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Sony launches 3rd generation PRS-700 Reader

US gets upgraded e-book reader with touchscreen

Although still a niche electronics item, Sony’s range of ebook Readers has already reached its third generation, with increases in capacity and battery life and additional functions to make reading ebooks even easier.

Sony ebook Reader PRS-700

We reported on the UK launch of the 2nd generation PRS-505 in September 2008, and our technology experts gave it a First Look review.

The latest model is slightly heavier at 280g, but offers a longer battery life – a claimed 7,500 page turns compared to the previous model’s 6,800. There’s also a larger capacity as the PRS-700 can hold 350 average-sized ebooks – over double the number of the PRS-505. The textured black casing and soft black cover are stylish, and the 6-inch screen is now touch sensitive. Aside from that, the other significant addition is a built-in LED reading light, which Sony claims is a first for an ebook reader.

Better than books?

Sony ebook Reader PRS-700 close-up

A great practical advantage over traditional paper books is that five pre-set text sizes are available so readers can find the one most comfortable for them. For those who need an even closer look, Sony say that zooming in is as easy as tapping the screen.

The on-screen keyboard also allows advanced text functions such as searching for specific words, annotation and highlighting.

As well as ebooks – which the Reader supports in the popular EPUB, PDF and Adobe Digital Editions formats – the device can handle photos and audio files in MP3 and AAC format.

The original silver PRS-505 is available for £199 in Waterstone’s, and exclusively in red at John Lewis. The new PRS-700 will go on sale next month in the US for around $400, and is likely to cross the pond later this year.

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