A few weeks ago, I reviewed the new Sony PRS-600 Touch ebook reader. The reader did not come with the book-style cover that I prefer. I found the 600 would fit into the Sony lightwedge cover I had been using, but the lightwedge itself didn’t line up properly with the screen on the 600, and it would have covered the touchscreen. I can’t live without a book light. Not only do I use it at night, I also use the book light even when I read during the day or in well-lighted rooms. I find the extra light helps my older eyes read longer without eye strain.
Since Sony cases for the new readers weren’t released simultaneously with the readers, I had to find another solution to meet my needs. I ended up with an M-Edge Executive case designed for the 505 reader and a Mighty Bright 3-LED book light. I love the look of the M-Edge case, so I was happy with it after I made a small adjustment to one of the straps to stop it from pressing the volume button on the 600. The Mighty Bright provided a lot of light for reading, but I found it a bit awkward. The book light was big and heavy and made the case feel unbalanced. It also was a fairly large item I had to fit into my bag along with my reader. I really missed the convenience and form factor of the Sony case with integrated light. When the new one finally arrived at the local Borders, I decided I’d try out the Sony lighted cover for the 600.
The Sony Reader Cover with Light seems to be made of black, pebbled leather, but I can’t find any documentation to confirm that it is leather, not vinyl. At $59.99, I prefer to think that it IS leather. The word “Sony” is embossed on the front cover and “Reader” is embossed on the back cover. The case has some sort of stiffener between the leather outer cover and the plastic suede-textured inner lining.
Inside, there is a stationary plastic bar with a battery compartment that holds one AAA battery (included). The standard Sony attachment points on the bar hold the reader in place. The book light attaches to this bar at the top of the reader. The attachment point allows the light to pivot up for use or down to store the flexible neck and the little lighted head. The neck is very flexible, which makes adjustment very easy.
The lighted head holds two LEDs behind a lightly frosted, textured plastic lens. The lens helps scatter the light a bit, but there is still a great deal of glare and reflection on the 600 screen if the book light isn’t adjusted properly. The power switch offers two brightness levels. There is a slightly perceptible difference in the brightness between these two levels, but I couldn’t get this slight difference to show up in pictures.
Either brightness level is sufficient to illuminate the entire reader screen for reading in a dark room. However, battery life is about 40 hours using the lower level; you get about half that with the brighter level. I found with the lightwedge case that the brightest level quickly dimmed, and the rest of the battery life at the brightest level was equivalent to the low level anyway. This new case behaves similarly, and I just use the light always at the lower level. It is sufficient to light the page, and I think it will work well for people who have a bedmate who is particularly sensitive to light.
I still haven’t found the perfect case for my Sony 600 reader. I love the size and weight and the convenience of the Sony all-in-one lighted cover. I miss the amount of light that I got from my Mighty Bright book light. And I miss the beauty of the black and gray M-Edge Executive case. Hopefully, M-Edge will soon have one of their exclusive e-Luminator lights for their Sony cases. Until then, I’ll keep hunting for my perfect case.