The touchscreen is worth talking about, because it isn’t the typical screen we have looked at before. The 6 inch display is obviously different to a traditional LCD touchscreen. E-ink technology produces a very high contrast monochrome image at a 800×600 resolution which looks stunning in the flesh, I experienced no eye strain at all, even after 3 hours of reading the latest Tony Blair book entitled ‘A Journey’.
I was stunned by the overall experience because it almost felt like actually reading the real thing. The Sony screen as I said earlier is slightly more reflective than the Amazon Kindle I recently used, but it wasn’t something that irritated me. Perhaps in direct sunlight it would prove troublesome but as the weather lately in the UK has been so dire, I haven’t been able to test that out.
The screen also supports images, which means you can view your family pictures or anything else you have in your computer, but only in monochrome. While this is obviously not going to suit everyone, I found the images looked quite stunning and reminded me of a high quality newspaper. You can see for yourself in the video above.
The touch layer on the screen means you can now press directly with your finger to select books or options rather than having to wade through arrow based buttons which I find a welcome addition. I also found that the screen was very easy to clean, not at all like the Apple iPad which continually undergoes a vigorous cleaning regime twice daily. If you don’t like getting fingerprints on the screen then the stylus works a treat, although I found it needed a reasonably high amount of pressure to work.
The Sony PRS 600 also allows for a note taking and handwriting mode which may be useful for a business based audience. You can see how it works above.
There are also options to erase your writings (or drawing) which works reasonably well. The processor seems to play ‘catch up’ from time to time, but its forgiveable considering the insane battery life.
I found the device much slower than the iPad, however I expected this to be the case before using it, as the iPad has one of the fastest mobile processors on the market right now. I recorded a video of the various page viewing speeds and options below.
Even in this video, you can see the quality and clarity of the text and there are several size options for those with slightly weaker eyesight, if you find the lettering too small. S/M/L will suit a younger audience, while XL and XXL cater for an older age group. Turning pages causes a delay of around a second as the eInk pages update, it is much faster than the older Sony units which could take 2-3 seconds a page. Remember when a page is displayed it doesn’t cause battery drain, its only when it is refreshed that the battery power comes into play – this is why you often see battery life rated in ‘page turns’. Our battery has lasted a week under heavy operation and it is still showing 45 percent life, so we can safely assume this would be an ideal unit for a vacation. From flat it takes 4 hours for a full charge, but even a 30 minute charge gives many days of battery life.
The in built music player is basic in design but has decent sound quality and will be perfectly usable when away from home, but you will need to use your own headphones as none are supplied.