A new Story


The Cover Story e-book reader is a little pricey but it’s rich in features.

By ZAM KARIM intech@thestar.com.my

IRIVER’S latest e-Book reader model, the Cover Story, has exciting new features like a capacitive touchscreen and a detachable cover to protect the screen from smudges and ­scratches.

The touchscreen makes ­navigation much easier and ­intuitive, ­something that the ­previous model, called just Story, lacked.

Nice fit

The Cover Story retains the 6in monochrome display with eight-gradation of grey and a resolution of 600 x 800-pixels.

The device is also smaller and lighter because the keyboard has been left out in favour of a virtual one.

The Cover Story measures just 126 x 162.8 x 9.5mm in size and tips the scale at 239g. It is about the size of a paperback book, which makes it easy to hold and use for long hours.

The device is only available in white but, thankfully, you get more choices with the cover.

Currently, you can pick several colours such as silver, green, pink, red, white and black. In the near feature, the ­company plans to ­introduce even more decorative ones.

The detachable cover clings to the device firmly to the front because it’s magnetic. When using the device, the cover can be attached to the back, so that you don’t misplace it.

Instead of page turn buttons like those found in the previous model, the Cover Story has the a ­multifunction bar next to the screen for flipping pages. The bar is also used to access the Home and Back ­functions.

You can flip back or to turn to the next page by tapping on the left and right side respectively.

Flipping pages using the ­touchscreen is much easier than using the physical buttons on the previous model because it was ­rather hard to press.

The device also has an earphone jack, USB port, and SD card slot.

Pocket library

The Cover Story has the same basic specifications as the original e-Book ­reader and supports EPUB, FB2, PDF, TXT and DJVU formats for reading books.

It can also view Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint files.

Although it only has a ­monochrome display, it can also be used to view images and it supports formats like JPEG, PNG, GIF and BMP formats. This is handy for viewing, say, comics.

You can also listen to your favourite music while reading books. It will play formats such as MP3, WMA and OGG audio files. On top of that, it can also record audio in MP3 format.

The audio player and recording function worked without a hitch.

The Cover Story has 2GB of built-in memory which should be more than enough to store your e-Book collections.

Two gigabyte will allow you to store about 1,500 e-books.

If that’s too little for you then you can always expand the storage using the memory card slot which supports memory sizes up to 32GB.

Transferring files to and from the Cover Story is a ­straightforward, drag-and-drop affair.

Nifty interface

The interface has also been improved. The Cover Story has a cleaner interface with large icons indicating their functions clearly.

The memo function has also been updated with an extra feature — you can now draw or scribble text on the screen. There is also a stylus tucked neatly at the top which makes scribbling and tapping on the screen more precise.

A virtual keyboard is also ­available which is better if you have to type long sentences.

Just like its sibling, the Cover Story does not have backlight so users need to read in brightly lit areas.

Also, the Cover Story is a little slow and there seems to be a lag when flipping through the pages of a book or accessing the device’s other functions.

You can always pick up where you left off because the device ­automatically saves the location. You can also add bookmarks and annotations.

What sets it apart from the ­previous model is that the Cover Story has a built-in English Oxford Learner’s Advanced Dictionary which allows users to find the ­meaning of a word on the fly. Simply tap a word and hold for a bit and the definition will pop up.

In terms of battery life, the company rated the device to last up to 11,000 page turns on a single charge. Of course, listening to music or recording audio will shorten the battery life.

Conclusion

The Cover Story is supposed to complement and not replace the previous model, the Story.

But having tested both models, we find the Cover Story to be a notch above the older model in almost all areas. It has more features and offers a more ­pleasant reading experience.

The touchscreen makes it easier to flip pages and the built-in dictionary is really handy.

About the only thing that will stop book lovers from buying this device is the hefty price tag. At RM1,199, the Cover Story is a tad too expensive.

Overall, the Cover Story is a great gadget with a lot of helpful features. Don’t give it a miss if you are looking for an e-book reader.

Pros: Touchscreen; cleaner user interface; various coloured-cover to protect the display; more compact; supports various formats; built-in accelerator; long battery life; plays music and records audio.

Cons: A bit laggy; pricey.

COVER STORY

(iriver Inc)

E-Book reader with touchscreen

DISPLAY:6in capacitive display with E-Ink technology (800 x 600-pixels) Other Features: Voice recorder, MP3 player, built-in accelerator, memo function, dictionary

Dimensions (W x D xH): 162.8 X 126 X 9.5mm

Weight: 239g

Price: RM1,199

Users’ Rating: 4 stars

Review unit courtesy of iriver (M) Sdn Bhd, (04) 226-0139

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