Sony eReader 505: Not great

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.

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