Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Sony's E-Reader Review - Huddersfield Student - October 08 Edition

Technology + Literature = E-Reader

It has finally happened. Books of all genres are finally going to be released not just in the traditional paper bound way but also as downloadable PDF files for the modern world’s latest invention, Sony’s Reader.
Now a lot of you out there may be thinking that this means the end of the line for printed paper books but it honestly doesn’t. All the Reader is, is a new way of reading not writing or publishing books. And with the price tag of £199.99 pounds then people will certainly have to think hard about the benefits they gain from the Reader before they decide to leave the paper and hardback world of literature for good.
I have managed to spend a small amount of time with the Reader personally, as anyone can by trying out the example model in any Waterstones store, yet even though it does have some excellent features and qualities I’m still split about whether it will ever be around for as long as the printed word has.
The Reader itself has the stylish look of an expensive book with a hard, slim and comfortable cover, the light weight of a small paperback and the amazing capacity to fit 160 books within its main memory. With the added advantage of being able to increase that by inserting a memory card like that from a digital camera. The menu and all its options are easy to use, follow and understand. The buttons involved with navigating from page to page and selecting various options or changing settings are simple to operate and control.
The screen is large and readable from any angle unlike certain types of flat screen. The text of your pages can be enlarged up to three times for those who have got poor vision and the book itself can be read either vertically or horizontally. At the moment it isn’t back lit so you will still need to read by either candle light or electric but there are light screens in development that will feature small LED lights all away around the border of the screen and slot easily into the present model without needing to take it apart or buy a new one.
You can also purchase either a leather or silicon plastic casing or an extra protective screen cover to go along with it. Surprisingly its battery life is quite good; you can flick through 6800 pages before it dies on you so it doesn’t need charging as regularly as a mobile phone if left on all day and all night. Due to its vast memory you can store any series or collection of books of your choice which can be organized by author, date or publisher.
The Reader can also act like an Ipod in that you can store and play music on it as well as pictures that show in very vivid detail and quality albeit in black and white. You can also bookmark as many books as you like, which is if you are mad enough to try reading several books at once but from a students point of view that is handy. I will add however if you are, like me and other English students, using lots of books, this may be quite a neat thing to have for studies but you can not annotate on it so any notes you do make will have to be done the old fashioned way by pen and paper.
To put e-books onto your Reader it’s all rather simple, much like when putting music into your Ipod or MP3. When bought it comes with a CD-rom that has all the software on it for you to download e-books from websites such as Waterstones or Amazon then once on your PC or laptop it’s all a matter of drag and drop.
So there you have it, the arrival of virtual texts. I think due its current price, not to mention the individual price of each e-book you will have to pay for before you download them, I might wait until it’s reduced a bit in popularity and costs before I join the e-readers of the modern world.

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