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Sony PRS-650 Reader Touch review

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

Sony PRS-650
Can Sony's new eBook reader compete with Amazon's Kindle?

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.