Until now digital readers have been a great idea whose time hasn’t quite come. The good news: every new model gets better, and Sony’s latest Reader, the PRS-700, is the company's best yet. It has the dimensions of a slim paperback book and weighs a very portable 10 ounces. Better still, it has a touchscreen, letting you flip pages with the slide of a finger. The new model also adds LED reading lights on the sides of the 6-inch screen, making it easy to read in a darkened airplane cabin. Of course, that's going to suck your battery faster, draining it after just 8 hours (or 4 on the high setting).
The onboard memory can store about 350 books, and there are card slots for SD and Memory Stick Duo media. With the included eBook Library 2.5 PC software, it's easy to transfer pdf documents and even music files to the Reader. Another handy feature: you can highlight text and add footnotes. Down the road there are plans for a wireless application (à la Amazon's Kindle) to get news on the go and generally expand the 700’s functionality. Right now it's strictly black and white, though. When pressed on when we could expect a color Reader, Sony reps would only say it's still "years" away. But the mono-colored PRS-700 will be available in November for $400.
Via Sony CORRECTION: As a commenter has pointed out, the price of the new Reader is actually $400, and not $300 as we originally reported. We apologize for the mistake.
CORRECTION: As a commenter has pointed out, the price of the new Reader is actually $400, and not $300 as we originally reported. We apologize for the mistake.