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Old 04-18-2010, 04:57 AM   #1
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Question Sony or iRiver?

Greeting, everyone! New to the forums here.

I was wondering if you guys could help me make a decision between which e-reader to buy. I've read names of e-readers on these forums that I've never heard of, names that are globally known, and everything in between. In my part of the world, however, the choice of e-readers is quite limited. Very, in fact. To the point where my decision is really between the Sony Reader Touch (i.e. PRS-600) and the iRiver Story. Well, there is another, from some Hong Kong-based company called JoinTech. Apart from the attractive pricing, though, I don't see anything particularly impressive about it, and so have all but dismissed it from consideration.

My sole purpose in using the device would be to read novels. No textbooks, reference books, newspapers etc. for me. Just novels. So PDF/Doc/txt handling ability is not a major concern. Further, most eBook stores are not available here either, so my purchases would come from WH Smith (the only eBook store I could find that I can purchase from).

Here are some of thoughts from what I've read about these two devices:

* Design - I personally like the look of the Sony; it's cleaner, and isn't crowded with a whole bunch of keys. The iPond looks okay, but I could do without the keypad, since I don't need note-taking, etc.

* Interface - I like the ability to control the Sony through touch, although I understand this comes at cost of glare/contrast. How much of an issue are those, though? I don't intend on reading in direct sunlight, so that's okay. Is the glare annoying indoors, too? What about the contrast? Is it poor only when compared to, say, a Kindle, or is it quite poor in and of itself? How does it compare to the iLake?

* Dictionary - Every once in a while, I would come across a word in a novel that I'm not completely sure of. While I could just look it up in an actual dictionary -- or even Google it -- it would be nice if I could look it up in the device. From what I've read here, it seems the iSea only has English-Korean. Any word on if an English-English dictionary would be available soon?

* Organising - Which of these two devices has a better (i.e. cleaner, more user-friendly, easier to customise) way of managing your collection?

Any one have any thoughts on the matter? I'm currently leaning towards the iOcean, mainly because it's available here for US$100+ cheaper than the Sony. But does the Sony have enough advantages to offset the difference? Specially considering it's a more established brand, and will likely have superior tech support, and might be more reliable.

Thanks in advance, and sorry about the long post...

Last edited by afa; 04-18-2010 at 05:01 AM.
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Old 04-18-2010, 07:38 PM   #2
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I own an iRiver Story. I haven't played with Sony's reader, so I can't comment on it. I've heard good things about it though, particularly the 505 series.

Personally, I wouldn't recommend iRiver's Story to a friend. Too many issues. But that's just me.
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:48 PM   #3
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May I ask what issues, exactly?
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Old 04-19-2010, 12:32 AM   #4
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Maybe you could check on my ID for my other posts in this forum relating to iRiver?

In any case, it's my opinion that it'd be better to get a popular ereader that many are using (kindle/sony/nook etc), primarily because any bugs with the firmware will be quickly discovered and reported to the company, and requests for new functions are more likely to be taken seriously.

Why did I purchase the Story then? Well that was about the only ebook reader I could buy in store in my country then, and Amazon and B&N wouldn't ship to where I live (and still won't). And it did look like a Kindle.
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Old 04-19-2010, 01:03 AM   #5
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Hmm iriver Story's price almost 300 USD and there is no wireless on it. I think Sony e-reader is more interesting choice since Sony has dropped their e-book reader price. But Almost the same price as Sony e-reader, If I were you I will consider Kindle 2 global wireless because it has free 3G global wireless and it is very convenience.
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Old 04-19-2010, 01:17 AM   #6
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Hi Afa,

I'd go for whichever device that you can find at a store in your area, and which you can actually hold and try before you buy. I'd also try and find out what the local support for a device would be if you did have any problems.

The readers I've seen have all been relative so-so for the price. The displays were all pretty much the usual grey on grey. They also all seem to have some restrictions regarding formats. I have an iRiver Story and it seems no better or worse than anything else I've tried. Adding books is a simple matter of hooking it up to the main computer via USB and dragging and dropping. The epub books at WH Smith should work fine on it, but of course the Kindle format stuff direct from Amazon won't.

