Sony Reader Pocket Edition is a cheap, feature-poor product which focuses on reading ebooks and little more, but it does do that function very well. This will appeal to some purists, who don't want the extras like a music player, memory card, image viewer, etc. If that's all you want to do, then this is a good buy, otherwise we'd spend the extra hundred dollars to get up to the considerably higher Kindle 2 or PRS 600 functionality. Though it is numbered the PRS 300, it is actually based on the PRS 505 reader launched in 2007.
The Reader Pocket Edition has a 5-inch display (the Kindle's is 6 inches) and is available in navy blue, rose pink, and silver. It's easy to navigate with one hand via a round wheel control and several buttons. It will fit in the pocket of a jacket or cargo shorts and has a good ergonomic feel to it. While small, it has an aluminum frame and studier feel to it then its predecessor (hopefully more drop resistant as a result). The PRS 300 can store around 350 standard ebooks. It has 440MB of usable memory, but this is not expandable, as unlike all Sony's other models, this no frills eReader has no slots for memory sticks or cards.
Fonts can be displayed in three sizes, as opposed to five in Sony's higher end eReaders. The reader does support PDFs natively, but there are issues in using them, as the reader redraws the picture while scrolling across it. Likewise, the page numbers don't work well with PDF--usable, but not ideal.
Its operating temperatures are 41 to 95 degree farenheit--a narrower range than several other eReaders, which customers reading in extreme weather conditions should bear in mind.
Connecting: Connection is via a USB cable to a PC or Mac--unlike the Kindle 2, the unit has no wireless internet capability. The unit ships with Sony’s eBook Library software 3.0 to coordinate ebook transfers from computer to reader.
You can get your ebooks from many sources of course, but Sony's eBook Store in August dropped the price of its New York Times Bestsellers from $11.99 to $9.99, the same as Amazon's Kindle. There is no support for Audible.com audiobooks, which is disappointing (but not surprising as it is owned by rival Amazon).
However, as a plus over the Kindle 2, Sony does make it much easier to get access to many open source or free ebooks. You can even go to other sites that have DRM free eBooks. That said, if you want a copyrighted book, Sony's eBook Library trails Amazon dramatically in terms of book titles available for download , with some 100,000 when we checked. Sony has an incentive where you do get 100 free eBook Classics--older books which normally cost $1.99 each.
Bringing over personal files and ebooks is easy--a simple drag and drop maneuver.
Accessories: The PRS 300 ships with a USB cable (used for charging as well as data transfer), sleeve, and quick start flyer.
Optional accessories you can purchase include an AC Adapter
($20) and Cover with Light
($45). Note that this Sony Reader can use many accessories as previous models, such as the same PSP-style 5.2v charger used by the PRS 505 and PRS700.
Price: Here is where the Sony Pocket Edition shines--it's only $199--the cheapest of any mass market dedicated eReader, but it also has very limited functionality for a 2009 model to match the price. It is available in the US only at present.