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CNET First Look
Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-350If 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.
Hi, I'm David Carnoy, executive editor for cnet.com and I'm going to give you a quick video tour of the Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS 350. This is actually the second generation of Sony's 5-inch eReader and this new model is not only slicker, but it's more compact and the internal memory has been up to 2 gigabytes. Just as importantly, now sports a touchscreen interface along with the new higher contrast E Ink Pearl display found in the latest amazon Kindle and Kindle DX. But this eReader which weighed at a mere of 5.64 ounces has a touchscreen interface isn't really the big news here rather it's that Sony engineers have finally gone it right at least to touchscreen part. How they do it? Well, they managed to remove a layer of screen protection that previously hurt the contrast and cause glare issues due to increase reflectivity. Those matters are now resolved and it's great to see the concept to the touchscreen E Ink reader finally hitting its stride. True will the touchscreen may not be quite as responsive as the iPhones is more responsive than it was and as we've said before, this type of interface is ideal for eReaders because it allows the designers to cutdown on the buttons and wheedled the device down to just slight bigger than the screen itself. You can also mark up text with the included stylish jot down notes and turn pages with a swipe of a finger. We also like how you can double tap on a word to bring up its definition in the built-in dictionary. All in all, we really like this eReader. And while some people aren't fan of smaller digital readers, we like the pocket editions forward factor. It won't quite fit in in your shirt pocket, but it does slip easily into a jacket pocket or a purse and barely ways you down. The only downside, and it's gonna be a big one for some people, is it there is no wireless connectivity on board. Considering that both the Nook and Kindle come in Wi-Fi versions that cost less than this bottle that's disappointing because it really would have been nice to access the Sony e-book store from the device itself rather have to connect it to your computer each time you want to load books. At least Sony now allows you to charge the device via the mini-USB port rather than make you use a separate charger. In the end, that lack of wireless connectivity is our only serious griping. Considering the competition, we can't say this eReader is a bargain at $180. But if you can live without a wireless option, this is an attractive digital reader that performs well and has a very good interface. I'm David Carnoy and that's the Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS 350.