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Sony Reader WiFi Touch (PRS-T1) review: Sony Reader WiFi Touch (PRS-T1)

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For that price, what you get is a feature set that almost matches item for item the PRS-650, with a few new changes. The Memory Stick Duo slot is gone, as is support for DOC, RTF and BBeB files; in return, we have IEEE 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, longer battery life and a faster processor — 1GHz, compared to the previous model's 532MHz. As you know, though, that doesn't necessarily make it faster — the Sony Reader took nearly twice as long to boot up and open a book as the Kobo (40 seconds versus 23), and does also take slightly longer to open files, although page turns are comparably swift.

One of our favourite features of the PRS-650 and the PRS-350 was PDF reflow, and it's made a return. Coupled with the device's price and performance, this makes it the best e-reader for PDF files on the market. It does struggle with larger PDF files; a 300-page PDF took a long time to open, and another long time to turn a page; but smaller files are a lot faster, and it's a relatively simple matter to break your PDFs down into smaller files before loading them onto the device.

Other features carried over include the multiple dictionaries and audio support, but we're pleased to see that Sony has now also made the step up to include Wi-Fi — although the app for the Google bookstore that does nothing has us scratching our heads (Sony has yet to comment on whether Google Books compatibility is on the way).

Performance

We were rather surprised that the software was still pretty much the same as in the previous edition of the e-reader. This means that the touchscreen can still be a little over-sensitive, and sometimes it doesn't register presses. It's not a massive problem, but we would have hoped that Sony could have cleared it up right now.

There was another software bug that caused some grief — occasionally, the pages would just start flipping forwards very quickly for 10 seconds or so; when they stopped, the touchscreen would become unresponsive, requiring a reset with a paperclip. Apparently this is not an uncommon problem, and Sony does appear to be aware of it and is working on a fix, but it's something to keep an eye on.

Aside from these issues, the PRS-T1 is easy to use. Although its interface isn't as intuitive as the Kobo's, most people shouldn't have any problems navigating, and a direct link to a browser on the home screen makes buying books online fairly easy — although you will have to navigate to the bookstore yourself. If you still want to buy your books online, you can bypass the Sony software by installing Adobe Digital Editions; and, as always, non-DRM material can be transferred by opening the device on your computer as external storage. It should also be noted that even using the Wi-Fi from time to time, the battery lasts a few solid weeks.

Conclusion

Its close similarity means that our experience with the PRS-650 still more or less applies. This means, in turn, that the PRS-T1 is also a great device, especially at the price point — it's not a purchase that you'll regret. However, given that the PRS-650's competitors have made significant moves forward, it was a little disappointing that Sony has not.

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