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CNET First Look
ClarionMindThe lack of a dedicated data connection and poor integration between its applications keeps the ClarionMind from fulfilling the potential that its hardware possesses.
[ background music ] >> If judged solely by the list of features, the Clarion Mind [assumed spelling] would be a winner. But at some point you're gonna have to use the thing, and that's where it gets tricky. I'm Antoine Goodwin, and this is your first look at the Clarion Mind. Now at first glace the Clarion Mind looks like a slightly bulbous GPS navigator, which it is. However, upon closer inspection we find that it's actually an ultra portable computer, powered by the Intel atom processor. Here's what we like. The Mind's slick touch screen interface features an Apple cover flow-like menu system where you can choose from preinstalled applications. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth dialup connectivity give users access to a Firefox-based web browser, and standalone applications for the Weather Channel, traffic, MySpace, and You Tube. Real Player allows for the playback of most digital photo and audio formats, and a smattering of digital video formats. Now snapping the device into its car cradle changes the interface to a driver-friendly layout with fewer distractions. Now here's what we don't like. Multitasking isn't always a good thing. And when you're dealing with a low powered atom processor running too many application simultaneously, such as listening to music, doing GPS, and getting news updates can cause the unit to respond sluggishly, or crash. As a GPS navigator the Clarion Mind isn't the best choice either. Route calculations seem to take forever, and point of entry search is buggy. On the whole we like the Clarion's ambitious feature set, but we just wish the execution of these features was more stable. [ background music ] The Mind also finds itself in direct competition with smart phones, such as the iPhone and various Blackberry's, which offer turn by turn directions and multimedia experiences, but with built-in connectivity and a smaller, more affordable package. I'm Antoine Goodwin, and this has been your first look at the Clarion Mind.