Experiment with Sony Reader battery life

After returning from holidays with completely drained PRS 500 (see field test blog entry), I have decided to test what is the battery life of the fully charged reader without any usage at all. It was easy as I was pretty busy after being away 3 weeks.

The reader was fully charged on 29th of August (24 hrs with wall charger). After that, I did not use it at all, only checked every 2-3 days the status (the reader was switched off except this brief check). As of Wednesday morning, September 19th the battery was drained and the reader switched itself off right away (it is being charged as I type this). This gives us about 3 weeks of available standby time, without any use from page turning, until the fully charged battery is completely drained.

This result allows new angle in looking into the “7500 pageturns story”. Let’s assume that the battery indeed lasts for 7500 turns and let’s factor in the consumption of standby. When the reader is off, every week will take away about one third of the charge – or in other words you will loose battery capacity equivalent to 2500 page turns a week regardless whether you switch it on or not.

If you would turn page every 2 secs, 30 pages a minute, 1800 pages an hour, chances are that you might get closer to the ideal capacity. But if you read a book with a speed of 200 pages per hour (these are small pages) and have have time to read 2 hours a day, during you will “spend” about 7 x 2 x 200 = 2800 page turns – plus the weekly standby tax of 2500 page turns. With this, you will have available about 2200 turns – or less than a week in standby and if you will continue to read, you will have to recharge in about 9-10 days. Which is quite consistent with what I have seen o vacation: the reader died after two and half week (~ 6000 turns) plus about 1500 real pages.

So, the 7500 turns may not be such an impossible number – if you can read 1000+ pages an hour :-).

With the size of the screen, depending on the font and real page count books are anywhere between 500 and 1500 turns long. That means, one full charge is realistically good for 3-4 books.


8 Responses to Experiment with Sony Reader battery life

  1. BJ Nicholls says:

    Frankly, I’m very disappointed with the reader’s “standby” power consumption. Sony’s advertising makes a point for the low self-discharge rate of the lithium ion batter, but that’s a diversion from the apparent fact that the reader eats power while turned “off”. I guess that the reader has to provide power for some volatile memory in its standby mode. I was about to call Sony about an apparent defect with my unit’s batter when I read this post. I regret buying this product. The online book selection is very poor, pdf handling is poor with not enough zoom functionality to make pdf reading practical, I can’t take it on a longer trip without bringing a charger, and I can’t let it sit on the shelf for a couple of weeks without having to recharge it when I need it.

  2. Joy says:

    I too thought i had a fault but after reading this it’s not so bad, i have to charge my cell each night so what difference does it make if i have to charge something else every few days.
    As to the Pdf reading problems, this can easily be fixed by converting to Rtf (rich text format), the books are much more readable in this way, imagine shrinking an A4 sheet to fit the reader screen that’s what a pdf has to do but Rtf doesn’t, it just increases the number of pages.

  3. Jay says:

    Is this discharge issue still current for the Sony touch prs 600?

    My new Sony Touch discharges within a week!! and I am not sure if this is an issue with the reader or just the way the unit works?

    • Miro says:

      I do not have PRS600, right now – after 2+ years battery life on PRS500 is about the same.

    • Luis says:

      I have the same problem, so maybe it’s not an issue but the regular way battery works. In any case I feel swindled by sony

  4. Mark says:

    I thought I had a defective Sony Reader as well. So I’ve been searching to find out if this was the case. Only to discover that I can’t expect anything else on the battery. I’m not now in the position of reading it for periods every day, but I soon will be. I wonder if I’ll have to recharge it every day.

  5. Hi!

    It is never recomended to fully discharge a battery and leave it in this state for long. In fact short battery life is mostly associated with the number of deap discharges within the life of the battery. Eventually it will fail to take any charge at all, and can only be recovered by a higher applied voltage. The USB lead will fail to supply this. The self discharge of this type of battery should be several months at least, so where is the leakage.

    From instructions PRS-5050:

    (For longer battery life)

    1 Reader wiil sleep if no operation for 60 Minutes.

    2 However, for Max battery life use shutdown:
    ‘Home menu’ sellect ‘settings’ ‘advance settings’
    ‘device shutdown’ then press the ‘book’ icon to
    go to shutdown.

    3 Turn reader on again:
    slide Power Switch and start screen will appear,
    in approx 1 minute.

    I trust that this helps!


    Object Communication

  6. Linda says:

    Our son bought my husband and i a sony PRS-650/PS for
    christmas 2010. i charged it day before yesterday and
    i read less than 50 pages and i had to charge it again. you are not always going to be able to charge it on long flights, and then what do you do. at home
    i don’t really want to wait 4 or 5 hours for it to recharge so i can finish my book. this book is only 489 pages long. so not impressed so far by the e reader. will stick to paper from now on. Linda

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