Review of the Sony PRS-900 wireless ereader – no browser

The-EBook-Reader.com has a review of the new Sony Daily Edition. The review is a work in progress and will be expanded. The review confirms what I was afraid of – the Daily Edition has no browser and can connect only to the Sony store. This is a big disappointment and makes it much less competitive than the Kindle. At the initial press conference for the release of the original Sony Reader, Sony said that they were working on a wireless unit and they didn’t want it to connect to only one source of books. I’m really sorry the unit doesn’t include a browser with download abilities. The Kindle is still the only game in town for wireless downloads from such sources as Manybooks, Gutenberg, Feedbooks, etc.

Here is a the video part of the review:

15 Comments on Review of the Sony PRS-900 wireless ereader – no browser

  1. Thanks for the link, Paul.

    It not having a browser is definitely a disappointment, and especially not being able to at least download PDs from Google through the store, but the improved contrast over the 600 is a pleasant surprise.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Nathan

  2. I find it more intriguing (as European) to see German and Dutch in the language options. Seems Sony is prepared to launch it here. Hopefully it won’t take another two years.

  3. Paul, is this the dedicated news-reader i asked you about earlier? I keep reading that some firms are planning dedicated news-readers that will do nothing but read newspapers in digital form, once the daily snailpapers fold and go the way of the dodo bird. Is that what this is? Or more? Recent news items speak of other e-readers dedicated to news reading platforms, for the WSJ, etc.

  4. Frankly, I don’t understand the need for a proper browser in an e-book reader. It is a Sony Reader which connects to Sony Store. What’s the problem with that? At least, on a Sony one can truly own a book unlike Kindle where the book gets “locked” after transferring it for certain number of times.

  5. People are hoping, much as they were with the Nook, that they would be able to use it as a limited netsurfing and emailing machine the way you can with the Kindle. As xkcd put it:

    If I’m going to get an e-book reader, I’d very much like to have that free access to the cloud. Even if a lot of what Amazon has been doing is somewhat less salutary, boy did they knock that aspect of it out of the park.

  6. @shaz
    Kindle books don’t get locked after a fixed number of transfers.
    Kindle books, like ADE books (Sony’s current DRM of choice) are licensed to a maximum number of *simultaneous* reader devices that can be easily activated and deactivated as needed to stay within the bounds of the license.
    Like it or not, this is standard practice in the digital media DRM world.
    Don’t like it?
    Walk away. Stick to DRM-free content.

  7. Some of the problems
    1. No reading light, which is hard at night!
    2. Only one recent book remembered, so can’t read multiple books at a time
    3. the wireless only lets you buy books, there is no free access to the gutenburg online library (which my ipod touch does easy!)

  8. This review was very, very helpful — thank you! To tell the truth, my eyes are starting to glaze over from seeing too many e-reader reviews (both text and video); I guess I’ve become obsessed with getting just the “right” e-reader for me. The Sony PRS900 attracted my attention because I love the “natural” method of annotating your reading material. As a heavy annotater of my readings (at least in non-fiction), this is very important to me.
    ONE QUESTION: In our shared quest for the perfect e-reader (at least me and that other Chris here), do u think it would be feasible for Sony to offer an online firmware update that would provide a very basic web browser so we could at least access Wikipedia etc? Or is the lack of a browser simply cast in this gadget’s genes (i.e., wiring)? Would Sony see the (to me clear) marketing advantage of doing such an update? B&N quickly sent out firmware updates right after the release of the nook, in order to resolve some of that gadget’s problems. Couldn’t a browser be installed in this way? Maybe I just don’t know enough about the nuts and bolts here…
    Again, thanks for the great review!

  9. @Chris N
    In doing that review I did a lot of poking around and found this mentioned on Sony’s site regarding the PRS-900 and wireless . . .

    “You may be charged a fee for wireless connectivity for your use of other wireless services on your product, such as web browsing, should those services be available.”

