The Mintpass Mintpad is a cute little portable media player by way of Korea, offering loads of features in a space about as large as a Post-it pad. Behind its responsive 71mm (2.8-inch) touchscreen display, you'll find extensive file support (MP3, FLAC, WAV, WMA, OGG, DivX, Xvid, MPEG-4 and WMV), a Wi-Fi-enabled Internet browser (with Flash support), a photo viewer, microSD memory expansion, voice recording, a beautiful vector-based drawing program (cooler than it sounds, folks), and a 1.3-megapixel camera on the back that can record video or stills.
In short: the Mintpad is pretty damn cool. It's also import-only at the moment, with a 4GB model selling for the equivalent of around £90.
Even though we like the Mintpad, we're not sure we would wholeheartedly recommend it over a similar product like the Cowon D2+. The Mintpad may have twice the features of the competition, but many of those features just don't seem practical for everyday use, especially considering that the built-in stylus is pretty much a required tool for navigation.
The Mintpad's Web browser, for example, is equally admirable and impractical. We felt a rush when we launched the browser for the first time and saw Google pop right up. Elation turned to laughter, though, after zooming in to the search bar and engaging the on-screen keyboard. If you can imagine what a touchscreen keyboard would look like on an iPhone with half the screen size, you'll have a pretty good idea of how absurd text entry is on this thing. To Mintpass' credit, the team did an outstanding job on keyboard usability given the screen size, but, short of projecting a hologram keyboard, there's just no way to overcome the screen-size limitations.
You get plenty of other polished features, but nothing we haven't seen from Korea's iPod-killing powerhouses before, namely Cowon and Iriver. The music player is organised well, with a glut of playback and EQ options. The video player works well in spite of the Mintpad's mediocre screen resolution. Photos, memos and the calendar are all fine, but nothing worth alerting Steve Jobs over. There is one exception, though: the built-in camera.
The tiny-but-mighty 1.3-megapixel camera loaded into the Mintpad is delightful. It's filled with multiple resolutions and effects settings that put our camera phone to shame. We don't think the Mintpad's camera is reason enough to have one flown over to you from the other side of the globe, but you have to admire the imagination that went into putting it there.
In the final analysis, the Mintpad gets big points for its keen user interface, solid hardware design and ambitious set of features. Unfortunately, there's not enough here to elevate the Mintpad out of the shadow of similar efforts that mostly seem to fall flat after hitting our shores.
Click through our gallery to see the Mintpad strut its stuff.