Sony Reader Touch Edition (PRS-650) eBook reader
A stylish Sony eBook reader with an Apple iPad-style touchscreen
- Great build quality, two memory card slots, good picture viewer, touchscreen actually works!
- No Wi-Fi, slightly overpriced, skimps on bundled extras
The Sony Reader Touch Edition (PRS-650) is a handsomely crafted eBook reader that impresses on almost every level. However, with no Wi-Fi or bundled accessories, it's perhaps a teensy bit overpriced (Australian RRP: $299).
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
As its name suggests, the Sony Reader Touch Edition (PRS-650) eBook reader comes with a touchscreen in the form of a six-inch, 16-level greyscale e-ink display (a cheaper 5in version is also available). The Sony Reader’s touchscreen can be manipulated with your fingertip or the included stylus, which slips snugly into the side of the device.
Looking for the best eBook reader? Before you buy an Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad or Sony reader check out our eBook reader comparison guide to find out the best features you should compare.
The Sony Reader Touch Edition offers a variety of font sizes
In addition to reading eBooks, viewing black-and-white photos and listening to music, the Sony Reader Touch Edition (PRS-650) doubles as a digital notepad for drawing and writing notes. File format support is good, including BBeB, PDFs, Microsoft Word and the ubiquitous ePub standard. With an RRP of $299, the Sony Reader Touch Edition is a bit pricey compared to other eBook readers on the market — especially considering it lacks Wi-Fi or 3G connectivity. Nonetheless, it remains a worthy and stylish option for discerning (digital) book worms.
In terms of design, the Sony Reader Touch Edition (PRS-650) is almost identical to its predecessor, the Reader Touch Edition PRS-600. Everything from screen size to the button layout remains more or less unchanged. Fortunately, the PRS-600 was one of the most stylish eBooks on the market, so we're not particularly fussed by the lack of a makeover. With dimensions of 118x168x9.6mm, the Sony Reader Touch Edition (PRS-650) is quite compact for a 6in eBook reader. The version we tested came with a black metal finish; a red model is also available for trendier readers.
The Sony Reader comes with two memory card slots
The Sony Reader Touch Edition (PRS-650) comes with 2GB of inbuilt storage; enough to store around 1200 eBooks. Two memory card slots (SD card and Memory Stick) are also provided, which boosts the potential storage space to an impressive 34GB. This might seem like overkill for a video-free device — but if you plan to use the Reader for music and picture viewing, those two gigabytes are sure to fill up fast. (The Reader supports MP3 and AAC audio files, and JPEG, GIF, PNG and BMP image files.)
The eBook reader has five buttons along the bottom of the screen. These consist of page-turn (forwards and back), home menu, zoom (for different-sized fonts) and a context-sensitive 'options' button. Naturally, the majority of functions are accessed via the Reader's touchscreen, which includes an on-screen QWERTY keyboard. We found text input to be reasonably fast and responsive, although people with thick fingers will be relegated to the stylus.
The Sony Reader Touch Edition doubles as a decent photo viewer
We were very impressed with the PRS-650's touchscreen. Like the Apple iPhone, pages and images can be scrolled through by flicking your finger across the screen. Sadly, you don't get that cool 'sliding' effect like on Apple products, but it still gets the job done pretty well. That said, we found ourselves using the page-scroll buttons at the bottom of the screen more often than not; it meant we didn't have to keep obscuring the screen with our hand.
The display replicates the written word superbly, and also does a pretty great job with photos. (You can set up a slideshow with customised options, such as the number of seconds each image remains onscreen.)
The handwriting tool is a pretty fun diversion, but we can't imagine people returning to it all that often. The e-ink screen simply isn't sophisticated enough to be worth the bother: all of our sketches ended up looking like clumsy, childlike scrawls and we’re usually pretty good at drawing. (No, really.)
This is the best we could muster. Sorry.
The Sony Reader Touch Edition (PRS-650) is pretty miserly when it comes to bundled extras. You only get one public domain book (Pride & Prejudice); compared to 1500 on the Kogan eBook Reader. We realise that these books can be downloaded for free, but would it have killed Sony to go to a bit of effort on our behalf? Annoyingly, Sony has also failed to provide a slipcase, which means you'll need to take care when tossing the Reader inside your bag. (You can purchase a protective cover from Sony for $45, but seriously; what's that about?) On the plus side, the Oxford Dictionary is included on the device, free of charge.
As mentioned previously, the Sony Reader Touch Edition (PRS-650) does not come with Wi-Fi or 3G capabilities (features offered by the two new Kindle 3 models). This means you're forced to connect the device to a computer whenever you want to download books or other media (a USB cable and inbuilt eBook Library software are both included).
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- 2 Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- 3 Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- 4 LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Samsung ready to make chips faster than the ones in Galaxy S8
- Rumor suggests the Note8 will be a bigger S8+ that adds a missing feature
- Samsung's Bixby won’t support voice commands when it debuts on the Galaxy S8
- Fear not, early adopters: The Galaxy S8 might not be running Android 7.0 for very long
- Samsung made an even better Galaxy S8+, but you can’t have it
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCSenior Project OfficerNSW
- FTNetwork Engineer - CCNP - WeipaQLD
- CCSenior IT Project ManagerNSW
- CCSecurity Specialist - NV1ACT
- CCSenior UNIX AdministratorNSW
- FTSenior Sales Operations AnalystNSW
- TPTest and Support AnalystQLD
- TPRegional Level 2/3 Desktop Support AnalystVIC
- FTApplication Support Analyst - Accounting SoftwareNSW
- CCEnd User Services ArchitectNSW
- TPSenior iOS EngineerNSW
- CCPersonal AssistantNSW
- FTService Desk AnalystNSW
- CCFirewall EngineerNSW
- TPProject CoordinatorNSW
- CCNetworks Engineer - SecurityVIC
- FTWeb Developer | Parramatta | Initial 6 month contractNSW
- FTSenior Business Development Manager| SMSF/Accounting SoftwareNSW
- FTProject Manager - InfrastructureVIC
- FTCampaign ManagerNSW
- CCService Delivery Analyst - Port MacquarieNSW
- FTFinance Analyst with Accounting | 8 Month ContractVIC
- CCSecurity Specialist - NV1ACT
- FTProject Manager (Cyber Security) - Permanent - IT Services - North Ryde areaNSW