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First Look: Sony Reader Wi-Fi PRS-T1

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First Look: Sony Reader Wi-Fi PRS-T1

2:58 /

While there's no compelling reason to buy it over the Kindle Touch, the Sony Reader Wi-Fi is a very solid e-reader.

-Hi! I'm David Carnoy from CNET, and I'm here with the Sony Reader Wi-Fi PRS-T1. The model comes in 3 colors (a black, red, or white) and retains the same responsive touchscreen of last year's Sony Readers and the inclusion of Wi-Fi in a lower $149 price tag, finally get Sony into the same pricing features realm as the Nook, Kobo Touch, and non-ad supporting Kindle Touch. While the Reader Wi-Fi is essentially a redesigned version of last year's PRS-650, the new model has a new form factor and weighs less, which is partially due to an all plastic rather than metal casing. In fact, at 5.93 ounces, the Sony weighs a hair less than Amazon's non-touchscreen Kindle, which comes in at 5.98 ounces. Overall, the Reader Wi-Fi has an elegant classy look and we like the design. Our only real complaint was that the glossy finish on the border around the touchscreen shows fingerprints at least on the black model re-reviewed. Sony was actually the first to license and include Neonode's infrared touchscreen technology in its last year's e-readers. Since then, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and now Amazon have incorporated the technology into their latest touchscreen e-readers. Because the technology uses infrared sensors to register touch gestures on screen, it's allowed e-reader manufacturers to make touchscreen interfaces without adding an extra screen layer that reduces contrast. The touchscreen isn't just for navigation. You could also mark up text with the included stylus, jot down notes, and turn pages with a swipe of a finger. We also like how you could hold your finger down on a word to bring up its definition in the built-in dictionary. Better yet, you now also have the option to look up a word in Google or Wikipedia. And yes, the device has a built-in web browser. As for additional features like the Nook and Kobo Touch, you get a micro-SD card slot for expanding beyond the built-in 2 gigabytes of memory. The reader Wi-Fi's one bonus feature is the inclusion of audio support, which means you can listen to music while you read, a notable upgrade from the no audio Nook and Kobo models. If the Sony has a problem is that it just doesn't have some killer feature that puts it ahead of the Kindle Nook or Kobo. Aside from that, there's a lot to like about the PRS-T1. It's good to see Sony its best foot forward with a compact, lightweight, and attractively designed e-reader that has a solid feature set for an affordable price. Alas, with the e-reader bargain being as competitive as it is, it may just not be affordable enough at least here in the U.S. where Kindle Touch with special offer retails for just $99. Okay, so that's 2 problems, but who's counting? I'm David Carnoy and that's the Sony Reader Wi-Fi PRS-T1.

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