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iriver Story HD review

Verdict

A great screen, but suspect ergonomics and a lack of display options and features put paid to its chances

Review Date: 30 Dec 2011

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £133 (£160 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
3 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

You might think a reader with no wireless connectivity or store integration would have a tough time taking on Sony and Amazon, but iriver’s latest ebook reader makes a fair stab at it.

It does so by offering the world’s first 768 x 1,024 resolution electronic ink screen.

Manufactured by LG, this 6in display compares well to the E Ink Pearl screens seen in most of the other readers on the market. Contrast is comparable, as is refresh speed, with pages flicking by at a rate of one per second.

iriver Story HD front

The advantage of the extra pixels isn’t immediately obvious, but is clear with smaller text, such as in PDF files not formatted with ebook screens in mind. Consequently, there’s less need to zoom in than with other models.

The interface feels responsive, and looks elegant. The keyboard makes taking short notes and searching by keyword simple. There’s a generous 2GB of internal storage, which can be supplemented by adding a standard, full-sized SD card.

The problems arise, however, when you come to read, because the ergonomics of the iriver Story HD simply aren’t very good. Instead of placing buttons on the edge of the device for turning the page, iriver has decided a long, thin four-way D-pad is the way to go.

This clicks loudly, which is annoying enough, but far worse is that its position beneath the screen forces you to hold the reader in the bottom-left or right corners, which feels unnatural and awkward.

iriver Story HD screen

File format compatibility is generally fine, with EPUB and PDF formats covered, but there’s no MOBI or HTML support and the lack of display options is disappointing.

Font sizes can be changed, and there are eight sizes available, but you can’t change the font itself. PDF manipulation is awkward, with zoom operations taking an age, and panning (if you can call it that) using the cursor keys is painfully slow.

Even if this device had wireless and store integration (the next version will have both), its limited display options and questionable ergonomics put paid to its chances. The fact that the price is rather high doesn’t help either.

Author: Jonathan Bray

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