Amazon Kindle vs Sony Reader the battle between David and Goliath

With the practicality and popularity of eBooks today, having an Amazon Kindle vs Sony Reader comparison is not out of order.


Both devices are poised to carve an edge among all other eBook readers by providing options and a variety of features to the consumer.

The devices aim to deliver the best eBook reading experience, and though the goal is the same, the end results are very different from each other.

The difference in the experience can be traced to the way these two companies started out their interests in the eBook market.

The Amazon Kindle vs Sony Reader story will start with the Japanese giant. Sony has interests in almost all aspects of consumer living. As soon as the market for eBooks became lucrative enough, the company decided to capitalize by introducing its first reader: the Librie. It was only available for the Japanese market since it supported the eBook format that most publishers and printers in Japan use. It holds the title of being the first eBook reader that capitalized on the E ink® display. E ink® is a display technology that runs on very little power and can be read in any lighting condition. Since the company has launched the Sony Reader line of eBook reader backed by its own online eBook store.

Amazon’s contribution on the Amazon Kindle vs Sony Reader tale can be traced when it bought out the French company Mobipocket. Mobipocket developed eBook reader software for PDAs and other mobile devices and also has its own proprietary format. The purchase made it clear that the company, which started out as an online bookstore, is serious about becoming a player in the eBook industry. Two years after the acquisition, Amazon launched the Kindle eBook reader and the online Kindle Store.

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle 3G

Now on its 3rd generation, theAmazone Kindle 3 continues to be one of the lightest and most portable eBook readers out in the market. There are currently two models, the original-sized Kindle and Amazon Kindle DX, which sports a larger screen. Both models also use the E ink® pearl display, which presents images and text in a much higher contrast and makes it possible to generate more shades of gray. The Kindle has a diagonal screen size of 6 inches and weighs 8.5 ounces (241g). The DX, on the other hand, has a screen size measuring 9.7 inches, and it weighs 18.9 ounces (540g). They both have a keyboard, making them larger than the Sony Reader. Despite this the Amazon Kindle vs Sony Reader comparison is tied when it comes to portability.

The home screen displays the content available in a simple list format. The reader remembers the most recent page read; and reading options include adding a bookmark, highlighting a particular section, and inserting notes. A button is dedicated for adjusting the text size. The Kindle also has experimental features, such as a powerful WebKit open source web browser, an mp3 player, and a text to speech. All features work very well, though not much can be expected in terms of performance or options.

The six-inch Kindle is available in Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + 3G versions while the DX sports only 3G for connectivity. Connectivity is vital for the Kindle since users can access the online store and make purchases directly from the device. This makes it a clear point in the Amazon Kindle vs Sony Reader fight. The Kindle store even provides book previews so consumers can read a section before deciding whether to buy or not. Library lending is also set to be available before the year ends.

The clear strength of the Kindle lies on its simplicity and ease of use. It does not support a lot of formats, but it hardly becomes an issue because the Kindle Store has a huge number of titles. The experience on the Kindle does not complicate and focuses on the reading itself. The long-lasting battery ensures that users can read without charging for as long as a month. It does not have a lot of features, but as a standalone eBook reader, it is extremely good. 

Sony Reader

Sony Reader Daily Edition, Sony Daily, Sony Touch, Sony Pocket

The current crop of Sony eBook Reader devices is available in three editions: Pocket, Touch, and Daily. The three models are primarily distinguished by the varying screen sizes. The Pocket edition has a 5-inch screen, the Touch edition has 6-inch screen, and the Daily carries a 7-inch screen. With the Amazon Kindle vs Sony Reader clash looking to be close, the Sony Reader’s touch screen on all editions gives it a clear advantage. This also makes the dimensions on all editions smaller even to the six-inch Kindle. The Sony Readers are also lighter than Amazon Kindle.

The touch screen is utilized for navigating the books, and a stylus is bundled for accurate freehand writing and highlighting. The home screen graphically displays categories, and folder can be created to organize the library further. Additional apps include memo, picture viewers, and several dictionaries.

The features, though, are not standard among the three models. The Daily edition’s larger screen is optimized for periodicals, and it has Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity to access the online store. The Touch and Pocket versions need to be connected to a computer to sync books. While the Daily and Touch editions can play music files, the Pocket edition can’t. Expandable memory is a plus for the Sony Reader, but only the Daily has a memory slot. The Amazon Kindle vs Sony Reader comparison brings into light the lack of titles available in the Sony Reader Store. Popular titles may be present, but do not be surprised that specific genres may lack content. This is somewhat offset by the fact that the reader can handle multiple formats, but getting eBooks from other sources is a pain. Ultimately the winner of the Amazon Kindle vs Sony Reader debate can be determined by whoever leaves a better reading experience. While the Sony Reader uses touch to navigate easily and is full of useful features, getting books and reading them is not that complicated in the Amazon Kindle.