We've had no 'issues' with ours at all, but it's only used for my wife to read novels. Some are DRM free, and others are protected, but they have all worked as expected. I have a broader requirement, so the netbook/tablet style of small computer suits me best, but my wife is happy with the iStream. As far as I can recall, there is no built in iBabble dictionary, but you could presumably add one as another book. I expect there's some free or cheap ones out there,

Good luck with your choice.

Cheers,

Chris

EDIT: I do seem to remember that I did do an online 'update' on the machine after I bought it, but it wasn't because I struck a particular problem. It's just the standard thing I do with any new gadget - check for any updates.

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Old 04-19-2010, 01:59 AM   #7
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First of all, thanks for the answers.

@greenapple,
Well, from what I can see in your threads, you've had problems with DOC and fonts. Documents I don't care about, since I won't be using it for that. Fonts would be annoying. Has any firmware upgrade resolved your problem, or are you still facing this issue? And does it affect only a few books, or is it widespread?

@tablettweet,
Personally, I would've just gone ahead and bought the Kindle, but the problem is it's not available in this part of the world*. As for the price, the US prices are different from here. Electronics are frequently more expensive here because they have to be imported, plus their mark-up etc. The Sony Touch over here costs the equivalent of $430; the iRiver is about $300.

@ChrisC333,
Yeah, the support issue is the main reason I'm hesitating to buy the Story. Sony, obviously, have a significant presence here, but I'm not sure about iRiver.


* - I live in Dubai.
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Old 04-19-2010, 12:58 PM   #8
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Well I am onto 2nd or 3rd Sony reader . MY sony touch went back to the Manufacturer with some problems . I find the Sony is slower turner pages than the Iriver and the battery life is certainly not 7000 pages. Iriver is clearer to read on .
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Old 04-19-2010, 01:00 PM   #9
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I actually saw the new Elones today at the London Book fair its going to have colour one and should be out in the next couple of weeks and priced at £99.00 and its going to have internet access
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Old 04-19-2010, 01:12 PM   #10
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I'm pretty satisfied with either, my Sony PRS505 and 600. The 600's dictionary is really useful. I didn't have a preference for the Sonys, but this is the only brand directly available in stores here. I've read about the Iriver, and its mp3 player obviously seems to be really great (ok, this is not the main usage and Iriver is known for its mp3 players, so no wonder here). I would have loved to see the Iriver as I like its clear design, but I think in functionality, the 600 from Sony seems more versatile and stable. In terms of readability, I think the Iriver compares to the 505. If you don't like a touch layer over your display, the 600 isn't for you. It has its known trade offs, but I just loved the pdf functionality.

As from what I can read in your initial post, I think the Iriver should be more than ok. Looking at the price point, it seems to me that this is a no brainer, unless you like Sonys design better. In terms of "just" reading novels and such, I think you could use any reader, so I would jump at the lowest price.
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Old 04-20-2010, 06:49 AM   #11
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Thanks for the input, Mike.

Okay, one little caveat. I just found out that one of our local electronics stores also sells the Sony Reader Pocket Edition (i.e. PRS-300). Additionally, it retails for virtually the same price as the iRiver.

So now it becomes a lot more interesting, since price is no longer an advantage. Any advice on the choice now?

iRiver Story or PRS-300? I'm guessing the Sony, right?
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Old 04-20-2010, 08:42 AM   #12
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If you look at the feature list, the Iriver will bring more to the table. The 300 from Sony doesn't have touch (neither fingers nor stylus), no memory expansion (which wouldn't be a problem with novels primarily as these are small files) and it is smaller (5" instead of 6").
On the other side, the 300 brings better portability and as far as I hear, its display is like the 505 which I loved. In terms of later development or hacks, I would probably tend to the Sony. But I would also love to see an Iriver in real life. It's the same with sports cars. I would love to test drive one, but I don't really need or have the use for one.

So if you compare functionality, I think you have to compare the Iriver with the 600. In this case, I think the 600 is the more finished product.
If you look at it from a "I-only-want-to-read-novels"-point of view, you can compare the iriver with the 300, too.

Actually, if the Iriver has more features than the 300, a similar price and you still think you only want to read books, I would probably go with the Iriver. You never know if you have some use for the additional features later. Usually I like the idea of getting more features for the same money, if quality is not an issue.

