Sony Reader Pocket Edition and Sony Reader Touch Edition hands-on

The Sony Pocket Reader and Sony Touch Reader were announced yesterday and we've got our greedy book grabbing mitts on them. With the Sony Reader Pocke

The Sony Pocket Reader and Sony Touch Reader were announced yesterday and we've got our greedy book grabbing mitts on them.

With the Sony Reader Pocket Edition set to come in at around £147 and the Sony Reader Touch Edition at £249, the two new ebook readers are Sony's stab at bringing ebooks to the mainstream. 

The Sony Reader Pocket Edition aims to do that less with features and more with size and convenience. Smaller and lighter than the an average paperback book and a minnow compared to its predecessor the clankingly named Sony Reader PRS-505.

The Sony Reader Pocket Edition doesn't have an SD card reader but the built-in memory will take 350 books. The stripped back feature set also removes the audio out feature meaning it won't serenade you with your MP3s.

The Sony Reader Pocket Edition's 5in screen is surprisingly readable and its small size should make it highly practical for commuters. With a big range of formats now supported as well as ebook loans from local libraries it could be a major hit.

Meanwhile the Sony Reader Touch Edition is clearly aimed at the student market with a larger screen (a generous 7in) and the ability to add notes and highlight your ebooks. You can also print those notes out with page number references.

The Sony Reader Touch Edition's touch screen is not quite as intuitive as the kind of interfaces we've become used to with modern smartphones. But it's quick and extremely easy to use. The stylus that comes with the Reader is handy for detailed navigation through the menus but prodding with your finger works well too.

Unlike the Pocket Edition, the Sony Reader Touch Edition retains its SD card slot to allow you to pack it full of even more ebooks. It's also play music files and non-DRM audiobooks.

Both devices are solidly built, fully featured products but the existence of the Sony Reader Daily Edition in the US, with its built-in 3G connection, is galling. Where that device smoothly combines the hardware and the content, the new Sony Reader Touch Edition and Pocket Edition feel awfully disconnected.

Sony's spokespeople were keen to stress that they are committed to bringing ebooks to the masses and that a 3G connected device for the UK is on the horizon.

Just don't expect a UK equivalent of the Sony Reader Daily Edition for at least a year. Unless of course, the Amazon Kindle beats it to the punch or Apple reinvents the ebook reader with the Apple Mac Tablet.

Let us know what you think of the new Sony Readers in the comments or take your fermenting opinions to the truth brewery that is the forums