Sony's PRS-350 e-reader just misses greatness

If you can overlook the fact that it's missing wireless connectivity, the Sony PRS-350 is a very nice e-reader that's anchored by an impressive and easy-to-use touch interface.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Mobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
The Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-350 comes in silver or pink for $179.99. Sony

In 2009, Sony was one of the few digital reader manufacturers to release a model with a 5-inch screen--an inch smaller than the standard 6-incher found on the Nook and Kindle. Now the same model--the Pocket Edition--is back in a sleeker, more compact package, and with more internal memory (2GB). Just as importantly, it now sports a touch-screen interface along with the new higher-contrast E Ink Pearl display found in the latest Amazon Kindle and Kindle DX.

That the PRS-350 Pocket Edition Reader, which weighs a mere 5.64 ounces and measures a very compact 5.71 inches tall by 4.11 inches wide by 0.33 inch deep, has a touch-screen interface isn't really the big news here. Rather, it's that Sony's engineers have finally gotten it right on the third try--at least the touch-screen part.

How did they do it? Well, somehow they managed to remove a layer of screen protection that previously hurt the contrast (the letters weren't as dark as those on the Kindle or Nook) and caused glare issues due to increased reflectivity. Those matters are now resolved, and it's great to see the concept of a touch-screen e-ink e-reader finally hit its stride.

So, what's wrong with it? Read the full review to find out.