Sony PRS-500 Portable Reader System

The Good Slim and relatively lightweight; screen requires no backlight and is easy to read in bright environments; with the addition of optional memory card (SD or Memory Stick Pro), it's capable of storing thousands of electronic books; font size can be adjusted with a single button push; decent battery life; displays PDF and Word files, most image files, and plays MP3 and AAC audio.

The Bad Overall, the unit feels a tad sluggish, with a short but noticeable delay when turning a page; controls aren't as intuitive as they could be; interface could be slightly easier to use; Sony's online Connect bookstore is still a work in progress; proprietary Connect book files aren't compatible with other devices and are often as expensive as paper books; Connect software isn't available for Mac owners; no support for Audible audio books.

The Bottom Line Though the Sony PRS-500 Portable Reader System is an impressive platform for reading e-books and other documents, the price and availability of compatible "books" makes it a tougher sell.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 6.0
6.8 Overall

Compare

Sony PRS-500 Portable Reader System
Sony PRS-500 Portable Reader System
Amazon Kindle Oasis 2017 (32GB, 3G/4G)
Amazon Kindle Oasis (2017)
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2015)
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2015)
Amazon Kindle Keyboard 3G
Amazon Kindle Keyboard 3G
Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-300
Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-300
Price $350 Amazon.com £320 Amazon.co.uk £110 Amazon.co.uk £280 MSRP £280 MSRP
Design
7
9
8
... ...
Features
7
9
9
... ...
Performance
6
9
8
... ...

Review

Sony PRS-500 Portable Reader System

Editors' note: As of October 2007, this first-generation product has been replaced by its successor, the Sony Reader Electronic Book PRS-505.

The "electronic" book has been around for a while, but the biggest impediment for books to really move into the digital realm has been the absence of an affordable e-book reader that was any good. While there are plenty of other significant challenges that have to be overcome before big publishers get serious about e-books, a key first step is the hardware itself. The good news is that Sony's gotten a lot right with its PRS-500 Portable Reader System ($300), which most people know as the Sony Reader.

At 6.9 inches tall by 4.9 inches wide by 0.5 inch deep, the Reader is somewhere between the size of a standard DVD case and a short trade paperback novel--it's bound in a leather protective cover--but obviously, it's heavier (8.8 ounces) than a paperback because it houses a thin screen display with a metallic blue border. There are some buttons on the front along with a memory card expansion slot on the side. The 600x800-pixel, four-grayscale screen measures approximately 4.9x3.6 inches, and the first thing you notice about it when you turn on the device (it takes a few seconds to fire up after you slide the power switch) is that it's a high-contrast monochrome display that isn't backlit. Technically, it's an electrophoretic display, which Wikipedia describes as "an information display that forms visible images by rearranging charged pigment particles using an applied electric field."

Continue Reading

Specs / Prices

  • MSRP $280
  • Brand Sony
  • Diagonal Size 6 in
  • Weight 8.82 oz
  • Supported Text Formats BBeB, BBeB DRM, PDF, RTF, TXT
  • Technology E Ink
See full specs

Report errors

How To

​Download free e-books from your local library -- here's how

​Download free e-books from your local library -- here's how

Missed the Kindle update deadline? Here's how to update manually

Missed the Kindle update deadline? Here's how to update manually

What to look for in an e-reader

What to look for in an e-reader

Move everything from an old Kindle to your new Kindle

Move everything from an old Kindle to your new Kindle

How to change your Amazon Kindle's screensaver

How to change your Amazon Kindle's screensaver

Send PDFs to Kindle, via email

Send PDFs to Kindle, via email

How to read and listen to music, Facebook share on a Kindle

How to read and listen to music, Facebook share on a Kindle

Borrow ebooks from your local library... without even going there

Borrow ebooks from your local library... without even going there

How to back up Kindle purchases on your PC or Mac

How to back up Kindle purchases on your PC or Mac

Ebooks and e-readers: FAQ

Ebooks and e-readers: FAQ

Latest News