E-Readers Up Close: Using the Sony PRS-700

By William Stanek
November 18, 2009


The Sony PRS-700 has an internal storage capacity of 420 megabytes (MB) and two expansion slots:

  • One expansion slot for Sony Memory Stick Duo or Pro Duo cards up to 16 GB
  • One expansion slot for SD, SDHC, or miniSD cards up to 16 GB
Note As the PRS-700 doesn't support the MagicGate standard, data using this feature cannot be played or copied on the reader. The reader also doesn't support copyright protection of SD memory cards.

The PRS-700 features a touch panel display, giving you simple access to the functions of the reader using your finger or the included stylus. In addition to using the display as a touch panel, you can use the control buttons to quickly activate functions. Most of the control buttons are consolidated in a main control area below the display. From left to right these are:

  • Back Returns to the previous menu
  • Previous Page Goes to the previous page
  • Next Page Goes to the next page
  • Home Displays the top-level menu
  • Search Displays the Search menu with an onscreen keyboard. You can use this feature to search for books or keywords.
  • Size Displays the Size menu which you can use to adjust the size of the text or zoom in or out.
  • Option Displays the Options menu which you can use to quickly perform various functions, such as creating a note.
Note The ability to search using an onscreen keyboard and the ability to add notes to pages in books are unique to the PRS-700. The PRS-505 does not have this capability.

With the touch panel, you tap to select an item on a menu or list. You double-tap the upper-right corner of a page to create a bookmark on that page.

Turning pages with the touch panel is easy too. To turn to the next page, you touch your finger to the panel and drag right. To turn to the previous page, you touch your finger to the panel and drag left. If you hold on the touch panel after dragging, the pages turn repeatedly.

As mentioned previously, Previous Page and Next Page buttons are provided on the main control panel. However, they aren't as handy to use as the touch panel.

To jump to a specific page, tap Go To Page to display the Page jump panel. Using the Page jump panel, you can then quickly navigate to other pages by dragging the slider left or right or tapping a point on the jump bar. Alternatively, tap Enter Page # on the Page jump panel to display a numeric keypad. On the keypad, tap the numbers to input the desired page number and then click Go to jump to that page.

Note You can close the Page jump panel or any other panel by clicking the X button in the upper right corner of the panel.

Like the PRS-505, the PRS-700 has a Size button. You push the Size button to display the Size panel. On the Size panel, you can select from five different text sizes: S (small), M (medium), L (large), XL (extra large), or XXL (extra extra large). The current size is indicated on the bottom of the screen. The default size for text is small.

Note With PDF files, changing the size displays the page in reflow mode. In reflow mode, text on the page is resized but tables and graphics may not be resized. Additionally, with the BBeB format, the XXL size is not available.

When the Size panel is displayed, you can tap Zoom In to zoom in on the page without reflowing the book. You can then use the Zoom bar to zoom to the desired scale by moving the slider or tapping + or -. Tap a point to zoom in on it. Double tap to zoom in and center on the point you tapped.

When you've zoomed in, directional control buttons appear on the edge of the page. You can scroll the page by dragging it or display the edge of the page by tapping the related directional control button. To exit the zoom mode, tap X on the Zoom panel or press the Size button.

The PRS-700 has a built-in backlight for reading in dark locations. You can light up the screen by sliding the light switch to the right. On the bottom of the reader, this switch is the first button on the left.

The light has three positions: off, standard brightness, or bright mode. When the light is off, the first time you slide the light switch, the screen lights up using standard brightness. The second time you slide the light switch, the screen lights up using bright mode. Sliding the light switch a third time toggles the light off.

To avoid running down the battery, you should switch off the light when it isn't needed. When the reader has a full charge, the light can operate for 8 hours in standard brightness or 4 hours in bright mode.

When you connect the reader to a computer via USB, the light is turned off automatically. You cannot use the light when the reader is connected to a computer.

Thanks for reading, time for me to get back to work! Hope you'll take a look at my new book Windows 7: The Definitive Guide.

William R. Stanek
williamstanek at aol dot com


This is my last e-reader post. If you want me to keep writing about e-readers, make some noise, post some comments or write to me and let me know. Otherwise, this is it.

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