The Sony Reader Daily Edition is available only in the US, and Sony has yet to reveal when it will be be available in the UK. The Sony Reader Daily Edition was tested by our colleagues in San Francisco at the PC World labs.
"A great read is a few seconds away," proclaims the Sony Reader Daily Edition screen as it tries to connect to the Sony store - or to do anything else involving the unit's wireless internet access. Unfortunately, in our tests, we had to wait a lot longer than a few seconds.
That's too bad, because the Sony Reader Daily Edition has content that we would love to download if doing so were less of a hassle. The Daily Edition is Sony's first e-reader to provide wireless access to content (via AT&T's 3G wireless network), and Sony has sought to capitalise on that feature by offering not just a bookstore but wireless delivery of newspapers, either by subscription or as single copies. Several big names in daily print US journalism - including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal - are for sale in Sony's Reader Store, which you can access from the device.
But 3G wireless service was spotty at best in in downtown San Francisco. Whatever we tried to do, we received frequent messages advising us to check whether we'd turned on the wireless switch (you get both a hardware switch on the bottom edge of the device and a software setting for toggling the switch on). We managed to subscribe to the digital New York Times through the Sony store, but at first we couldn't download it: a message reported that the download had been interrupted and needed to be restarted from our account page. (In other locations, though the Sony Reader Daily Edition had fewer foibles, it was painfully slow to connect.)
By the way, you can transfer commercial and free content to the Sony Reader Daily Edition after using the included USB cable to attach the device to your PC. In fact, this is the only way to patronise bookstores other than Sony's (you can buy from any e-tailer that supports ePub with Adobe Content Server 4 encryption). Like other Sony Readers, the Sony Reader Daily Edition also supports AAC, BMP, GIF, JPEG, MP3, PDF, PNG, RTF, and TXT file formats, plus Sony's old BBeB eBook format, in case you have older eBooks on hand.
Wireless services and a slightly larger (7-inch-diagonal) E-Ink screen that supports 16 shades of gray are the chief distinctions between the Sony Reader Daily Edition and the Touch Edition released last Autumn: the latter has a 6-inch-diagonal, eight-shade-grayscale display. But the extra real estate mainly extends the height of the Daily Edition, so it seems rather tall and narrow for an eBook reader. It's also a tad fatter and heavier (361g, including the included black cover) than the Touch Edition. Sony offers a cool cover with a built-in reading light for the Daily Edition, as a $60 option.
Like the Touch Edition, the Sony Reader Daily Edition has a touchscreen that you can manipulate with your fingers or with a stylus that slides into the device's upper left corner. You can turn pages forward (but not backward) with a finger swipe, and you get to choose whether to use left-to-right or right-to-lift action for this purpose. This feature generally worked well, but the device was unresponsive to our swipes intermittently, and ultimately we found it less annoying to depend on the hardware page-turn buttons below the display.