Game. Set. Match.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009
We here at weaselsnake probably spend more time talking about our eBook devices; maybe more than we actually use them. And we use them a lot. Eldritch has a 1st Gen Kindle and I have 1st Gen Sony PRS-500, each has similar specs regarding weight, battery life, etc. We aren't fanboys necessarily - the differences between the two are minor in practice - Kindle has buying books, PRS has a wider range of non-DRM format support, etc. Whatever. Either of us would be happy with either.

When each new rev comes out, we discuss the relative merits and benefits of the rev and decide that the new features (new outer casing? new barely brighter screen? new smudgy, clunky touchscreen interface?) are not worth shelling out the extra several hundred dollars for an eBook Reader.

Until now.

Ok. You win. The screens on all the previous generations were the same size, about 6.5 inches diagonal. (Psst. They are all made by the same company...) This made reading PDFs near impossible, as the text couldn't reflow, the book-sized page would have to be shrunk down. Imagine reading a hardcover textbook in the size of a paperback. There were many efforts on the part of the eBook community to fix this, many many efforts, most pretty unsuccessful. And now obsolete.

Yeah, you can gripe about the cost. $200 was a lot to spend on my PRS, and I don't regret a single cent. It's easy to dither when you're saying "it's like a really expensive battery-powered book!" And you'd be right, to some degree. But really it's more like a really expensive battery-powered several hundred (or thousand on newer devices) books on which you can (killer feature for me) change the text size. Make it tiny, save on page turns, make it huge, and turn often from across the room.

Time to start saving them pennies. I don't plan on replacing the venerable PRS yet, it's size makes it ideal for portability, and it's sturdy as hell. It's the only piece of Sony hardware I've ever had that wasn't castrated by the software on it, and even though it can and has been improved on, it'll always hold a place in my heart.


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