Hi there. Here is another review for you. If you remember my iRiver Cover Story Touch review, you should know how great it is. (If you don’t remember or you don’t even know about it yet, you can always view it here) The iRiver Cover Story is a small, light weight and compact ebook reading device featuring a 8 level contrast e-ink touch screen. Although its display quality is far worse than most eReaders out there, it is packed with many great and unique features. For example you can reflow the pdf files so you can read pdf files just like a normal ebook in EPUB format. Or you can choose to zoom only a specific region of the pdf file, so you can cut out all of the unneccesary white margins, therefore make the text larger and easier to read. Or you can read comics or manga directly from the zip files without any conversion at all. You can even read doc/ppt files. Or you can take note in your ebook and view that later, or draw something or making note… all thanks to the touch screen. For those who don’t really care about the display quality, the iRiver Cover Story is such a great device, but for those who care, then it might be a problem, er.. thanks to the touch screen. And if someone don’t really need touch funcionalities and considering getting this or the famous Amazon Kindle, that could be a hard choice.
Fortunately, for people I mentioned above, I have another choice for you, the iRiver Story (the non-touch version). Here comes the unboxing and the review will follow shortly after that
I’m glad to say that most features I love from the iRiver Cover Story Touch still exist in the iRiver Story (well, except for ALL touch related functionalities, of course.) That means you still be able to read comic from zip files, reflow pdf file and region zoom in the pdf file. Yes, even region zoom too. You can just press the Zoom button, then choose the position for the corners and press Enter. This makes the iRiver Story a great ebook reading device. Unfortunately, as the iRiver is released earlier than the Cover Story Touch, it doesn’t have some minor functionalities that the Cover Story Touch offers. It also doesn’t have an Oxford Dictionary, so it’s impossible to quick lookup a word in your ebook like you can do with the Cover Story.
However, the main attraction of the iRiver Story is the screen. Although it has the same 8-level contrast e-ink display as the Cover Story, the actual display is much better. The iRiver Story has much better contrast than the Cover Story, the black color looks darker while their backgrounds are roughly the same. Also the iRiver Story doesn’t have to suffer from the reflection caused by the touch panel as the Cover Story does. I feel it’s quite hard to take a picture or capture a video of this, but if you can see it in person you can easily notice the differences.
Okay, so here is the main discussion: How is it compared to the Amazon Kindle? Is its display as good as the Kindle? Well, sadly the answer is still no. The 16 contrast level display of the Kindle is still slightly better than the iRiver Story. However the difference is not really great (unlike the difference between the iRiver Story screen vs Cover Story screen). You can only notice when you put the two devices together and compare side by side. The screen of the iRiver is good enough to read books without any discomfort. If you ask me to choose between these two, my answer is undoubtly the iRiver because of its great features. If you have ever used a Kindle, you may already know that you have to convert everything before putting into the device, unless you only read books bought from the Kindle Store. The Kindle can also read pdf, but it’s almost useless because you have to pan crazily through the four corners.
The iRiver Story also has an attactive design. The device looks solid and well built, and every curve of it is truly great. The keyboard looks nice and it is easy to press on. It also has many useful dedicated button for some task like zoom or rotate. However its design still has some issue. Firstly, as you can notice right away, is that it is a bit too heavy, especially when compared to the Cover Story. Secondly is the position for the navigation buttons. They are in the lower part of the device, so if you are holding the device on the hand, you will find it pretty difficult to reach your thumbs to that position.
In conclusion, I personally think the iRiver Story is an amazing device. It has an above standard display quality and packed with many great features. You may ask why every reviewer on the Internet doesn’t recommend this? I’m not sure either, but as I have seen some of them, seems to be the most criticized point of the iRiver is that “It’s much more expensive than the Kindle”. I don’t know, but I can get this one for only £99 from WHSmith.co.uk, while the Amazon Kindle costs me £111 from Amazon.co.uk so the iRiver is a much better choice. Of course for those who only read books purchased from Kindle Store then they should go with the Kindle. Every other, those who read PDF, those who read comic books, those who read other file formats, you can’t go wrong with the iRiver Story. And again, if display quality is not much of your problem, then I still recommend you go with the Cover Story, an even better device and also smaller and lighter.
To conclude, here is the pros and cons of the device:
- It has many great features of the iRiver Cover Story, including:
- Great PDF viewing with region zoom and text reflow functions
- Support most file format (including EPUB, PDF, DOC…)
- Read comic from zip files
- Good sound quality
- Good display quality
- Looks nice 🙂
- Affordable price
- Again, some disadvantages like the Cover Story
- Not support PRC file format
- Bad button layout
- A bit heavy
- Some features can be improved (as they are already in the Cover Story)
Some of you may ask, why I only review this great device now? Firstly, because I’ve just got my hands on this one. Secondly, I hope you will get an overview of what the iRiver Story can do. I may want to inform you that iRiver has just released their iRiver HD, which is basically an iRiver Story with a better screen (16 contrast level – the same as the Kindle 3, and 1024 x 768 resolution – which is better than every other eReader’s 800×600 screen resolution out there ) and Goole eBook integration. I haven’t tried the iRiver HD so I really don’t know about its features, but I bet it will be (at least) just as great as this one. And it only costs you about £120, so I think it’s a fair choice. Please have the iRiver HD in your consideration too.
That’s all for now. Below are some pictures of my iRiver Story and also a video review too. If you have questions just comment right on this page. Thanks for reading.