Tag Archive | "umid"

Viliv N5 vs. UMID BZ. Two Grown-Up Psion 5s Compete for Your Hand

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IMG_3790 Two clamshell-style handheld PCs; Both offering great features, good battery life and usability at a price that would have been unheard of a few years ago. For the ultimate in thumb-able PCs, the Viliv N5 and UMID BZ have no competition. Sure, the Fujitsu UH900 and Sony P-Series look the same but these two are in a different sizing category and make a great alternatives to the OQO Model 02+ that never was. These two devices have the same adventurous spirit that the Psion 5 had all those years ago and that says a lot.

I’ve rounded-up my thoughts in a 17-minute video below but if you want the text version, read-on. Feel free to ask questions below. I’ll attend to all of them.

Viliv N5 specifications, images, link, videos.

UMID BZ specifications, images, link, videos.

It’s actually very easy to summarise the difference between the two devices. One uses relatively low-cost components, skimps on memory and is built to a price. The other uses high quality parts both inside and out in order to offer a more rounded computing experience. A better, less stressful computing experience. The Viliv N5 is the latter and really offers more of a multi-tasking experience where you’ll be able to run 5 Firefox tabs, Media-player, Livewriter, Tweetdeck and a background media player without any real hiccups. The UMID BZ isn’t bad though because if you’re  only using one or two apps and can put up with the occasional ‘pause’, the UMID offers excellent value and even some additional features not found on the Viliv N5.

Key Differences:

Style – The Viliv N5 wins hands-down. The UMID BZ looks cheap in comparison. In our experience the UMID build quality is high though.

Screen – The UMID BZ screen is brighter. Noticeably brighter. If you’re looking to use these devices outside, by the window in a train or on the dash of your car, the UMID BZ is the best.

Touchscreen – The UMID has a much lighter touchscreen. I find it easier to use than the slightly heavier weight of the N5 touchscreen.

External Screen – Only the UMID BZ offers you a video-out possibility so if you want to use these devices for presentations or as a low-power, low-end desktop PC (it’s possible) then don’t go for the current Viliv N5. [A pro-model might add this feature at a later date.]

Keyboard – VERY IMPORTANT. The N5 offers a keyboard that can be used for thumbing but is wide enough to allow a good rate of touch-tapping. The UMID offers a better thumbing keyboard (smaller width, less spongy keys) but is much harder to use on a table.

CPU – The 100Mhz speed difference on the CPU is hardly noticeable. On average, you’ll probably get to see a web page 1-second quicker on the Viliv N5.

3G – The N5 is available with 3G for the ultimate in mobility. The UMID BZ will need to be tethered to a mobile phone or connected to a MiFi router which isn’t as easy to set-up or use.

Price – The UMID BZ is $150 cheaper than the entry-level Viliv N5.

Battery Life – In tests so far, the Viliv is lasting between 3 and 3.5 hours in full use. With optimisations (lower screen brightness, good radio control) the Viliv N5 should reach 4 hours. The UMID seems to last for 4 hours without much attention from the user.

Video playback - Out of the box, the Viliv provides excellent local file playback capabilities. Up to 1080p (H.264 tested) works better than on any other UMPC we’ve tested. YouTube HQ (480p) to full-screen size works better on the Viliv N5. (Flash 10.1 and Windows 7 appear to work well together)

Phone features – The Viliv N5 is able to make voice calls through the cellular modem. (Only on the 3G version.)

Operating System – The Viliv N5 runs Windows 7 Home Starter edition. The UMID BZ offers Windows XP Home. The latter uses less memory and disk (the UMID BZ offers over 20GB of space. The Viliv N5 only 11GB. Both have 32GB drives) and neither operating systems offer any sort of special touch or input features.

Update: GPS – Correctly pointed out by a couple of people that sent emails, the Viliv N5 has GPS which makes it usable as a navigation system. There are no Windows-7 compatible (sensor) drivers though, the GPS simply appears on COM1 at 9600 or 4800 bps depending on configuration. First lock (using VisualGPS) took about 2 minutes (for full 3D fix) but the lock was lost indoors next to a window. For people thinking about using this in a car, consider the glossy screen and brightness.

