iriver have been dabbling in the ereader niche for several years now, and the Story Wifi is their second gen device. It’s largely identical to the original Story, and so far as I have been able to tell it has identical hardware (with Wifi added). This ereader was never released in the US, but it was released elsewhere and it is still available in some parts of the world. I wouldn’t recommend that anyone buy it, but since it is on the market it deserves a review.
This ereader was first released in July 2010 (with a retail of over £200), and the original was released in 2009. iriver also released a third ereader in 2011 called the iriver Story HD. You can find its review over.
I found this to be a generally poor ebook reader. The screen refresh was slow when compared to anything else in my collection, and the page turn buttons were placed too low on the device to be comfortable. The overall menu design was awkward and showed a lack of serious thought about how someone might load their own ebooks.
The Wifi is generally useless. All I could use it for was to buy from WHSmith, iriver’s retail partner in the UK. There’s no web browser or anyway to redirect to a different store, so at this point I pretty much don’t have a Wifi equipped device.
- 6″ Vizplex E-ink screen
- 2GB Flash storage
- SD Card slot
- Speakers, headphone jack
- Format support: Epub, PDF, DOC, PPT, XLS, ZIP, JPG, BMP, GIF, and mp3
- Extras: MP3 player, notepad, voice recorder
The iriver Story is a subtle clone of the Kindle 2 in much the same way that the iriver Story HD is a clone of the K3. The dimensions are almost the same, and if you don’t look too carefully you could easily mistake one device for the other. They share a wide bezel around the screen and similarly placed keyboards, but the the resemblance ends there. The Story has a different KB layout, page turn buttons, and iriver improved on the K2 design by moving all the ports and slots to the bottom edge.
It has speakers on the back, and along the lower edge are the SD card slot, USB port, mike, power button, and headphone jack. It is a pretty device, with beveled edges on the backside and a slight ridge around the front edges. The subtle ridge makes it easier to grip with my thumb.
It’s using an unusual dual level menu for the library organization. On the left is a 5 section menu (Books, Comics, My Folder, Bookmark, SD Card). Three of the 5 refer to a specific folder, and the my folder option root directory of the storage. You can use it to find any file in any folder on the Story. On the right is where you’ll see the the sub-folders and ebooks in each of the main folders. Yes, the iriver Story supports directories.
I have to say that I hate the library menu. As someone who has a standard collection of thousands of ebooks, I am pissed that I can only see 7 items at a time. There’s a lot of screen real estate wasted by the Story’s menu layout.
Next, there’s a pop up menu with usual options (recent book, my library, whsmith, music, recordings, memo, diary, and settings). Each should be self explanatory so I won’t cover them here.
The reading app is okay, but it’s missing some basic annotation features. You can add bookmarks but you cannot type notes, add highlights, or look stuff up in a dictionary.There are 3 font sizes,and you can navigate around in a book by jumping to a page, search, or via the TOC.
In addition to the on-device ebookstore and the reading app, the iriver Story Wifi has a basic note taking app, voice recorder (in mp3), diary/calendar and a mp3 player.
The notepad app is okay, but the keyboard isn’t all that great to use so I cannot recommend it as a feature. The diary app is a variation on the notepad, only the entries are organized by day.
The voice recorder offers 3 levels of quality, and the mid and high quality are decent. The mp3 player has decent audio quality in both the speakers and the headphone jack. Unlike most ereaders, the Story has specific buttons on the keyboard for volume, play/pause, and skip. I actually rather like the buttons being there; there’s less fiddling than when they’re on the edge.
It’s more than a little disappointing that the Story doesn’t have a dictionary and you can’t add notes, but the biggest irritation is the slow page turn. It felt like I was back in 2009, and I just don’t see a reason to put up with it.
I was also frustrated by the sleep functions. If you’re reading and you slide the power button, the iriver will go to sleep. But if it sits asleep for too long it will shut down. That happened a lot before I figured out that I could set the timeout to 24 hours. It still sometimes turns itself off but not nearly as often.
I don’t think much of the iriver Story. It’s iriver’s second of 3 unimpressive attempts to release an ereader, and there are any number of better choices on the market. I’d recommend that you look at almost any other ebook reader in the same price range.