Iriver Story HD review

The Story HD's high-resolution screen and clear interface aren't enough to make up for the lack of Wi-Fi or a built-in eBook store at this price

20 Nov 2011
Our Rating 
3/5
Price when reviewed 
110
inc VAT

Specifications

You may have heard of Iriver's Story HD being the Google Books eReader, but sadly that model isn't yet available in the UK. Instead, we got our hands on the Basic model, which lacks Wi-Fi and Google Books integration. It's the only 6in eReader we've seen with a 768x1,024 resolution E-Ink screen, which means text and images are sharper.

The previous model - the iRiver Story eBook reader - was a capable device, although it was too expensive to compete with the then Amazon Kindle 3. The Story HD is much cheaper, but so is the latest Amazon Kindle, which costs only £89.

Iriver Story HD

In common with other Iriver products, the HD has a distinctive design, with translucent brown buttons, a cream front and brown rear. A long, horizontal button above the keyboard acts as a four-way navigation control - it's more of a joystick than a button in operation. The interface is also distinctively Iriver: it's clean and minimalist, but has some design and translation quirks that mean it's worth reading the manual. The Home page is clearly laid out, with your current book taking pride of place at the top of the page, followed by a bookmarks option and then a list of books on your device.

You can choose whether this list shows file names or book titles in the Options menu under Setting->System->Operating. DB List shows books, while Folder List shows files. The DB List is preferable, as you can then change whether books are sorted by Recent, Favourite, Title, Author or Image (file type).

The interface uses a curly bracket to signal the current selection, which can be a bit confusing. For example, in the Book list, you can't just press the right button to move to the next page of the list. Instead, you have to move the bracket up to the folder list, and then move left or right to select the desired folder. The bar isn't ideally placed for page turns with one hand, either, but is comfortable when holding the Story HD with both hands.

Iriver Story HD Back

Without Wi-Fi, the only way to get your eBooks onto the Story HD is via USB or SD card. As with other non-Amazon devices, the Story HD works with Adobe Digital Editions to manage purchased eBooks, although we noticed quite a delay the first time we connected it, as it updated the internal database. The Story has patchy file support - it can read Office documents, including the latest versions such as DOCX, but not MOBI or PRC eBook formats, nor rich text files.

Reading books on the 768x1,024 resolution screen is pleasant, but not leagues better than a standard 600x800 screen. There's a dedicated button for text size, and changes are made instantly so you can preview them. There's no accelerometer, but a another dedicated button means reading in landscape mode is only three clicks away. There's a built in dictionary, but you can't select a word on the page - instead, you have to type your search, and this seems to be the only use for the keyboard. We liked how words you've looked up are saved along with a reference to the book and page you were reading at the time.

The Story HD has some interesting features and a refreshingly clear interface, but the lack of Wi-Fi and built-in store puts it at a disadvantage. Its keyboard seems wasted, and it's not as good value as the Kobo Wireless eReader or the Amazon Kindle, both of which cost about £20 less.

Details

Price £110
Details www.iriver.com
Rating ***

Hardware

Viewable size 6.0in
Native resolution 768x1024
Touchscreen y/n no
Capacity 1,580MB
Memory card support SDHC
Size 128x9x190mmmm
Weight 207g
Battery and charge options Lithium Polymer, USB
eReader Battery life 14,000
Wireless networking support N/A
3G? no
Ports USB

Format Support

eReader TXT support yes
eReader HTML support no
eReader RTF support no
eReader PDF support yes
eReader ePub support yes
eReader MOBI support no
eReader Amazon AZW support no
eReader Microsoft Word support yes
Audio MP3 playback No
Audio WMA playback No
Audio WMA-DRM playback No
Audio AAC playback No
Audio Protected AAC playback No
Audio OGG playback No
Audio WAV playback No
Audio Audible playback No
Image BMP support Yes
Image JPEG support Yes
Image TIFF support No

Buying Information

Price £110
Warranty one year RTB
Supplier http://www.play.com
Details www.iriver.com

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