Video Comparison- See the video below for an overview of the differences. For Viliv N5 specific reviews, see this page. For UMID BZ reviews, see this page.

UMID SE is the UMID BZ With Twice the RAM Faster CPU, and WiFi N

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umid mbook se UMID Korea now officially has the mbook SE (Special Edition) listed on their site. The mbook SE is just like the mbook BZ [Portal page] that Chippy thoroughly covered, but it has twice the RAM at 1GB and replaces the BZ’s 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z515 CPU with the Atom 530 running at 1.6GHz. The wireless has also seen a slight augmentation; it now supports WiFi N, in addition to B/G. Aside from these differences (and a white paintjob instead of silver/black one), the BZ and the SE are identical, optical mouse pointer and all.

The mbook SE is selling for $568 in Korea, and thanks to Pocketables, we have confirmation that the UMID mbook SE will eventually be available in the US through Dynamism.

We’ve fired up the UMID mbook SE tracking page in our device portal and it’s got the full device specs if you are interested.

Mobile Reporting Kit V7 Aims for Sub-2lb (1kg) Flexibility.

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Lightweigh Media Blogging KitMobile World Congress is going to call for a significant refinement of my ultra mobile reporting kit (see below for previous versions) which means leaving the netbook in the hotel safe and traveling as light as possible. I aim to be roaming with only a man-bag and with about 1KG/2.2lb of equipment which is quite a challenge. Quality and speed of reporting during the day may suffer but I’m prepared to take the hit in order to be mobile and quick. Here’s a detailed look at my MWC setup as it stands just a few days from travelling.

The initial kit list looks something like this:

Hardware (825gm / 1.8lb)

  • UMID BZ as PC and USB power source. Including mains charger cable.
  • Nokia N82 as camera and backup 3G tether.  Including spare battery.
  • Mifi 2352 as primary 3G hotspot
  • USB cables for charging and connecting

Optional (about 500gm due to heavy aluminum mic.)

The bag

Oh the stress of choosing a bag. Right now I’m leaning towards the Jack Wolfskin one because it can be worn in on the back or front of the body and it looks, well, less man-baggy!

MWC Man-Bag Choice

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  • Text blogging
  • Photo Blogging to blog, twitter etc.
  • Video Blogging
  • Live video streaming (as per V6 of the reporting kit – See sample video at base of article)
  • Normal PC activities.

Live one-take Video demonstration (15 mins)

Here’s how I would use the kit to post images and videos with text.

UMID BZ Video  Demo Test

Yup, problems occur but in previous and recent tests it  looks like it will take about 5 minutes to do a 2-paragraph blog post around a photo. Video really depends on Internet bandwidth but with the mobile reporting kit I can close the lid of the UMID and leave it to continue posting to YouTube. You have to be careful of time-outs in this case because re-starting the uploads usually requires a full upload again.  Here’s the image I took during the video. As you can see, quality is excellent (click to enlarge.)

Other notes

Weight including adapter cables: 829gm (1.8lb)


  • UMID BZ: $549
  • Photo camera: Around $300 but get one with BT and Xenon flash.
  • Mifi: $250

Improvements and optimisations.

Could a Motorola Droid/Milestone do all this? Yes. Photo’s to Flickr and editing and re-posting from Flickr is easily possible. Video also possible. Live video using QIK also possible. Text entry with Droid keyboard also possible. Cost: Around $500 including an extra battery (or two!) It’s a great single-device option and way, way lighter than what I’ll be carrying.

The issue with using a Droid is that you don’t have a PC with you for ‘everything else.’ That includes basic video editing, 100% full web access, USB accessories support (printing, usb sticks, usb cam for example) high quality audio recording using USB mic/audacity, audio/video streaming using UStream, connectivity to LCD screen and full size keyboard and use of all the normal desktop client software such as Firefox, Tweetdeck, Paint Shop, LiveWriter, Skype and anything else that a PC would be flexible for. It’s basically a trade-off. Using the UMID is way more expensive but it gives that flexibility to use to a full desktop tool-set if required and that, to me, is worth it’s weight in gold. If either the N82 or UMID die, I’m left with one working device which is a nice backup strategy.

