Reader Wi-Fi (PRS-T1) Video Review, First Impressions

Sony PRS-T1

Since figuring out that the new Sony Reader Wi-Fi runs Android yesterday, I’ve had plenty of time to get familiarized with the PRS-T1’s new user interface and design. So I put together this ten minute video review below to show the Reader Wi-Fi in action. I also decided to write some first impressions since it will be a few more days before I get started on the full review.

The first thing that jumps out about the new Sony Reader PRS-T1 is how different it is from Sony’s other ebook readers. Not only is the operating system different, the switch from an aluminum body to plastic is a big change too. Personally, I don’t like the change; the metal bodies are much nicer, classier, and are more balanced, plus they have a slot to house the stylus. But Sony had to shave cost somewhere to be more competitive, so you can blame the Kindle for that.

Update: Here’s the link to the full Sony PRS-T1 review.

The Reader Wi-Fi has all the same features the earlier models had—notes, highlights, on-screen markup, dictionary, search, history, adjust contrast, etc—and it adds some new features too, like changing font type, pinch zooming, and downloading library ebooks directly to the device itself in addition to ebooks from Sony.

The new fonts are great. There are seven of them, and they’re nice and dark. Landscape mode is a big improvement over the earlier Sony Readers too. The Reader is very comfortable to hold in landscape mode with your thumb on the page-forward button. Sony also fixed landscape so that it no longer overlaps on each page with grayed-out text. Each page is new text just like when reading in portrait.

The web browser works in landscape too. Speaking of web browser, scrolling and pinch-zooming are both surprisingly smooth and fast. You can even download ebooks in supported formats with the browser.

I haven’t had time to try PDFs yet or the library downloads. I’ll report on that in the main review, along with everything else. Subscribe to keep updated: Email, Rss Feed, Facebook, Twitter.

Reader Wi-Fi Video Review

42 Responses to “Reader Wi-Fi (PRS-T1) Video Review, First Impressions”

  1. How is the browsing experience of the Sony compared with a rooted Nook Simple Touch using Opera or whatever?

    Also, can you check whether they have changed anything about the way you drill down on the TOC. Specifically, if you have Part I, Chapter 1, Section 1, can you go directly to the start of Part I or do you still have no choice but to go to Section 1?

  2. Does it still organized Calibre tags as collections?

    Likewise interested if multi-level TOC is still supported!

    All the rest is sounding good! Especially landscape for the web browser! Nice!

  3. Well, it’s pretty lame that you can’t put the stylus in the device. Otherwise it looks great! Awaiting your further video reviews to decide whether I’m gonna buy it or not.

  4. Nathan, this is very helpful (and by the way thank you for answering all my questions about the reader from my previous post in your other article). Though I am waiting for your pdf support review, I have pretty much made up my mind to upgrade to this new model which brings me to my next question 🙂 You mentioned that you managed to score one from your local target store (or did I misunderstood?). I am looking at the target website and do not even see one listed. Do they have in stores only? Please advise on how you got yours if possible 🙂

    All other online retailers have it on pre-order only so far (jr, newegg, amazon and etc.). Only SonyStyle seem to have the black model in stock for order.

  5. I noticed that the top bar seems a bit cropped; the battery icon doesn’t appear to be fully visible, is that due to the angle of the camera?

  6. Thanks for the excellent in-depth review! I’m looking to buy my first ereader now that the prices are becoming reasonable. I’m leaning towards the Sony, mainly due to Amazon’s draconian policies and DRM.

    The thing that I noticed was the frequent full refreshes. The new Kindles refresh only after 6 or so pages, but Sony does on every page. Is this a major hindrance, or do you think it’s a non-issue? Do you think it could be addressed in a firmware, or is that hardware-level upgrade in Kindles?

    Sony Reader Store will launch in European countries later this year and 2012. They will still not have a dedicated store in many of the European countries. Do you know if I can buy stuff from any of the stores in Europe and/or US?

  7. How does it perform reading outside in full sun? I’m a bus stop reader.

  8. Critical for post-rooting use: Is there the ability to call up an alternate keyboard? Does Sony give you choice of language keyboard or multiple keyboards?

  9. Thanks for this nice review, I just have one question.
    Does it support sorting ebooks in folders or is it the same as the previous models with only on huge list of books?

  10. Thanks for the review.

    Which languages show up in corresponding menu?

  11. Nathan, when you do your in depth review, please spend some time discussing collections.

    If you’re using Calibre to manage and load your ebooks then the each term in the “tags” field of Calibre is turned into a collection name in the Sony Reader. The collections allow you to group books into related categories for easy locating. Going through large lists of books on the reader is not hard and you can search by title on the Sony Reader or go to the beginning letter if you have the books display sorted by title.

