When traveling, one challenge is keeping reading and reference materials at hand without weighing oneself down with books. Still, I never like to be without my guides, references, or things to read to keep me entertained during slow moments. In recent years, a technological solution has presented itself: the e-book reader.
Unlike a computer, PDA, or cell phone, the current generation of e-book readers uses a display technology called E-Ink; this is a paper-like substance that can display images or text in grey-scale. It has a number of advantages for reading over an LCD. First, it does not have a light shining through it so it's a bit easier on the eyes. Secondly, and more importantly, the display only uses power when it is changing from one page to the next, but when the page stays the same the device remains unpowered. This allows battery life far beyond that possible with an LCD display.
Over the last several years Sony has made a number of forays into the e-book reader arena, competing with the Amazon Kindle among others. The latest among these ventures is the Sony Reader PRS-600 Touch Edition. It has a six inch screen that can display 8-shade grey scale images and text and provides a touch screen interface with a stylus for sketching and annotation of text.
· Size: 6.9" x 4.8" x .4"
· Weight: 10.1 oz.
>· Screen: 6", 800x600, 8 shade grey scale
· Battery Life: 7500 page turns
· Memory: 512MB (380MB user accessible)
· Memory card expansion slots: SDHC and Memory Stick Pro Duo
What's in the box?
· The reader
· Foam case
· USB to Mini-USB cable
The reader itself feels solid and well constructed. It has a set of four buttons on the front that provide minimal hardware controls apart from the touch screen. The 10.1 ounce weight is just heavy enough to feel like you're actually holding something in your hand. At around the size of a paperback, but thinner, holding the unit is very comfortable. The power switch is on the top, along with two memory card slots, and the stylus silo. The bottom of the device holds the mini-USB socket, a socket for the optional AC adapter, an audio socket and volume control for the MP3 playing function that's bundled in. The top and bottom are metallic while the surfaces of the device that are not screen are anodized aluminum, and the case is matte black. The solid build quality was evident when it survived a number of drops onto a hardwood surface from 1, 2, then 3 feet without any damage.