Hands on: Sony Reader 2.0 review

CES 2009: getting touchy feely with the eBook reader

The Sony Reader will never kill off the humble paperback. This much is a given, but Sony's latest Reader is a viable alternative for the tech-savvy.

At first glance, not much has changed from the original Reader concept. Roughly the same shape, weight and width, only a few cosmetic changes reveal the new technology hidden within.

For a start, the thin buttons for searching and flicking back and forward between pages have moved from the right-hand side to the bottom of the device.

This is significant as it these buttons are all-but redundant on the Reader now, as most functionality can be achieved through the power of touch.


Although the screen is distinctly monochrome, the ability to thumb your way through a novel by pressing your thumb on the screen is a big change for the Reader.

Just like before, books can be searched through in thumbnail form, but now you can press on the image to select your required choice of reading rather than using the cumbersome buttons.

Not much has changed when it actually comes to reading. The pages still annoyingly turn to black and back to white when you want to turn a page – Sony tells us that this is because E-Ink's refresh rate is still rather poor.

The matte screen is still as readable as ever, aping the actual bland look of book paper. A brighter back-lit screen does make reading that little bit easier on the eye.


With more than a nod to students, the Reader now comes complete with a stylus, which can be used to make notes on the texts that you are reading.

Simply pop the stylus out of its flush compartment and use the stick to highlight the passage of text you want to annotate. Once done, you can add whatever note you want, via the full QWERTY keyboard that appears.

More memory

Memory has been expanded too, with enough in-built memory to store 350 ebooks and a claimed battery life of 7,500 page turns between charges – which means no more back ache from carrying round your well-thumbed copy of War And Peace.

The PRS-700BC (or Sony Reader 2.0 as we like to call it) will be available with a choice of black and grey colouring. UK pricing and street date is still to be announced.


Content Team Lead

Marc (Twitter, Google+) is the content team lead for Future Technology, where he is in charge of a 14-strong team of journalists who write many of the wonderful stories that end up on TechRadar, T3.com and T3 magazine. Prior to this he was deputy editor of TechRadar, had a 10-month stint editing a weekly iPad magazine, written film reviews for a whole host of publications and has been an integral part of many magazines that are no longer with us.