Sony Reader Digital Book PRS-700

The Amazon Kindle has been taking off recently, but Sony has answered with an e-book reader of their own, the Sony Reader Digital Book PRS-700. Their model features a touch screen, a sleek design, a fast processor, and a fantastic interface. Although a little pricey, it might be worth at least looking at over the Amazon Kindle, especially since the Kindle is so hard to get due to its popularity.

In all, the Sony Reader Digital Book PRS-700 weighs 10-ounces and measures about 7 x 5 x 0.5-inches, which is comparable to a paperback novel. The display measures 6-inches (diagonally), but more on that later. We liked this compact size because it's large enough to read comfortably, but small enough to throw in a purse or small bag. Along the top side of the reader, there's a power switch, memory card slot (SD and Memory Stick Pro). Along the bottom of the device is a volume control, headphone port, and mini-USB and power port.

The most impressive feature of the Sony over the Kindle is the 6-inch touch screen. Like the Kindle, it's a monochrome display and it suffers from the same problems as other e-book readers, which is the lack of a pure-white background and higher contrast. The resolution is 800x600 and is very readable and comfortable, despite the shortcomings we just mentioned. Because it uses E-Ink technology just like the Kindle, it's optimum to have bright-light when your reading a book for better visibility, but Sony put a few LED's along the sides of the screen for backlighting that you can turn on in low-light conditions. Although a good idea, they aren't quiet bright enough to read in very low light conditions, so be warned.

Touch sensitivity allows for more advanced user control of their book, including the ability to turn the page by simply swiping a finger across the screen. Along the bottom of the device are a few buttons for access to a few other features, including book navigation (page back, home, etc.), text size (5 different sizes), and a button that allows you to search the book by using the on-screen virtual keyboard. If you feel like you need a stylus, Sony has graciously included it for you hidden in a slot along the top-right edge of the device.

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