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Sony Reader WiFi PRS-T1 review: It can't quite catch Kindle

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

The $149.99 Sony Reader WiFi is very lightweight and has a touch-screen interface (click to enlarge). Sony
It's hard for some people to imagine, but Sony was the first major brand to offer an e-book reader back in 2006--beating the original Amazon Kindle to market by at least 14 months. Since then, however, the company's e-book strategy has been one step forward and two steps back as it plays catch-up with upstart competitors Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Consider the 2010 Sony Readers: the models pioneered e-ink touch screens months before the Nook and Kobo, but they inexplicably omitted Wi-Fi from most models--instead requiring readers to tether to a PC and download new e-books. Those Sony Readers were also priced far above competing Kindle and Nook models at the time.

A year later, Sony has now updated its Reader line, and this time the company is more in tune with current e-reader features. Instead of three Reader models with various pricing and feature sets, Sony now has one $149 model, the Sony Reader Wi-Fi PRS-T1. It does, however, come in three colors (black, red, or white). The Reader Wi-Fi retains the responsive touch screen of its predecessors and (as the name suggests) adds Wi-Fi. And unlike the Nook Touch, the Sony has support for audio--though not audiobooks, apparently.

In all, it's a very solid e-reader. The only problem is it doesn't do much to distinguish itself from the competition: Barnes & Noble and Amazon offer cheaper models with similar or identical feature sets, and content offerings of their respective stores are more extensive. That's doubly true of Amazon's new, aggressively priced 2011 Kindle models, which includes the $99 Kindle Touch with Special Offers--basically a product that meets or exceeds the specs of Sony's product for $50 less.

Read the full review.

Sony Reader Wi-Fi PRS-T1