The Wi-Fi edition of the iRiver Cover Story offers two main features over its non-connected sibling – Waterstones Bookstore access and e-mail. This bookstore offers tens of thousands of books, rather than the hundreds of thousands available from Kindle, but the ereader also supports ePub, PDF and txt files. ePub support gives you access to the Project Gutenberg library of public domain works, and plenty of other ebook resources that the Kindle would struggle with.
Unless you’re going to fashion your own ebook library outside of the device itself though, the Kindle is a much simpler, better-integrated proposition. The Waterstones ebook store also uses DRM that requires you to “activate” the Cover Story by linking it with an existing Adobe DRM account. The book store also lacks the many freebie books you’ll find in the Kindle store, making it an all-round less welcoming place to browse around.
The e-mail feature is similarly limited. We had no problems logging into a Gmail account, and you can add multiple accounts to the ereader, but you won’t be able to view attachments and there’s no support for threaded conversations. As a last minute extra feature, it’s a nice addition but not one that should figure into your buying decision – most phones are much better at picking up emails than the Cover Story.
The magnetised cover, friendly-looking design, touchscreen and built-in dictionary help to differentiate the iRiver Cover Story from its many rivals. But where the current Amazon and Sony devices have been perfected over several years and several iterations, the Cover Story could do with a month or two back in the design studio. The reflective screen and unpowered CPU trip up what is otherwise a cute-looking, fully features product.
For a hundred pounds, you get a lot, but the Kindle is much more pleasurable to use – and if you’re after a less closed-off device, the more-expensive Sony PRS-600 has a better screen and interface. If you must keep under the hundred pound mark though, the iRiver Cover Story offers a much better experience than the various LCD-screened quasi-ereaders littering the market.
The iRiver Cover Story EB05W packs in loads of features, with Wi-Fi, expandable memory, a magnetised cover and a touchscreen, but performance issues stop it from challenging the top eReaders. It’s very keenly priced, available at Â£99.99, but screen reflection issues and slow navigation dilute some of the best bits of an eReader. Still, we’d pick this over an LCD-screen model any day.
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