Sunday, 22 January 2012

Hugo - a Review

The Sony Reader PRS-T1, or, as I call it - for no other reason than it was the first name I could think of - Hugo is exactly what I was looking for. Admittedly, I didn't get a chance to compare it/him with any other tool yet, but I don't have to to love it (him?).

First of all, I guess you'll need to know what I was looking for in an eReader, to understand what I like and dislike about Hugo.
Since I got some paperbacks in a terribly huge format for Christmas, I thought of buying an eReader to continue being able to read on the road. The thought, though, of having some electronic device with me at all times, gave me the idea that I'd love to write on it as well. I have a blog with flash fiction and not much time to maintain it, so the hour I spend on public transport would be ideal for writing, as long as what I write could easily be synchronised with my laptop or the PC in my office. I settled for the Sony Reader after some research, also into the tablet department, since eInk displays are more comfortable to the eye and the battery lasts much longer.

Negative points first:
I live in Germany. That often turns out to be a problem these days (blocked YouTube content and such), and it is a minor disadvantage here as well. Hugo, you see, comes with two pre-installed book stores: the Sony Reader Store and Google Books (yay!). Both do not work in Germany yet. Great. I tried downloading a free eBook from Google Books via the integrated browser, but Hugo was not able to open it. This leaves me only with the computer software to synchronise via USB. That, fortunately, is easy and fast.
Still, the software is my absolute hate point with the Sony Reader. It always synchronises both ways (at least, I haven't found a way to change that) and if some files (like notes for my blog) are the same, the files from the computer overwrite those from Hugo, no matter the edition date. This led to me losing quite a large fraction of a story already. Thank you, Sony.
As another minor point, I'd like to mention that a stylus is included, but without some place to put it, neither on the Reader itself, nor on the optional cover. Is that really too much to ask?

Why I love Hugo:
Hugo is sexy. Slim and light, and very easy to use. Apparently it has some problems with PDFs, sometimes, but ePUBs work well.
Typing is very, very fast. In fact, it is faster than the eInk display, but still no letters get lost. I love this.
Hugo comes, of course, with a pre-installed browser and also some dictionaries (more languages than I would ever need), in case you wanted to know.
The main reason that made me fall in love with Hugo, though, is that is works with Android. I don't have any experience with this, but still - thanks to the internet - I was able to root the Reader in less than five minutes. Now I have Dropbox installed, which allows writing in .txt format online, on my laptop, and on Hugo (offline). It synchronises very fast via WLAN, too. Never will use the stupid software again (for notes)!

Overall, the Sony Reader PRS-T1 is certainly a good eReader, with all functions that I saw people look for. And for people like me, who want a bit more, it is (probably) perfect.

This review has been written for Goodreads.
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