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TMCNet:  One drawback to Sony reader: it's just not a real paper book [Waikato Times (New Zealand)]

[December 30, 2010]

One drawback to Sony reader: it's just not a real paper book [Waikato Times (New Zealand)]

(Waikato Times (New Zealand) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) If you love technology, chances are your nearest and dearest have bought you an electronic book reader for Christmas.

For many, a portable device dedicated to books in an electronic format is a luxury - most personal computers, laptops and smartphones come with software that enables you to read electronic books (e-books) on the move.

For most, a laptop computer, running the latest version of Adobe Reader, will suffice for the odd bit of a reading on the road.

And if that's too big to lug on the bus or train, or the battery doesn't last long enough, an e-book application for whatever smartphone you happen to be using is also more than adequate.

The bookaholic, though, will not be satisfied with such multi- function devices.

I'm told, by someone who has used one, that nothing holds a light to Amazon's Kindle e-book reader. But since I don't have one of those to review, instead having a pair of Sony's offerings, I'll tell you about those.

The Sony Digital Book Reader PRS-650 Touch Edition has a 15.24- centimetre touch-sensitive screen. Its smaller PRS- 350 Pocket Edition has a 12.7cm screen.

The power switch, on both, slides to the right and springs back upon release, causing the start-up screen to appear with the messages "Reader, opening book".

Before flicking the power switch both readers need charging, for up to three hours, via the supplied USB cable connected to a personal computer.

Electronic books, downloaded to either reader via the USB cord or, in the PRS- 650's case via the memory card slots, are read via the Books category on the Home page. Three book titles appear under the Books category, although there are also icons for Periodicals, Collections and All Notes - notes which you have made using the on- screen keyboard as you read.

You touch the book you are reading to open it on the screen. Black text appears on a white background just like a book and, because the reader has a non- reflective screen, is the closest thing to paper you can get in a technical device.

If the text is too small (the default setting is small) you can press the zoom key, which resembles a magnifying glass with a plus sign in it, to make it medium, large, extra larger or double extra large. There's also an extra small setting.

There are also many other customisations you can make to the way you view the book.

Page turning is easy, if a little slow to take effect but the transition occurs in under a second. There are keys on the hardware to take you backwards and forwards, and on the touch screen edition swiping your finger across the page also turns the page.

The reader automatically takes you back to where you were in the book if you power down. Like a PC, the devices have a screen saver which can be deactivated by flicking the power switch to the right.

Both of these devices are more than adequate for their job, but I can't help preferring real paper book which you don't have to charge up or power on . . . and they smell better too.

(c) 2010 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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