Technology

Sony Pocket Edition Review

Overview 

Sony’s the Daily Edition and Touch are among the eReaders that have added touch capabilities and an improved eInk screen. You can find these features on the Sony’s Pocket Edition.

Sony Pocket Edition

The Sony Reader Pocket Edition is the least expensive eReader that Sony offers, selling at only $179. It is a strong competitor for B&N Nook and Amazon Kindle 3G at this price. However, does the touchscreen compensate enough for the fact that it doesn’t have wireless capabilities?

Positives
Lightweight and small. A touchscreen that responds well. The stark contrast of the screen is good for reading in bright light. Easy-to-navigate shop and menus.

Negatives
Pricey. Wi-Fi and 3G not included.

Bottom Line
Sony Pocket Edition is priced at $179. This is midway between the prices of the Kindle and Nook with Wi-Fi-only connectivity. These are priced at $139 and $149, respectively. The 3G versions of each of these devices are priced at $189 and $199.

I think it’s more important to be able to have a wireless connection and update your library anytime you want to rather than having a compact design and a touch screen. But it’s instinct to navigate via touch, so this eReader definitely meets that qualification. The Sony Pocket Edition is good for people who don’t need wireless or who want their eReader to be smaller.

Design: 
The Pocket Edition’s look was overhauled to more closely resemble the Touch and Daily Edition. The buttons along the right hand side of the 5 inch screen have been removed. So has the D-pad. Here are the 5 buttons you will find below the display: Options, Zoom, Home, Page Forward, & Page Back. The Sony Pocket Edition has a touch screen like other Sony eReaders.

One of the smallest eReaders available today, the Sony Pocket Edition measures 5.7 x 4.1 x 0.33 inches. Kindle 3G is 3 ounces heavier than Sony Pocket Edition. The Kindle is 8.7 ounces, whereas the Sony is only 5.5 ounces. You could carry it easily in your hip pocket, although this probably would not be advisable. We advise carrying it in inside jacket or coat pockets or purse/bag side pockets.

In contrast with the Daily Editions and the Touch, the Pocket Edition doesn’t have memory card slots or a headphone jack along the bottom or top edges. Users are limited to the 2GB of internal memory — thankfully, this is enough for thousands of books.

The Sony Reader typical display uses high-contrast eInk Pearl technology. This is similar to the 2nd generation Kindle DX and Kindle 3G. You will find IR sensors along the edge of the screen to facilitate touch functionality. These sensors detect and track movement. You can use them with a stylus or your fingertip. This gives the Pocket Edition’s display a crispness and brightness.

When comparing the Sony Pocket Edition with the Kindle 3G, it seems that the text on the Sony is more crisp, but Kindle offers more contrast. What’s more of a drawback are the few fonts the Pocket has. Sony eReader has only one font as opposed to the 3 fonts offered by Kindle.

The keyboard on the display lags a bit while typing, but the previous generation had more of a problem. Using the stylus and our fingers, we maintained a fairly quick typing speed.

User Interface: 
The UI of the Pocket is similar to that of Sony’s other Readers, but with touch navigation. The main menu has a simple interface with big icons. There was no struggle involved in clicking elements or choosing text because the elements were oversized and made touch capability very easy. Our fingernail was sufficient to reach some smaller elements, and the Reader recognized that very well.

The Pocket Edition also improves upon earlier Sony Readers because it is faster. You must wait 1-2 seconds between tapping an icon or a button before you can see the results onscreen. I did learn not to press buttons twice in the mistaken belief that the device hadn’t registered my command.

Content and Lending Books: 
There are over 1.2 million e-books in the Sony Store, free or for sale. Times best-sellers will cost you $9.99 and up, but some bargain books can be found under $5. Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” for instance, was priced at a low $5.21 when we did our tests.

Also in the store are 40 magazines and newspapers that readers can subscribe to digitally. Before your subscription starts, you will enjoy a 2 week trial period, just as you would with Kobo, B & N, or Amazon.

The Pocket can also read eBooks from other stores that have DRM protection in Adobe’s style. Some of these are Google eBooks and Kobo/Borders.

Reading Experience: 
Your reading experience with the Sony Pocket Edition will be enhanced by the ability to create custom settings and choose from several Brightness and Contrast settings. Here are some of the options you will have with this eReader: some margin adjustment capability, Page Mode options that allow you to choose the way you view text, 6 options for text size, and people using the Pocket Edition can pick a zoom level with pan-and-scan functionality as well, which is good for looking at PDFs.

This means users can either swipe or use the page-turn buttons on the left of the device if they want to turn a page. Our preference is page-turning buttons located on the left and right.

Sony Pocket Edition has a 5″ screen that is much smaller than the majority of eReaders. Nonetheless, it was easy to read Karen Lord’s “Redemption in Indigo” with total concentration. Even though the screen was small, it was easy to read in comfort, and there was enough text on the screen to prevent excessive page turns.

Battery: 
It seems that the Sony Pocket Edition may be a bit skimpy on battery life, lasting only 2 weeks, which is short for a device that does not offer wireless connections. We didn’t charge this device for 10 days during our evaluation, and at the end, the meter had one out of four bars remaining.