The iRiver Story is looking to compete with the Sony Reader and Amazon Kindle. But without a big name behind it, can it add a new chapter in the ebook reader tale or will it be relegated to a footnote? Read our full iRiver Story review to find out.
Ebook readers are more commonplace than Danielle Steel novels at an airport bookshop. And, like netbooks, trying to find one that’s a bit different is nigh-on impossible. Like the Amazon Kindle though, the iRiver Story manages something neat, with a full QWERTY keyboard and an SD card slot. That means you can type while carrying roughly 25,000 books on a 32GB card, plus a healthy 2GB built-in for any books or MP3s you want stashed on the device.
For some reason the iRiver Story comes in a box that’s as oversized as the packaging to old PC games. Once you’ve got it out, it does look cool, if a bit plasticky, and it’s so slim that when you press the page turn buttons it makes worrying cracking noises, feeling like it might snap in half.
But the iRiver Story’s 6-inch e-ink display is as clear as the Sony Reader or Amazon Kindle, displaying text and images incredibly sharply. The keyboard is nicely spaced: you’re not going to write your own novel on it, but it’s fine for typing. And it’s comprehensive too, with volume keys, MP3 controls, a dedicated button to bring up all your books, and more.
Sound quality of MP3s isn’t bad, although the delay between button presses and something happening means it’s not going to replace your iPod. But it’s fine for audio books. It’s also slightly sluggish when turning pages, but no more so that the Sony Reader PRS-505.
Of course these devices are only as good as the content, and with support for ePub, you’ve got access to all of Waterstone’s ebooks, as well as Word and Excel, PDFs, PowerPoint and TXT documents. That’s the kind of flexibility we like.
It may not be as exciting as the Barnes and Noble Nook, or do anything particularly new, but it’s a solid ebook reader. The only real downer is the price – just £20 more gets you the Sony Reader Touch Edition. If the price comes down though, this is a real contend