Small screen stick notes, anyone?
On the back of the player is a camera lens, for the 1.3Mp camera. This may seem low-res in comparison with cameras on most mobiles, and it is, but if you're taking shots to view on the Mintpad itself, or to send to other Mintpad owners, a higher resolution wouldn't be of much benefit. The photos we took looked natural – thanks to good colour rendition in the player – and are fine for everyday snapping.
The relatively low-res 1.3Mp camera is good enough for snapshots
Wireless networking discovers WLANs within range and can handle both WPA and WEP security. Yet, alarmingly, it displays the passcode of any network it connects to on the settings screen, which is a bit of a security blunder.
The device comes in two versions, with 4GB or 20GB of memory, though the 20GB version is the 4GB one with an ‘official Mintpad MicroSD card’ fitted. There’s only around £30 between the two, so the higher-capacity model is better value.
While the much-vaunted Sapphire file transfer software appears as vapourware on the web, loading up the Mintpad with video or audio files is best achieved using the supplied USB cable, which also provides a charging connection all the time you have the Mintpad linked up. The device handles a good range of formats, including AVI, WMV and MPEG 4 on the video side and MP3, WMA, OGG, WAV, APE and FLAC for audio. There's a 12-band graphic equaliser included, as well as 12 presets for different music genres.
While there is an adequate 500mW mono speaker, no headphones are supplied with the device, which is annoying if it's your first player, but does give you the option to carry forward a favourite set or to buy something rather better than the freebie ones often supplied with players in this price range. Using a good set of Sennheiser's, we found sound playback to be lively and bright on pop and rock tracks, but still with sufficient depth to handle orchestral music and spoken word.
The Memo function features a palette for drawing as well as scribbled notes
Video playback is clean, with no noticeable artefacts and battery life, measured at 4hrs 18mins playing looping video, should be good enough for a couple of movies. There’s no conversion app provided to create 320 x 240 versions for the Mintpad, though, so you’ll need third-party software, such as AVS Video Converter, to prepare content.