CNET First Look
Sony Reader Daily Edition PRS-900BCThough there's a lot to like about the Daily Edition, the appeal of Sony's first Reader to integrate cellular wireless connectivity is limited by its lackluster screen and high price tag.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:02 >> Hi, I am David Carnoy, Executive Editor for CNET.com and I am here with the Sony Reader Daily Edition. This is the first Sony e-book reader with built-in wireless 3G service that is courtesy of AT&T. So now, Sony is on the same ground as the Kindle and this model is actually a touch screen model with a 7.1-inch screen that is bigger than the Kindle's 6-inch screen. The device itself is actually almost exactly the same length as the Kindle, but because the Kindle has that built-in keyboard, it uses up that extra real estate at the bottom of the screen. This one does not, so you get more texts. Some of the key differences between the step-down touch edition which is a 6-inch model, this one comes with 2-gigabytes of built-in memory, that is a little bit more memory and you get expansion slots for SD and Memory Stick Duo card slots, so you can really store a lot of stuff on this e-reader. It is not a capacitive touch screen like you have on the iPhone or some of these other smartphones has. You do have to press down a little bit. It is not quite as responsive. Then you also have to factor in that this is an E Ink display that is the paper-like display that is not backlit and that technology is a little bit sluggish, so it just doesn't have that zippy feeling that an iPhone or an iPod Touch has. It's got a nice uncluttered look to it. It is easy to find stuff to a degree. However, once you get inside the Sony eBook Store, when you access it wirelessly, it can be a little bit sluggish depending on your connection and also it can be a little bit hard to find stuff. You just can't drill down that easily into various categories, so while Sony does have a lot of e-books in its store, it is hard to surface all those different e-books. You can connect this reader to your desktop via USB and transfer over files. They can be--this does take a lot of different formats for e-books as well as PDF files, but when you go to the Sony eBook Store on your computer and buy books that way, you can't wirelessly transfer them to this device yet like you can with the Kindle. You have to do it via USB so that is a little bit annoying. Once you get into the eBook Store, you can access not only e-books, but periodicals as well. Sony has added the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, a number of other newspapers you can subscribe to those newspapers and have them delivered to the device each morning. Well, the advantage to having a touch screen is that you can have such features as annotations and mark-up capabilities just using a stylus. There is a little stylus that hooks into the side of the device. You can also make some notes with your finger if you had to. Another thing we like about this ball is that it comes with its own protective carrying case, that is something that the Nook or the Kindle are extras with those devices. It is also worth noting that the Daily Edition has a display with 16 levels of gray rather than 8 of the touch edition that allows you to display images a little bit better, yes this does JPG. It also listen to MP3 files on it. There is a headphone jack. Of course one of the downsides to this current generation of touch screen technology for these e-readers is that there are some glare issues because there's an extra little sheet of glass. It is also the contrast isn't as good on this model as something like the Barnes and Noble Nook or the Kindle, even Sony's step down model, the PRS-300. And the touch screen does allow for easy navigation and some of those extra features like being able to mark up texts. The only two big issues we really had with it were again the screen. There are some glare issues with it and the contrast isn't quite as good and the price is rather high at 399 right now. Perhaps if Sony brings down the price a little bit this could become a more compelling choice, but for now, this is really considered more of a high-end e-reader with a few flaws. I am David Carnoy and that is the Sony Reader Daily Edition. ^M00:03:57 [ Music ]