Sony Reader WiFi ups the bar for eBook Readers by adding a touch screen


September 5, 2011

Among Sony's releases at IFA is one that could put a dent in Kindle's dominance of the eReader space - the 6-inch Sony Reader Wi-Fi. The new reader comes in at just 168 grams, two thirds of the weight of the Kindle 3 WiFi and with a host of advantages that include faster and smoother page turns (we tried it), and a dual-touch touchscreen for easy zooming.

The touch screen fits well with the form factor and the swiping of a finger to turn the page, or pinching and spreading of fingers to zoom in or out seems far more natural, particularly if you have a tablet in your armory of gadgets.

You can also tap and hold on a word you don't recognize to find its meaning and highlight text with a finger.

It comes with two English language dictionaries and ten translation dictionaries for foreign language students.

Unlike the Kindle, it won't lock you to one on-line bookstore (Amazon for the Kindle) as the sole provider of your reading material. The Sony Reader store now carries more than 2.5 million titles, but you can buy elsewhere, and it supports the public library e-book lending service that will let you borrow books from public libraries (11,000 at last count, but only in UK, US, and Canada at this stage). It's also cheaper and lighter than the model it replaces, but still US$10 dearer than the Kindle at US$149.

The battery life of the new Reader WiFi is somewhat less than the Kindle and indeed just about every other ereader, but then again, three weeks with WiFi on is not likely to pose too many problems unless you're planning an intergalactic trip. If you're accustomed to a tablet or smartphone, any ereader will delight you with its frugal power consumption.

The internal capacity of 2GB isn't a lot compared to other eBook readers, but is easily supplemented via the microSD card slot in case you want to supplement your reading with music or photos or audi books, which tend to take up a lot more space than eBooks.

The Reader Wi-Fi comes in red, white and black and will be available in the U.K., Germany and Austria in October.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon

Sooo, a 40-dollar-more-expensive copy of the Nook Simple Touch? If I was more of a tool I might be interested.

Charles Gaines

False information from Sony? Or was it Gizmag?

Kindle certainly does not \"Lock you in\" to one online bookstore! It DOES make it ridiculously convenient to buy ebooks from Amazon - but you are free to load books from anywhere you like. Kindle supports common generic ebook formats.

Now come on Amazon! When are we going to see a decent touch-screen Kindle?

Are you going to hold back and then surprise us with touch screen plus high-contrast, full-colour in one hit?

Kindle ROCKS

ringo the Baptist

@Gaines: Well, it is lighter than the Nook ST, and it has more buttons and multi-touch for zoom... then again, it has less battery life, no single \"easy access\" store, and honestly multi-touch is annoying when I have a hand hovering to turn the page and suddenly my text size goes all strange, so I basically agree. The nook seems like a better option, assuming their buttons don\'t keep breaking on this model (my wife has had buttons break, get replaced and break again on one of the original Nooks).

Charles Bosse


keep the record straight. Nook is the one copied the touch screen Sony has introduced a year ago. Also, $40 more expensive? Do the math. Sony Reader WiFi $149, Nook Simple Touch $139. But Sony comes with 12 dictionaries, audio player, and 43g much lighter than Nook\'s 212g, direct bookstore and library access, and more.


The rumor is that Amazon will be releasing a kindle touch screen in the next month or so:

Of course, that is just a rumor so far, but I bet we\'ll see one by Christmas.


I notice absolutely nothing has been said about the screen\'s readability in varying light conditions. I purchased an older version of this . I was going to buy ten as gifts for my staff at Christmas. At the last minute I decided to buy just one and see how well they worked. I found it almost impossible to read under virtually any light.. my glasses reflected off the screen. I cold not use it near the incandescent lamp in my home the fluorescent in my office or in the vicinity of a window. It was light enough if you didn\'t have to continuously hold it in one place to avoid the glare. However that seemed to be impossible. I used it for a few days and have not gone back to it since. I normally read several books a week and fond that on the Sony reader I would be annoyed by the glare and found it too heavy to hold in one position to avoid it, and see the screen. I read a review of it that must have been paid for by Sony, because none of the good things said about reading it were true.. Friends who have tried mine (I tried giving it away) decided to go with the Kindle, which they also tried. Maybe it is better and maybe it is just hype.



feel free to give it to me, I\'d give it a go to see how it is..


I\'ve been trying - unsuccessfully - for many months to get a simple answer to any of the readers, i.e., do any of them permit me to download PDFs from my computer for reading on the go? I need that far more than books as I\'ve literally hundreds of them!

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