Meizu Mini Player SL 8GB media player

Flac and Ogg support to the fore

On the plus side there are some nice touches like always being able to tap the 'M' logo at top to take you back to the 'now playing' and main menu screens, which then alternate with each further tap. The system also scrolls through lists at a fair old pace, making navigating long ones quite easy.

When it comes to sound quality the Mini isn't going to keep the engineers at Samsung or Sony awake at night, but by fiddling with the plethora of EQ and effects settings we always managed to come up with something agreeable. The "Spatializer" and associated 3D sound settings do a spectacular, if rather artificial job of opening up the soundscape.

Meizu Mini Player SL 8GB media player

Navigate the UI using the touch-sensitive pad to the right of the screen

We did a quick back-to-back test with a 30GB iPod Classic and our usual Sennheiser earphones and found that the iPod always sounded the more composed and focused of the two, though not by a particularly large margin. The Meizu could pump out a fair bit more volume than the iPod, but things tended to get a bit raucous when it did.

The Mini's screen is a 2.41in, 260,000-colour affair with a resolution of 320 x 240. Meizu describes it as being "large and vibrant", and while we will agree with the vibrant bit, we're not sure who else would call 2.41 inches large. The Mini's screen is nevertheless a fair bit bigger and brighter than that on the iPod Nano and even a wee bit bigger than the Sony Walkman A82's screen, but that's an altogether larger and more costly bit of kit.

To see if the Mini's claimed AVI file support is actually worth the paper its printed on, we tried to reformat an Xvid copy of The Incredibles with the supplied VirtualDub software. Half way through the job, the software crashed our PC. After this happened three more times we called it a day, and reformatted the video down to 15f/s - the Mini will support up to 20f/s - using the freeware MediaCoder, which we downloaded separately.

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