I bought both a Sony 700 and a Kindle and tried them both out. I returned the Sony (caution here, the only way to return a Sony Reader is if you buy directly from Sony. Other retailers such as Borders have a no-return policy for these). The Kindle won my personal contest, hands down. Your results may vary:
The Kindle screen was MUCH clearer, crisper and brighter. The Sony display was blurry and darker gray without as much contrast. I have been told that this is a result of the additional glass required for the built in light, and that the older model without the light has a better display. I looked at one of those in a Borders store and I didn't agree. The Kindle display appears far superior to me.
I was interested in the Sony mainly because of the light, but I found that I didn't like the light much. It looks like small beams coming from the sides of the screen and isn't very uniform in coverage. I think using a booklight is worth the extra effort.
Both offer about 6 font sizes, but Sony's largest fonts are larger than Kindles largest. I can't recall who had the smallest fonts, but Kindle seemed to offer more choices in the range that pleased my eye, which is towards the medium large end of the spectrum. Sony's line and letter spacing has a compressed appearance, tighter than Kindle's, allowing more words per page than Kindle within the same font size. I preferred the wider Kindle line and letter spacing, which is more pleasing to the eye and easier to read, even if it requires more page turning.
Each time you reopen a Kindle book, your font size setting is saved. I couldn't figure out how to do this with the Sony, and I kept having to reset it, which was quite annoying.
I didn't much like the Sony software for purchasing and downloading books, it was awkward to me, and irritating when I was on vacation and couldn't download a book on my mom's computer without downloading the software. I don't like the search functions in the Kindle store either, but it is the better of the two. I find Whispernet to be slow and unreliable in my area, so I use the computer usually. I downloaded many free books from Gutenberg in mobi format and transferred them from my computer to both readers with equal ease using the USB connection.
The Sony Touchscreen was pretty cool, but I HATED the page turning. The hard buttons are only usable with your left hand, and pageturning with touchscreen gestures didn't work very well for me. Perhaps you get the hang of it after a while. I didn't try out the touchscreen keyboard, but I can imagine it may get in the way of what you are trying to see on the screen. I LOVE the Kindle page turning buttons, conveniently located on both sides. I don't like the dome shape of the kindle keyboard buttons, very difficult with fingernails.
The Sony looks and feels like it is better made and will hold up better in the long run. The Kindle is just downright fragile.
Kindle Dictionary while reading a book is awesome....it is so cool to just move the cursor to the word and see the definition. Learn big words and impress your friends
Kindle Internet browser really comes in handy to look up something when you are on the go without internet service. It could literally save your life (ok, so I exaggerate) Also makes it easier to buy books when away from home.
Kindle does not have an SD slot, Sony does
I like the smaller size of the Sony, but it is a tradeoff with the touchscreen keyboard.
I don't like Amazon's "Big Brother" watching me, I find it disconcerting that Customer Service monitors my activities, but maybe I'm paranoid since I just read Orwell's 1984, AND Huxley's Brave New World.
Some people point out that the Kindle doesn't come with a cover and the Sony does, but the Sony doesn't come with an AC adapter, so it is a wash.
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