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Tech Report – Sony Reader PRS-T2

With Apple, Samsung and other manufacturers playing a game of electronic one-upmanship by cramming as many different features into their tablets as possible, it’s almost a relief to pick up a device that has a single purpose. Such is the case with the pocket-sized Sony Reader PRS-T2, which eschews apps and add-ons to offer a basic e-reading experience.

The PRS-T2 weighs less than 6 ounces and features a 6-inch monochrome E-ink display. While the display is listed as ‘touchscreen’ and responds well to tap commands, attempts to swipe to the next page or pinch and zoom were greeted by flickering and confusion. Readers will soon learn to rely on the raised icons lined up below the screen for page turning and other functions.

The PRS-T2 charges through a USB cable, which can be attached to a laptop or other charging device. (An AC adaptor is sold separately.) It takes about 2.5 hours to fully charge the reader but that should last for up to two months of normal reading. The PRS-T2 comes with 2GB of internal memory but that can increase to 32GB through an external microSD slot.

Set up is straightforward and consists mainly of choosing the right language, time and date. Books, magazines or newspapers can be purchased by connecting to the Sony Reader Store via your computer (you will need to download the Reader software) or by connecting to a Wi-Fi network. Using the device’s wireless network settings is again simple and straightforward.

Sony’s Reader Store is well laid out, providing easy access to best-sellers, new releases, classics and free books. Prices for current titles average around $9.99 for books in paperback up to $14.99 for hardcover-only editions. PRS-T2 also has a link to the public library e-book lending service, giving users access to thousands of additional books and periodicals.

While Sony’s e-readers mostly concentrate on books, it’s not quite true to say that they don’t have other ambitions. The PRS-T2 includes a basic Web browser and two apps for sharing: Evernote and Facebook. However, you would never buy the PRS-T2 for its browsing capabilities. Venturing onto the Web results in more paroxysms of flickering, and here the shaky touchscreen capabilities cannot be rescued by the regular reader controls.

All-in-all, the Sony Reader PRS-T2 is a serviceable e-reader, which is easy to carry and operate. The price of $129 makes it $60 more expensive than the basic Kindle but $10 less than the ad-free Kindle Paperwhite, which has a built-in light, higher resolution and arguably more sharing features.

The Sony Reader PRS-T2 is available in black, white or red and can be purchased from the Sony Store and other online retailers.

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