  12. Sorry guys I can’t answer some of these questions just yet but I will address them in the main review, like Calibre and collections. For now I’ve got to focus on the Kindle 4 review first since it came ahead of the PRS-T1.

    Here’s Q’s I can answer now:

    Lev, I just walked into a Target and they had them with the other ereaders.

    Frank, it’s the angle of the camera.

    Me, I like partial refresh better, personally, but I don’t see how it would be a problem since it is more common. I hope they add a setting for it.

    Julie, all E Ink ereaders work great out in the sun.

    Mike, it does have different dictionaries in the settings for the other languages.

    Jozo, I think it is the same but you still have collections for quasi-folders.

    Kartu, language support: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch.

  13. Great review!
    Can you turn pages with the arrow buttons at the bottom left corner or do you have to use the touch screen?

  14. When you first start up the reader, are there any required registration steps (like the latest Nook)? I’m looking for an e-reader, not a relationship with an e-book store.

    • The first time I started it up there was no kind of introductory process at all; users are basically on their own to figure out how everything works. Usually ereaders and tablets walk users through WiFi setup at least but there was nothing other than language preference. Once I hit the Reader Store tab then it prompted to sign in to the Reader Store and then authorize with Adobe ID after that.

  15. Nathan, when you get a chance….

    I noticed on the home page (which is based on the website) of the web browser for the Sony 950SC the size of the text and page has changed to be 1/2 the size of what it use to be.

    Does the new T1 browser have this same home page when you launch the browser by itself and if so is the text small?

    I noticed the smaller size right about the time the new reader got released.

  16. hi!!!
    is only wikipedia and google, the only websites you can visit? or does prst1 have an internet browser? i’ve seen on videos, people only use internet by looking further information about a word. Can I check my mail? gmail/yahoo/hotmail? news?

  17. Thanks for the reply. I went to my local Target and picked one up. They had four (now three) in stock. Also, they had the new Kobo Touch, which I was also considering.

    It’s interesting, the Sony (and Kobo) aren’t listed on One of my local Targets only carries a single Kindle model, but my other Target had various models by different manufacturers.

  18. Playing with the Sony, I found that in order to download books from your library, you need an Adobe ID (which I had from downloading books from my library onto my computer). Unfortunately, to activate the Adobe ID on the Sony Reader, you need to also create an account on the Sony Reader Store.

    I wish there was a way to just tell the reader my Adobe ID without the Sony Store rigmarole.

  19. Had an interesting conversion with an Overdrive rep this afternoon. She comiserated with the fact that certain e-readers are having difficultiy with Adobe ID’s. She says that you can have up to 6 devices with the same authentication going. Adobe says 2 and unfortunately my two are not speaking. (laptop and e-reader). I am going back to borrowing real books. Takes a few minutes to select them..they don’t need special lighting, complicated instructions to move from one device to another…..although I do like the portability of the device. Wish I had the luxury of trying out different devices…thank you for the informative dialogue.

  20. Donna,

    Interesting. I have two computers registered, and now my e-reader. You’ve got me curious as to whether all three still work (though I only want one computer and the e-reader). I didn’t have problems when I activated my Adobe ID on my second computer, and similarly, I didn’t have any problems when I activated my ID on my e-reader.

  21. Hi Nathan. Great intro review, looking forward to your in-depth reviews. If it handles pdfs the way it looks like it should, this, finally, could be the e-book I’ve been waiting for!

    Thanks for your work on our behalf.

  22. Like you said, no surprise, really. The real problem is Adobe’s DRM. I’ll try some different EPUBs and see what happens. I’m just surprised I got past the authorization step without any issues—I’m always getting the too many activations error…

  23. Nathan I know you are very busy I’m an electronics engineer and I’m tired of wasting paper on printing datasheets, also everytime I’m working with a datasheet I add notes about details on the chip and then I lost the printed paper and have to print it again. I would like to have a sony reader for my datasheet collection. Can you make a short video on working with pdf datasheets, handwritte notes and if it’s possible to backup the datasheet with the notes. You can download a datasheet from on any of the integrated circuit products. Thanks

  24. How ar PDF, .docx?
    Do you have to convert?
    Screensavers, background?
    Image support?
    What about mp3 playback?
    Most people would probably want to know as well. 😀

  25. any truth to supporting other browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome) as this seller is purporting?