I haven't read all Iriver threads here, but what I read so far, for reading only it seems ok. And maybe there'll be some more FW updates later.
Creative (one of my older mp3-players) updated the FW every 3 months in the beginning to get all the bugs out. After some time the FW updates got less, but by then, the mp3-player was a solid and stable as any other player.

Sorry if I don't get more specific in recommending a device. But I really think it strongly depends on your personal preferences and usage.

Ok, long post. I hope I could help making your decision a little easier anyways.

Take care
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Old 04-21-2010, 01:33 AM   #13
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Thanks, Mike. You have been very helpful.


P.S. - Just thought I'd mention, though, that the iRiver Story doesn't have touch input, either. But yeah, expandable memory and a larger screen is always helpful.
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Old 04-21-2010, 03:48 AM   #14
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Ok, I just checked and the Iriver really doesn't have touch. But ok, it has a keyboard instead. Well, that leaves the better display compared to the 600 with its touch layer.

So I think we've cut it down to the Story or the 300. Like I stated before, I would go for the Story, but that may be because I already own 2 Sonys.
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Old 04-21-2010, 02:29 PM   #15
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Support for iriver

Hi Afa,
I'm new to these forums, but thought I might have a bit of information here that may be useful to you.

I'm currently considering buying a Story myself. I have another iriver device - the B30, which is an iPod-sized MP3 player and digital radio - and there is a local company that provides free support for iriver products. They're called C.R. Kennedy, and they have local phone numbers for support in all capital cities of Australia. You can find their contact details on the website, which is at www.iriver.com.au

If you do go to their website, and look up the Story, you'll see that iriver has just released a firmware update for the Story, which introduces a few new features and some updates, as well as the Story now supporting the DJVU format as well. (If you haven't come across it before, it's a compressed image format that is used a lot for documents that include graphics like charts and diagrams, so for those people who want to have a reader so they don't have to lug textbooks and suchlike around, this is very welcome. Far as I can see, none of the other readers available in Oz -- including the Sony and the blasted Kindle -- support this format.)

I know you said you only want a device to read novels with -- to be honest, that's pretty much what I want mine for, as well -- but I still think it's worth considering your needs carefully before laying down your money and leaving as many future options open as you can. I personally like the support the Story gives to reflowable formats like DOC and ePub, because I've read it doesn't reflow PDFs -- so you're stuck with either reading them at the size and shape they were formatted for, or else zooming and manually panning all over the page, which is pretty clumsy. And I've read the Story does some inscrutable things with displaying TXT files -- breaking lines of text mid-screen for no apparent reason, or hyphenating some words weirdly and other words not at all. (And I'm a bit puzzled that neither the Story nor the Sony reads HTML files.)

For me, some down sides to the Story are that it has no touchscreen, and so has to do everything via its buttons -- though that may not be such a bad thing, to be honest, because the touch screen on the iriver B30 is actually a bit bodgy and often misreads your actions -- and I don't actually understand why it gives so much space over to a full keyboard, since it seems, from the features the Story provides, it will go virtually unused. From the reviews I've read, the Story doesn't let you annotate text or add custom bookmarks to files; there's an option to make notes in a separate notepad app, but not connect it with anything. Not having a touch screen means the screen surface can be far more friendly -- no glare or reflections -- but it also means that there's no backlight, so while you can reportedly read it in the full glare of sunshine, it's useless in low-light situations. (I'm looking for something I can read in bed, as well!)

Either one, the Sony or the iriver, is (I think) simply too expensive. But it's not going to get any better. Sadly, I'm suspecting the whole eBook Reader class of devices is going to get bypassed in technical development; most people don't want to actually read anything, they want to be distracted by Flash animations and celebutantes Tweeting pointless opinions on things. Readers and the like are always going to be overpriced, until they simply get discontinued because tablet computers have dissipated their markets.

I'm edging towards the iriver, myself, but that's partly because I simply prefer the look of it, and partly because I often tend to go for what I perceive as the underdog (my first, and still favourite, computer was an Amiga). The main reason I haven't dived in yet, is simply that ... well, it's a bloody expensive way to read books.
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