Sony Reader PRS-T3 pictures and hands on

Aside from the headline-grabbing launches at IFA 2013, Sony also announced a new Reader model, the PRS-T3.

Sony describes the Reader as "slim, light and a pleasure to hold" and we have to say, we agree wholeheartedly. The curved metal back and rounded edges make it feel secure and comfortable in your hand and its 200g weight and typical 6-inch size makes one-handed operation natural. We've praised Sony's Reader design in the past, and this is no different.

It comes with an integrated snap cover which features a leather finish on the exterior and suede on the interior, which we are also big fans of. It not only allows you hold the Reader the same way as you'd hold a book, but it also protects the screen when closed, bringing a quality look and feel.

You can fold the cover back, as you would a book and there is an optional cover with an integrated light that snaps on to your reader too if you enjoy night-time reading. Sadly, Sony hasn't equipped the PRS-T3 with the front-illuminated display like the Kindle Paperwhite, so you'll still need another light source for that night-time reading.

You can also open the cover and carry on reading from where you left off without having to press any of the buttons, which we think we be a welcomed feature for many.

The new Reader has a display offering 16-levels of grey scale, which is pretty standard, but the 1024 x 758 resolution makes it the highest resolution Reader yet. That's still less than the Kobo Aura HD (1440 x 1080), but similar to the Kindle Paperwhite's and the results look great when it comes to reading.

It comes with an E Ink Pearl anti-glare display and Clear IR Dual Touch Screen. We found the anti-glare worked well in the strong lighting conditions we experienced it in and the display was sharp and clear. The touchscreen also responded quickly, just like it does on it's predecessor the Sony Reader PRS-T2.

READ: Sony Reader PRS-T2 review

The touchscreen functionality lets you swipe to go forward a page or back a page without having to use the buttons underneath the display, and you can touch a word on the display to look it up in five monolingual dictionaries and a range of translation dictionaries.

Other features include advanced page refresh technology which is said to give you 4-hours of flicker-free page turns so you can stay focused on a story.

The buttons beneath the display were slightly embossed, and finished in chrome just like the PRS-T2. They were easy to press and we thought they added to the solid build of the device.

The cover also cleverly has an indented strip in the suede where the buttons would meet, which meant when it was closed, it was flush to the screen rather than raised slightly.

Perhaps one of its most attributable features is its three-minute Quick Charge function. Although we couldn't test it on the stand as they were all permanently hooked up to chargers, this Quick Charge feature is said to give you enough battery power to read a 600-page novel, great for those moments when you're off to the airport and realise your Reader has no charge.

A fully-charged battery is said to take between 2 and 2.5 hours depending on the power source, and provide you with around 2 months of life, without wireless on, which was around the same as the PRS-T2.

The Sony Reader PRS-T3 comes with 2GB of memory which is space for around 1200 eBooks, but it also comes with a microSD card slot for extra storage up to 32GB.

It features built-in Wi-Fi allowing you to use the integrated Facebook and Evernote options, as well as buy ebooks direct. It also has support for the open EPUB format, allowing you to purchase titles from a range of online stores and borrow EPUB ebooks from libraries in certain regions and countries. Of course, the big decision is whether you take the open format, buying from different stores, rather than opting for the Kindle. There are pros and cons on both sides, but this latest Reader is a lovely device.

Prices have yet to be announced, but the Sony Reader PRS-T3 will be available in Europe from September in a choice of red, white and black colours.

READ: How to choose an ebook reader