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Old 10-19-2010, 07:02 PM   #1
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Review of the Story

Maybe of parenthetical interest:

The magazine I subedit is doing a short-and-sweet review of eReaders in its coming edition. It reviewed four -- the Story, the Kindle, and two Sony models (it's of necessity concentrating on devices available here in Australia). For whatever reason, it didn't include the Kobo. And strictly speaking the Sony ones aren't available here yet, but they will be by the end of the year.

I always find these sorts of articles a mixed bag. The mag is primarily IT focused, and so the reviews were written by a bloke who looked at the readers as electronic gadgets but has no real experience of using them as readers.

The results were fairly predictable. The Kindle got a score of 6/6 (largely because of the Pearl screen) and a "Recommended" flag. The two Sonys got 5/6 each (largely, it would seem, because they're Sony, and gadget-reviewing journos seem as subservient and beholden to Sony as purely IT ones used to be to Microsoft back when Word was fighting WordPerfect for dominance on the new Windows environment). The reviewer generally liked the Story but felt the screen didn't have as much contrast as the Kindle; it was a generally positive review, but then for no clear reason he scored the Story 4/6. (Not surprising, if only because reviewers usually mark harder on the one without the commercial brand recognition.)

I felt the article was flawed because it didn't look at things like breadth of formats supported and avenues for sourcing software (a limitation for the Kindle, I feel, especially with geographic restrictions severely whittling down the range of books available to Aussies), and I flagged it as such to the Editor, but it's late in the production schedule so I doubt they're going to consider rewriting it now. But I think those things are relevant to someone who's going to actually want to use these devices, as opposed to a curious gadget geek.

Anyway. I'm pleased to see that the Story is at least getting acknowledged along with the "big guns".
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Old 10-20-2010, 01:01 PM   #2
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...I'm pleased to see that the Story is at least getting acknowledged along with the "big guns"...
Any publicity is better than no publicity at all. I'm glad, too, there actually is reviews at all. Story actually got quite nice points, after all.

Can you tell, what is the name of the magazine this is / will be published on?
I'd like to read it myself too. There is so little about Story published, me thinks...
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:54 PM   #3
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Hi hernep,
It's an Australian publication called PC Authority. A lot of its reviews and articles are posted on its website, so you may be able to find the review there sometime soon.
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Old 10-21-2010, 08:10 AM   #4
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Thank you, MacEachaidh! I will look for it.
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Old 04-25-2011, 05:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacEachaidh View Post
Maybe of parenthetical interest:

The magazine I subedit is doing a short-and-sweet review of eReaders in its coming edition. It reviewed four -- the Story, the Kindle, and two Sony models (it's of necessity concentrating on devices available here in Australia). For whatever reason, it didn't include the Kobo. And strictly speaking the Sony ones aren't available here yet, but they will be by the end of the year.

I always find these sorts of articles a mixed bag. The mag is primarily IT focused, and so the reviews were written by a bloke who looked at the readers as electronic gadgets but has no real experience of using them as readers.

The results were fairly predictable. The Kindle got a score of 6/6 (largely because of the Pearl screen) and a "Recommended" flag. The two Sonys got 5/6 each (largely, it would seem, because they're Sony, and gadget-reviewing journos seem as subservient and beholden to Sony as purely IT ones used to be to Microsoft back when Word was fighting WordPerfect for dominance on the new Windows environment). The reviewer generally liked the Story but felt the screen didn't have as much contrast as the Kindle; it was a generally positive review, but then for no clear reason he scored the Story 4/6. (Not surprising, if only because reviewers usually mark harder on the one without the commercial brand recognition.)

I felt the article was flawed because it didn't look at things like breadth of formats supported and avenues for sourcing software (a limitation for the Kindle, I feel, especially with geographic restrictions severely whittling down the range of books available to Aussies), and I flagged it as such to the Editor, but it's late in the production schedule so I doubt they're going to consider rewriting it now. But I think those things are relevant to someone who's going to actually want to use these devices, as opposed to a curious gadget geek.

Anyway. I'm pleased to see that the Story is at least getting acknowledged along with the "big guns".
With all due respect:
How can you give a reader a 6/6 if the only books you can read with it are the books from their own bookstore...
Is overall usefullness taken into account??
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Old 04-25-2011, 05:34 AM   #6
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Old 04-25-2011, 06:11 AM   #7
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Well, a very pertinent question to choose for your first post, Monomatapa! Welcome to MR.

