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kindle vs sony readerAlthough it will still be some time before eReaders largely replace books, they’re certainly a successful new gadget. Over the past few years they’ve become both better to use and much more affordable, so much so that anyone who might buy a few new hardbacks can easily purchase an entry-level eReader.

Two popular options are the Sony Reader and the Amazon Kindle. This head-to-head comparison will help you figure out which is worth your money – Kindle vs Sony Reader.

Design and Ergonomics

kindle vs sony reader

Sony’s Readers tend to have a flashier exterior, with rounded corners and a semi-gloss finish that’s available in bright colors, such as red and pink. The blockier Kindles have matte finishes that are only available in basic colors like graphite (dark gray) and white. Although the Kindles look cool in their own way, Sony’s Reader has better aesthetics.

Another difference is the keyboard that’s included on the Kindle. This is used to help navigate the device and search for titles both on the Amazon store and in your Kindle library. Sony’s Reader, on the other hand, offers a touch screen interface on all of its current generation Reader products. This is an important point that buyers should consider. Some will likely prefer the tactile feel of the Kindle’s buttons, but others will prefer the more compact size made available by the Reader’s touchscreen.

Sony’s Reader comes in a wider variety of sizes, and is generally lighter than the Kindle. The Pocket Edition is just 5.5 ounces, the Touch Edition is 7.5 ounces, and the Daily Edition is 9.6 ounces. The latest generation Kindle is 8.5 ounces, while the Kindle DX is a whopping 18.9 ounces. Although these differences may seem small at times, they’re noticeable. Remember, this is a device you may be holding for hours – every ounce saved counts.

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Hardware Features

sony book reader vs kindle

Amazon’s Kindle has a robust feature set, particularly when it comes to connectivity. Even the most basic Kindle comes with WiFi Analyze and Plot Local Wi-Fi Networks With inSSIDer Analyze and Plot Local Wi-Fi Networks With inSSIDer Read More , while the Kindle 3G has “free” 3G service (the cost of delivering the content is included in the price). This means that you’ll be able to easily purchase new books while on the go, or re-download books that you already purchased but have since discarded.

Sony only offers WiFi and free 3G with its Daily Edition, which is the most expensive model. This is a serious downside for a gadget that’s supposed to replace books, as it means fooling around with yet another cable and yet more syncing software.

The Kindle offers superior built-in memory, at four gigabytes. The Sony Readers offer half that, but some have superior support for memory upgrades. The Daily Edition, for example, can support Memory Stick Duo and SD Cards 3 Cool Ways To Use SD Memory Cards 3 Cool Ways To Use SD Memory Cards SD memory cards are one of the most common forms of mobile storage, but they also tend to be very specific in their purpose. On their own, these cards tend to be less useful than... Read More up to 32GB.

Battery life is great on both devices, although generally better on the Kindle, which can last for over a month if the WiFi is off. With that said however, even the Sony Readers can generally be used for weeks between charges.

Software & Format Support

kindle vs sony reader

While both Sony and Amazon offer stores for their particular eReaders, Amazon’s is unsurprisingly the better option. The selection available on Amazon.com is unrivaled, and the store is extremely easy to navigate. There’s also a wealth of consumer reviews available on various books, making it easier to find what’s great and avoid what’s not.

Both the Kindle and the Sony Reader offer support for PDF files, but Amazon still doesn’t offer support for ePub. Since most libraries that are adopting eBook loans are doing so by offering books in ePub format, this is a glaring gap in Amazon’s file support.

Verdict

As you can see, there’s a lot of trade-offs between these two devices. Sony’s Readers are lighter and have touchscreen support, but they have worst connectivity. And while Amazon offers a better store, it has inferior format support.

However, my opinion swings in the favor of the Kindle because of price. The base Kindle is available for $139.99, while the Reader Pocket Edition often sells between $160 and $180. Since the pocket edition has a smaller display and lacks any wireless connectivity, that’s a nasty price gap. It’s worse with the Touch Edition, which sells for $230.

It’s hard to justify spending more than $200 on an eReader when a tablet like the iPad 2 Reading Ebooks on the iPad With iBooks & Amazon Kindle [Mac] Reading Ebooks on the iPad With iBooks & Amazon Kindle [Mac] Read More can be had for $499. Still, Sony’s Pocket Edition has a lot of appeal, as it’s incredibly small and light. That makes it a superb eReader for travelers – so long as you have a laptop from which you can download content.

  1. Anonymous
    September 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Well I said the hell with the Kindle, the Sony and all the rest and went with a Kobo, I think it is the best myself, because I can now read any type of ebook, especially the free ones from my library, yes the wait time is a bit long but while I wait I can get tons of free ebooks from the web, so no sweat :-)

  2. Hikermat
    September 14, 2011 at 3:39 am

    With a sony reader you can buy your books from more places. Amazon wants you buy only from them like apple. they are not trying to make the best device, only is to forcing you to have no choice.

  3. Pradeep
    August 20, 2011 at 6:02 am

    How do they compare on choice of books available?

    • M.S. Smith
      August 26, 2011 at 4:43 pm

      Amazon has an advantage, but Sony is no slouch either. If you're only reading what you would generally find in a Barnes and Noble, you could be happy with either.

  4. Conalbanede
    July 16, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Every review I've read puts the relatively-new Nook Simple Touch (at $139.00) above all other eReaders currently available.

    • Spriteholdings
      August 20, 2011 at 6:05 pm

      I also liked the Nook from Barnes and Noble till I read more and talked to a person working there, the battery once it dies, is not replaceable, so basically you are renting a e-reader for 3 or 4 years how ever long it takes for the battery to die, then you got to throw the e reader out and buy another.

      • Tina
        August 20, 2011 at 6:47 pm

        Wow, that sounds pretty bad. Did you also research other eReaders and are their batteries replaceable? For example the Kindle or Sony's eReaders?

        • Spriteholdings
          August 20, 2011 at 7:21 pm

          Hi  Sony, Kindle and yes the Kobo is also replaceable.. :-)
          Just the nook is not replaceable..Hope this helps..

  5. FFabian
    July 16, 2011 at 6:02 am

    Please start using the metric system in your articles. Most of the world uses kilogram for mass. Makes you look like the typical ignorant US-American.

    • Bobjones
      July 16, 2011 at 8:44 am

      I know, but because we're "ignorant," it's too hard for us to keep up with the rest of the world. (And our football is far less boring than your soccer.)
      A typical ignorant US-American

      • Tina
        July 16, 2011 at 1:01 pm

        The metric system is the standard system in scientific research worldwide, even in the US. There is a reason, but I'll let you draw your own conclusion...

    • Tina
      July 16, 2011 at 1:00 pm

      The metric system rules! And if everyone was consistently using the 'more conventional metric system', this would not have happened. :) 

  6. Manuel Smirnoff
    July 15, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    And the answer? Nook.

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