In the market for eBook readers, the options tied to online bookstores, the Kindle and Nook, are obvious front-runners. But they’re far from being the only products on the market. Another option is Sony’s Reader, an eBook alternative that’s been on the market for about the last two years and has already seen multiple improvements and revisions. But why would you want to buy a Sony Ebook Reader over a Kindle or a Nook?
Sony has always struck me as a company that cares about aesthetics. You’ll find everything from digital cameras to HDTVs with the Sony name on them, but throughout all these products Sony consistently focuses on style.
In the case of the Reader this comes across through multiple color options and a rounded, futuristic design. Amazon’s Kindle is an exceptionally simple device, and I don’t begrudge its style, but some users would prefer a slicker device. The Reader is an excellent alternative for the style-conscious.
Pick Your Poison
You can pick more than your style and color with the Reader. The device comes in three different varieties. Yes, on paper that’s only one more than the Kindle – but does anyone really want to buy the Kindle DX?
Sony’s choices focus on a small range of display sizes. There’s the 5” Pocket Edition, the 6” Touch Edition, and the 7” Daily Edition. While these may seem like tiny differences, they’re significant when you hold the device in your hand. The Pocket Edition can actually fit into a large pocket for easily travel, while the 7” Daily Edition provides an outstanding reading experience.
What A Light Weight!
The tiny Pocket Edition weighs just 5.47 ounces – that’s less than my HTC Thunderbolt smartphone! Bumping up to the 6” display brings the weight to 7.58 ounces, and the 7” Daily Edition comes in at 9.6 ounces.
The Kindle, by comparison, is 8.5 ounces while the Nook matches the 6” Touch Edition with a weight of 7.48 ounces. As far as I am aware, however, the Pocket Edition is the lightest eBook reader on the market.
While a difference of an ounce or two seems insignificant at first, it eventually becomes apparent during extended use. A lighter weight means less strain on your arms and hands and a more pleasurable reading experience.
Almost all mobile devices available today have touchscreens – but some eReaders don’t. This leads to a user interface that feels a bit old-fashioned. That’s not inappropriate for an eReader, but some would prefer touch input.
That’s where Sony comes in. Although the 6” model is sold as the Touch Edition, all Sony Ebook Readers now have touchscreen interfaces. They also include a handful of physical buttons, such as page forward/back buttons and a home button, but touch is an important part of navigation on any Sony Reader.
While the advantage of touch over physical input is negligible while actually reading, it enhances the other features of the Sony Readers, such as the web browser found on the Daily Edition.
File Format Support
One of the best features of the Sony Readers is support for ePub, an open document format. This is a wonderful addition to the reader because it’s the format that is being adopted by most libraries for electronic book loans. There’s also a variety of free ePub books available online.
In addition to this, the Readers can display popular formats like PDFs and Word documents. The Sony Readers are certainly among the best when it comes to format support.
Sony’s Readers are more expensive than much of the competition and, with the exception of the Daily Edition, doesn’t have the wireless connectivity offered by some competitors. This is certainly a disadvantage. Yet, in spite of this flaw, the Readers provide a number of features that help them stand out. The wide variety of size and weight options is appealing, as it makes finding the perfect Reader for your lifestyle easier.
Do you think Sony’s Readers are a good alternative to the Nook and Kindle? Let us know in the comments!