For what it's worth, I agree with you. I have very little influence on the opinions of the reviews, and the mag does err on the side of not buying into issues that it sees as clannish or faddish. I think it was purely technical aspects - the quality of the display, the build of the unit, the wireless and 3G connectivity - that won out for the Kindle. Even in just the short time since that comparison was written, the landscape has changed considerably (I'm referring specifically to Australia, but it's probably also true more broadly) in terms of features on offer.

I definitely agree with your point, myself. The Kindle - however good it might be technically - is still a loss-leader gambit for a single merchant that sells goods exclusively in a proprietary format. The market needs to be far more open than that, and I personally feel more open devices should be getting the nod in reviews.
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Old 04-25-2011, 02:04 PM   #8
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How can you give a reader a 6/6 if the only books you can read with it are the books from their own bookstore...
I'm not a fan of any piece of hardware that tries to tie you in to their own products, however I believe that Project Gutenberg will allow you to download any of their books in KIndle format.

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Old 04-25-2011, 02:56 PM   #9
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As does the http://www.mobileread.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=132 here on the forums. We have books in all formats.

Also you can buy books for the Kindle at Smashwords for example and a couple of other stores.
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Old 05-21-2011, 07:19 PM   #10
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But the Sony's such a nicely engineered piece of kit compared to all those tat plastic jobs !

And I have finally given in to temptation & ordered a 350.

I know......but it's only money, innit................

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Old 05-22-2011, 01:55 AM   #11
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I've looked enviously at the Sony myself, carpetmojo.

My iRiver Story is only a year old, but already I think it's growing frail (with an ever-shortening battery life, and reasonably frequently locking up on booting. After only a year? How does that happen with solid-state electronics?! I definitely haven't amortised the hefty purchase cost with the amount of reading I've done.) Of what's on the market at the moment, when my Story dies I'll probably look to Sony.

But - here in Australia, at least - the Sony readers are out of stock even at Sony, and it's apparently responded to enquiries that it won't have any more until at least September. Production rates have been heavily damaged by the awful situation in northern Japan, and Australia isn't exactly high in Sony's global priorities.
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Old 05-22-2011, 09:02 AM   #12
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@MacEachaidh

I upgraded my EB02 story to the 1.86 firmware and have noticed an increase in speed and apparent battery life, and a decrease in the number of re-boots. Maybe a firmware update will freshen things up a bit.

Please note that these apparent changes are anecdotal and not empirical.

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Old 05-22-2011, 09:18 AM   #13
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Hi samac,
I've got an EB01, I think. Isn't the EB02 the wireless-enabled version? iRiver told me quite emphatically not to take the original Story past the 1.7x (3 0r 5 or 6, I can't recall which at the moment).

But if this is not the case, I'd be very happy to hear.

About the fading battery life: I've read frequently of late that the iRivers - every model - have only a limited physical life, moreso than many other brands. It's partly because iRiver uses ... well, let's just say, not top-of-the-line components ... in their assembly. I gather it's iRiver's "strategy" as a company that it doesn't continue support or development of any its devices (both eReaders and PMPs) past about 12 months; that maybe guarantees the company a revenue flow, but the cost is large to its customers, and it also means none of the devices have exactly robust software to run from. It's that sort of predatory tactic in the company that means I'll be looking to a different brand for a replacement when this one dies.
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Old 05-22-2011, 09:32 AM   #14
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For what it's worth if I were in your shoes I'd go for a Kindle. They replace their units at the slightest whim of their customers and you are used to that interface.

Sonys are great, but expensive. And in case you ever need CS, you are fu**ed up. It is a rare case one needs to have a Sony fixed, but if you do, you are on your own.

For me they are well worth the money as they are built like battle ships and I love the touchscreen. It gives me a most natural reading experience.

For those who have/want to watch their Dollar, a Kindle is best.
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Old 05-22-2011, 09:50 AM   #15
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Hi Poppaea,
When I bought my Story, the Sonys weren't really in contention, because sony wasn't distributing them in this country (Australia). CS is an issue with most companies, but I didn't want to wade into a situation where I'd have to be sending it off-shore for repairs or replacement. And to add to that, I was wary of the screens - I prefer an e-ink to a TFT. I know that TFTs can be read in low light (thumbs up), but they tend to give me eye-strain (two thumbs down).

I've considered a Kindle, but I dunno, I'm not convinced. And all my books are in ePub, not MOBI.
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