Sony PRS-T2 Review

August 18, 2012
  • Design
  • Display
  • Performance
  • Features
  • Value

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B008UNSPO2″ cloaking=”default” height=”250″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51xvo0KhXxL.jpg” tag=”glutintoinfo-20″ width=”250″]Design
 
The Sony PRS-T2 is Sony’s new eReader which replaces the previous Sony PRS-T1.  It has very similar dimensions and weight as the T1 which was at the time Sony’s thinnest, lightest and narrowest eReader.

It features a 6″ eInk (800 x 600) screen with a higher contrast and crisper text than the previous model.  Again it’s available in black, red and white, but this time with a matt finish rather than a gloss finish.  This is much preferable as the old piano style gloss finish really reflected the light especially in direct sunlight. The T2 has upgraded the 800MHz processor of the T1 to a 1GHz version. The front of the device features five buttons along the bottom: 2 Page Turn buttons (backwards and forwards), Home, Back and Menu. This time the buttons are separate and easier to recognize than the previous 5 identical buttons all joined together without any space between them.  On the bottom of the device is the Micro USB slot, Reset hole and  Power button (which illuminates red when charging and goes out when fully charged).  The device doesn’t have any audio capabilities.

It has a new, soft rubbery finish on the back which is quite soft and feels nice when holding the device. On the left hand side of the device is the micro SD slot where you can upgrade the memory (32 GB maximum upgrade) from the standard 2 GB. The Sony is an IR device and has sensors which pick up movements on the screen. Also included is a stylus pen which be used for taking notes and highlighting.
 

Display

The PRS-T2 uses what Sony calls it’s eInk Pearl anti-flare display. It features a 6″ screen which is pretty much standard, and compares well to the Kindle Touch and Nook Simple Touch. It has a higher contrast and clearer text than the PRS-T1. The previous model used to do a refresh after every page which was a bit off putting.   This has changed and you now get a refresh every 10 pages or so.  The page turns are noticeably quicker and felt very fast.  Turning pages can be done with a swipe of the finger or by using the back and forward buttons along the bottom.

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Features

Two of the big new features of the PRS-T2 is the interactivity of Facebook and Evernote.  Once you have logged into your Facebook or Evernote  account through the applications menu, you can sent updates, or highlight parts of a book and sent it to Facebook or Evernote.  The interface on the Sony clear and intuitive. The Home screen shows your latest download, below that you have the last book you read and you can just click continue to carry on reading where you left off, recently added books, access to your entire book collective and entire periodical collection, the Sony reader store and finally Collections which is where you can organize your books under various collections. Clicking on the right arrow in the bottom right hand corner brings you to page 2 which has the following options: Network which has Public Library, Google Books, Browser and Purchase Content; Reference which has Notes, Dictionary, Handwriting and Text Memo; Multimedia that has Pictures and Audio and Lastly, System which has all the Settings. It is running Android and it is laid out very nicely and logically.

You can download books to your device wirelessly or to your desktop and then drag them to the device using the Sony software. The Sony desktop application has now been totally re-written and is a vast improvement on the old software. Turning pages can be done by swiping or using the forward and backwards buttons along the bottom of the reader. Holding down the page button allows you to fast forward or back through the book. Clicking on the Menu brings up 6 options: navigate Page, Notes, Font (8 font sizes and 6 font types), Customize View, Handwriting and More. The Customize view is quite handy and you can change the brightness and contrast, page mode and crop page. There’s a Restore button there if you mess up things too much. Using the included stylus you can click on a word and you instantly get a definition of that word at the bottom of the screen. It has 2 dictionaries incidentally (US & UK) as well as 10 translation dictionaries for translating into different languages (French, German, Spanish, Dutch and Italian). You then get 5 options: Highlight, Add Note, search, Wikipedia and Google. Adding notes is pretty cool and you can use the on screen keyboard that comes up or the drawing mode where you can use the stylus to add a note or a little doodle or drawing. The stylus is very accurate for writing or drawing.

The PDF viewer allows you to use landscape or portrait modes. You can also use landscape mode for books, magazines, periodicals, textbooks etc. It does allow you to setup proper reflow options though for complex PDF documents.  You can change font size and scale using pinch and zoom, but you have to do this every time you turn a page. It still works pretty well, not as good as  the Nook Color. A good feature when using PDFs is the ability of using your finger to move around large PDFs that don’t fit on the whole screen. There is also a map in the bottom right corner so you know where you are in the PDF(similar to that found on Kobo eReaders).

The Sony Reader Store is typical of most online stores. You get your Bestsellers, New Arrivals, Recommendations, Search etc, but you also get Google Books. Clicking on book gives you an Overview, Readers comments, Additional Info, You can also also add to wishlist or cart. It’s quite similar to the Kindle Store.

The public Library option uses the web browser, in this case Webkit. This is where you can download books from libraries or place a digital hold if the book is not available. You also have the option to add to wish list. The web browser itself is pretty good especially compared to some found on other eReaders (such as the one found on the Nook Simple Touch). You can have Multiple Windows, Add a Bookmark, Capture Screenshot, list of Downloads and a range of Settings. Again you can use Landscape or Portrait modes. It renders web pages very well and you also have a zoom function (pinch or tap). It does do a full refresh after every page though.

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Battery & Memory

Sony has also upgraded the battery life to 2 months with the wireless turned off and assuming 30 mins of reading per day.   That’s on a par with the  Kindle Touch and Nook Simple Touch. It does re-charge faster than the competition at around 2.5 hours via the USB cable or 2 hours via the Power Adapter (not included)

The standard memory is 2 GB, but you can add addition memory (32 GB max) via the micro SD slot.
 

Connectivity

This is a Wi-Fi only device. I found the download speeds to be quicker than the Kindles and almost on a par with the Nooks. Surfing is equally fast. You don’t get the guaranteed free Wi-Fi you do with the Kindles in A & T hotspots or with the Nooks in Barnes & Noble shops, but you be able to find to find free hotspots in most shopping areas.
 

Pricing

The Sony retails for $129.99 which is a lot cheaper than historic Sony eReaders and $10 cheaper than the T1. This is still more expensive than the Kindle Touch (with special offers), the Nook Simple Touch and the Kobo Touch.
 

Verdict

Sony have done a really good job with the new PRS-T2 eReader and has made some useful improvements. Previously their eReaders were very expensive and still not as good as the competition. This device however has addressed both those shortcomings. Although still a bit more expensive than the competition this is device is very well made, is speedy, looks great (especially the screen) and has a very nice user interface.  Not quite up to the Kindle Touch or Nook Simple Touch, but not that far behind either.
 

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