The N82 video quality (test video here) could be improved a lot. I’d love to see a photo camera with high-compression, 720p video recording and checking across the range of smartphones available today, the Omnia i8910 would make a better choice for video with it’s 720p capability. File sizes could be a problem though so HQ VGA at about 2mbps H.264 would be perfect. Anyone out there done extensive phone-cam testing?

Battery life is an issue and will require careful management. Fortunately the UMID BZ is proving excellent in that respect and just by closing the lid I can make it go into standby or hibernation. Returning for these standby modes is 5 and 20 seconds respectively. The UMID is returngin a regular 4.5-5hr in-use battery life. Despite that, I’ll carry a mains charger with me because I may have to charge the Mifi or the N82. Both can be charged via USB which is a huge bonus. The Mifi can even be used while it charges.

Update: In a 34 minute test I saw 17% battery drain indicating 200 minutes of battery life. About 3 hours! (Device closed with screen/touchscreen off)

Embedded 3G in the UMID. Yes, this would be great. No question. There’s no need for a Mifi if you’re only using one 3G-capable device but even in that scenario, i’d probably have the Mifi with me as a backup. The antenna on it is superb and it comes in really handy for a table of five net-less bloggers!

Your suggestions welcome.

Please feed-back in the comment section below. I love to hear how people are using their mobile kit. Are you mobile blogging at MWC? If so, lets meet and have a chat about the kit on video.

I’ll post a follow-up after MWC.

Previous versions of the ultra mobile reporting kit.

V6 (Jun 2009) is here.

V5 (March 2009) is here.

V4 (Sept 2009) is here.

V3 (Feb 2008) is here.

V2 (Sept 2007) is here

V1 (March 2007) is here.

Hat-tip to Jenn at Pocketables who successfully used the flickr-to-blog method at CES 2008.

Thanks to UMID for the loan of the BZ. If I didn’t have the UMID here, I would have replaced it with the Fujitsu U820 as a second choice. The BZ really is the best choice out there right now.


Live test recording: Video/Audio stream recorded by Ustream

UMID BZ. 1 hour, Live, Unedited Video Review with JKK and Chippy. (Updated)

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Update: New, 4-part video’s are included below.

Thanks to everyone that joined the /live session yesterday evening. 600 pairs of feet stepped into the room and we had a lot of interactivity in the chat room which was great!

The first hour of the live session is now available on YouTube for those of you that missed it. Bear in mind that this is the quality that we stream out so it’s not exactly HD but you’ll get everything you need from it.

Specifications and links to more videos and reviews are available in the UMID BZ product page.






UMID BZ at Dynamism (and in our Database and Gallery.)

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UMID BZ details, videos and links to articles and gallery in the Product Database.

There’s a review and video of the UMID BZ coming just as soon as I receive the missing power cable from UMID (due in a few days) but in the meantime, I’ve added it to the database and finished a photo shoot. If that’s enough to tip you over the edge then Dynamism is the place you need to look next.

They’ve got the 16GB SSD model in for just $549 which is a relief considering the early pricing indicators and if you order now, you’ll get the VGA adaptor thrown in for free.

In my hours with the BZ at CES a few weeks ago it was clear that they’ve done a good job improving the casing. It’s sturdy, well finished and opens up much wider than before. The optical mouse isn’t as nice as some I’ve tried as the recess tends to feel awkward but as before, the touchscreen is nice and responsive. You’ll need to optimize Windows XP for that 1024×600 screen but that’s not a major issue.

Expect some videos from me over the next week. So far I don’t see any showstoppers. Oh, and by the way, that competitor, the Viliv N5 won’t be available until March so if you need a 4.8” clamshell with XP and lon battery life now, this is your baby.

