I’ve managed to get my hands on a Sony PRS-505 Reader which has been out in the US for a while now, but has only recently become available in the UK through the High Street retailer Waterstones (priced at £199). As soon as I opened the box, I was immediately struck by the look and feel of the product. It is approximately the size of a standard DVD case and comes complete with a smart leather cover. First things first, though… what is it? In short it’s a device that has the ability to store eBooks (as well as PDF files, Word documents… and even other file formats such as MP3s). What this means is that when you travel, you no longer need to pack multiple books into your luggage. Instead, you can just transfer files into your reader or on to a memory stick or SD card that you can use in conjunction with the reader. It’s quickly apparent, therefore, that this is a traveller’s dream, particularly if you’re a bit of a bookworm or you’re sometimes away for long periods of time. It’s really light and compact, weighing just 9 ounces (without the cover) and measuring only one third of an inch thick. When you consider that it has the capability to hold 160 eBooks, you begin to truly appreciate its weight-saving potential. Two memory card slots allow for thousands more books and a healthy battery life will ensure the device can keep on working for up to 7,500 page turns (with significantly faster refresh rates than the previous model). Other neat features include a bookmark button that allows you to mark your place in the text, and the use of e-ink which allows pages to be displayed very effectively, yet without the need for backlighting. Whilst the Sony Reader is unlikely to replace the traditional paperback any time soon, it certainly provides good reason for those who travel regularly to not have to worry about how many books they should pack. There will always be some who prefer the touch and feel of a real book so it will be interesting to see just how much of a dent this new technology makes upon the traditional market.
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