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iRiver Story with Wi-Fi review

Verdict

A decent eBook reader but, with the Amazon Kindle on its way, the Story struggles to make a compelling case

Review Date: 12 Aug 2010

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £169 (£199 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
3 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
2 stars out of 6

Performance
3 stars out of 6

With Amazon finally officially launching the Kindle in the UK this month, iRiver is looking to steal some of its thunder: the latest version of its iRiver Story sports a Wi-Fi adapter and a direct link to the WHSmith online bookstore. What that means is you can download books directly to the device instead of having to go through the rigmarole of purchasing them on your PC and transferring it to the device via Adobe Digital Editions.

The success of the Story or otherwise, therefore, hinges mainly on the ease with which this is achieved, and the selection of titles on offer. And the Story doesn’t make a good start. Logging onto a Wi-Fi network is straightforward - registration can be done entirely on the device, without the need to visit your PC – and the process of purchasing and downloading is straightforward. The principle problem is the search facility, which seems unreliable in the extreme.

We entered “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” (top of the WHSmith best sellers chart at the time of writing, and available from the online store for £5.19) and the search refused to find it. We tried the author name instead, “Larsson”, and got A Magnificent Catastrophe, by Edward J Larson. Using this search facility feels like hunting for the toilet in the dark, in a house you’ve never been in before.

iRiver Story with Wi-Fi

If you’re not into lucky-dip reading it’s probably best to use the category-based alphabetical listing, which is a more reliable way to find what you’re looking, but even here it falls short. The interface is clunky, making paging through long lists of authors and books a mind-numbingly tedious chore. It suffers from similar baffling inconsistency to the search, though to a slightly lesser extent. And, hammering the final rusty nail into an already decaying coffin, once you’ve found your author the likelihood of the book you want actually being available is pretty slim. Terry Pratchett, one of the UK’s most popular writers, is represented by a mere two titles.

It’s a shame, because the iRiver Story is a likeable device. It’s similar in format to the Kindle, with a 6in, 600 x 800 E Ink screen set into an attractively curvaceous matte-white case. Below the screen is a spacious, usable Qwerty keyboard, and to each side of it, flush with the edges of the case, are large page back and forward keys. Along the bottom edge is a plastic panel covering an SD card slot, mini-USB port and 3.5mm headphone socket. It comes with a leatherette slipcase too.

It’s an attractive piece of hardware and, aside from the horrible online interface, usable too. That screen isn’t as good as the Kindle International’s screen, the background looking greyer and text less inky, but it’s still perfectly readable. The Story’s own menu system is both intuitive and responsive; we noticed that, all-round, it feels quicker than the previous version. File format support is good too, taking in a good swathe of major formats (PDF, EPUB, TXT), even allowing you to load up Microsoft Word and Excel documents. You can take memos with the keyboard, load MP3 files to listen to via the 3.5mm headphone socket or the speaker on the rear, and record voice memos with the integrated microphone.

If you ignore the Wi-Fi and the store facility completely, then, the iRiver is a competent eBook reader. We can’t possibly recommend it, though, and the main reason is the new Amazon Kindle, which at launch will cost £50 less for the 3G version and £90 less for the Wi-Fi only model, will (presumably) boast a far broader selection of titles to choose from, and if the last Kindle is anything to go by it will have a nicer screen too. If you’re in the market for an eBook reader now, we recommend you hold onto your cash.

Author: Jonathan Bray

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User comments

Kindle comments

Speaking as a prospective new Kindle owner, and I won't get mine until early September due to huge demand, there are some errors in the last paragraph of your article.
Surely the first sentence of the last paragraph should refer to the iRiver reader and not the Kindle, as you then go on to say you can't reccomend it. Then in the next sentence basically saying that as the Kindle is so much cheaper it wins out. Oh I wish it was £100 cheaper for the wi-fi only version, but it costs £109 incl' VAT not £100.

I decided on the Kindle as opposed to the Sony PRS-300 (now reduced to just £99.99 at Waterstones), even though it was £9 more, due to it's better overall rep on many web based reviews, and it's inclusive features, such as wi-fi, better memory, and better greyscales. On top of that is the overall better file format acceptance, whether by using their own e-mail based conversion service, or natively.
You might also like to take a look at the 'Calibre' ebook library management software, which serves as a competent file format converter as well.

By mduncan on 12 Aug 2010

Duplicate items

PLEASE can you prevent duplicate posts being shown, or at least take them down

By adamgashead on 12 Aug 2010

Film Star Snaps

hai...leave your ads in Bidvvertiser...
just go to http://www.topstarpics.blogspot.com/ and leave your ads...and get paid for each ads...check it out...

By iamalwayzonline4u on 12 Aug 2010

iamalwayzonline4u

Visit www.topstarpics,blogspot.com to view hot pictures of actress....

By iamalwayzonline4u on 12 Aug 2010

oh dear

It would appear that duplicate posts are a minor problem compared with what these idiots are putting up.
Back to the review, well the first comment is a bit picky but the review is written in the "I see what you wrote but I know what you mean" style. :-(

JH

By JohnHo1 on 13 Aug 2010

mduncan £9 is loose change, that barely buys 2 bears in some places. DON'T WINGE

THE SONY HAS A QUICKER CPU IT SHOULD COST MORE

By invalidscreenname on 14 Aug 2010

mduncan £9 is loose change, that barely buys 2 bears in some places. DON'T WINGE

THE SONY HAS A QUICKER CPU IT SHOULD COST MORE

By invalidscreenname on 14 Aug 2010

mduncan £9 is loose change, that barely buys 2 bears in some places. DON'T WINGE

THE SONY HAS A QUICKER CPU IT SHOULD COST MORE

By invalidscreenname on 14 Aug 2010

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