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iRiver Story eBook Reader - iRiver Story eBook Reader

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

One area the Story is particularly strong, however, is battery life. iRiver quotes battery life of around 9,000 page views, 20 hours of music playback and five hours of audio recording. Unsurprisingly we didn’t make much of a dent in these claims, even after two weeks of daily use our unit is still showing a full set of bars, but assuming these claims are correct the Story is among the longest lasting readers on the market.

Ultimately, then, the Story’s generous feature set and excellent battery life aren’t enough to eclipse its somewhat flimsy interface, which hints at a product that’s still in the experimental phase. All the basics are here and most of them executed well enough, but the Story lacks the finer details to bring them together. Moreover, iRiver appears to have taken a lot of inspiration from Amazon’s Kindle without truly appreciating why it’s a good piece of hardware.

The keyboard is the perfect illustration of this point. The Kindle has one so you can search for, purchase and download books and newspapers using the online service. On the Story it’s only useful for the Diary and Memo applications, neither of which are themselves that useful, or searching your library for books – a feature that would be less essential were said books organised properly.

None of these issues prevent the iRiver Story from being a solid, usable eBook reader that benefits from generous integrated storage. However, even with its superior integrated memory considered, it’s an inferior effort when compared to the likes of the Sony PRS-505. It may have a meagre 256MB on-board memory, but this can be expanded using memory cards and it is significantly better looking, more durable and, at £169.99, cheaper. Alternatively there’s the PRS-600, Sony’s new touchscreen eBook reader. It’s a little more expensive, retailing for around £240 at the moment, but whichever way you choose to go you’ll be getting a better product.

Verdict

As first attempts go, the iRiver Story is merit-worthy, but it’s got that unmistakable air of a work in progress. If iRiver’s record in the MP3 player market is anything to go by it’ll get it right sooner or later, but until then Sony’s range of devices remain the benchmark to follow.

Overall Score

7

Scores In Detail

  • Value 7
  • Usability 6
  • Features 9
  • Design 7

surf999

December 12, 2009, 3:19 pm

I don't see the point of a keyboard on these things, they take up valuable space and you're hardly ever going to need them.

Hans Gruber

December 12, 2009, 7:04 pm

I agree surf999, physical keyboards are not the way to go. They seem to have lost the beauty of design simplicity by considering all the other activities you *could* do with an e-reader. If it's not kept simple it becomes something else and there are already better devices for surfing the web, listening to music etc.

jimjamjim

December 13, 2009, 4:34 am

Where did you find the PRS-505 for £169.99?!?

Lon Bailey

December 13, 2009, 5:02 pm

In this week's Econmist magazine (Dec 12 2009),there is an article on forthcoming eBook reader technologies, it is well worth a read before shelling out £200 or so. Agree with surf999 and red - keyboards are not really necessary for eBook readers.

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