iRiver Story Readers
iRiver are a fairly established brand however they are better known in the market for producing MP3 players and have only recently decided to put themselves into the e-reading market. They are very new to this and have just released their latest device on to the market, called the iRiver Story HD. They currently have three different readers which have various design features to allow consumers to choose a reader that is perfect for them.
iRiver are well known for their innovative and modern design and the reading devices released are in fitting with this reputation featuring great design and up to date technology. All the readers use and eInk display and iRiver are one of the companies that have not dabbled in the idea of color readers.
iRiver have been received really well into the eBook market with many users reporting strong positive feedback on the devices that have been released into the market and although they have only been around in this area for a short period of time, they have already made a big impression on the market and are currently one of the most popular brands on the market.
Praise comes from both press releases and also user feedback. iRiver are a global company and therefore the readers are available in a wide range of countries, so nobody is missing out! They have been praised highly on the amount of user interaction there is with the products, for example one of the features of their cover story is interchangeable cases which gives the user a wide range of choice and keeps the product ever changing.
The readers are also fairly inexpensive compared to some other brands such as Sony, however they have the same quality which has given a very positive reaction from the market as price tends to be a deciding factor in many e-readers however with the iRiver range this is not a problem.
As iRiver are new on the e-reading scene they have only 3 versions of their reader which are all current versions.
The iRiver Story HD
This is the newest reader brought out by iRiver and is more like the first generation of the Story. The screen on the readers is the same however the Story HD has a higher DPI meaning that the display is much clearer. The battery life on the Story HD is the biggest improvement with the device lasting for 14,000 page turns off a single charge, more than both the original Story and the Cover Story.
The Story HD uses a QWERTY interface rather than the touch screen interface seen on the Cover Story. This allows for fast input of text on to the device making it easy to take notes and to browse the library.
The iRiver Story HD has Wi-Fi connectivity so that the user can connect to the internet and search for books whenever they are connected, eliminating the need for a computer to add files to the device. The iRiver Story has also been teamed with Google books in order to give users a wide range of books right at their fingertips. In terms of the design the Story HD is aesthetically pleasing using copper coloured keys and a beige coloured back which looks very modern and stylish.
The iRiver Cover Story (Current)
This device was released just after the first Story hit the market. The main difference between the two models being that the cover story uses a touch screen interface. This is classed as the second generation of the Story (both are still for sale) and iRiver worked on the portability and user interface of the device.
The main feature on the iRiver Cover Story is the touch screen interface which is in alternative to the QWERTY keyboard. This can be seen as a personal preference however there are some practical advantages to the touch screen interface. Firstly as there is no need for the QWERTY keyboard the device is much smaller and therefore is much more portable.
Another big feature on the Cover Story which went down well with the general market was the interchangeable cases. These have both a style and practical use, with many different colours available the user can easily change the cover depending on their mood or outfit. Not only this but the covers also offer protection whilst transporting the device as it prevents the screen from being scratched or damaged when in a bag for example.
The Cover Story also features a 6" eInk display giving the user a paper like reading experience. The eInk display used is the newest technology and offers a very high contrast making the text be displayed crisply and clearly to give the user the best ease of read without straining the eyes. Not only this but it gives the device maximum battery life with the eInk display only consuming battery every time a page is refreshed alongside the benefit of being able to read the display clearly even in direct sunlight as there is no glare on the display.
The iRiver Cover Story allows the user to add notes to the device using a handwriting function as the screen is touch, this is not only an easier option for many users but also recreates the feel of writing on real paper, enriching the overall experience of the device as an alternative for a book.
The orientation of the Cover Story is now automatic with a sensor built in to change the view between portrait and landscape orientation when in use. Not only this but there is a built in dictionary to look up words that the user is unsure of simply by touching and pressing down on the word to look it up.
