iRiver Story HD


An eReader at a good price

Last December, Google sent into the world their first commercial eBookstore. Saying that all of the included books could be read by users via many gadgets. Like eReaders made by other manufacturers, smartphones and tablets. Many thought that such an offering wasn’t really necessary to push a new gadget to the already over-saturated market. Even so, the $139 iriver Story HD, basically an eReader tied into Google’s store, means – in theory – easier loading, buying and reading ebooks. In this review we prepared we’ll see if this is all true or just a blatant lie.

D-pad included

The iRiver Story HD can easily be compared to the Kindle 3G once you look at it. These two devices share almost the same dimensions. While our gadget is 7.5″ x 5.0″ x 0.37″, the Kindle one is 7.5″ x 4.8″ x 0.34″. These product both feature a keyboard of the physical type. But, comparing the weight of this model to that of the Kindle 3G, we spotted two distinctive measures: 7.3 ounces for the iRiver Story HD and 8.7 for the other model.

The looks of the – white spiced with tan/amber accents – gadget we’re reviewing are not really that enticing. Sure, they may be different than the majority of tablets. But that’s not always a good thing. Because, for example, the turn keys are, in this case, do not surround the device’s screen. They don’t even flank the gadget itself. What is placed between the keyboard and the display is a flip bar of 2″. Its possibilities are endless: it is able to become a D-pad to help users navigate the interface, it can turn an ebook’s pages and so on. The one thing this bar cannot do: it can’t help you hold the gadget with only one hand. The arrow buttons aren’t located in a comfortable place.iRiver-Story-HD

6-inch E-Ink display

On its bottoms sits a miniUSB port. It gives off the sensation of not preserving the general line. Located on the right is one SD card slot. Internal memory is 2GB.

The keyboard of the Story HD isn’t featured with large buttons. But with small and not that well-spaced ones. And they aren’t round. Tactile feedback was, when we looked for it in tests, decent. A con we couldn’t overlook was the fact that text sitting above the buttons is generally really small. We use glasses, so we aren’t really bugged about that. But if your eyesight is poor, don’t buy this tablet.

The pro that will win many hearts is the 6″ E Ink display. The 768 x 1024 pixels of resolution are beyond awesome. Other tablets sport only 600 x 800 pixels. The advantage of Story HD’s better resolution: extra crisp fonts. We could read text which was very small without a problem. Colors were very sharp. Moving the device around in the sun won’t affect its readability.

Another con: font choices aren’t many. But the upside is that the tablet offers 8 text sizes.

Difficult interface

The sort of interface that’s inside the tablet is no tough egg to crack. But as simple and clean as it is, the UI comes with not that intuitive hardware keys. The library is displayed rather poorly. There is no shelf theme and even no book cover for any of the books. The Google eBookstore is very easy to access. The shopping experience is extremely simple. But you’ll be given only top sellers. You don’t have access to product analisys, because there are no tests.

The gadget’s 800-MHz Freescale i.MX508 CPU offered a so-and-so performance. At times it was fast, at others not so much. The types of formats that are supported: PPT/PPTX, DOC/DOCX, XLS/XLSX and HWP. PDF docs can also be read.

Review conclusion

The iRiver Story HD is a mixed eReader. It will both amaze and leave you disappointed.