September 11th, 2009

PRS-505 and PRS-600 display comparison

I bought my Sony Reader PRS-505 nearly a year ago, and as a direct result the amount of books I read skyrocketed from around 1 per year to 2-3 per month. I adore this thing, and even considered importing a PRS-700 from the USA — but I was put off by the reports of a very glare prone screen. For the first time in a long time, I’d actually prefer to keep my old gadget than replace it with the “better” model. In my opinion, an eBook Reader should be like a car - provide enough technology to get the job done well, and don’t distract me with needless crap, especially if it gets in the way of the primary functionality.

The other day, I reach down to pick my Reader off the floor next to my bed, and found the screen broken in the top-right corner. At first, I thought I’d be able to manage - I only lost two or three words per page. However, while I could figure out what was going on, it broke the flow of reading up enough to lose the suspension of disbelief on every page.

Begrudgingly, I went to Waterstone’s to look for a replacement expecting the PRS-600, just released in the UK, to have the same glare issues the PRS-700 had, since it has the touchscreen overlay that the PRS-505 lacks. Thankfully, I was wrong. While the PRS-600 does have more glare than the 505, it isn’t that bad. I haven’t seen any decent comparison shots online, so here we go.

First, here’s the two readers sitting roughly three feet from a sun-facing window with the camera trying to get the strongest reflection possible (click for a larger version):

(View on Flickr)

As you can see, the glare on the PRS-600 is worse, but not terrible. I’d find it hard to read either of them with that glare.

Next, here’s another shot. The Readers are in the same place as before, only the camera is at a more sensible position (click for a larger version):

(View on Flickr)

Again, as you can see, the PRS-600 has a tiny bit more glare than the 505, and it’s not by much (and the 600 is closer to the light source). After spending few hours reading from it last night, I can say that the differences aren’t negligible but I was still able to easily read perfectly comfortably for several hours.