Format support on the Cover Story is much wider than on some other readers allowing the user to view regular files alongside less common formats such as comic books and also files created in the Microsoft Office suite such as PowerPoint and Excel. The reader also has a built in Wi-Fi connection so that books and other files can be downloaded straight to the device without the need to connect the device to a computer. E-Mail is also supported on the Cover Story making it even more possible to use the reader as a personal organizer.
The iRiver Story
This is the first reader released by iRiver and was compared to the Kindle greatly however this was only due to the aesthetics of the product rather than the features. Not only does the Story deal with books but it can also support multimedia content with the ability to not only play back audio files but also use the device to record voice. This means that the user can download eBooks to listen to and also listen to music whilst they are reading.
The Story was also pushed as a great reader for comic book fans with the ability to support comic files which appealed to avid comic collectors who may not want to carry valuable comics around with them all the time, with the ability to store them all on the reader it saves a lot of time and effort.
The internal storage on the iRiver story is 2GB, this is a fair amount if the user is only planning to store eBooks on the device however there is also an SD card slot so that the devices memory can be expanded up to 32GB. This is necessary as the reader supports a range of media files which can be fairly large and 2GB would fill up extremely quickly.
One of the best and most unique features of the iRiver Story is the fact that there are 15 different languages that the device can function in. This really does reinforce the fact that iRiver are a global brand with their readers being functional in a range of countries and gives iRiver one of the largest e-reading communities out there.
The battery life on the iRiver is definitely a strong point of the advice with iRiver giving consumers an accurate account of battery before they buy the product. When using the reader for reading purposes only the battery life will last for 9000 page turns off one single charge. With music playback there is a maximum of 24 hours solid playback and if the reader is being used purely for recording purposes it will last for five solid hours. The battery life is clearly strong and will depend on what functions the user is using as to how often they will need to charge the device.
The iRiver Story has a few additional features on the device that are not normally included in an e-reading device and this is the diary and notes feature allowing the reader to input text and save it on their reader. This can be useful as the reader can be doubled up as an organiser or even a journal where users can record their thoughts on books or just general topics.
The screen on the iRiver Story is a 6" eInk display which gives many benefits. Firstly the battery life of the reader is improved by having an eInk display as it only uses power every time a page is refreshed (this is why the battery is measured in page turns) not only this but the eInk display works on contrast rather than the screen being backlit which means that there is no glare on the screen even when reading in direct sunlight.
The design of the Story is both practical and aesthetically pleasing with a crisp white colouring the reader looks very modern and sophisticated. The interface for the reader is a QWERTY pad, very popular amongst e-readers and the ergonomics are fairly good with the keys not being put too close together therefore eliminating the problem of accidently pushing the wrong keys. This makes inputting text on the device a simple and easy process.
iReader Story Review
Books for the Device
The iRiver range has a very large range of supported formats including both media and document formats making the readers very versatile. In terms of where to buy books there are a range of options. Google books have been teamed with iRiver specifically for the launch of the Story HD model and a range of books can be found here, both document and audiobooks.
There are also other sites which provide books that can be purchased to be used with the iRiver Story range, including retailers such as Waterstones. The most important thing when purchasing books for the device is to check the format of the book against the specifications of the device which can be found on iRiver's site as the user could end up wasting money. If they are still not sure then there is a vast amount of online forums which offer advice on the iRiver readers and therefore it is fairly easy to ask the question on online.
There are many accessories available online for the iRiver range, particularly accessories to help protect the reader from damage when the user may be transporting it. Online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay supply a range of accessories and so do retailers of the range such as Waterstones.
Accessories include a range of cases which protect the reader from any cosmetic damage to the case or any damage to the screen. A recommendation for users who are planning to transport the device a great deal, not only this but as they are available in different styles and colours they also give the reader a slight personal touch. Screen protectors can also be bought for the reader which simply covers the screen to stop it being scratched.
Chargers are also available for the iRiver range allowing the device to be charged in a variety of ways such as from the mains or in car charging.