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Head to Head: iRex DR800S vs iRiver Story

Are ebook readers just for consumers or do they have some valid features to offer business users too? We find out in this head to head review as we compare the iRiver Story and iRex DR800S.

iRiver - Although the iRiver Story can't display RTF files, it does extract any embedded images such as this PNG file of a gr

Although the iRiver Story can't display RTF files, it does extract any embedded images such as this PNG file of a graph.

The Story also favours EPUB files for books, but it can handle a few more file types than the DR800S. As well as PDF (zooming and reflowing allowed), TXT, JPEG, BMP and GIF (but no TIFF), it makes a rudimentary attempt at Word, Excel and PowerPoint files.

iRiver - Media-rich PDFs can be read though it does take a few seconds to turn pages.

Media-rich PDFs can be read though it does take a few seconds to turn pages.

Word files (doc and docx) are shown quickly, but zoom-in and the edges of the page are sometimes lost.

iRIver - Zoom-in on a Word document and the edges of the page are lost.

Zoom-in on a Word document and the edges of the page are lost.

Excel and PowerPoint files (xls/xlsx and ppt/pptx) are slow to load, and zoom only works in portrait mode. Microsoft Office compatibility proves a genuinely useful feature, though the Story is badly hamstrung by its size.

iRIver - Excel files can be displayed but are difficult to read on the six-inch screen

Excel files can be displayed but are difficult to read on the 6in screen. This category is a tough call because although the DR800S can't show as many file types as the Story, those it does handle it presents faster, and with more clarity and PDFs are much easier to read on the bigger screen.

Winner: iRex DR800S

Sound

The Story is able to play MP3, OGG and WMA files an impressive list through either the 0.6W speaker on the unit's reverse, or via headphones.

Not only is it possible to play music while you read, but tracks can be set to repeat and shuffle as well as an EQ (classical, jazz, rock etc.) chosen. There's even some tiny controls on the QWERTY keyboard to skip, pause and search within music files.

Equipped with a tiny microphone, the Story can also record MP3s; that could be useful for business users needing to record an interview or seminar. The files five hours maximum can then be listened to on the device, or transferred to a computer.

The DR800S has no audio dimension.

Winner: iRiver Story

Verdict

The DR800S is a high-end ebook reader designed to cope with large documents, photos and books; it’s a business device and a luxury ebook reader. iRiver’s Story, meanwhile, does much the same as the DR800S, but on a smaller scale. It’s a more basic device designed to entertain, though its (albeit rudimentary) compatibility with Microsoft Office documents and the option for voice recording will appeal to some business users. [[IMG ID="90835f"]] [i] Voice recordings of up to five hours can be made and saved as MP3 files.[/i] Take into account their similar skills and vastly different prices and it’s a close-run contest, but with PDF annotations on the horizon, the bigger, more intuitive, faster and overall more business-orientated DR800S emerges victorious.

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