Kindle Vs Sony Reader Touch Edition

Thanks to the fact that Sony hasn’t forgotten Canada exists, here’s a set of Kindle Vs Sony Reader Touch Edition videos that review the differences.

Nov 24th, 2009 Update: The Kindle 2 has now added PDF support, Kindle for PC, and is priced lower at $259.

Kindle Vs Sony Reader Touch Edition 

Here’s the first video contrasting the Kindle 2 with the Sony Reader 600

[wpvideo CVcqRoRh]

Kindle Vs Sony Reader Touch Edition – Touch Advantages

Sony Reader Touch Edition has some clear advantages over the Kindle 2  –

  1. More portable thanks to the smaller size.  
  2. Touch is a very good feature.
  3. Being able to draw using touch is very impressive – [wpvideo P5J4ZAuy]
  4. ePub support.
  5. Smaller Size.
  6. Looks better and available in a variety of colors – Red, Black, and Silver.  

The touch does affect the readability of the Sony Reader Touch Edition and readability is especially bad when there are bright lights.

Kindle Vs Sony Reader Touch Edition – Kindle Advantages

Kindle’s advantages over the Sony Reader Touch Edition –

  1. $40 cheaper.
  2. WhisperNet and 60 second book downloads. 
  3. Free Internet Access. To be expanded to all WhisperNet countries in the future.
  4. Free Wikipedia. Kindle Whispernet works in 81 countries. As does Free Wikipedia.
  5. Better Screen Contrast. Here’s a video – [wpvideo fc2cHh9W]
  6. Better selection of books.
  7. Better placement of page turn buttons. Allows for one handed reading which is difficult/finger-tiring on the Sony Reader Touch Edition.

Note that if you prefer a physical keyboard, Kindle has one.

Thoughts on Kindle Vs Sony Reader Touch

Kindle’s position as the best available eReader was in danger – the recent additions have again made it a better choice than the Sony Reader Touch Edition.

  1. If the Sony Reader Touch Edition had wireless and free Internet access, at the same price point, it would perhaps beat the Kindle.
  2. It’s the better service i.e. Whispernet, range of Books, $9.99 price, and customer service that is helping the Kindle.
  3. By adding PDF support the Kindle has removed a significant negative.
  4. When it comes to the device itself, screen contrast is the only significant advantage Kindle has.
  5. Sony Touch Edition’s features, especially touch navigation and freehand drawing, are extremely impressive. 

Amazon have significantly upped the value proposition of the Kindle in the last month (November 2009).

Conclusion – Kindle 2 wins

The Kindle 2 is the better overall choice thanks to WhisperNet, Free Internet, wider range of books, cheaper ebook prices, and other factors like Read To Me.

Sony Reader Touch may very well be the better ‘ereader’ – However, its lack of wireless downloads and limited range of ebooks kill it.

While the Sony Reader Touch is a bit of a danger to the Kindle, the Kindle, thanks to the latest feature additions, is better overall.

Basically, Amazon have added a lot of features and made the Kindle 2 a more compelling choice.

Kindle Vs Sony Reader Touch Edition tilts in favor of the Kindle 2.

0 thoughts on “Kindle Vs Sony Reader Touch Edition”

  1. I don’t know abhi, with that poor screen contrast on the touch screen I don’t consider that a plus. I thought they would have fixed that touchscreen problem before putting out a new edition of one.

    Did you do these videos? Interesting!

    I think that the Sony PRS-600 should not be in italics when beomg compared to the bolder straight font of the Kindle though…

    Italics are notoriously thinner. But anyway, that screen is not a plus. Many went from the PRS-700 to the PRS-505 for that reason.

    But what does attract me (and others I’ve talked with) is the ability to borrow books from the library.

    Since Amazon owns Stanza, it’s easy for them to implement that, and Bezos said in mid June to the Wired Conference attendees:

    “In the future,’s Kindle e-book reader will display more book formats beyond its own.”

    Let’s hope he takes your advice!

    (I think that having to license the DRM from Adobe may be the hold-up.)

    – Andrys

  2. I’m looking for and hoping to find a reader such as these two where I can download literature of my choice. I’m a REALTOR and I’d love to have something like this where I can download HUD or VA homebuying rules and regulations along with mortgage and other types of guidelines. I want to have it at my fingertips so when I’m speaking with customers or doing my radio show I can go to the information that I need. I could use a memory stick and laptop but that is not the same as having a library of information at my finger tips. I want the book available that I can quickly turn to the chapter and page, possibly be able to copy and text or email it too. Maybe I’m looking for too much.

    Thanks “Curtis”

  3. Nice review, but I want to know about PDF compatibility of both.
    I am a doctor and want to use the ebook reader for reading Medical journal articles in pdf format and pdf books.And any way to view CHM books on a ebook reader?

