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Summary:

TeleRead shares some info on the new Sony Reader PRS-505, indicating that the page rendering is 20% faster. The timing of that news is serendipitous because I just got my hands on a PRS-500 this weekend in my local Costco. They had a display model out […]

Sonyreaderprs505TeleRead shares some info on the new Sony Reader PRS-505, indicating that the page rendering is 20% faster. The timing of that news is serendipitous because I just got my hands on a PRS-500 this weekend in my local Costco. They had a display model out and it was the first time I’ve had a chance to play with one of these. My first thoughts: much lighter and thinner than I expected; I think my iPhone weighs more.

Biggest disappointment: the page rendering. As I clicked the next page button, the entire screen seemed to go "negative" during the page flip meaning the black text went white and the white background went black. Once that happened, the next page rendered properly. It happened with every page flip and took way too long for me personally. Remember, I read at least a book a week (three last week alone) so I plow through pages extremely fast. I’m probably the exception more than the rule, but the constant flashing of the page was driving me batty. Is it just because it was a refurb or do all PRS-500s exhibit this? In any case, "serendipitous" is now crossed off my "difficult words to use in a blog post" list. Shoot, I just realized, I already used it in the past and I need to update my list. Oh well, only 34 more to go unless you e-mail me some more.

  1. I’ve had a 505 for about a week now.

    They’re now using the crawly screen update I had experimented with on the iLiad. When reading it doesn’t exactly inverse and draw as much as morph between the two pages, pause, then render to the final screen.

    THe new screen is indeed visibly better for viewing, faster on refresh, and the case feels much better since it is a solid extrusion of aluminum with no seams. The thinness and ability to charge from flat-out-of-juice via USB are big wins on this model.

    Software wise the PDF viewer is still a disaster and their DRM content is still chock full of typos and typographical boo boo’s. The desktop software is improved but still nowhere near as slick as iTunes and often fails on medium (40mb) downloads for mangas etc…

    Most Borders stores have them on display if you want to check one out.

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  2. Kevin, what you describe is standard behavior and has been pointed out in other reviews as well. That said, I think it’s something that isn’t nearly as annoying when you really use the device as it seems when you first see it.

    My wife has the PRS-500. I got it for her to cut down on the amount of space her books take up in our travel luggage (she reads more than you, if can believe it). She has never complained about the refresh. I recently took her reader on a trip to Europe and read a complete book on the flight and connecting train trip. It honestly isn’t something that bothered me after a few pages. The ergonomics of the button placement are a different story, though that’s apparently addressed with the newer model.

    Now if only I wasn’t fundamentally opposed to DRM’ed content for anything that I don’t consider disposable, I would be able to recommend the Sony Reader. In my wife’s case, she always abandons her paperback books in hotel libraries or at friends’ houses, so it doesn’t matter to her.

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  3. I have the pre-predecessor to the 505 – the Sony Librie, and I love it.

    The screen flashing is normal – the technology requires that you “reset” the pixels between different bits of content. It also becomes a non issue as you use it – I’m also an extremely fast reader and it no longer bothers me in the least.

    The most important advantage to e-ink is one that you can’t really demo – how easy it is on the eyes. I read an enormous volume of material off of LCD screens, and you just kind of get used to the strain it puts on your eyes – You will of course say “Reading off of LCD doesn’t affect me” or something, but you’d be surprised =) Reading a book or two off the Sony left me astonished at how much better my eyes felt afterwards.

    Most people never give the readers enough of a chance because they aren’t something you can just ‘get’ after playing with one for 10 min at the store :(

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