The tech blogs of the western world are literally full of, pad and tablet talk. ‘Smart’ this or ‘App-store’ that; There’s nothing like a new and controversial product category to get traffic flowing. Meanwhile, sitting in the background and forming a nuclear part of the handheld category of computing devices are the UMPCs that have been serving pro-mobile, industry and education users for many years. Consumers generally aren’t interested in a device targeted at getting work done while on the move but maybe that will change with the smooth-looking Viliv which is meeting many of our expectations and could teach the ‘pads’ a few tricks too.
First five minutes.
I could almost copy and paste the ‘first five minutes’ overview from the Viliv S5 because it was almost the same. In fact the packaging was even better this time round. It’s a shame there was no case included but the unit itself more than makes up for that. It has velvety smooth black rubberized plastic, rounded edges, an extremely clean look all over (the slab battery slots in and forms the back of the unit) and on opening the unit you’re pleased at the feel of the keyboard as you instinctively give it that mock thumbing action. Taking the Windows 7 and Intel Atom stickers off improves the look (as always!) but exposes the huge frame that exists around the 5” screen. Its somewhat disappointing to see so much unused space on either side of the screen.
Open Review Videos.
We also have an N5 review video available on YouTube.
The Viliv N5 is based on the Intel Menlow platform that includes the Z520 Atom CPU at 1.3Ghz and the ‘Poulsbo’ chipset which includes a GMA 500 GPU and video decoding hardware. It runs Windows 7 Home Starter operating system. On the review model we had a 32 GB SSD and 1GB of RAM. There’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, the GPS module, stereo speakers, a 1024×600 glossy, LED-backlit resistive touchscreen and a built-in 3G module to make the device truly mobile. The battery is a slim 16wh unit.
Full specifications can be found on the product page.
From the outside.
As mentioned above, the N5 is a very clean and stylish looking unit with a rubberized plastic finish and a shaped slab-battery that forms the rear of the device in a very similar way to the old OQO Model 02 that the N5 could be compared with. All ports except the headphone port are covered which again helps to make the device look clean. In the hand, the N5 suffers from being rather dense. It is, of course, lightweight coming in at 400gm / 14oz but due to its size, feels like a solid package. The comparable UMIDis noticeably lighter. If its anything like the Viliv X70 though, it will be due to strong casing. Only time will tell on that but checking the hinge and hearing from Viliv that the screen is covered with a hardened glass seems to confirm it. Opening the device could be easier though and the hinge does seem to be a bit tight.
Don’t expect the full range of netbook-style ports on the N5. Although you’ve got a USB, headphone and microSD slot, there’s no Ethernet and importantly, no analogue video out. It’s a surprise omission from a device that could have been a real Swiss-army knife for traveling salespeople. A USB-VGA dongle is the only option if you want to use the N5 to show presentations. The 3G SIM card slot (connecting to a 5.6/7/2 Mbps and voice-capable Huawei EM 770W) is located behind the battery. Voice capability is included and working. SMS capability is also included in the Mobile Partner software.
Full image sets in the Viliv N5 gallery.
The rubberized plastic finish is relatively resistant to finger grease but you’ll still need to carry a cloth if you want the device to remain smudge-free.