Most handheld players major on one aspect of what they can do; usually audio or video playback. By contrast, the Mintpad, from South Korean maker Mintpass, names its device after its note-taking abilities. Which isn’t to say it lacks audio, video, a camera and even Internet connectivity.
The Mintpad is surprisingly small at just 78mm by 64mm, with a 73mm LCD touch-screen. The screen is bright, has 320 by 240 pixels and is very responsive to taps from the stylus, which slides away inside the case when not in use.
The screen responds to flick gestures and this is the main navigation technique. Flick up and down to switch functions and left and right to move through the menu hierarchy. There are tabs and buttons to tap, too, but it’s all pretty intuitive.
Facilities available without a network connection include audio and video recording and playback, photo capture and display, text viewing and the notepad itself. The notepad displays fully anti-aliased stylus strokes, and the small size of the screen gives a positive response for drawing or handwriting. The notepad is configured as an array of page thumbnails, so it’s easy to flick through them and tap to call up a specific page.
There’s a 1.3-megapixel camera built into the back of the Mintpad, which takes a surprisingly good picture and the camera can be used for video as well as stills. AVI, WMV and MPEG4 formats are available for video playback and the audio compatibility is good, too, including OGG, APE and FLAC, as well as MP3, WMA and WAV.
The device can connect to WPA and WEP secured WiFi networks, though it’s a bit of a security breach for the Mintpad to display the passcode of each connected network under its settings option.
Once the Mintpad is connected to a wireless network, you can access the Internet on either of its two built-in browsers. There’s a copy of Internet Explorer as part of the Windows CE 5 Pro system it runs on, and also a tailored browser, which is the default when you select ‘Internet’.
Both the browsers struggle to show enough of a Web page to be useful. Although there are plenty of zoom levels and you can pan and scroll around each page, the screen is just too small to do this without a flurry of adjustments. It’s half the size of an iPhone screen and an iPhone can be cramped.
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