Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Consumer Reports: Kindle beats Sony

That headline and the CR report are from the now "archived" version of the report from the July 2009 issue of Consumer Reports.

They compared the Amazon Kindle 2, $359, and the Sony Reader PRS-700BC, $349.

I listed, further below, CR's findings as itemized by Sandy Nawrot's earlier blog report on the article.  I was about to post that just now and happened to see that CR has now posted their actual report though it was available only to subscribers earlier.  Some excerpts from that:

"It took an hour or more of work to set up the Sony. But we were reading within 5 minutes of opening the Kindle box."

While they give the advantage to Sony's screen because it's a touch screen, they add:
  "The touch screen is about as sensitive as those on most cell phones we've tested; that is, you have to press down firmly as you swipe your finger across the screen to advance to the next page.  (You can also change pages by using two awkwardly tiny tabs at the bottom of the screen.)"

  And, "Bottom line"
  "The Sony is solely for reading books, but the Kindle can also read them to you in mechanical but understandable male or female voices.  It also offers (at extra cost) feeds from select blogs and wireless newspaper and magazine subscriptions. There's also a basic Web browser under an 'Experimental' tab. "

  They're among the very few reviewers who even mention that last feature that encourages Kindlers to use Wikipedia and also Google, with just about every bottom-bar action by the user and with the built-in web-browser bookmarks.

Below is what I was going to post before I found the CR article above:
Consumer Reports staff are part of a brief video news clip of a side-by-side comparison of Kindle 2 vs Sony PRS-700 by ABC 7  Consumer News.

It's a brief and necessarily superfical news report but includes a good video of what the Kindle and Sony models look like in use, vs the usual static and often promotional still-photos we see.

The Kindle gets the nod by Consumer Reports, for ease of use, due to the wireless capability.

AND, Sandy Nawrot reports on the actual Consumer Reports article, available only to subscribers to the CR's online site in The Title Fight - Kindle versus Sony.   Read it at Nawrot's site (if only to enjoy the delightful cat that presides over the page) -- but for those reading this on the Kindle, here are some of her highlights from the report (paraphrased):
1) Convenience - The Sony takes about an hour to set up, and all files must be cabled over from the computer.
2) Screen - "Type and and images are more crisp and accurate on the Kindle, and pages turn a little more quickly."  The Sony is side-lit for night use.
3) Navigation - Sony has the edge on this, with a touch screen.
4) Titles available - Kindle has far more newer books and they average a few dollars less than Sony's.
        The Kindle has samples from all books to try first, but the Sony, only a few.  Sony has Google's 500,000 free classics, but these can be downloaded for the Kindle also, from many free sites that offer them.
5) The Kindle also has text-to-speech; the Sony is "solely for reading books." Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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  1. I have both the Kindle 2 and Sony 505 and like them both. I think the Kindle 2 is the "better" device in that it has the wireless, and the interface is much nicer.

    However, the Sony has some big advantages - it is smaller and easier to hold. It does better on more formats and conversions from other formats work better. It is cheaper (currently on special at Borders for $199). Sony allows grouping books in folders.

    Downloads to the Sony are easy but you need a third party program - Calibre - to get the best value out of the Sony. If I only had one I'd stick with the Kindle, but they each have their advantages and disadvantages. If you don't want to use the Amazon store I'd say the Sony would be the better choice.

  2. Anonymous,

    Thanks much for this added viewpoint from experience. I did like the size of the one I saw at Target one day, and $200 is a great price!

    I'd not heard one could get the PRS-505 for that little. I think they're usually $275 now.

    - Andrys (who got here late --- apologies)


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