The iRiver Cover Story is one elegantly designed e-reader from start to finish. Its case is constructed of a heavy-duty, creamy plastic that, contrary to one's expectations of the material, feels smooth and luxurious in the hands. A rounded bezel frames the device, into which are set the power, volume and menu buttons almost flush with the surface.
Feeling further around the edge, a flap conceals the mini-USB port and SD card slot. You'll also find a tiny microphone, audio jack and, on the top of the right edge, a stylus discreetly slots in.
Each Cover Story also comes equipped with a plastic cover. It's slightly magnetised, so it will stick to the front of the device, but come off easily — and, when you're reading, you just slip it over to the back, where the cut-out hole for the button sits neatly over the speaker. You can purchase different coloured covers, but we quite like the uniformity presented by the default cream-coloured one.
The Cover Story is loaded with features. As you might have guessed from the mention of the stylus, it has a resistive touchscreen, and other clues point to audio capabilities. In fact, the Cover Story can both play audio files (great for audio books or music), as well as record audio notes.
The touchscreen opens up a range of capabilities: you can make scribbled notes directly in the text, place bookmarks easily, press and hold on a word to open its dictionary definition, and even open a separate application to make either text or drawn memos.
It also supports a wide range of file types. One we liked is the ZIP support: you can put a zipped file of image files in the comics viewer, and read it like a book, using the page turn button to scroll through the files.
However (and we had this problem with the Cybook Orizon, too), the resistive touch layer, which is laid over the E Ink display, is highly reflective — much more than other e-readers, removing one of the attractions of the display. It is bearable, but can be distracting when reading near a light source.