Thursday, November 15, 2007
Sony eReader! <3 <3 <3
A while ago out of pure accident I came across one of Sony's most ingenious little ideas, the Sony eBook Reader. I suppose you could see sparkles in my eyes when I found out what it was and what it did. I could finally be delivered from the pain of having to read all my eBooks on my monitor. I have to add here, I read a lot and I have a truly large number of eBooks. [You can see a part of my library here.] I'm not really a big fan of paper books because of obvious reasons. If I were to store the paper version of all the books that I currently have, I would need to rent the white house. In addition, I once had to leave behind my library of paper books when I was migrating from one country to the other. That was certainly not an enjoyable event. So now, for me it's all about eBooks. I guess you can imagine what it would mean to me and what kind of freedom I would achieve by being able to load a handful of my eBooks into a tiny gadget and carry it around wherever I want, just like a simple paperback. It would also mean that I won't have to worry about staring at the monitor for 12 hours strait and tiring the heck out of my eyes.
Obviously the first thing that I did was going through the specifications of the eReader. I noticed that there's a main book format for the reader [BBeB aka .lrf], and it also supports most of the major formats including PDF and TXT. It also has the ability to display JPG images in gray-scale, and play mp3 files among other sound formats. That was all I needed; I was sold. But then I also started looking into the online user reviews for the gadget and that turned out to be somewhat disconcerting. I read a whole lot about how people were unhappy with the fact that the display is in gray-scale. There was also tons of rant about the loading speed for each page, and I even read comments saying that the screen would break by a touch! And that's to mention just a few...
To my good fortune, I was too taken by it not to take the risk. Despite all the sad reviews, I decided to buy one. [Now given that the reader is only available in the USA, how I managed to get my hands on one is another story altogether..] Well, obviously I'm now more than happy I took the risk. The eReader is probably the most useful piece of electronics I paid for in the past heaven knows how many years. As it turns out, it's indeed a splendid little gadget. The time it takes to load each page is pretty much equal the amount of time it would take the human hand to turn the page of a paper book. You can change the size of the font to your liking, and the display is just fantastic. You can read the font clearly from any given angle. It's light, easy to carry about and the battery charge lasts for a mighty long while. The sound quality is also very nice and it can easily rid you of your mp3 player. As for the physical strength of the screen... well I have a feeling some people might have tried playing squash with it, in which case it would definitely not last. But if you know how to use an electronic gadget, you won't have any problems. And not to forget... to my deep delight, the eReader supports both Pro Duo memory sticks and the old fashioned SD cards. The only thing that doesn't make me very happy right now, is that since the eReader has been released for the USA, at the moment the users outside of the USA are not able to directly connect to the Sony Connect Store to buy the BeBB books for the reader. That however was not a problem for me since I already have tons of eBooks to read with the eReader, and regardless of where you get your eBook, you can read it with the eReader. Even if you want to have BBeB books, there are tons of free applications out there that would take your PDF or RTF or whatever else you have and convert it into an LRF.
At the end, it is the fact that this gadget is not for everyone, and I can see clearly where all the negative reviews are coming from. Buying the eReader, would mean that you're paying almost twice the price of a PSP for something that does not display you colours and you can't play games with it. This gadget is for true readers, it's meant to make easy the lives of people like me who spend hours and hours reading books. Don't expect from it what's it's not meant for, and then pour your frustration into a negative review. And yet, don't miss it if you're a bookworm as I am. =)