Still, the Spinn has plenty of other things going for it, not least the screen. It’s not quite as bright as the screen on the iPod touch, but it’s certainly bright enough. With a 480 x 272 resolution packed into the 3.2in panel, clarity is good, and the display is just big enough to make the Spinn a functional photo viewer and video player without compromising its pocket-friendliness. The only problem is that it’s also quite reflective. If used in strong ambient lighting, you might struggle to follow what’s happening in the frame, particularly if the colours are muted or the sequence dark. On the plus side, playback quality is really very good for such a small device. Provided your video files are converted properly, you’ll get smooth motion, solid detail and punchy sound. I’m still not sure I’d want to watch a whole movie, but I could certainly handle a decent episode of my favourite American shows.
The Spinn isn’t short of functions, either. Sadly, it looks like European buyers will have to do without the digital TV and radio features that Far-Eastern Spinn owners can enjoy, but we do get FM radio, voice recording, a text viewer, a decent photo viewer and –like the Clix before – the option to play Flash Lite 2.1 based games. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try these out during testing, but a selection is available from an affiliated website (www.smashingcontent.com).
Chiefly, though, people will still be using the Spinn as a music player, and here it excels. As with the Clix 2 and the Lplayer, sound quality is excellent with a bright top end, plenty of mid-range body and a strong line in thumping bass. Play the ubiquitous Timbaland remix of OneRepublic’s Apologize and the precision of the mix is wonderfully evident, each layer of vocals and instrumentation perfectly audible and perfectly in place. This is a track that sounds good on my own iPod touch, but takes on a new life with the extra volume and power of the Spinn. The same stands with God is an Astronaut’s slow-building post-rock instrumental, Fragile. The churning guitar, dark bass and heavy drums swell and blend just as the band intended, and there’s not a hint of murkiness in the sound. Even The Smiths’ This Charming Man – a track that can sound over-bright or even tinny on a lesser MP3 player – sounds nice and meaty. Even more impressively, you get a decent tone through the supplied earbuds, though the Spinn will also do justice to more expensive phones, including the Denon AHC-551s I’ve been using for reference. If you want to move up from earphones to proper headphones, the Spinn also has the power to make that work.