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