I’ve had a Sony eReader PRS-505 for almost a year now. What a frustrating device.
I typically try to use it like a book, and it fails constantly. Examples:
- I was reading another real book, so hadn’t used the 505 for a while. (Weeks.) I was heading somewhere, grabbed the 505, hoping to read it. No joy. It turned on, grayed out the screen so that I could read some of the page, and placed a big exclamation mark over the screen to warn me that the battery was low. I could not dismiss this, so I couldn’t use it. Now, it isn’t new, so the battery is a bit flakey. There’s a good chance that it still would have worked for many page turns, yet I couldn’t dismiss their warning dialog, rendering the entire thing useless.
- So, I took it home, plugged it in for a while, went to read it. I read the page, and then none of the buttons would work, so I couldn’t turn the page. Great. My book had just crashed.
- I went to find a paper clip to reset my book (why the reset hole has to be so small when they clearly expect it to crash, I’ll leave for the moment.) When I did reset the device, it came up and had lost track of what book I was reading. Great! I’ve got about 50 on there, so then I have to navigate to the right book (not easy) and then remember what the zoom level would be so that I could try to resume. (No, I hadn’t bookmarked it.) I accidentally changed to page 411 instead of 41 because the UI is so sluggish, but eventually was able to continue reading my book.
- Said book would not have been available in Kingston, so thank you Sony for providing me with a way to get at the book instantly. Great. However, it was about $3 cheaper than the actual book on Amazon. Yes, buying the ebook is more convenient, but reading it certainly isn’t.
- Next, plug it in to my Mac. Hooray for Sony for releasing a Mac client, though why couldn’t it have been a website that I could use from my Linux box? It is just a USB mass storage device.
- Go to buy a new book. Great! Margaret Atwood’s new book is only $15! Sweet! That’s a lot cheaper than the hardcover! Maybe this thing is worth the bother after all.
- Available only in the US.
Thankfully, I didn’t actually buy the PRS-505. It was a gift/I was able to trade it. So, I’m not out of pocket, just out of time. I think eBooks have potential and have their place in the market but boy, this device isn’t going to displace the real thing any time soon.