Another Reader from Sony, and this one is the lightest yet
We must admit that at 241g we didn’t feel our Wi-Fi only Kindle was troublesomely weighty, but at just 168g the new Sony Reader Wi-Fi is noticeably lighter. EBook readers aren’t like cameras, where a little heft can make them easier to hold steady, so slicing another 80g off our daily commuting kit is certainly welcome.
Like the current Kindle, it has a 6in display, so the weight comparisons are valid. It uses the same E-ink Pearl technology as the Kindle too. The main weight saving comes from using a touch screen (actually an infra-red detection system rather than a touch-sensitive panel) instead of having to find space for buttons for text entry. This makes it a little smaller, if fractions of a millimetre thicker.
Battery life is a very respectable 14,000 page turns. Though the Kindle does have it beat on built-in memory capacity, with 3GB available for storage compared to the Reader’s 1.3GB. That said, there’s still space for around 1,200 unillustrated books; plus if you need more space, you can just add a microSD card to suit your needs.
It felt great to use, nice and responsive with a good key layout, and the ability to swipe the screen to change pages. Despite its low weight it feels sturdy, and we did try and flex the device with some force.
With an estimated price of £130, it’s £15 more than the equivalent Kindle, a fair price differential given its lightweight design. Of course you don’t choose an eReader based just on weight and initial price, and its Amazon itself that has made the Kindle such a success.
Sony is planning to launch its own UK version of the Reader eBookstore in October with 100,000 titles on sale. Of course you’ll still be welcome to shop around other online stores for your eBooks in ePub format, unlike the Amazon-only Kindle.
Sony are shaping up to be Amazon’s only serious competitor in the market for dedicated eBook readers. The Wi-Fi is another great device from the company but Amazon’s book selling power and easy book buying keeps it ahead for now. However, if you don’t like to be tied to one retailer, then the Wi-Fi should be on your Xmas list – full review to follow in October.