Monday, March 23, 2009

Sony PRS-505 E-Reader

I purchased my Sony PRS-505 Personal Reader System for around $300 U.S. to use with the PDF text books I receive as part of my online college classes. I, like many people in the world, only have a desktop PC. So the hours of reading I was doing, sitting in my computer room at home, were really hampering my ability to have a life. It was also making me feel quite closed in a trapped at my desk. Therefore I started my research into getting an E-Reader with the focus on getting my text books out of my computer without having to print the hundreds of pages (I tried printing for one eight week course and had a stack of paper about two and a half inches thick and empty ink cartridges.) My search turned up only two possible companies to buy from, one was Sony the other was Amazon. With that found, the functionality and cross checking of abilities began. Sony’s Personal Reader System (PRS) had the list I expected to find on both machines BBeB Book, TXT, RTF, PDF, and Converted MS Word documents. Plus, it turns out, it can also display JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP images (which it converts to black and white within its 8 level gray scale display capabilities), and can play MP3 and AAC audio files. The Amazon Kindle list showed PDF and all other file types but, it stated they have to be converted over and that PDF was not guaranteed to work. Well, seeing as how all my course text books come only in PDF this killed the option of using Kindle.

Now anyone who reads a lot on a monitor learns that eye strain can also be an issue and those with laptop computers know all too well how hard it is to read a back lit screen outside on a sunny day, so the next part of my research sent me looking for the closest store where I could test drive the E-Reader. Thankfully the Sony site had a store finder and the Borders book store about five minutes away from my home was listed. A short time later I was talking to the Sony rep who comes most weekends to answer questions and help sell the product… I was amazed at this thing! At first glance I thought that the print on the screen was one of those decals that stores use on display products, but no it was the actual screen. It turns out that E-Readers use “electronic ink” (E-Ink) no backlit screens here, just the E-Ink displayed on what they also call “electronic paper.” This stuff is astonishing to see for the first time because it really does look like something printed out onto paper. The best part though is that with no backlighting you can stand outside with the sun over your shoulder and it’s still readable! Those of you with less than 20/20 vision will find it important to know that the reader can also change between small, medium, and large font sizes. The Sony PRS-505 system comes with an attractive soft case, USB cable, quick start guide and CD-Rom and with the charging adapters (sold separately) you can charge the Sony PRS-505 while reading. The battery life can last for up to 7,500 page turns or, in English, about a week of “average reader” use. It also has expansion slots for an SD card and a Pro duo card for increased storage capacity as well as a headphone jack for listening to those music files.

Since I purchased my Sony PRS-505, my productivity in course work has tripled and my stress levels are way down. Not having to sit at my desk to read my text books has also freed up my life. During hunting season I was able to read my book while my hunting partner (dad) drove us two hours out to the leased blind we had. The first few trips out I was so excited that I could go and not feel as though I was “playing hooky” that I spent half the drive just repeating to my dad how cool it was to be able to do this. I have also been using the reader around the house bouncing from room to room as I feel and on trips for fun and/or education related reading. The fun books came from the Sony E-book store where you can buy and download for (on average) less than paperback price. The only obvious exclusion to the low prices is on new releases but that’s also worthwhile as you know that they won’t sell out and you won’t have to leave the house to get it.

All in all I’d say the cost of Sony’s PRS-505 is well worth the price. My work efficiency is up, my stress levels are down, and my over all eye strain has been greatly reduced. Now I just have to learn a little restraint on buying books off of the site. (It’s so easy to do I tend to hit the purchase button before thinking about the fact that I’m actually spending money.) So to anyone who does a lot of reading and wishes to get away from their desk or computer, I suggest you look into a Sony Portable Reader System. Trust me it’s worth the time and money, especially if it helps save you even more time and money down the road.

Link to Sony's PRS site


1 comment:

Joseph said...

thanks for the review. Having the same problem, spending way to much time at my desk for reading. Hopefully the newer versions have only improved.