Friday, November 30, 2012

Sony PRS-T1 e-ink ebook reader review

Horizontal strikes again. Thinking about reading but in fact more interested in hacking new tech gizmos so that they could be something they are not initially designed for:

Sony PRS-T1 e-ink ebook reader review

First lets throw some facts across the air:
  1. E-ink readers ARE NOT, repeat, NOT tablets
  2. Tablets are the main culprits for slowing back the advance of the the e-ink devices.
  3. Very large number of people in the world are idiots.
  4. Roses are red. Or not.
  5. E-ink readers’ readability is far unreachable by any lcd/led/whatever screen.

Soon after getting my first e-book reader (NOT tablet), which was Prestigio, I realized that it is not rootable/hackable, and in another words, I would actually have to read books on it, which was of course unacceptable. Then I went to Graz, Austria, so we could enjoy the city wonders, but apparently there was a fairly big obstacle in our way - shopping centre Seiersberg with Mediamarkt in it, with Sony PRS-T1 in it.

I've previously watched about 17 available videos on youtube and have read about 32,765,324 online reviews on that device before I decided to buy one, as usual, for all the things that cost more than $1.5. It was like it was built by the same alien civilization that built Stargate comparing with the Prestigio reader. On the third round in Mediamarkt (1 time lost in the washing machine section - some were really big and scary, second time scouting the area when scented a fresh coffee somewhere), finally we found it - more precisely, we found two of the devices in the sea of notebooks and, of course, tablets. So, the last two Sony e-book readers in the whole damn shopping city - and one of them was pink. We bought the white one. I was planning to buy at least two and sell one in my country for outrageously higher price, but.. it was pink. Do people who like pink like to read? It is a question worth investigating.

So, my conclusion on the subject is - not many people read. And not many people really understand what e-ink is. When browsing the local advertisements for ebook readers for sale, sellers usualy say that he is selling it because it is “some black and white shit” (actually, 16 level greyscale) and he could not play angry birds (actually on rooted PRS-T1 you can), or watch movies. Yeah, that sucks. Watching movies on tablets can really rock your world for sure.

Lets get down to business.

- 16 level greyscale .
- It has buttons.
- blablah, you can read the rest on the official site if you care.

The Good:

  1. E-ink provides paper-like experience, and this is not just a marketing expression; if you've never seen an e-ink screen in action, you will really be surprised and feel slightly confused.
  2. Pretty fast, specially compared to Prestigio devices.
  3. Infrared touchscreen which does not alter display quality and is VERY responsive (you don’t have to really touch the screen, it is enough to place finger/stylus/potato very near).
  4. Rootable! (android 2.1)
  5. Built in bunch of dictionaries.
  6. Bookmarks, notes, highlights, handwriting.
  7. mp3 player.
  8. 3.5mm audio output.
  9. Finally: “Leather” cases for under 10$ on ebay.
  10. Freakishly light!
  11. Very thin.
  12. Fair font selection.
  13. Crop, text reflow, can actually read column based text (articles etc).

The Bad:

  1. Strange for Sony, but very weak bass on mp3 player.
  2. Difference between the same model devices in respect to screen quality; my friend also bought the PRS-T1, but his screen has slightly better contrast and slightly crispier fonts - enough for me to go nuts and call Sony and email them and demand explanation and read further 837623 reviews and Russian forums, call the media and alert the president. Sony guy from India swears that that could not be possible, but it clearly is.
  3. Slightly darker white background then kindle (at least my model) and lot darker then Prestigio.
  4. Notes not filtered by books from which they are taken? Notes from all books on the same place? A mess.
  5. Can't attach a reading light without case, because of the device design.
  6. Must have a solid light source in order to see words and stuff.
  7. Who would in the gods name design a bezel finish around e-ink screen?? Yeah, its “pretty”. But it reflects the fraking light! Idiots.
  8. Questionable ergonomics; page turns on screen swipes or by the hardware buttons which are on the bottom of the device (see pics).
  9. Text reflow still butchers pdfs with drawings tables etc.

Recommendation prerequisites:

  1. You do not need to watch movies on this device.
  2. You do not need to play HD games.
  3. You want to read books and stuff.
  4. You want more then basic reading functionality on your device.
  5. You are not afraid to get some android blood on your hands.

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