iRiver Story review

Barry de la Rosa
19 Dec 2009
iRiver Story
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

An attractive and sturdy device, the Story has more open format support, but the keyboard is almost redundant and it's not as easy to use or as good value as Amazon's Kindle.


IRiver is more well-known for its range of MP3 players, but the company has jumped on the ebook reader bandwagon with the aptly-named Story, a device that bears more than a passing resemblance to Amazon's Kindle reader. The Story is a more traditional reader, as it doesn't include a wireless service for downloading books and can only have new titles copied to it from a PC.

With support for PDF and Epub ebook formats, as well as Microsoft Office documents, the Story offers a more open platform than the Kindle, and iRiver has promised to add more format support via firmware updates. In fact there's already been an update to add reflow support for PDF files, so that they retain their formatting when you zoom in or out. It's the first ebook reader that we've seen that supports the OGG music file format, although listening to music will greatly reduce the Story's battery life.

It's much sturdier than the Kindle but the design is more attractive. The white plastic case is slightly narrower thanks to a smaller bezel around the screen, and there's a shallow lip around the edge of the case that makes it easier to grip. The keyboard's keys are larger and have a lighter action than the Kindle's. On either side of the keyboard are discreet Next and Previous page controls, but all other controls are included in the keyboard, such as zooming, settings menus and orientation control.

IRiver's user interfaces are always a bit avant garde, and the user manual isn't well-translated. For example, in each screen you can press the Options button to access a contextual menu, and the manual refers to the items on this menu as "Add-ons". Once you get around the odd nomenclature, you realise that the controls work mostly as you'd expect. There's no desktop application for transferring books to the Story, so you'll have to download and transfer them manually with the Story appearing as mass storage on your PC. You can copy encrypted files using Adobe's Digital Editions software.

There are some really nice touches: the time and date on the home screen is a welcome novelty, and not only does it remember where you left off reading, but there's a small bar above each book that shows your progress. There are dedicated music playback controls so you can listen to music while you read, and the sound quality is excellent. With 2GB of internal memory and an SDHC card slot, there's plenty of room to store music as well as books.

As well as reading books and listening to music, there are also diary and memo applications, which seem redundant on an ebook reader. In fact the only real use of the keyboard outside of these applications is to search for books - you can't use it to annotate them - which makes us wonder whether a simpler version without the keyboard might cost much less and make the Story a more viable competitor. As it is, the price is too high, and despite its good looks and open format support, the Story isn't as good value nor as user-friendly as the Kindle.




Viewable size6.0in
Native resolution600x800
Touchscreen y/nno
Memory card supportSDHC
Battery and charge optionsLithium Polymer, USB
eReader Battery life7,000
Wireless networking supportN/A
PortsUSB, 3.5mm headphone

Format Support

eReader TXT supportyes
eReader HTML supportyes
eReader RTF supportyes
eReader PDF supportyes
eReader ePub supportyes
eReader MOBI supportno
eReader Amazon AZW supportno
eReader Microsoft Word supportyes
Audio MP3 playbackYes
Audio WMA playbackYes
Audio WMA-DRM playbackNo
Audio AAC playbackNo
Audio Protected AAC playbackNo
Audio OGG playbackYes
Audio WAV playbackNo
Audio Audible playbackNo
Image BMP supportYes
Image JPEG supportYes
Image TIFF supportNo

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB

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