    1. Sony has PDF compatibility built in. Kindle 2 does not. Kindle DX has PDF compatibility built in.

      CHM books are just compiled html. There are no eReaders that support CHM straight off (out of the main ones) – MobiPocket Reader can read CHM and convert it into Mobi (which Kindle supports).
      Calibre can do CHM to html (which also the kindle supports).
      Finally, there’s chm to pdf.

  4. Like Kalia, I’d also like to use something for this for reading scientific papers. One thing which has put me off getting a Reader of any kind before is the inability of those on the market to rescale pdfs, ie. to display them at anything but “full page” view, which would make the text of scientific or medical papers far too small to read. Does anyone know if these or any other readers are able to cope with this issue now? Thanks!

    1. Stephen, Amazon has just added some PDF support –

      1) For Kindle 2 and Kindle 2 Global there is PDF support and landscape mode.
      2) For Kindle DX, PDFs now have their whitespace cropped in landscape mode.

      Please read the details at Amazon’s Help page. Will add some videos in a bit.

  5. Thanks so much for the fantastic side by side comparison. I have been reading every review I could find and driving myself crazy trying to make a decision. Being able to see the “glare” everyone mentions when reviewing the ereader has sealed to the deal. I would find it unbearably distracting.
    Thanks again.

  6. I appreciate the video comparisons and the excellent information being passed between everyone. I believe that both Kindle and Sony and possibly a new player are going to have to take their product to the next level. They will have to be able to show videos and possibly will allow you to download your own publications (such as professionals reading up on policies and procedures, etc.); no more caring books, binders and wondering what the latest changes to products are. They will make it compatible for preparing, editing, altering and presenting powerpoints sitting next to your client on the plane too. The world is too advanced and technology is too good to settle for what these two books do. Last year this was great, but today – we demand more…don’t we?

  7. I’m looking for a reader that will allow me to read foreign language books (French + Chinese) and that will allow me to add a dictionary for these languages for looking up unknown words in the text. Does either of these readers accomodate this requirement?

    1. Kindle -> you can read PDFs that have foreign languages. For kindle format books – French is supported. Chinese isn’t.
      Foreign language dictionaries aren’t.
      There is a Kindle font hack that allows unicode fonts and hence foreign languages.

      Sony -> Again you have to use PDFs to get other languages. There is also a hack.
      Foreign Language dictionaries aren’t supported.

      Consider eReader app on iPhone for foreign language dictionaries.

  8. What’s the better reader for literary academics who work extensively with foreign language materials (primarily Italian, French, German and Spanish) in book and journal format? Also, which is better for accessing materials while on foreign travel with a lpatop that may not have a working connection (last summer I used a thumb drive wifi connection from Vodafon in Italy that rarely worked)?

    1. for your first question –
      What’s the better reader for literary academics who work extensively with foreign language materials (primarily Italian, French, German and Spanish) in book and journal format?

      Please consider the Kindle DX as it has a larger screen size – Kindle DX Review.

      Here’s a comparison of Sony and Kindle 2’s PDF capabilities with videos – Kindle Vs Sony PDF.

      The languages you’ve listed should work fine on both Kindle and Sony. So it comes down to what format they are in – probably PDF and what displays PDFs better.

      Kindle 2 – is the screen big enough? What about in landscape mode?
      Sony – does the resizable font make it the winner?
      Kindle DX – does the larger screen size make it the winner?

      take a look at the videos. Kindle DX screen is 9.7″ which is 2.5 times the size of the Kindle 2 and Sony Touch’s screens.

      for your second question –
      Also, which is better for accessing materials while on foreign travel with a laptop that may not have a working connection (last summer I used a thumb drive wifi connection from Vodafon in Italy that rarely worked)?

      Don’t understand this question fully. Could you please elaborate.

      You can get Kindle for PC or Sony Reader for PC and have your books stored in that.

      Kindle has 3G in most of Europe and you can access your documents with a fee of $1 per MB or just carry them around with you.

      If you let me know what your questions is about – using the eReader when laptop has no Internet connection? don’t understand that.

      You can buy kindle books (or download previous purchases) via Whispernet – they cost an extra $2 per download (new books or books downloaded per archive).

      1. Thanks. My 2nd question regards ease of downloading new materials while in Europe. The Kindle 2 advertises as having “global” wireless access, while the DX is lsted as having only “US” wireless access. If I need to rely exclusively on the reader to be able to get wireless access, it thus sounds like the Kindle 2 is my only option. I mentioned my trouble getting wirelss access viw my laptop last summer because I wonder if I could rely on the Sony (whihc has no wireless access on its own) if I again have trouble getting access with my laptop (I assume I will need to use the laptop to get access, with the Sony plugged into it via USB?). Overall, I just don’t want to get to Italy and find out I’m shut out of downloading capability for a month. I like the larger format of the DX, but if it can’t get wireless access outside the US, it’s less useful. Should I wait for the new larger format Sony to come out next month, or the mythical iPad?

