Sony PRS-T3 Announced Much to Nobody’s Surprise, But There’s a Twist

Sony PRS-T3 Release

Thanks to various leaks, we knew it was going to happen. And we knew when it was going to happen. Then it happened: Sony officially announced the PRS-T3 ebook reader today.

But there’s a bit of an unusual twist to the situation. So far, the US seems to be left out of the release. The press release is Europe-specific, and the new frontlight-lacking PRS-T3 is now listed on various European websites, including Sony UK and Sony France and Sony Spain, but it’s no where to be found on the US website.

The Canadian Sony Store also shows the new PRS-T3, and it’s ship date is just two days away. The price is $129 for the model with the regular integrated cover. The lighted cover is going to make your pocketbook grumble because it will set you back an extra $50.

We know the PRS-T3 is coming to the US because Sony sent it through the FCC, where the leaked documents initially came from. It’s probably going to show up on Sony’s website soon. I’m tired of waiting so let’s just get started with the details.

Sony Reader PRS-T3 Specs

  • 6-inch E Ink Pearl screen.
  • Clear IR Dual Touch Screen.
  • 1024 x 758 pixel resolution, 16 levels of grayscale.
  • Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n).
  • 2GB memory.
  • MicroSD card slot for cards up to 32GB.
  • Battery Life: up to 6-8 weeks reading 30 minutes per day.
  • Supported formats: Adobe DRM, EPUB, FB2, PDF, TXT, JPEG, PNG, GIF, and BMP.
  • Dimensions: 109 x 160 x 11.3 mm.
  • Weight: 200 grams including snap cover.
  • Colors: the usual Black, White, and Red.

Aside from lacking a frontlight, the PRS-T3 also lacks the new Carta screens from E Ink found on the new Kindle Paperwhite 2. The spec sheet specifically says Pearl screens.

I noticed that they added FB2 to the supported formats list, but it says “for Russia” in parentheses. Hopefully that isn’t limited to the Russian version of the device only.

There are a couple of odd new features with the PRS-T3. Sony claims a quick charge of the battery for only 3 minutes gives enough power to read an entire 600 page novel. Not sure how often you need to only charge for 3 minutes, but I guess it’s a feature worth talking about, right?

Not interesting enough? Well perhaps 4 hours of flicker-free page-turning will raise your brow. Sony says that’s how long the new PRS-T3 can go without having to refresh the whole page with a black flash.

From a software standpoint, the PRS-T3 appears to be very similar to the PRS-T2 from last year. So that means you get the usual notes and highlights, multiple dictionaries and translation dictionaries, Evernote and Facebook integration, PDF reflow, multiple zooming options, etc. Until I’m able to get my hands on a PRS-T3 to review you might as well just check out my PRS-T2 review from last year to get an idea of most of the software features.

As far as pricing goes, it seems to vary by country. Some European Sony websites are selling it for 139 Euros and others for 149 Euros. That’s with the regular non-lighted cover. The Canadian Sony Store has it for $129, which is likely pretty close to the price it will sell for once it becomes available in the US. So far I’m not seeing any option to buy the PRS-T3 with the lighted cover. Seems like a logical thing to do, so hopefully Sony starts selling them that way too because who wants to have to spend an extra $50 to buy a second cover just for a light.

8 Responses to “Sony PRS-T3 Announced Much to Nobody’s Surprise, But There’s a Twist”

  1. Sigh. Looks like another year with my PRS-350. The Onyx Firefly I bought arrived damaged and it’s been endless trying to get warranty service and nothing on the US market seems enough of an upgrade to bother. I mean, a plastic snap cover? Seriously? Way to improve the tactile experience Sony. Your old leather (pleather, whatever) covers felt great and wore like iron, too bad your hinges were a total joke though. Why don’t I just tell you what we want to make it easier for you? Use the PRS 650 form factor, add an HD screen and a nice,even frontlight.Fix the crappy power slider. An SD card slot would be nice, but why not just give it 16 gigs of internal instead? Go back to making it out of metal (esp. the f-ing styli,how much could it cost?) and include a nice, sturdy, aesthetically pleasing cover with hinges that aren’t made of plastic. Make it compatible with over the counter USB wall chargers while you’re at it. Make it cost $139 or less. Look, job done. Now you can take a halfday and wasted at the golf course.

  2. Lack of backlight big mistake. No reading in poor light conditions.
    Some people also like to buy custom covers, so I’ve guess they are not buying either.
    But on the other hand it could be very profitable if the producing cost is 5 USD. But at least they are realistic in not wanting to compete with Kindle in the US.

  3. I would love a side by comparison w/Kobo Aura? Can you tell I am looking for new toy?

    • Honestly, I don’t think the Sony PRS-T3 is even worth considering when compared to the Kobo Aura or Kindle Paperwhite (2013).

  4. So after all that, would it not be better to stick with the old PRS T1 ? My son has had one for over three years of use (not the most careful of children…) and it’s going fine. Prices for new models vary from 80£ (amazon UK) to over the double. Amazon France had one for 168€ and another for 238€ (bought for 160€ with lighted cover three years ago !).
    Or do I wait for a Kobo Aura for the younger brother ?
    Oh by the way, thanks for your excellent blog : you got me onto e-readers !

    • Yeah it’s pretty sad how well the T1 stacks up against the T3. The software features are mostly the same; the T3 has a few extras like Evernote and Facebook integration, but as far as reading goes there’s not a whole lot of differences.

    • That depends, is it for you or your son?

      In regards to your Children: I doubt you really need to worry about upgrading them as since they’re young, I would think only the core reading experience itself would matter to them, though they may appreciate the improvements in speed and resolution (depending on what device you upgrade them to).

      In terms of yourself: If you’re starting to get dissatisfied with the PRS T1, The Kobo Aura or Amazon Paperwhite (2013) would each serve as a very worthwhile upgrade and whichever you go with would obviously depend on your personal preferences.

      The bottom line: I certainly would not replace a T1 with a T3 as there’s simply not enough advancement in terms of technology or improvements in general to warrant the upgrade. I don’t know if it’s ignorance on Sony’s part or just plain stubbornness, but their decision to not include features such as built-in lighting (which some users have come to expect from now on for all future E-Ink devices) has really weighed their feet in the past. Unless Sony gets with the times with their next device, I would only consider Amazon, Kobo, or Barnes & Noble (if B&N end up releasing a new and/or updated e-reader).

  5. Hello to both Nathan and Leopold and thanks for your observations. The reader is for my son (nearly 10), I’m still saving up whilst I decide for myself ! None of us are on Facebook etc so you’re right about the “core reading experience”. In the end I found the T1 for 92€ on Amazon (persistence pays !. I also found another cover with a light for 23€ but it seems pretty poor compared to Sony’s official lighted cover. Never mind, he’ll just keep reading under the quilt with his torch, no matter what I say about saving his eyesight… sigh….
    I’ve taken careful note of your suggestions for a “grown-up’s” reader though…
    All the best