Ebook readers

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iriver Story HD Review

iriver Story HD

Reviewer: Stephen Qualtrough
Developer: iriver
Ranked: 9th
Overall rating:
Price: Free

Review summary

Good points

 High resolution screen

 Google books integration

 Fast loading speeds

 Long battery life

Bad points

 Unattractive keypad and look

 No audio

 No annotation

 Only Wi-fi

Our verdict

The iRiver Story HD is a sturdy e-reader, the insides of the device seem to all be above average, but with lacklustre software features and an ugly design, it does make one question if it can step up against the likes of the Kindle 3G.

Full review

The iRiver Story received a Wi-fi upgrade in 2010 and has since tried to compete against the Nook and Kindle and with quite powerful hardware features, it is capable of outperforming both in some areas. It just seems Amazon and Barnes & Noble, the developers of the Kindle and the Nook, were capable of adding more software and polishing their e-readers with a more desirable design.


A coffee-coloured anything never really goes down well, it reminds us too much of the awful 80’s sofas that used to be a fantasy back in the day, and are now seen sitting lonely in a car-boot sale for next to nothing. This is what the design screams at us, ugly and unwanted.

Of course, if you’re into the coffee coloured exterior with the orange-lit up interior looking something like the buttons on an elevator, then this will be right up your street.

The build is sturdy though and could probably survive a few drops to the floor. The keys aren’t that easy to touch, since they’ve been modelled in an odd pill-like shape.

The HD display is something the iRiver Story tries to idolise is the reason you should purchase their e-reader – even though text is more crisp and images look sharper and more fancy, it’s not a huge difference from the Kindle 3G.

Ease of use

We’ve already stated that the keys aren’t the easiest function to type with; they make the Kindle keyboard look flawless. The designers also decided to add page switch buttons at the bottom, near the keypad, a place which is irritating to get to when holding the e-reader in bed.

Searching doesn’t take that long and the device doesn’t have a huge tendency to fail when you’re looking for something. The device doesn’t have a huge amount of menus to get through either, something we were quite happy with.


Amazingly, this average e-reader managed to get Google to become their platform for books, and become the first e-reader to have Google place their Linux based library onto an e-reader.

This gives the user enough books to last them a lifetime, unless you’re some kind of supercomputer. With 3 million titles, the Google Books store is very fruitful. Surprisingly though, not as fruitful as the Nook or Kindle though, still, you won’t find yourself in a lacklustre library.


Adding Wi-fi was a good start for the e-reader, now we just await there 3G version. Still, Wi-fi is still what most e-readers have and it is accepted that most people don’t take their e-readers out a lot, and if they do, they’re already packed with books for the journey.


Battery life is a pretty odd subject when it comes to e-readers, going from smartphones battery life of around 8 hours average; tablets at the same and laptops at a bit more, then somehow e-readers manage months without a recharge.

This battery can last around one month if you read an average of 30 minutes a day, a bit lower than some others. This will be an effect of the HD display and the fast processing unit.


2GB’s of onboard storage is small, even when the Story was originally released – Kindle now has double this amount and a good storage cycle to delete/store clutter.

That being said, iRiver has a SD Slot for expandable memory – now all you need to do is purchase one of those ancient SD cards.


Running on a Linux based operating system, it isn’t as user friendly as Kindles or Nook’s. That being said, the OS is more open source, for people into developing.

Google’s first partnership with an e-book company is with this e-reader and Google Books runs on the e-reader.

It features a fast Freescale i.MX508 ARM Cortex-A8 processor that can run pretty quickly. Flash still takes the toll for speeds though.


The iRiver Story HD has three compelling features: HD, Google Books and good hardware. But it lacks any real butter to make the system run smoothly and look nice. Realistically, you can do better with the new Kindle for the same price.

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