May 11th, 2009
Review of the Sony eBook Reader

I said many a moon ago that I would write a review of the Sony PRS-505. Here it is, long overdue.


This review won’t debate the merits or disadvantages of this eBook reader over the Kindle because I don’t have a Kindle. Once upon a time I had a Gemstar Reb 1200 (no longer manufactured) and I loved it with the red hot love of 20 billion suns. In my opinion, the Sony PRS-505 does not beat the Reb, but there’s still a whole lot of nice about the Sony PRS-505.

I can’t tell you tons about the filing system because–as anyone who knows me will tell you–I’m not much for organizing stuff (unless it comes to my writing, then I’m very organized). I just buy the book I want to read, read it, and it remains on my bookshelf. I don’t filter them all out into different categories or folders, ect.

What I like:

1.) The readability of the text on the screen. Easier on the eyes than paper.

2.) The eBook library software is intuitive and useful.

3.) Free eBooks. I buy most my eBooks from the Sony site. I have been told you can easier buy ebooks from many different sources (this was the primary reason I bought the Sony instead of the Kindle), I just haven’t had a need to do so yet. The Sony site has had good prices on the ebooks I’ve wanted since I bought the device, and I’ve also taken frequent advantage of their free and almost free offerings.

4.) The ability to increase the font size at will.

5.) It’s thin and easily transportable in my laptop case (this is also a disadvantage. See below. Just can’t please me, I guess.)

6.) I have the red one and it’s a beautiful, elegant looking device.

What I dislike:

1.) The trend is to make personal electronics slimmer and smaller. The Reb I used to have was bulkier than the Sony PRS-505, but it was also contoured to fit in my hand. The Sony PRS-505 doesn’t curve to smoothly fit in my palm; it’s flat, hard and thin.

2.) There’s no backlight. Again, to compare to the Reb, the Reb had a very nice backlight that I could dim or make brighter. The overwhelming majority of the time I spend reading it right before I go to sleep. I’m usually on my back or my side in a darkened room with my husband sleeping beside me. Because there’s no backlight, I must still use the clip on booklight that I used to use with my paperbacks. I really don’t mind this, it clips on well, and I knew I’d have to use a booklight with it when I bought the Sony PRS-505. However, I find the booklight will glare on the screen and there’s no way to position the light to prevent that glare. Also, the damn booklight scoots to the side when I lie at an angle, causing me to constantly readjust.

3.) The buttons to turn the page (there are two) are not in (what seems to me, anyway) a very ergonomically sound place on the reader. Maybe it’s because, again, I’m laying in bed on my side. In any case, I’d love to have the button I push the most (to turn a page) in a place that’s a bit easier.

Overall, I have to say I’m very happy with the Sony PRS-505. I have no regrets I bought it.

7 comments to “Review of the Sony eBook Reader”

  1. I appreciate your words on the Sony. I have been in debate with myself for a long period of time as to the one I want… Sony or Kindle. I love to hear what everyone has to say.
    But I am like you.. 90% of the time when I am reading is in my bed, no lights, hubby sleeping, and trying to get comfortable with a book in hand and book light. So, I appreciate you shedding some light (no pun intended) on the matter for me.

  2. Thanks for the review Anya! I’ve been really wanting to get an e-reader, and am thinking about the Sony. It’s nice to get an honest opinion on it’s good and bad points! 😛

  3. Anya,
    I’ve had my Kindle since Dec 2007.

    Why did you end up going with the Sony? Because it’s red? (ha!) I think a color choice is awesome and the Kindle should come in different colors but I’m also okay with buying removable “skins”.

    Great review, overall. I find that your dislikes are about the same as mine for the Kindle. The next/previous page buttons don’t make sense. Though this might have been corrected with the Kindle 2 but I wouldn’t know because I have the Kindle 1.

    The clip on light isn’t an issue with me. I do notice a slight glare every now and again but it doesn’t drive me crazy. I have the Mighty Bright on.

  4. Great review………I have an eBookwise, which I think is alot like the REB, and love it. Not crazy about the bulkiness, and LOVE that kindle and Sony have SO many books available, so I have envy, lol.
    Just satisfied enough right now that I’m not truly tempted to spend that kind of money….especially w/ no back light. That is one of the greatest things….I can turn lights out, read until time to sleep, then turn it off. It’s just too handy!!

  5. I lvoe my sony I have the 700 so its back lit. Don’t they sell a light that attaches for the 505?

  6. Yay! The ereader review! 😀 I still think the red Sony ereader is the most attractive of all the e-readers out there.

  7. I have the same Sony as Anya. I enjoy it greatly. Yes they sell a light for it that I am looking into getting in the near future. I happen to have the blue one, instead of the read. I feel that it was a great investment for me.