Sony beat the competition to get an e-book reader to market in the UK. As a result, you're more likely to find a bookworm touting a Sony Reader than any other brand. The Sony Reader PRS 300 Pocket Edition is a less capacious model than the pricey but popular Sony Reader PRS-505 model Sony launched at the end of 2008, aimed at mainstream adoption rather than the committed tech fans and bibliophiles who snapped up the first models.

The Sony Reader PRS 300 Pocket Edition can store around 350 books on its 512MB of internal storage, compared to the 1,000 or so or its larger siblings. Sony bases this figure on a typical e-book being around 1.2MB in size; graphics-heavy books will take up more space.

With a 5in display, the Sony Reader PRS 300 Pocket Edition puts itself head-to-head with the Hanvon readers. It's easily small enough to slip into a pocket, but heavier than rival offerings, thanks to the aluminium casing and chunky screen surround. We recommend investing in a protective case to prevent scratches.

The design of the Sony Reader PRS 300 Pocket Edition is similar to the original Sony Reader launched in 2007, with numerical keys that span the height of the 5in screen allowing you to jump to a specific page number. Bookmarks are automatically created as you stop reading; you can also add your own.

A Sony portal allows you to borrow books from a lending library, as well as buy commercially available ones or add free titles to your library. Formats supported include ePub, PDF, Text, Rich Text Format, Word and BBeB. To get started, you can choose 10 free titles.

The screen nuances aren't as subtle as on some e-book readers. Whereas the Kindle and the more expensive Sony models offer 16 greyscale levels, the Sony Reader PRS 300 Pocket Edition offers just eight.

Page turns and updates are fast, however. The 800MHz processor quickly redraws detailed graphics and updates pages. Audio playback is also well above average.


dfhsWith direct hook-up to a lending library and links to extra reading materials, Sony has addressed criticisms of its limited e-book options. The Sony Reader PRS 300 Pocket Edition's build is solid, the battery life is long and the design is up to Sony’s usual high standards. The Sony Reader PRS 300 Pocket Edition is a great example of an e-book reader designed for pure reading pleasure.