I just posted a review of the new PRS-T1 Reader Wi-Fi ebook reader from Sony, and I mentioned that you have to have a light to read in dim or dark rooms. That’s the nature of eInk screens – they have no backlighting, so you’ll need an external light of some sort. I’ve had lighted cases for all my Sony readers starting with the PRS-505. I knew I’d want one for the PRS-T1, so I ordered a Sony Reader Wi-Fi Cover with Light (model PRSA-CL10) at the same time as the reader. Let’s give it a look.
Some of the pictures in this review can be clicked for a larger view.
The Reader Wi-Fi Cover with Light comes in black, red, and white to match the colors of the PRS-T1 readers. I toyed with the idea of a contrasting color, but I finally decided to go with white to match my reader. I was a bit afraid that the white would show dirt easily, but it’s stayed clean for a week now.
The cover is actually two-toned. The front of the case has a pearlescent panel that’s shiny and smooth with a slight lined-pattern. The Reader logo is embossed into the bottom right of this pearlescent panel. The left quarter of the front is covered with a matte vinyl with a rubbery feel and a velvety texture. This matte vinyl continues around the spine and covers the entire back. It’s also found on the inside of the case. There is no closure mechanism on this case.
The cover is about 6.75″ tall X 5.2″ wide X 0.5″ thick. The empty cover weighs about 4.75 ounces on my digital kitchen scale.
Try as I might, I couldn’t adjust the color with my Photoshop Elements 9 program to render the colors perfectly. The color of the rubbery vinyl is actually a cream color. The pearlescent panel can look darker or lighter, depending on the angle of the light.
The inside of the front flap is covered with the same matte vinyl used on the exterior. The PRS-T1 is held in a molded plastic form that’s attached to the back cover. This form is a light tan-colored plastic with a piece of plush fabric lining to protect the back of the PRS-T1. The reader snaps into place and is held very securely. To the left of the reader is an LED light on a gooseneck. Below the light is the battery compartment. You receive your first AAA battery with the purchase of the reader.
The reader is completely covered on the left and right sides. The top and bottom has openings molded into the plastic form. The bottom one allows access to all the bottom connectors and controls on the PRS-T1.
The physical buttons are easily accessible when the reader is in the case. I find the tri-tone look of the case a bit displeasing. I might have been happier if I had gotten a black or red case, so I wouldn’t have been expecting a better color match with the reader’s plastic chassis.
A closer look at the light shows three LEDs. The lens has some patterning, and the LEDs seem to be inserted at different angles. I assume this is designed to better spread the light over the surface of the reader’s screen. Sony doesn’t give details about the LEDs, but they say you’ll get 19 hours of reading time from a single AAA battery. Lifting the light out of the storage silo automatically turns on the light. You use the gooseneck to position the light head over the center top of the reader.
I took this picture in a dark room using only the light from the case – no flash. You can see that the reader’s screen is pretty evenly lighted. It’s easy to see to read the PRS-T1 for hours without eyestrain using the lighted cover. You can adjust the position of the lighted head to put the “hot spot” up on the reader’s bezel instead of on the screen.
The front cover is just the right thickness to clip the reader’s stylus on. The stylus is held into place well enough that it’s not going to drop off, but it can get pushed off.
I love the lighted case for my PRS-T1. I wouldn’t be able to use the reader in a lot of places without the extra light. I like holding the case open like a book, but you can fold the front all the way to the back if you prefer to hold the reader in one hand. It adds weight to the reader, but it’s still light enough to hold comfortably. I like that I can leave the case on my reader all the time, so I don’t have to dig out a clip-on light and attach it to the reader when I need some extra illumination. I do wish the case drew its power from the reader’s battery so I wouldn’t have to carry some spare batteries around with me.
Unless you read exclusively in the direct sunlight or in extremely well-lighted places, I think you’ll want to add the Sony Reader Wi-Fi Cover with Light to your PRS-T1. You’ll find it’s a nice cover all the time and a good source of light when you need it.