Jan 252011

The New Sony E-Reader 350

A couple of interesting e-reader deals I stumbled across today: the latest-generation Sony Pocket E-Reader (model PRS-350) is on sale at Wal-Mart for $128, with free shipping. The Sony PRS-350, which I cover in more detail here and here, comes with a 5″ e-Ink Pearl touchscreen, and weighs only 5.64 ounces. If you’re looking for something very small and light, and that is also compatible with Overdrive library e-books, the Sony at this price is a compelling choice (I’ve said before that the Sonys’ major problem is their high prices). On the down side, this model does not have wireless connectivity (so you have to download e-books to your computer and put them on the device with a USB cable).

The ViewSonic VEB620

While I mainly discuss the major e-reader brands (Kindle, Nook, Sony, Kobo, and iPad), just for a little variety I’ll throw in a mention of a sub-$100 e-reader deal. Those of you looking for a budget e-reader may want to consider the ViewSonic VEB620on sale at B&H for $99.95. The ViewSonic does come with a 6″ e-Ink screen, reads ePub e-books and PDFs, and has a respectable 2GB of internal memory plus an SD memory card slot. It also plays MP3 music files, has an accelerometer (so you can turn the device to switch from portrait to landscape mode, and also “shake” it to turn pages), and weighs only 7.8 ounces. On the down side, the display does not appear to be the newer, much better e-Ink Pearl display that I find so compelling in the Kindle 3 (or new Sonys), it doesn’t have wireless connectivity, and doesn’t appear to have basic functions like a built-in dictionary or folders, let alone text-to-speech or Internet access. It also doesn’t appear to be linked up with an e-book store, making it more difficult to find content to read on it. Finally, it has poor reviews on Amazon and elsewhere, with reviewers complaining that it’s very slow to open e-books. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend the ViewSonic (I think an extra $28 or $39 for the Sony above or the $139 Kindle 3 Wi-Fi will be well worth the extra cost), but I thought I would present it for your consideration.

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