When it comes to hardware, Amazon and Sony are battling it out for leadership in the e-book reader market. For now these two models hold the most appeal--for very different reasons. We note the similarities and differences between the Amazon Kindle 2 and the Sony Digital Reader PRS-700, and point out how each does a better job at presenting books digitally. (For more on how the Kindle 2 operates, and how it compares to the first-generation Kindle, see our Kindle visual tour.)
The Amazon Kindle 2 (right) is taller than the Sony Reader. Both have a 6-inch, 800-by-600-pixel E-Ink display, but text on the Kindle 2 appears sharper than on the PRS-700. The Kindle 2 provides a usable QWERTY keyboard, whereas the Sony feels downright incomplete without a physical keyboard of some sort (its on-screen keyboard gets tiresome very quickly). But the Sony has its own advantages: I found that its black metallic chassis, with a gray matte bezel, is easier on the eyes over the long term than the Kindle’s stark off-white case.