Sony Reader Touch review

Price when reviewed

The Sony Reader Touch. It’s worth dwelling on the name, because buried within those three seemingly innocuous words are promise and predicament aplenty.

Sony’s original crack at the eBook reader market – the PRS-505 – was a beautifully crafted device that worked because the E Ink screen perfectly replicated the look of words on paper, allowing you to fall into whatever world you were reading. The challenge faced by Sony was to build on this accomplishment without losing what made the original reader so special.

A large part of this was down to build quality and design, and once again the Reader Touch is in a league of its own. Whereas the majority of its rivals look like they were designed on the back of beer mats, the Reader Touch has obviously had every aspect of its design argued and assessed. Take the brushed-aluminium edge crafted to resemble the spine of a book, or the magnetised stylus that clings to the case when you’re not using it. It’s Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It’s Bond in his tuxedo. It’s utter class.

Sony Reader Touch

Equally impressive is the E Ink screen, which renders in the usual eight shades of grey rather than the 16 managed by the Kindle. A similar jump would be welcome here, but all that really matters is that when you finally get to the end of Ulysses, your eyes won’t be bleeding with the effort, and that can only be a good thing.

Far more significant is the introduction of a 6in 800 x 600 resistive touchscreen, which allows you to annotate text and highlight paragraphs with a finger or the supplied stylus. Typically, resistive touchscreens are as much fun to use as a pillow stuffed with razorblades, but this one is surprisingly good. A quick swish across the screen changes the page, and text can be selected with a double-tap. The stylus allows you to annotate pages – a useful feature for researchers and students – although the half-second it takes the reader to register an input makes it impractical for extensive notes or transcription.


Screen size 6.0in
Resolution 600 x 800
Colour screen no
Touchscreen yes


Battery Life 7,500 page turns
Integrated memory 0.5GB
Memory-card type Memory Stick Duo, SD


Dimensions 121 x 9.8 x 174mm (WDH)
Weight 286g

File format support

Plain text yes
RTF yes
PDF yes
EPUB yes
BBeB yes
AZW no
Microsoft Word yes

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