    So maybe there’s a chance of a browser coming along at some point; I sure hope so. Here’s the link to the page that I found that on . . .

    https://www.sonystyle.com/wcsstore/SonyStyleStorefrontAssetStore/pdf/warranty/SEL-asset-180369.pdf

    Also, I’ve finally wrapped up the review and here’s another video about how the 900 handles PDFs if anyone reading this needs to know about them . . .

    http://www.the-ebook-reader.com/prs-900-pdf.html

    Thanks,
    Nathan

  10. @Nathan,
    Once again, thanks for another EXCELLENT functionality review. Agile PDF navigation is extremely important to me, as my future e-reader would be used sometimes for work — like, for ex., reading EPA technical references on water resources (downloadable PDFs from EPA.gov and many other sites), or a community development guidance PDF from a state agency. This is my work, and it looks like the SONY PRS-900 may just fit the bill. (For the record, in my spare time I read “real” literature, too!)
    Re the prospect of future web-browser functionality, it looks like there might be hope — thanks for the info.
    Finally, 2 more Qs (though not hi-priority): 1) Do I understand you correctly, in your review of the PRS-900’s PDF navigation, that it cannot zoom in on a PDF image such as a photo or diagram embedded in the PDF file? (Your video @ 7:55.) I understand it can magnify and reflow PDF text — but not zoom in on the PDF images? Also, 2) Does the PRS-900 offer any option to have a small digital CLOCK show up somewhere on the edges of the screen? I downloaded and skimmed the product manual, but found no such thing. That would be a minor bummer, since I never wear a watch, but sometimes need to know when to quit reading in order to be somewhere else. (!!)
    At the end of the day, looks like I may be getting this PRS-900. Almost, ALMOST got a nook, after B&N sent me a flyer along with a book I ordered from them. But then I thought better of it, and for a couple weeks wandered aimlessly mired in all the endless information on e-reader options. Your info on the Sony really helped a great deal. I think the PRS-900 may be in my near future.

  11. @Chris N

    1. It CAN zoom in on images, and anything else for that matter. Thanks for pointing that out. It sounds like I say can’t in the video; I think I’ll go add an annotation to clear that up.

    2. There’s a clock accessible through the menu, but I don’t know if there is any way to make it visible while reading. I think there was a hack for the PRS-505 for this, not sure, so maybe one will come along for the 900 too.

    I’m personally really liking the PRS-900 so far (all except the price). I don’t use it much for PDFs or anything, just to read ebooks and for editing. I never used to use landscape mode but now I’m a big of the 2 page view. I have a feeling a lot of new ebook readers will be taking this idea.

  12. Even though I still don’t understand the need of a browser in an ebook reader, thanks everyone for clearing some of my misconceptions.

    One another question: Why are there so few official reviews of PRS-900 available?

  13. @Nathan,
    Well, I took a deep breath and took the plunge this morning and ordered a Sony Reader Daily Edition off of the Sony website. Est. ship date is 1/15. I’ll try to let you know how things work out!

    @Shaz, yeah, I too thought there are relatively few reviews out there for this model. Have you seen mobiletechreview.com? Their bottom line: “The Sony Reader Daily Edition is at the top of our favorite ebook reader list.” …Though everyone of course notes the price among the “Cons.”

    I thought about waiting a year to see if the engineers (anywhere/everywhere) might solve the dilemma of screen glare vs. touchscreen capability, but after looking very closely at the currently available videos and accompanying text comments, I decided they’ve already reduced the glare enough on the Daily Edition to suit my own comfort level. Hey, we’ll see!

  14. For me, the wireless isn’t important for web browsing…I want to be able to download books from anywhere…not just when I have access to my computer AND internet access for that computer. I have a Kindle, which does that. I don’t really like the look of the Kindle and would really like something sleeker, prettier, and smaller…like the pocket sony e-reader…but being able to download a book whenever I think of one I want to read…that’s a MUST…it’s totally unbeatable. If Sony did that (for free), it would take me less than a day to order one.

  15. So.. I just basically have been perusing reviews. I ordered and received my Sony Ereader Daily Edition over the weekend and i found i really really like it.. Except.. There is no internet access. I feel pretty bummed about that but I’m hoping against hope that some independent who knows how to code will come up with a basic web browser for it. Are there any available mods for download?? Just like the clock app, it would be nice to have the time. I think there are things that could be made better for competition but honestly, its a beautiful piece of tech and I’ll be enjoying it for years. Thx Sony <3

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