The Good Very compact and lightweight; responsive touch-screen interface with no glare or contrast issues; high-contrast E Ink Pearl display; zippier performance than that of its predecessor; integration with Sony e-book store; good battery life (up to two weeks); supports ePub e-book standard, which allows for e-book downloads from libraries.
The Bad No Wi-Fi or 3G wireless means you'll need to drag and drop purchased books from a PC or Mac; more expensive than Wi-Fi versions of Kindle and Nook; no protective cover included; Sony Reader Store isn't quite as extensive as Amazon's or Barnes & Noble's.
The Bottom Line If you can overlook the fact that it's missing wireless connectivity, the Sony PRS-350 is a very nice little e-reader that's anchored by an impressive and easy-to-use touch interface.
Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-350
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 on the latest Amazon Kindle and Kindle DX.
That the PRS-350 Pocket Edition Reader, which weighs in at 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'd 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.
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