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mintpass mintpad review

Posted by Dark Legion 10/23/2009 ,

The mintpad is dubbed as an all-round multifunctional device - think a miniaturised version of the iPod Touch, Cowon S9 and the Sony X-Series Walkman. But does it match these devices in terms of performance?

Open the box and you’re greeted with a minuscule device sporting a 2.86-inch TFT LCD touch screen. Looks wise, the mintpad isn’t the most stunning piece of kit- but is distinct enough to warrant attention and will no doubt attract some admiring glances if you pull it out on the train or in the office.

The overall dimensions of the device are 78.2mm x 63.8mm x 15.2mm so it will fit comfortably into the palm of your hand or the smallest pocket with room to spare. Coupled with the 90 gram weight the mintpad’s portability is up there with the likes of the miniscule Apple iPod Shuffle.

Sadly, when it comes to functionality the MP3 player is very fiddly. Navigating through menus requires either a flick up, down, left or right depending on what you want to do. This may seem simple enough, but the urge to tap the screen is overwhelming and proves to be fruitless most of the time. On top of this it is possible to get buried deep into an application with the only option being to revert to standby mode to get out.

The touchscreen's general unresponsiveness doesn’t help matters either. Unless you have a heavy hand you’ll find yourself swiping like a crazed baboon attempting to get anywhere. The fact that the device is shipped with a stylus is telling.

It is not all bad though, the menu button located on the top of the player is useful as it brings up five quick options at the bottom of the screen- one of which allows you to toggle between the last two applications- this is essentially a simplified version of multi-tasking but is welcome nonetheless. Thankfully this menu can be customised so your favourite applications will only ever be a couple of clicks away.

Although, it may not be the easiest device to use but the mintpad can hold its head up high as it is produces decent quality playback. It’s not in the same league as the X-Series Walkman quality but it is good. The mintpad supports six audio formats including the ever popular MP3 and WMA files so you should be able to get all your tracks on there.

On top of playing music the mintpad allows you to draw pictures, store photos, video and record sounds all of which can come in handy. The memo function however, only succeeds in making your handwriting look similar to that of a five year old child and is adequate for the odd game of noughts and crosses.

You can browse the net when you are in a Wi-Fi hotspot, but it is not the greatest experience. Connecting to a network is painfully slow in part due to the 400Mhz processor and 128 MB SD RAM. Even when you do manage to successfully connect you spend more time poking the screen with the stylus to zoom in then you actually do reading. But credit where it is due, the tiny 1.3-megapixel camera definitely punches above its weight- taking some take decent snaps and watching video on the screen is also better than we imagined.

The 4GB internal memory will leave you feeling a little short changed as it will probably be filled up with songs after your first sync up with your computer. The inclusion of a micro-SD slot becomes all the more important and a memory card is an essential purchase if you are to make the most out of the mintpad. Moreover, the battery life isn’t amazing considering the size of the player - with 30 hours of playback and 5 hours of video equivalent to the larger iPod Touch.

The sheer number of features crammed into the mintpad ultimately act to its detriment-many like the memo, name card, chatting and text viewer seem shoe horned in and will be used scarcely, if at all.

There are many devices out there which have the capability to do what the mintpad does and more besides. Although it does have some novel ideas, there isn’t enough here to make it stand out from the crowd.


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