iRiver Story HD E-Book Reader Review

Sun, Dec 25, 2011

Hardware Reviews

iRiver Story HD E-Book Reader Review

The first generation of the Story HD was iRiver’s first e-reader made available in the US market. During its announcement in January, the technologies included in the e-reader were lauded as exciting, with display dubbed as ‘high definition’ and a processor that was ready to be one of the fastest among e-readers. Since then, with the introduction of newer, faster and feature-filled products from Kobo, Barnes & Noble and Amazon, the playing field was leveled again. When the Story HD was finally released six months after news of it first came out, the company boasted another first: the gadget has been bundled with access to the company’s partner, Google Books. The question is, have the features of the second generation Story HD given iRiver the right to play with the big boys of the e-book reader market? This iRiver Story HD E-Book Reader review aims to find out.

The thing about the Story HD was it was released at a time when the market has already acquired and ascertained a taste of what it likes. In a matter of six months, Sony, Amazon, B&N and Kobo, among others, have already released second even third generations of their established readers. When the Story finally saw the light of day, at least in the US, the Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader and Kindle already have a ‘loyal’ following, so much so that these loyalists have been anticipating with baited breath the Nook Color and Kindle Fire, gadgets that are blurring the lines that separate readers and tablets.

This doesn’t mean that the iRiver Story HD is not something worth buying. The display which is classified by the company as ‘HD’ is good. But in iRiver Story HD E-Book Reader reviews that compare it to devices with the E-Ink technology present in Kindle and Sony readers, the HD is still a bit inferior. With E-Ink people comment that they think the text is actually written on the screen. While the partnership with Google is good for Story HD owners, the content from the Google Books library have been proven to be readable when loaded into a majority of most readers. The software of the Story HD is basic and functions well, with functionality like PDF panning and zooming. But then it is exactly what can be said about the Story HD in general: there is nothing extraordinary that can really compel a person who wants to buy an e-book reader to make the Story HD number 1 in his or her options.

The user interface is quite basic, with all the library contents of the owner displayed. The titles can be sorted in different ways, but this will be done through the device’s buttons since the Story HD is not a touch screen gadget. The buttons in the device’s QWERTY keyboard look like thin capsules that are not as conducive to typing as the Kindle’s rounded buttons. The buttons are colored coffee brown, the same color as the device’s rear, which is awkward with the white face of the device.

The top portion of the screen has a link to the Google eBookstore link, which can appear unappealing because it practically looks like a banner ad that cannot be closed. Clicking on it leads to a WiFi connection, which at most times iRiver Story HD E-Book Reader reviews criticize as unstable. The Google eBookstore itself, as with most Google products looks bare and simple. The clean, uncluttered design may work for other Google products, but for a bookstore, does not really entice buyers to buy e-books.

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