Best in class e-book reader?
Review While the price and diversity of e-book readers is still some way off achieving the sort of critical mass that put an MP3 player in nearly pocket, the number of devices appearing on the market is increasing at a healthy rate.
A good read? iRiver’s Story
While not exactly a household name here in the UK, iRiver can usually be relied upon to cook up a quality product that’s a little different from the norm. Entering the e-book reader market with the Story, this all-white device looks a lot like Amazon's Kindle. On more careful inspection its obvious the similarities are simply down to the colour and the presence of a full Qwerty keyboard below the 6in electronic paper screen, rather than any shared heritage.
At 127 x 203.5 x 9.4mm and weighing 284g the Story is par for the e-book reader course. Even if the white plastic case lacks the cool, machined finesse of Sony's aluminium Readers, it still has a solid and substantial feel to it and will only flex or groan when subjected to some pretty severe torque.
The Story is heavily tapered on three sides with only the bottom having a flat surface. This is home to a 3.5mm headphones jack, the on/off switch, mini USB and SD card slots – the latter two being concealed by a plastic flap in typical iRiver style. The SD card slot requires just a little too much in the way of push to get the card to sit. Fine if you have long fingernails, a bit of a pain if you don't.
Like Amazon, iRiver has done a service to both the left and right handed users by duplicating the page turn keys that sit next to the keypad and form part of the fascia on both sides of the unit. For one-handed use though, the page turn keys could have done with being placed a few centimetres nearer the top.
Interfacing includes SD card expansion
The keyboard itself is well designed and built. The keys are well spaced and have a firm and pleasant action making it look and feel a bit like the best keypads from HTC. The majority of the Story's controls sit together in a row above the letter keys, while four arrow keys for navigation along with the Back and Enter keys are grouped together at the bottom right hand corner of the keyboard.
Few points of clarification. You can indeed place multiple bookmarks in multiple books and access them all from the main menu. When you open a book file you have previously accessed the Story opens it at the last open page. The QWERTY keyboard is for entering text into the Memo and Diary applications. Memos can be exported as .txt files if you need to move them off the device.
Memos can be opened or created directly from a book page via the pop-up main menu but they are not 'stuck' to the page as they are with the Sony Reader Touch.
Makes you cry an iRiver?
Ever since my Sony PRS-600 touch died, I've been thinking about a new reader. I found the touch functionality of the Sony Reader not worth the extra cost and many annoying quirks about the menu system and desktop software . But this looks much better. Don't need wireless, but want a good 6 inch screen. Could be my Xmas present this year
You might have been thinking of the Wikipedia reader...
which is probably closer still to the HitchHiker's guide.
However, OpenMoko's device is missing WAN or cell connectivity for realtime updates across the network; It's an offline reader and single purpose, otherwise I would have bought one.
Riddled with bugs
Doesn't work with large books (mine all come O'Reilly Safari). The headings are garbled, then after a couple of page turns the reader hangs and then reboots. Garbage. Mine's going straight back to Amazon. I suggest everyone avoids until they get the software working.