Ars Technica’s Read on the Sony PRS-505

November 15, 2007

Ars Technica takes a detailed look at the latest iteration of Sony’s dedicated ebook reader, the PRS-505.

Their bottom line: “… if the Reader sounds like the sort of gadget you can’t live without and you can live with its quirks, it’s a superbly built device with a screen that will blow you away. It comes highly recommended, but only to those certain they have a use for it.”

This is largely in line with my own continuing experience with the earlier PRS-500 model. I still gawk at the e-ink screen with wonder, though I am at times frustrated by the device’s limitations. For example, during a trip my wife and I took to Las Vegas last weekend, I tried to use the Sony as a reference tool to access an ebook version of the excellent Avant-Guide Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the Reader’s slow paging and navigation made it a poor choice for non-linear, jump-around-and-find-stuff reading. For reading fiction and other works read in a linear fashion, however, I agree with Ars Technica’s assessment — the Sony Reader “…is a beautiful device that excels at what it was designed to do: display e-books.”


  1. Is it worth getting the 500, or does the 505 add enough new features/improvements to justify the little bit higher price tag?

  2. The answer to that question depends on budget and the price at which you can find the older device. If Sony is still making the $49 offer for the PRS-500, then I’d say it’s a no-brainer. None of the new model’s features justify a 5-6x price difference.

    If you’ve seen the 500’s screen and found it a little low in contrast, then it would be worth a look at the newer machine to see if its improved display is worth it to you.

    The other wild card is file compatibility. Sony has hinted that the 505 will eventually be upgraded to be compatible with DRM’d PDF files, but it is unclear if this software upgrade will be extended to the 500. I haven’t seen a date associated with this promised feature, so it may be a non-issue if you are looking for something more immediately.

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