Sony PRS-T1 Reader Wi-Fi Cover with Light Review

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 back of the case is plain, except for the embossed Sony name.

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.

 

Product Information

Price:$49.99
Manufacturer:Sony
Pros:
  • Lightweight and sturdy case
  • Stays on the reader at all times; acts as a protective cover
  • Even, bright light covers the entire screen
Cons:
  • No closure to keep the cover closed over the reader's screen
  • Requires AAA battery for power
Posted in: eBook Readers, Reviews

17 comments… add one

  • Bryan Sherman October 29, 2011, 8:21 am

    So, to be clear, no hidden magnets to hold the cover closed? I like the way it attaches, the cover on my 700 finally broke (little plastic nubs that fit in top and bottom). This looks more secure and durable.

  • Janet Cloninger October 29, 2011, 9:36 am

    @Bryan No hidden magnets to hold the cover closed. The molded frame really is secure, and I like that the back cover is not flopping around, like the covers on the 505-n50 models did. I also like that it’s not like the old 500 cover with the giant “snap” on the back – I was always afraid I’d break my screen trying to put that cover on/off.

  • yah October 29, 2011, 6:38 pm

    screw the cover. it’s over priced. with the same price you could get an extended warranty for five years

  • walk October 30, 2011, 1:14 am

    I appreciate the review… I’m not liking the look of that white cover – The tri-tone colours are weird. The black one I saw in person looked fine though. Major issues with this case is that I find it’s just a little too thick on the left side, too heavy and way too expensive.

    I decided to stay with the standard non-lit Sony black cover despite the rather pricey cost. It feels great in the hand and very leather like.

  • Steve Williams November 3, 2011, 1:44 pm

    I’ve just been looking at the reader (brilliant) and case. I think the case looks incredibly tacky, and very overpriced, as is the new Kindle 4 lit cover. But at least that looks attractive and has a neat light without the need for batteries. seems like a missed opportunity on sony’s part.

  • amthony November 7, 2011, 5:22 pm

    I actually prefer the current implementation with the battery, though it does add bulk to the entire case. The T1’s USB port could be utilised by a thrid-party case manufacturer I’m sure.

    I’m rocking a white T1 with a black cover and have to admit, it looks really good together.

  • Jamal December 28, 2011, 4:47 am

    hi…have you bought any screen-protector for your device?

  • Maria January 30, 2012, 12:21 pm

    Could you tell me where can this cover be ordered? I’m from Belarus and I can find it nowhere =(
    I’d be thankful for any information about bying and shipping it

  • Janet Cloninger January 30, 2012, 1:50 pm

    @Jamal I am so sorry I somehow failed to see your question until today. No, I don’t have a screen protector. I think the case protects the screen very well when I’m carrying the reader in my purse.

  • Janet Cloninger January 30, 2012, 1:52 pm

    @Maria I bought my cover from the US Amazon. You can also buy them directly from Sony. I’m sorry, but I don’t have any way of knowing sellers in Belarus or who will ship there.

  • Mr. E. February 12, 2012, 6:38 am

    Thank you for this clear review Janet. It was the only place where I could discover that the light is no compulsory feature, but that it can also be tucked away.

  • Janet Cloninger February 12, 2012, 9:13 am

    @Mr. E I’m glad the review was helpful to you!

  • Thierry February 13, 2012, 2:39 pm

    Thanks for this review. I would like to know if the cover can be opened totally for easy reading?

  • Janet Cloninger February 13, 2012, 2:44 pm

    @Thierry I’m not sure what you mean by “opened totally.” It can be opened like a book, or you can fold the front cover completely around to the back and held in one hand.

  • Thierry February 15, 2012, 1:45 am

    @Janet Yes, that’s what I mean: fold the front cover completely around to the back. I have another question: is it easy for setting the reader in the case and for removing the reader from the case? I mean each time I would like to use the reader at home, I prefer not using the case (except in my bed for using the light) but when carrying the reader (when I leave the house) I prefer protect it. That’s why I would like to use a case and would like to know if ir is easy set/removit it. Thanks.

  • Thierry February 15, 2012, 6:08 am

    I just bought one from the local Sony Center (a black one) and I’m very happy with it. Thanks for this review.

  • Janet Cloninger February 15, 2012, 8:31 am

    @Thierry Sorry I didn’t answer you question about removal of the cover. You left it in the middle of the night, my time, and you had purchased one before I woke up this morning! I’m glad you’re satisfied with your new cover.

    I’ll answer the question anyway. I find it easy to insert and remove the reader. Starting on my right side, I put the reader’s side under the lip of the molded form, then I just push down on the left side to snap it in place. To remove it, I grip the side of the cover in my right hand and push back on the other side (the spine side) to pop it off the reader.

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