  26. Thank you for your answer. I was a bit perplexed how it would support other browsers.

    Meanwhile, another question I forgot to ask was if Readability can be loaded onto this device for better viewing of graphic heavy websites? A good portion of my daily reading is news stories and Readability gets rid of a lot of the clutter and shows you just the text. I use it on my computer. It would be nice to have to have the same capability on the Sony Reader.

  27. Oops. If I had checked before asking I would have seen that Readability seems to be just a Firefox add-on. Nuts.

  28. Forgive my multiple posts. Eliminate any you feel unnecessary. Silly me, the Firefox add-on was the only one shown because I was browsing with Firefox. Apparently, there is an extension of Readability for Chrome. Since this reader has an underlying Android OS, is the browser on it a basic version of Chrome which would allow Readability to be downloaded to it?

  29. Hi Nathan,
    Regarding reading in the sun – I have read that some ereader had issues, like having e-ink becoming paler when under direct sun. (irever, sony 505 for example)

    I would think it’s not the direct light causing the problem, but heat from the sun?

    So, I would really like to see test about this and also since it’s getting colder here, which e-reader can stand winter weather & to what degree (in the minuses 🙂

    • I’ve never used readability so I couldn’t say. Some screens did have issues in sunlight but I think that was because of defective screens. I’ve had one do that before. They shouldn’t have that problem anymore, though.

  30. To Julie (10/8/11-4:01pm)

    According to specs on the Sony page, operating temperature is 41F to 95F (5C to 35C).

  31. I’ve got my PRS-T1 not so long ago. After playing with it I found the following strengths and weaknesses:

    + Very intuitive touch interface (apart from few hiccups)
    + Menus are very balanced. I didn’t have to look into the manual once.
    + Light and slick (even with cover, which only increases the size by a small margin)
    + Amazingly smooth and functional web browser (compared to other e-readers)
    + Pdf files support is flawless and very function-rich. What I like the most, is that it remembers the current page/zoom/crop settings for each file individually. Autocrop is a wonderful thing.
    + Audio files support. Plays music when reading/browsing.
    + SD card slot
    + If rooted, it will handle e-mails, calendars and other Android applications very nicely, provided there is no heavy animation or video.

    – No power supply. But not really an issue. Any power supply with a usb slot (for iPod or a phone) or any computer will do.
    – Yes, there is glare from the frame, makes you choose your posture or location carefully.
    – The home screen shows what you are reading now and (only) 3 the most recent additions (why???). I don’t like that I can’t make it to display the most recently read titles (or the most popular). I am a student and I often jump between the books. This organization makes me do a few more clicks.
    – Audio files are forcefully grouped by album or by artist. I had to remove the album information from my collection to make the reader play them all. It can’t organize music into playlists. Also, I’d like to see more than 9 items at once in the list of files. But this can’t be customized. Hopefully, when rooted, it won’t be needed.
    – Once you use pinch zoom, you can’t use the quick reference function (hold on the word to see the dictionary entry) and you can’t see / add notes and drawings. This will be useful when working with a pdf of a drawing or a big map.
    – VERY WEIRD: swiping motion to the left flips the pages. Intuitive, right? Why then they didn’t implement the vertical swipes? When swiping vertically, it looks at the horizontal displacement of your swipe. In other words, if you swipe top to bottom with a tilt to the right, it will flip one page back, if with a tilt to the left, it will swipe one page forward.
    – Browser only has three windows to open. And windows are buried under a submenu.
    – WPA-Enterprise is not supported. BAAAD. This thing runs Android. And Android supports authorization via certificates.
    – Stylus is very handy, but it has no place to be attached.

    However, I still love the device. And I still think this is a best device on the market

    • Thanks for your observations of the PRS-T1. I’m working on the review right now and I agree with everything you said, and you reminded me of a couple details I would have forgot.

  32. Looks like a great reader. However, I have one concern – what about Polish letters? Does it display them properly?

  33. All the info you have promulgated leads me to believe this is the reader for my wife for Christmas, thanks. However, what about virus/trojan and other infections? Does one have to have an antivirus program loaded? Can the PST1 be scanned when connected by USB to the computer? Unprotected WiFi connection would seem to be leaving the device vulnerable.

    • There aren’t anti-virus programs for ereaders. What would be the point? There’s not a whole lot hackers can do with your ebooks…guess they could get your web browser info. But Wi-Fi remains off unless you are using it. And yes, you can hook it up to your computer.

  34. Sony PRS-600 had a feature where it would automatically create alphanumeric tabs(groups) for content management and easy access. Does PRS-T1 have this option?