Hands on: Sony Reader Pocket Edition review

26th Aug 2009 | 14:34

Hands on: Sony Reader Pocket Edition review

The 'next big thing' in eBooks, but can it live up to its billing?

Update: we've now published out full, in-depth Sony Reader Pocket Edition review

Sony has announced the release of two new eBook readers this week. The first is the flagship Sony Reader Touch Edition and the second is the cheaper Sony Reader Pocket Edition.

The Pocket Edition can store up to 350 eBooks and will last up to two weeks on a single battery charge.

This £179.99 version has no touchscreen, so you're left to control the reader using the navigation buttons. The screen is also smaller - measuring five inches instead of six.

But sadly those are not the only differences between the two devices - while the Touch Edition has a fairly smooth interface, the Pocket Edition does not. To call it clunky would be a sizeable understatement.

Turning a page using the navigational arrows is easy enough and fairly smooth, but try skipping more than one page in either direction and it'll take a random amount of time - between 2 and 5 seconds - to complete the action. It doesn't sound like a lot, but if you're trying to find the page with 'that funny bit' on it, it's infuriating. It also take a frustrating amount of time to render the pages themselves.

That said, it's a good size and it's not too heavy. And the £179.99 price tag is a lot more friendly than the £250 you'd have to drop to get the bigger Touch version.

Sony reader pocket edition

Indeed, Sony has earmarked the Pocket Edition as the device to take the eBook concept into the big time. We remain sceptical though, because as a first eBook product, it's just not usable enough to impress people.

Sure, it'll turn heads on the train, but once you've had a go with one, remaining sceptical will surely be the response of choice for everyone but the early adopting believers.

We will soon be getting one of these into the office for a more comprehensive test, so stay tuned for a full Sony Reader Pocket Edition review.

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Liked this? Then check out our Elonex ebook reader review

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