e-Book Readers – Sony PRS-T2 versus Kobo Touch versus iPad

Kobo DevicesSo we finally bought an e-book reader for Aristotle. In a previous post, I was contemplating which e-reader to get. We ended up getting one of each – a Sony PRS-T2 and a Kobo Touch (I figured I needed one for myself since I’d probably never get a chance to read it if I had to share it with Aristotle). Now that I’ve had a chance to play around with both of them, here’s what we think…

Many people search for e-readers with added features because they want an e-reader that offers more functionality. Personally, I feel that if you want versatility, then you’re really wasting your time looking at e-readers. What you need is a smart device like an iPad.

iPad

Advantages:

  • multi-functional
  • back-light enables reading in the dark
  • reverse lighting (white screen with black words or black screen with white words)
  • variety of e-reader apps allows you to pick one with the layout that you like best

Disadvantages:

  • ability to play games and do other things are temptations that distract your child from reading
  • back-light causes eye-strain
  • short battery life
  • heavy and cumbersome to hold, although the iPad Mini is a good compromise

If you just want an e-reader for the purpose of reading, then there are other options like the Kindle and the Nook (from Barnes and Noble). Being one of the pioneers in the market for e-readers, you really can’t go wrong with a Kindle. My gripe with Kindle is the fact that I cannot buy Kindle books from my country. The other problem with Kindle is that it doesn’t read ePub and I already have a lot of books in that format. Since I can’t get Kindle books, that means I’d have to convert all my books and I have better things to do with my time.

I don’t know much about the Nook except that it’s an economic alternative to the Kindle, or so I read.

Now, on to the two e-readers I have first hand experience with…

Kobo Touch

I had a bit of trouble with it at the start because it wouldn’t recognise my ePub books. I found out how to load them onto my Kobo Touch using Adobe Digital Editions but I wouldn’t be able to read them. When I tried loading more books using Windows Explorer, it worked the second time around. Loading and page-turns are slower compared to the iPad but not unbearably so. Touchscreen response is also much poorer than the iPad but not much different to the Sony.

The main advantage of the Kobo Touch was that it downloaded my e-books from my Kobo account automatically. As for the setup, I liked how the home page shows the books most recently read so that if you are reading a few random books concurrently, it was easy to pick the one you wanted to read at any point in time. I also liked the ease of organising the books shelves. There is search function that allows you to locate specific books you want to add to a particular collection.

One annoying thing that happens quite a bit is that the screen freezes and I have to restart to get it working again. Aristotle seems to be able to get around it without too much trouble but I have lost my patience with it. Luckily, he chose to have the Kobo Touch and leave me the Sony…

The other thing about the Kobo Touch is that it is not as intuitive as the Sony. It took me longer to figure out the controls and how to work it. It doesn’t come with much of an instruction manual either – just a one page fold on how to start, charge and connect it to a computer.

The one main advantage that the Kobo had over the Sony is that it is not “cable sensitive”. I can use the cable for the Sony PRS-T2 to connect the Kobo Touch. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the Sony – at least it didn’t work when I tried the Kobo cable with the Sony PRS-T2. I have also tried charging using the cables connected to my iPad and iPhone plugs and found that the Kobo Touch will charge in any combination but the Sony requires the iPhone plug in order to charge. I know that we aren’t really supposed to mix cables and plugs but I sometimes have trouble finding where I put the correct cables…

iPlugs

Sony PRS-T2 

I liked the Sony PRS-T2 from the start. It was easy to use and I didn’t really need the instruction manual to figure it out. It is easier to activate from sleep mode and to shut down compared to the Kobo Touch (the Kobo Touch switch can be a bit tricky to manipulate) but in terms of loading speed, both are about the same. The main advantage over the Kobo Touch is that we have not had a single crash since we bought it. Aristotle managed to read the first 8 books from Lemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” without any trouble. We didn’t even get through a quarter of the battery power.

The Sony PRS-T2 comes with a few basic buttons that will allow you to get quickly to the home page, to go back one step, to flip pages and to bring up the drop-down menu options. Given the less sensitive touch screen that these e-readers offer, I find the buttons to be quite handy to have.

Adjusting the font size on a pdf is very slow and once you have adjusted the size, the page turns are also really slow. I would recommend getting your pdfs converted to epub if you want to read on the Sony. That said, the Kobo doesn’t have the function that allows you to increase the size of the font on your pdf files.

What’s Our Verdict?

Aristotle likes the Kobo because he likes the design better. Although I was initially partial to the Sony, I confess that the Kobo has warmed up on me. My only gripe with the Kobo now is the fact that its operating system seems less reliable compared to the Sony.