Dropping down in price and size is the 5in display-packing Reader Pocket, or PRS-350 to be formal. This has received more of an upgrade that the Reader Touch, as it now also comes with a touch-sensitive screen, making it much easier to use than the button-controlled previous model.
Particularly noteworthy is that the software on the Reader Pocket is exactly the same on the Reader Touch. The only difference, display size and resolution aside, between the two devices is that the Touch also handled audio playback, whereas the Pocket had no such functionality.
We actually found that the reduction in size didn’t make eBooks much harder to read on the Reader Pocket, as it’s perfectly easy to up the font size if it’s too small. And as it’s not often that we want the distraction of music playing while reading a book, we reckon the Pocket edition Reader is the device of choice - especially with its lesser £159 MSRP. Its smaller size and less weighty form don’t do it any harm either – the Reader Pocket really is small enough to fit in a pocket, which we can’t say about a huge number of paper-based books.
It’s also worth pointing out that the eBook ecosystem Sony has helped develop around its Readers is ever improving. Aside from eBook stored provided by WHS Smiths and Waterstones, among others, a number of Library’s in the UK are also getting on board the eBook bandwagon. Publishers still aren’t quite embracing digital distribution fully yet, with pricing and loan periods still hamstrung by licensing agreements intended for physical titles, but it’s a definite start.
Look out for full reviews of the Reader Touch and Reader Pocket in the coming weeks.