New Sony Reader PRS-T3 Leaks, Has HD E-ink Screen and Might Have a Frontlight
Sony might not be interested in making a cutting edge ereader any more but one thing they’ve always managed to do is leak their new gadget right before they announce it.
Two years ago the PRS-T1 leaked on a Dutch retail website, last year the T2 leaked on a US website, and today the PRS-T3 leaked on a Swiss website.
A reader tipped me to the news that the Swiss retailers BuchHaus.ch and OnlineBuchladen.ch (and Spanish and Canadian retailer) may have jumped the gun (Thanks!). They’re now showing incomplete product listings for the PRS-T3 which don’t have nearly as much info on this ereader as we had on the T2 last year, but I can tell you a few details. For example, the model number is PRST3BC.CE7.
Next, the thumbnail at right is the largest image I could find on either website, so here is a photo from the leaked FCC paperwork to refresh your memory:
This ereader has a 6″ HD E-ink screen (1024×758 resolution), IR touchscreen, Wifi, and it might possibly have a frontlight:
Leichter E-Book Reader inkl. Cover mit automatischer Start/Sleep-Funktion, mit IR Touchscreen, W-LAN (802.11b/g/n), Systemvoraussetzung: 6" Bildschirmdiagonale (152.4mm), E Ink Pearls HD Touchscreen (1024 x 758, 212 dpi), 16 Graustufen-Display. Aufladbar
This is an incomplete product description but Google Translate says that "Leichter E-Book Reader" means "light ebook reader". That might indicate that this ereader has a frontlight, though it is far from clear.
Update: Several commenters have already chimed in and told me I am wrong. They say that this would better be translated as "lightweight ereader". That doesn’t really make any sense given the other technical details but they are probably right.
One detail that is clear is that this ereader ships a smart cover. It’s described as having an automatic start/sleep function. The listing also said that this ereader weighs 200g, or about 40g more than the PRS-T2.
Update: This ereader is also going to have a cover with a built in light. Chalid uncovered this detail on BuchHaus.ch, and you can see it at right.
And that’s about all I can glean from the listings.
The Swiss retail price is going to be 179 Swiss Francs, or about $194 USD. BuchHaus.ch is expecting to ship this ereader in October.
There’s no indication of when this ereader will be announced, but in past years Sony has announced their new ereader in August so we are probably only a week or two away from the debut.
I haven’t been briefed on the new device, and I would like to thank Sony for excluding me again. If I had been briefed then I would be under an NDA and would not be able to write about this leak.
Sondermann August 22, 2013 um 8:30 am
"Leicht" means "light" as opposed to "heavy"
Chalid August 22, 2013 um 8:33 am
"Leichter eBook Reader" describes the weight of the device = it’s lightweight. There’s actually no indication in the description, that there’s a frontlight. Unfortunately.
Henne August 22, 2013 um 8:38 am
"Leichter E-Book Reader" doesn’t mean light in terms of frontlight.
It translates to "A lightweight E-Reader"
Nate Hoffelder August 22, 2013 um 9:20 am
Oh, man, why did y’all have to dash my hopes. That was mean.
But thanks for the correction.
Robert August 22, 2013 um 9:17 am
Call me crazy but I’ve always had a soft spot for Sony eReaders. I still use my PRS-350 Pocket Reader regularly and I would definitely consider buying a new HD model.
Chalid August 22, 2013 um 9:22 am
I did a little more digging and discovered another product. There will be a lighted cover for the Sony PRS-T3, which means that the device itself will have no frontlight:
I also discovered, that PRS-T3 and lighted covers are online at several swiss online retailers and should be expected to ship on 19th of September.
fjtorres August 22, 2013 um 9:28 am
Pretty much clinches it, Sony wants to fight the Paperwhite with the NewsprintGray. Sony T3 NG.
Sony will always be Sony, zigging as the market zags…
Hopefully it’ll be better than the last non-lit XGA reader, the iRiver.
AlanW August 22, 2013 um 9:28 am
This either means that almost all new 6″ readers this year will have a HD screen, or that Sony now sells so few devices that they can go with a screen made in low volume.
fjtorres August 22, 2013 um 9:30 am
The former is likely the rationale, though the latter is also true; Sony volume is closer to Pocketbook and Bookeen than Kindle.
Jason August 22, 2013 um 10:34 am
I guess having physical buttons will be a plus for those that prefer it (even though it has a touchscreen?), but I don’t see myself plunking down cash for it. Seriously, no frontlight, Sony? I don’t see this as a competitor to the Glo, Aura, Paperwhite or quite possibly whatever Kobo & Amazon will be coming out with soon enough.
Charles August 22, 2013 um 12:59 pm
My Nook ST has hardware buttons and a touchscreen. I prefer the buttons because they are located on the sides of the device where I hold it. Turning a page is a one-handed operation, just squeeze the button with the hand holding the book. Using the touchscreen takes two hands: one to hold and one to swipe/tap. Looks like Sony put the buttons in the wrong place so no help for me there anyway.
Ingo Lembcke August 23, 2013 um 6:02 pm
> Using the touchscreen takes two hands: one to hold and one to swipe/tap.
I actually manage to use the touchscreen with one hand, mostly only page forward.
Back is not so easy without using the other hard, sometimes it works, sometimes not.
