores the system itself. It’s still enough for 1200 ebooks – multiple years’ worth for most travellers – though less for fans of audiobooks. File-wise it handles unencrypted EPUB, PDF, TXT and MP3 files.

E-Ink screen

The screen itself is an E-Ink Pearl, with an 800×600 pixel resolution rated to work for 14,000 page turns. There’s also a headphones slot and a mini-USB port for hooking up the PRS-T1 to a PC or Mac, though here’s the beauty of this incarnation of the Sony ereader – there’s no need. In a move that puts Sony into competition with the Kindle proper, the PRS-T1 is not only able to engage in WiFi, but there’s a decent online store to feed it novels.

Sony’s Reader Store

Sony’s Reader Store isn’t new, but until now it’s only been accessible via a browser. Connecting to it for the first time on the PRS-T1, we managed to swipe around the store fairly easily, though it didn’t appear to be quite as slick as the Kindle. It’s quick enough, though; even on a crowded exhibition floor thick with WiFi devices we managed to see it connecting to the Reader Store and load the latest titles in at least the same speed as a Kindle.

Slick user interface

Otherwise, the user interface is relatively slick, with viewing and scrolling through books a tad quicker and easier than before thanks to that touchscreen; pages are turned by swiping, a pinch zooms in on the page, and a finger can highlight a chunk of text, though none of this works quite as fast as on a tablet. There’s a useful online look-up mode; simply press any word and the simple browser searches via Google or Wikipedia. Similarly functional dictionary goodness is built-in; ten languages come pre-loaded, with translation between them also possible. The PRS-T1’s status as a learning device is also boosted by a stylus pen that can scribble notes on pages.

Comfy to read

Just 8.9mm thin and remarkably lightweight, despite the addition of WiFi, early indications are that this touchscreen e-reader’s performance is as good as that of a Kindle. Comfortable to hold, to read and to carry, it deserves to do well – though its price might be a tad ambitious.

Price as reviewed: £89.99

Buy the  Sony Reader Wi-Fi PRS-T1