  9. Sorry, are you all serious about the videos on this page? Because they are mostly ridiculous. How can you shoot steadily with one hand holding a camera and the other playing with ereaders? Are you nuts? It’s all shaking and out of focus. Which sharpness of screens are you comparing here?
    You know, next time, when you shoot videos of e-Ink devices, do it this way: 1. take the thing out to a normal day light, 2. mount a camera on a tripod, 3. fix the device into its packaging bed, 4. then play with it by using fingers of both hands but do not move it all around.

      1. I think you did a fine job switch thank you for this info. I also just wanted to make sure you knew the last post was for pete

  10. Great information! I do have a really important question that will influence my decision. I am currently enrolled in an online course. All of my materials are in pdf format and I am tired of printing everything. Which reader would be better for my use?


  11. So, I actually picked up a Sony Touch for Christmas. It’s working great, and it’s even just about passable for making exam notes (of formulae) with the handwriting tool.

    One slight annoyance with the pdf zoom workaround is that when you zoom in on one page, you have to zoom out again before going to the next page, instead of just scrolling through the whole document.

    The other issue with zooming in is that the panning “resolution” isn’t great. if you scroll left or right, you will likely see only the left or right half of the page, and have to keep flicking back and forth. This is fine for two-column documents, but pdfs where the document has been scanned in and has small writing are still a serious pain to read.

    The final, almost unnoticeable point I’ve noticed is that when the screen is redrawn there’s a very faint afterimage. This is only really noticeable when there’s been, eg. a huge block of solid black on the previous page. I’m not sure if this is specific to the sony touch, or effects e-ink screens in general, or even if it will go away once I’ve been using it a bit longer.

    Overall I’m still very happy with the product.

  12. Let me start by saying that after doing a pretty good amount of research I’ve decided to purchase the Sony Reader Touch Edition over the Kindle 2. I urge you to not get tied up with the Amazon overlords and think long-term about your digital media. I would like to address a few points about the difference between these two readers.

    1. I have never found myself needing to download a book right away, so the wireless functionality that Amazon offers is not that important in my view. Granted, if I want to download a book and use it on my Sony device I will have to do that on my computer first and transfer it to the reader, but how hard is that?!

    2. If you decide to go with the Kindle you should not take that decision lightly because as long as you want to make use of any of the content you plan to buy from Amazon you will have to use the Kindle, (no other device can use Kindle files)! This is not the case with the Sony reader, which mainly uses the EPUB file type that can also be used on other devices made by other brands if you choose to buy one years down the line. This is significant if you are looking to build a long-term digital library, like me.

    3. If you download Adobe Digital Editions to your computer you are able to view your EPUB files on your computer.

    4. You also have access to free content. You can check-out EPUB books for 21 days from many local Libraries and you can download a half-million Google Books, (mainly older pre-WW1 publications) for FREE! There’s no free content with Amazon.

    Food for thought.

  13. One of the reasons I went with the Sony is that it has 2 memory card slots so you could have 32 GB of data, where the Kindle is limited to 2 GB internally that is not possible to upgrade.

    While ebooks don’t take up space, if you look at the size various PDF files you will see they are considerbly bigger and 2 GB did not sit well with me.

  14. Adam makes some very good points. The inability for direct downloading of ebooks to the Reader is no big deal but the ability to store and read multiple formats is a huge plus.

    In regard to having to resort to “two-handed page-turning” with the Touch – that’s baloney! If someone isn’t able to hold their Reader in one hand and flick their thumb across the screen to turn the page at the same time, they are simply uncoordinated!

    I love my Sony Touch for lots of reasons but the biggest one is probably the way it “feels.” I’ve got a standard cover for it and it feels like I’m reading an actual book every time I pick it up. The glare is a non-issue – if there is a bright light source I simply cut off the glare with the cover or slightly tilt the display and it disappears. I can read twice as fast with my Sony and couldn’t be happier with it!

  15. Thanks for doing the side by side comparison. It really helps to see the units in operation.

    BTW, where are you filming? Do I hear seagulls in the background?

  16. I am very new to all this, but in my research I have found lots of ebook websites, which are really cheap downloads. Do either Sony or Kindle let me purchase from someone else or am I resricted to their own sites and books

    1. Lea, you can purchase books in Adobe DMed PDF format and they ought to work for Sony Reader. For Kindle it has to be free of DRM and in .mobi or .prc or .azw or pdf formats.
      An example are Fictionwise multi-format books that are readable on Kindle. The other (secure Mobi, etc.) format doesn’t work on Kindle.

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