Listen while you read with iRiver’s multi-tasking ebook reader
With Amazon’s Kindle still hard to get hold of in the UK (buyers need to import theirs using the company’s US website), several manufacturers such as Sony and now iRiver have leapt in to plug the gap in the ebook reader market.
With its slim, white design and full keyboard, there are few products that scream ‘Kindle substitute’ quite as loudly as the iRiver Story.
The Story has a sharp, easy-to-read 6in e-ink display that can be viewed in either landscape or portrait mode. Buttons on either side of the screen are used to turn the pages, in whichever hand the device is held.
It supports PDF, Epub and text formats for ebooks, as well some office documents (it will read Word, Excel and Powerpoint files), pictures and even audio files, so you can use the device to listen to audiobooks or play music as you read. It has both speakers and an earphone socket.
You can expect the iRiver Story’s battery to last for around 9,000 page turns on a single charge, which compares well with similar products (if you are just reading documents, it does not use any power unless you are turning the page).
An internal memory of 2GB is enough to store hundreds of books, but an additional SD memory card slot ensures that you will never run out of space, which is particularly handy if you choose to use the Story as an audio player too.
There are, however, a few pieces of the puzzle missing. Unlike on Sony’s Reader Touch, for instance, there is no touch-sensitive screen, so you cannot swipe to turn the page for a more book-like feel.
The Story does not feature any network capabilities either, so it cannot compete with the Kindle’s wireless book store, through which users can buy books directly.
At £200 we would have expected a case or sleeve but the Story comes without protection, leaving the large screen prone to damage unless you buy an optional accessory.
If you are looking for an ebook reader, the iRiver Story is worth considering. Its selection of multimedia and office-related extras make it an interesting product, although it feels less like a true replacement for a paperback book than an extremely basic tablet PC.
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A competent ebook reader with an interesting musical spin, but we reckon better devices are just around the corner Good points Good battery life; wide ebook format support; large internal memory Bad points No touch-screen capabilities; no case supplied; extra features not really worth paying for
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