With the Amazon Kindle finally docking here in the UK, the Sony Reader line at last has some big name competition to go with the likes of Cool-er Reader. And the Sony Reader Touch is the Big S’s biggest drawer, packing in a slew of new features aimed at moving on from the Sony Reader PRS-505 and hoovering up gadget lovers enamoured by the Kindle. Read our Sony Reader Touch review now to see if it can live up to its self-imposed hype.
The name gives it all away. The Sony Reader Touch totes a 6-inch touchscreen, meaning rather than stabbing a button to turn the page, you can just swipe your finger. It means you won’t be in suspense reading that airport thriller while you wait for a d pad to register your push. Touchscreens are ubiquitous on phones now, but it was a surprise to see and feel just how well this one worked. It’s just like using a real book and will go some way to swaying digital doubters to join the eBook camp.
However, any naysayers picking up the Sony Reader Touch will rightly point out one massive fail. The screen might be a delight to touch, but it’s a real pain to read on. That’s down to the glossy finish: required for the touchy feely tech, but a disaster when you’re trying to hunker down with a book for the evening. The joy of the old-school Sony Reader was its stunning paper-like display. Alas, the new top end Sony Reader Touch is sorely lacking in this department and you’ll need to make sure you’re away from bright lights whenever you use it.
It’s a crying shame, because the extras inside the Sony Reader Touch’s slinky frame are stunning. The expandable memory, which plays nice with SD and Memory Stick Duo is ace, pushing the 512MB on board storage up and letting you use it as a music player too. The note taking feature is a killer, allowing you to take notes on screen. Perfect for minted students who want to scrawl on Shakespeare as they read.
Sadly though, that glare ridden screen renders the Sony Reader Touch a disappointment. If you’re looking to make your first move into the world of eBooks, then this is not for you. Go for the ageing Sony Reader PRS-505 or the new, cheaper, touch-free Sony Reader Pocket instead.