Sunday, October 9, 2011

Review: iRiver Story HD offers simplicity, stays true to what you want to do most

The iRiver Story HD first appeared in retail outlets earlier this summer hoping to take a bite out of the eBook reading device market. It’s an intriguing eBook reader that has a few tricks up its sleeve to entice buyers that are looking for a simple gadget.Simple is sort of an understatement in describing the ease of use for the Story HD. The interface is, for the most part, just the availability of your content with a few other options, such as turning off the Wi-Fi or accessing the Google eBookstore. Yes, you read that right, the Story HD is the first eReader to be fully integrated with Google eBooks.

The Story HD is light, 7.3 ounces, and comfortable for reading one handed. Equipped with a 38 button QWERTY keyboard, you can quickly search for transferred titles on your device. However I have to admit that the keyboard seems a little excessive and I rarely used it. The buttons I used the most were a long silver button, ‘Home’, ‘Back’, ‘Enter’, ‘Option’, and the four arrows in the bottom right corner. Instinctively, I used the long silver button centered under the screen to maneuver through the titles I had in the library. Select a title by clicking the ‘Enter’ button and the eBook opens.
By now, you are probably wondering, what’s HD about the iRiver Story HD? Well it actually does have to do with image quality; however, it’s not at 1080p. The image quality is crisp and is the biggest selling feature of this device. The Story HD utilizes XGA e-Ink on a 16-grayscale display. Other devices are currently using SVGA e-Ink screens. The difference is in the number of pixels. SVGA has a resolution of 600×800, which is the industry standard, where XGA has 768×1024. That’s a pretty significant difference.
Over the years I’ve read complaints about the lag time between page turns on e-Ink devices. iRiver has worked to improve that lag time and the Story HD delivers on this particular aspect. Built with an 800MHz Cortex CPU, readers will experience snappy page turns while reading.
Another common question that comes up when consumers are researching eReaders is how much storage space is available. The Story HD has 2GB of built in memory space and an SD slot for expanding up to 32GB. That is plenty of space for the average reader. The average reader can also expect about 6 weeks of battery life per charge. That seems to be pretty typical for this type of device.
At $139, it’s priced fairly compared to the competition. Overall, the iRiver Story HD is a nice little device if you are looking for a simple eBook reader…particularly for anyone that may be intimidated by tablets or eBook readers that have a lot of bells and whistles. The Story HD really does stay true to those that want to read. For your ebooks be sure to check out our eMedia Catalog.

By Megan Greer, an account specialist for OverDrive.

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