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Sony Reader Daily Edition PRS-950SC (silver) review: Sony Reader Daily Edition PRS-950SC (silver)

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In terms of other capabilities, the PRS-950 does read PDF files and has zoom capabilities (along with Word and text formats). We can't say a 7-inch screen is terribly conducive for PDF viewing, but the functionality is there for those who need it.

With the Size button, you can choose among six font settings: extra-small, small, medium, large, extra-large, and extra-extra-large. As you might guess, the larger 7-inch screen does allow you to see more lines of text on a page when you increase the font size, which may be important to those who plan on reading at larger font sizes. (Note: you manually set the screen to display vertically or horizontally.)

To download e-books from the Sony store, you have to create an account, but then you can download e-books, as well as magazine and newspaper subscriptions, right from the device.

You can also manually transfer content to the device via your computer by installing the Sony desktop app on your Mac or Windows PC. You then "side-load" e-books you've purchased to the device via the USB port. Alternatively--and this is one of the nice things about the device--you can download EPUB books from other sites and transfer those books to the device by simply dragging and dropping them to the device icon when you're connected to the desktop app on your computer. In a test, we downloaded some free public-domain books from epubbooks.com (these same books are available via the Google Books link on the device). Also, this Sony reader allows you to check out EPUB books from your local library if it offers that service. The Nook also has this capability but the Kindle currently does not.

All in all, while the Sony e-book store has an ample selection of titles, it isn't quite up to the level of Amazon's Kindle Store or Barnes & Noble's e-book store. Likewise, the Sony e-books you buy aren't yet available on a wide range of platforms outside of the Readers themselves. There are free software Readers for Windows PCs and Macs, as well as Android phones (version 2.2 or later). But the iOS version is currently embroiled in an approval dispute with Apple, so there's no telling when you'll be able to read Sony titles on an iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone. By comparison, e-book titles bought via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo (which also powers Borders e-book offerings) can be enjoyed on a wide range of multiple devices, including Android, iOS, and BlackBerry.

If you compare the Daily Edition PRS-950 with the SonyReader Touch Edition PRS-650 ($229), the key differences are the PRS-950's larger screen and the wireless connectivity. As with that model, you get audio playback capabilities and expandable storage. You get both SD and Memory Stick Duo expansion slots and a headphone jack for listening to music while you read. (You have to load that music onto the device; there's no built-in music app like Pandora on the device itself.)

As we said in our review of Sony's smaller, non-wireless e-readers, there's really a lot to like with the PRS-950. Once again we applaud Sony for finally taking the e-ink reader's interface to the next level (we wish both the Kindle and Nook had this touch interface) and appreciate the fact this model has built-in wireless capabilities.

While we had some small nitpicks (the device locked up a couple of times while we were testing it), we liked the PRS-950 and think it's one of the top e-readers on the market. Of course, the big downside is its price, which makes it harder to recommend over similarly capable e-ink e-readers like the Kindle and Nook that cost less than half as much. There's also the more versatile Nook Color sitting there at $250, but we know that some people prefer an e-ink screen, particularly because it provides far superior battery life compared with LCD.

Bottom line: if you can overlook the high price, the PRS-950 is certainly worth considering. Just be aware there are plenty of great competitors out there that you should also check out.

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