The Story HD supports the EPUB, PDF, TXT, FB2, and DJVU e-book formats, and the Office Viewer supports PPT, PPTX, XLS, XLSX, DOC, DOCX, and HWP file formats. There's no audio support of any kind, and while there's a hidden Web browser, Iriver hasn't chosen to surface it at launch so we're not going to review its performance.
As with virtually all EPUB-compatible readers, the Story HD supports free library e-book lending via the Adobe Digital Editions software (also free). It's a straightforward drag-and-drop process detailed below (the video uses the Nook, but the process is identical for the Iriver.)
As we said, our reading experience on the Story HD was good. Text looked sharp and well saturated and we had no trouble logging into the Google eBookstore with an existing Google account (Gmail) and downloading some free e-books. We also added some non-DRM EPUB files by transferring them to the device via a computer. They showed up in our library and opened fine.
We could spend more time nitpicking missing features like the lack of annotation capabilities (highlighting, note taking) or the limited lending capabilities and social-networking hooks that the Kindle and Nook offer. But as far as the core reading experience goes, as we said, the Iriver Story HD did a perfectly good job.
But aside from the small advantage of more-detailed images and slightly crisper text than the higher-resolution display delivers, there just isn't anything else that would make us tell you to go out and buy this e-ink reader over the Nook or Kindle. Of course, if you're someone who plans on viewing a lot of textbooks, cookbooks, or PDF files that have a lot of images and illustrations embedded in them, the Story HD might be worth stronger consideration. (Remember, however, that this is very much a monochrome device).
Likewise, if you already own an iPad or Android tablet (or an iPhone or Android phone), remember that you can already access Google Books via a free app.
Now, if the Iriver Story HD cost $99, things would get a lot more interesting. But it doesn't (not yet, anyway), so it's hard to recommend. That doesn't mean it's not a relatively well-designed e-reader that we actually liked in a lot of ways. But the competition has become pretty fierce in the e-reader arena, and while the Iriver HD Story measures up in many respects, it falls short in others.