Sony DPT-RP1 PDF eReader First Impressions Review (+Video)

Sony DPT-RP1 Review

Sony’s latest 13.3-inch Digital Paper PDF reader, the DPT-RP1, was released in the US earlier this week (and in Japan earlier this month). It’s a specialized device designed to replace paper in various business and academic fields, and it’s useful for a number of other PDF-related applications as well.

The 1st gen Sony DPT-S1 was the first device to feature a 13.3-inch E Ink screen, but I never got a chance to see it in person. Now that they’ve lowered the price with this 2nd gen model and upgraded the display to have higher resolution and better contrast, I decided to buy a Sony DPT-RP1 to get a closer look at the unique screen.

For now I’m just going to post a 1st impressions review, but I’ll post other reviews and videos over the next few weeks.

Let’s start with the good stuff first.

The device is unbelievably thin and light. It’s nothing like a tablet and nothing like an ereader. It feels like a completely different type of product.

It only weighs 12.3 ounces, which is just crazy for a device with a 13.3-inch screen. By comparison the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro weighs 1.5 pounds.

The upgraded higher resolution Carta screen on the DPT-RP1 looks superb, and the included stylus works surprisingly well for writing and drawing on the screen.

With E Ink there’s a little lag when writing but the pen is accurate and feels natural. The screen has a texture to it that makes it feel like writing on paper.

So as far as viewing PDFs and writing notes on them, the Sony DPT-RP1 is absolutely great—the hardware is amazing.

But when it comes to navigating PDFs, the software leaves something to be desired.

There’s no table of contents. No way to jump to specific page numbers. There’s not even a back button to go back to the previous location after using an embedded hyperlink.

How can a $700 device with the singular function of being a PDF reader lack such basic functions? It’s mind-boggling!

A $100 6-inch Kindle Paperwhite has those features and plenty others the Sony DPT-RP1 lacks, like pinch-zooming and scrolling, the ability to add text notes with the keyboard, and the ability to look up words in the dictionary and search online.

I just don’t see how Sony could leave out such basic navigation features. Hopefully a software update remedies this serious deficiency sooner than later.

Another odd thing about the DPT-RP1 is the fact it has no internet capabilities whatsoever. The Wi-Fi is strictly for transferring files to and from a computer. A PC or Mac computer is required to load content onto the device via the Digital Paper app, but at least the app works well and you can sync it with folders on your computer, including cloud services like Dropbox.

I’ll post a full review after using the DPT-RP1 more (hopefully after a much-needed software update). Here’s video review showing the device in action. It’s already sold out at Amazon but they should be getting more stock in by the end of the month.

Sony DPT-RP1 Video Review

11 Responses to “Sony DPT-RP1 PDF eReader First Impressions Review (+Video)”

  1. No web-browser = Not interested. Last year, I had envisioned that if Sony made a successor to the DPT-S1, under $900, with a web-browser … that I’d be all in! Sorry Sony, DPT-RP1 is a No-Go. I’m now waiting for the Boox Max 2, which from-what-I’ve-read, will be able to surf the web with pinch & zoom capabilities. Fingers crossed!

  2. Gasp, you bought one! Good for you 🙂
    I would think Sony would have come out with better nav tools especially when being used for business. I see a lot of complaints coming from there.
    I looked and they are “Temporarily out of stock” now…

    • Since I’m not a hardcore PDF person, I only plan on keeping it for a couple of months. That’s the only way I could spend that much money on something that only does one thing and costs more than my computer and TV and probably every other electronic gadget I’ve ever bought. 😀 I would really like to compare it to the Max Carta but there’s no way I’m spending another $750 anytime soon! Maybe when the Max Carta 2 comes out…

      • Now they’ve got the Max Carta on sale for $659 at Banggood. Tempting, but the lack of finger touch is a downer…

        • The Boox n96 Carta 9.7″ has dual touch… and it’s on sale for $348.99 and at that price it is very tempting for me…

          • Yeah, not bad for half the price of the Sony. I always thought 9.7-inch screens were perfectly fine for PDFs. I’m kind of tempted to get one too. It’s not like there are going to be any new Kindles or Kobos to review the rest of this year, and no one cares about Nooks anymore even if B&N did release a new model. Gotta have some action!

  3. I am convinced that Sony is on the wrong track by producing a one-trick pony instead of using (a recent version of) Android. For most people, myself included, such a high price can only be justified if the device is multi-purpose. I want to read ebooks, take notes, browse the web, install my favourite RSS reader, connect it to a pc as a second screen, play chess on it, do email in the sun with a bluetooth keyboard, hang it on the wall as a clock when not in use, etc. etc.
    As good as the hardware may be, the DPT will have trouble competing against the Onyx Boox Max and similar devices in the future. And the fact that they can’t even get this extremely limited functionality right is outright ridiculous.

  4. Guys the Rp1 is perfect. If you need something that is usefull for engineer or technician you really don’t need all the feature.
    Buy an Ipad or a Surface if you wanna use your device for something that is not projected for professional use (book, documents and so on)

  5. What i appreciate with this attractive rectangle plate most is its weight. if sony adds other major features on it then you will lose its huge advantage from its feather like weight. just my feeling. that weight is the most likely with paper.

  6. The reviewer said that “a PC or Mac computer is required to load content onto the device via the Digital Paper app.”

    Does the famous app works on Ubuntu Linux computers?

    And would it be possible to avoid installing that app on my computer and instead directly copy my files to the e-ink reader? With all my other devices (my current e-ink reader, phone, tablet, all the external HDDs) I never use any of the manufacturer’s software/apps, instead I just plug in the USB cable and copy all the necessary files by using my preferred file management software.

    I have a problem with apps, namely, I hate most of them. And a reviewer on Amazon said that Sony has made a very nasty EULA, disallowing opt out for data collection and providing themselves with permission to collect data not just from the Digital Paper itself but also from any device connected to the Digital Paper. Sony has given itself permission to mine unspecified data from user’s computer and use it without any real restrictions, including permitting themselves to share this data with unspecified third parties. My assumption is that Sony uses this famous app to steal user’s data. So I was wondering about whether it would be possible to somehow avoid having to use the app. That’s the last thing I want installed on my computer.

    I was waiting for the new Onyx Boox Max 2 PRO to be released, but, now that I have seen the specs, I’m very disappointed with it. That made me start to reconsider previous options.

    Oh, and there was another question. My collection of pdf files is about 100GB (most of the files consist of scanned images, rather than text, thus file sizes are large), the internal storage is not enough for my needs. So I was thinking about whether it would be possible to use the e-ink reader’s Micro-USB slot to connect additional storage to it. I was thinking about using one of those MicroSD adapters marketed for people whose smartphones happen to have no MicroSD slot. Would that work? Would the e-ink reader recognize such additional storage? I’m assuming it should, but I guess it’s better to check before making any purchase decisions.

    • See the main Sony DPT-RP1 Review for more info. Linux isn’t supported and you have to use the app; it’s the only way to add files. A few Android ereaders support USB OTG but I don’t know which ones off the top of my head. A wireless hard drive would probably work better.