An ebook reader with built-in wireless networking – but it can't do much
This new edition of the Iriver Story is no different physically from the original version we reviewed several months ago (see below), apart from the small ‘Wifi’ badge above the screen.
This refers to the Wifi Story's ability to connect wirelessly to the internet in order to buy and download ebooks.
One other technical change has been made: the 6in e-ink screen can now display 16 different shades of grey (compared with the original model’s eight). This means that photos and illustrations look smoother and more detailed. Otherwise, the new model has identical specifications to its predecessor.
Although it can connect to the internet through any suitable wireless network (it supports most networks but not the latest and fastest 802.11n standard), users can only buy books on the reader itself through the special WH Smith ebook site.
It does not allow access to other internet sites, but you can buy books on your PC from other shops and copy them across manually.
Connecting to a wireless network can be fiddly if you have to enter a complicated password, as the on-screen text is small and the non-letter symbols on the keyboard were almost illegible. This is a complaint that applies to all online forms and search boxes, and is made worse by the fact that the text zoom feature does not work except when a user is reading an ebook or other document.
Once a connection is made, you will need to obtain an Adobe ID (a free Adobe account for viewing DRM-protected ebooks). This ID cannot be obtained using the Story, though, so you will need to do it on a computer. Registration in the ebook store was straightforward, but text input was frustrating for the above reasons: the ebook store is a separate store from WH Smith’s main website, and accounts are not linked, annoyingly.
While browsing the store we suffered from having to use the Story’s arrow keys to jump between links and tabs. Downloads took only a few seconds, though, and a copy remains in the store so it can be downloaded again even if you delete it from the reader.
Confusingly, if you buy the Wifi Story from Amazon it comes loaded with 200 ‘classic’ ebooks, whereas the WH Smith versions will not, although these books are all out of copyright and available free online anyway. Either way the only way to buy books from the device is through the WH Smith site.
Ebooks can be copied to and from a PC using the supplied USB cable, which doubles as a charging lead. To view protected ebooks on a computer, Adobe Digital Editions (a free download) must be installed and the Wifi Story activated from within the program. Non-protected titles can be dragged and dropped using Windows Explorer.
Although buying ebooks using the Wifi Story was not particularly enjoyable, reading was just as pleasant as it was on the original model, and you still get all the extras including an MP3 player and memo recorder. But the Wifi Story adds nothing of value to the original Story, which is cheaper.
The arrival of the new Amazon Kindle models make the Wifi Story look very expensive. Although buying a Kindle means tying yourself in to Amazon’s services, we cannot argue with the new Kindle’s £109 price.
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Well made but offers no advantage over the original Story and is nearly twice the price of the Kindle Good points Looks good; solidly made; quick downloads; excellent screen; supports most ebook formats Bad points Fiddly store navigation and text entry; no web browser; no mains charger supplied
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