Monday, October 24, 2011

iRiver Story HD reader, short review

One out of five stars
European buyers beware.  

Sorry, The iRiver Story HD reader is one of the lamest purchases I've ever made. I'd been looking forward to getting a Google Book Store dedicated reader (got interested here), but...

Apart from the very nice 16-tone high rez screen (which Amazon should have looked at) (black on grey like other e-ink screens, but sharper), it's clunky. The design and interface are just not good, see this review. One example: an Enter button should be large and clearly set off from other buttons. And preferably it should be set in the middle between the four-way controller (making it a five-way controller), not off to the side. This kind of thing really should be obvious.

But what kills me is:
1) In Europe/UK, the price is twice what it is in the US. (200 Euros/$280 versus $140.
2) And for what? For half the functionality. I spent so much time trying to find out why the durn thing couldn't connect to the Google ebook Store like I'd read about. Then I started suspecting that the functionality had been removed. And it has! It doesn't even have any wifi system at all! And this is despite Google eBook Store actually now having a UK department.

It won't even read ebooks that I've bought on the UK Google Store site and side-loaded onto the device. The files don't even show up in the booklist on the device. (I'm beginning to suspect that only Kindle and iPad will let us buy books outside the US.)

I tried side-loading a bunch of different PDF and ePub documents to the Story: not so joyful, in three out of four cases I just got: "can't open document".

In short about the iRiver Story HD:
US customers: read some reviews, it might be for you or not.
European customers: avoid. It's twice the price, for a crippled product with interface problems..


Timo Lehtinen said...

I saw this in a store today. What a magnificent screen! Not just ”like a paper”, but heck it looks better than most papers. The HD resolution allows for marvelous halftoning.

Too bad the device is not that good in other respects, like you say.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Yes, the tones are really beautiful.

And it's amazing they can make this high resolution with little moving plastic balls! I would never have thought that could be controlled precisely.