April 5, 2005: Multi-function devices are one of the by-products of convergence and we’re going to see a lot more over the coming years, not all of them based around telephone functionality. Vivitar were the first to plunge into this market late last year with the EEK and the DVR 390H, but as time passes, we expect that the “jack of all trades, master of none” multi-functionality will subside. The Miniket VP-M110 from Samsung is a multi-function device in that it is actually very good at one thing – it is a tapeless camcorder capable of recording 30 frames per second of 720 x 480 video and it comes with a 10 times optical zoom built into a package just 58.8mm x 92.7mm x 29.1mm in size. Those specs put the Miniket directly in competition with Panasonic’s D-Snap, but in a smaller form factor for a significantly reduced price.
The Miniket VP-M110 also includes a digital camera and MP3 player, though with just 1Gb of built-in memory, options are distinctly limited for the recording of video so carrying around any amount of MP3s may not be an option. In rough terms, the gig should hold up to 60 minutes of high-quality video, 240 MP3 tracks or 18 hours of voice recordings. The Miniket also comes with the facility for a removable Memory Stick – with a 1Gb memory stick, transfer to a PC would be easy and at a stretch, the camera could hold 120 minutes of video.
As it weighs just 150g, the Miniket can slip into a pocket and be readily available for everyday use.
Probably the weakest aspect of the Miniket is the still image capture – there are phones on the market that do better than its 800 x 600 pixel resolution and Samsung has a phone in Korea that offers 7Mpx. Clearly, it’s an area where Samsung could easily have gazumped everyone, but chose not to.
Now there are some aspects about the Miniket that are really impressive – it really is easy to use, with a simple one-button capture and the 10 x optical zoom falls to thumb very easily and there’s even an electric image stabiliser to ensure things stay crisp. There’s also a small mini-lens coming that operates on the end of a cable, so you can slip the Miniket in a pocket and stick the lens to a helmet to capture extreme sports action.
The Miniket also easily connects to a PC via a USB cable to become an instant web cam. Samsung’s Miniket connects to any PC using a high speed USB 2.0 connector and also comes with a power cradle for easy re-charge. It supports MPEG4 format and comes with a cradle for easy connection and re-charging.