This on the Kindle Paperwhite I switched to after my rooted Sony T1 developed the "2 page forward"-error, I am not sure if due to rooting or too much junk under the buttons.
> Looks like Sony put the buttons in the wrong place so no help for me there anyway.
The buttons on the T1, which is now unused in the cupboard, are ok, but I read that the buttons on the T2 where feeling awkward for some users. If that has changed with the T3 is yet to be seen.
On my first Reader, the Sony PRS-505, the buttons where perfect for one-handed reading. I still miss them, but it was just too slow and the battery life in the end (after a few years using it) became shorter and shorter.
They could do some interesting things with the Software, but after they dropped Sound with the T2, I cannot see what (Android 4.x would be interesting, but may need too much power). PDF support and the imho very good browser and the fact that as of the T2 they where easily rootable, which for little group might make a difference – but even that remains to be seen, if that is still the case.
I think Sony has lost their leadership in Readers long ago.
That said, I cannot understand that a loud group does not want a frontlight, I have it, and use it, but on purpose I used the reader a week without it (also to measure the difference in battery life, no real difference, WLAN is far more draining). On the Kindle Paperwhite I do not see it, if I turn it down – even then it is not off 100% as others have mentioned. If you do not want it, don’t use it. I cannot believe the questioned Sony-Buyers are the majority.
Robert August 23, 2013 um 9:07 am
My Sony PRS-350 has a touch screen and buttons and I use the buttons almost exclusively. They are far easier to use than swiping the touch screen, at least on this device.
Nate Hoffelder August 22, 2013 um 10:53 am
It’s now shown up on the website of a Canadian retailer:
PhotoniKO August 22, 2013 um 11:21 am
It’s shown on a spanish retailer too:
But no mention to price.
I strongly agree with Jason: IF touchscreen, that resolution, no light… And nearly 200€?
Nice joke, Sony -_-"
Nate Hoffelder August 22, 2013 um 11:27 am
That’s the unsubsidized price for an ereader. It’s not Sony’s fault that the leading ereader makers choose to lose money on their hardware.
fjtorres August 22, 2013 um 12:39 pm
Maybe they’re going back to their fabled metal cases?
lesehest August 22, 2013 um 12:47 pm
More likely that is the weight of the included smart cover. Would account for added thickness also.
Nate Hoffelder August 22, 2013 um 1:47 pm
Probably not. The FCC photos show a plastic shell, not metal.
Jonathan August 22, 2013 um 4:31 pm
I read somewhere that the T3 will be using Sony’s new plastic Mobius screen that does not have to be printed on a sheet of glass. That is where the lightweight aspect may come in. I also read that E-Ink has improved the contrast of the screen which might reduce the need for a light.
If Sony could just produce an external light that evenly lit the screen then they would have cracked it, B&M have already done it for bicycle lights, but it requires careful design of the reflector. Can’t be beyond them to crack on with that, or do I have to do it myself?
Nate Hoffelder August 22, 2013 um 4:40 pm
I don’t think the T3 has a Moebius screen. The listed screen resolution says 1024×758 – that same as on the KPW, Kobo Glo etc.
Jonathan August 22, 2013 um 5:51 pm
In that case Sony seem to be dead in the water. A light layer does reduce the quality of the text but the Kobo Aura HD shows E-Ink are improving all the time. I notice the light layer on the Aura is slightly more reflective than the Glow but not much, which probably means it produces sharper text. Makes the layer on the Nook Simple Touch look positively old school now.
Nate Hoffelder August 22, 2013 um 6:27 pm
Sony hasn’t really been in the ereader market for a while now – 2011 by my estimation. They’re still into ebooks but their attention is focused on tablets and smartphones.
Eyedunno August 24, 2013 um 11:01 am
I am actually really excited about this. I have a Kobo Aura HD, but yeah, the screen is a little more reflective than I would like, the frontlight, while potentially useful, looks kinda weird (and I find myself almost never using it), PDF support could be much better, and I like physical buttons.
Jonathan August 24, 2013 um 1:05 pm
Personally I think the only answer is to get two ereaders, one with a light layer and one without, then you can have the best possible text quality at all times. The resolution is getting so high now that you risk losing it in the fuzz created by the light layer. Whether you can see it or not depends on your eyesight I suppose.
Ian August 24, 2013 um 5:54 pm
No frontlight…Sony just lost me!
I’ll have to wait for a frontlit reader with physical buttons..
What a disappointment Sony, I’ve been waiting for you reader for the last 5 months…
fjtorres August 25, 2013 um 9:03 am
Bookeen Odyssey HD has the screen and the paging buttons:
Good buttons, too, not sharp-edged hard plastic.
Jonathan August 25, 2013 um 11:02 am
A russian website did a teardown of the Odyssey HD and concluded that the Onyx ereaders – which also have page turn buttons – were built to a higher standard. Something to do with Bookeen screwing directly into the plastic, mounting the screen directly on the motherboard, and the internal design of the plastic case. I love the shape of the Odyssey but the last one I had (and returned) had a capacitive layer that was like looking through a piece of tracing paper, it was that obvious. I guess they don’t sell in enough numbers to laminate a layer on top like Amazon.
lesehest August 27, 2013 um 3:05 pm
onlinebuchladen.ch now explicitly says that information on PRS-T3 is embargoed until after IFA in Berlin (which is from 6 September to 11 September), so there’s no doubt where the official launch will be.
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