Don’t want to splash out the big bucks on Sony’s finger-friendly Reader Touch? Then you might want to check out its little brother, the Sony Reader Pocket – which lacks the touchscreen capabilities but delivers your ebooks in a much neater, tidier and smaller package.
Full metal jacket
And what a package it is. Most e-readers are a bit plasticky – even the Amazon Kindle – but not the Sony Reader Pocket. Its front is metal, and the back plate has a grippy, almost rubberised finish to it.
This makes it a tad heavier than some similarly sized rivals (the Cybook Opus, for example) but those who want to look good while they plough through Anna Karenina on the train won’t mind too much about that.
There’s 512MB of storage built into the Sony Reader Pocket, which Sony claims is enough for around 350 ebooks. This isn’t a huge amount compared to most e-readers, and unlike the Sony Reader Touch there’s no Memory Stick slot if you want to expand the capacity.
Books can be transferred onto the device via USB, which can also be used to charge the 6,800 page-turn battery. Alternatively, you can buy an optional mains charger, which will top the battery up in two hours as compared to USB’s four.
The Sony Reader Pocket is compatible with the usual formats including ePUB and PDF, plus Sony’s own proprietary BBeB, and MS Word, TXT and RTF. It reads only these formats – there’s no audio playback for MP3s or AACs.
The 5in e-Ink screen displays text in typically crisp, paper-like fashion, and there’s only a slight delay when you hit the next page button. You can increase text size by simply hitting a magnifying glass button, and there are three font sizes to cycle through.
Other controls are similarly simple. You move the cursor control right and left to advance or go back a page, and hitting the Home key takes you to a page of settings. At the right side of the screen are 10 buttons that can shortcut you straight to menu items, which is a time-saving touch.
Overall, the Sony Reader Pocket manages to impress without doing anything particularly spectacular. Its stingy non-expandable storage is really the only thing about it we don’t like, while the design and build quality puts the Cool-er, Cybook Opus and even the Amazon Kindle in the shade.