Sony PRS-650 Reader Touch review

It's got improved touch controls but can it take on the might of the Kindle?

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Our Verdict

The Sony PRS-650 Reader Touch is a thing of beauty, which works brilliantly. But its lack of wireless connectivity and high price tag may be too much for some.


  • It's beautifully designed with a solid aluminium chassis and a much-improved touch interface.


  • The lack of Wi-Fi and 3G does grate, as does the rather expensive price-tag.

The tablet market may be casting a dark shadow over the future of the ebook reader, but there are still two big-name manufacturers out there who believe that a dedicated reading device is what consumers want.

Both Amazon with its Kindle and Sony with its Reader range are slogging it out to become the number one ebook reader manufacturer.

You wouldn't have failed to notice that Amazon has pumped a lot of money into advertising its Kindle on TVs and billboards. But Sony, with little fanfare, has managed to impress TechRadar with the fantastic quality of its latest Reader, the Sony PRS-650 Reader Touch.

This isn't the first time Sony has released a touchscreen ebook reader but it is the first time it has launched a decent one.

Touchsreen and e-ink usually goes together like water and oil; the two technologies aren't compatible due to the extra layer that has to go on top of the e-ink display to make it touch-friendly.

This extra layer makes touch that little more sluggish and renders the screen almost unreadable in direct sunlight due to added shine.

Given that one of e-ink's USPs is that it works well in direct sunlight, the first Sony Reader Touch was hampered by too many glitches to make is a decent touchscreen device.

Sony has gone a long way to rectify this and the results (which we will relay further on in the review) are quite special.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital Text Reader
Flash Memory Capacity2 GB
Colour SupportGrayscale (16-bit)
Brand NameSony
Screen Size15.2 cm (6")
Display Resolution800 x 600
Battery Built-inYes
Graphic ModeVGA
Display Screen TechnologyElectronic Paper
Text FormatsPDF, BBeB, TXT, RTF, DOC
Number of Books1200
Height168 mm
Width118.8 mm
Depth9.6 mm
Image FormatsBMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG
Audio FormatsAAC, MP3
FeaturesBookmark, Dictionary, Content Search, Zoom
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelPRS650B
Product NameReader PRS650B Digital Text Reader
Manufacturer Part NumberPRS650B
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Easy to use touchscreen allows you to turn pages with a swipe of the finger and effortlessly navigate through your books

Read for hours without eye strain on this no glare paper-like display - even in direct sunlight

Double-tap a word to find its meaning or translation in one of the 12 built-in dictionaries

Small, thin and light at just 220 grams - you can take your Reader anywhere with you

Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • Reader PRS650B Digital Text Reader
  • Mini USB
  • Quick Start Guide
Host InterfaceUSB 2.0