[Dynamism affiliate links appear in our product database. There are no affiliate links in this post.]

UMID BZ (Was M2) hands-on at Lazion

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Another CES ‘leak.’ This time it’s the UMID BZ 4.8” clamshell UMPC which is very similar to the Viliv N5 we’ve just reported on.

The BZ has also been known in the past as the M2 and also sells as the Onkyo BX and it improves on the M1 design by adding an optical mouse pointer and mouse buttons, standard Line-out and USB ports and a slight modification to the casing design.

The unit runs on the Intel Atom Z520 (1.2Ghz HT-enabled) and battery life tests by Lazion are showing 5hrs figures. According to the report the BZ will be available in mid-Jan 2010. Pricing of $499 has been mentioned in previous reports but this is unconfirmed.


For more images and a translation, head to Lazion.

We’re planning to get both the N5 and BZ in a side-by-side hands-on at CES in just a few days.

Viliv N5 and UMID BZ pre-CES 'leaks.'

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With just a few hours to go before the madness kicks off in CES, news about those two, very similar 4.8” UMPCs/MIDs has surfaced.

The Viliv N5 specs have been revealed…


…and the UMID BX (was M2) gets a hands-on.


Head over to Naver for more details on the N5 and Lazion for the UMID and stay tuned here because I’ll get hands on with these very soon after arriving at CES.

Via UMPCPortal (UMID News , Viliv News)

Two 5" Clamshells Go Head-to-Head at CES

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On previous MIDMoves adventures you saw me in San Fransisco and Taipei and at each of those events I got hands on with a new 5” Intel-based MID. I’m expecting both of these new devices to launch while I’m in Vegas for CES in a few weeks so here’s a quick rundown of what I know so far.

N5-hand-small m2-hand-small

As you can see, both devices have an extremely similar design. On the left, the Viliv N5 that was announced just a short while ago. On the right, the UMID M2 that we’ve already had time with.

Both devices will be based on the Menlow platform, have a 1024×600 touchscreen and an integrated mouse pointer. Wifi and Bluetooth too. Questions remain over the battery life but based on what I’ve seen with the forerunner to the UMID M2, the M1, battery life on the M2 should be good. If Viliv continue their run of high-quality UMPCs, the battery life on the N5 is going to be good too.

XP, Windows 7, 3G and SSD options should be available so the only real difference in basic specifications I can see is the GPS on the N5. That’s not a deal-breaker for most so it really leaves two differentiators; pricing and the all-important hands-on testing!

That’s what we’re planning to do at CES in a few weeks starting on the 6th of Jan so stay tuned for this interesting battle of the 5” Clamshells because these two could be great mobile computing options.

(We might get some N5 specs and pics soon so again, stay tuned!)

Dynamism Black Friday Deals

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Dynamism has two UMPC deals (good today only) that might be of interest:

  • For $30 off the regular price, you can order the pink or black base model UMID M1 [Portal page]. Both have 512MB of RAM, Windows XP, an 8GB SSD and come with a case and 4GB MicroSD card. The pink version will run you $419 and has a 1.2GHz Atom CPU, and the black version is $469 with a 1.3GHz CPU.
  • They also have a deal on the Viliv S7 [Portal page] which I reviewed over at Pocketables.net. I would personally take this S7 deal over the UMID M1 as you get $100 off the top end model, and Dynamism is already throwing in a spare battery — combined with the regularly included one you could run your Viliv S7 for nearly 20 hours straight (going for max battery life)! You can pick up this 3G equipped Viliv S7 for $699 today only, which has a 1.33GHz Atom CPU, 32GB SSD, 1GB of RAM, and runs Windows XP.

Limited edition pink UMID M1

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pink umid 2 The Viliv boys pointed out that Dynamism will be selling a limited edition* pink UMID M1 [Portal page]. Though the UIMD M2 is due out sometime soon — I guess the more colors, the better!pink umidThe pink UMID M1 is $50 less ($449) than the black low-end UMID M1 that Dynamism sells. Unfortunately no, they aren’t giving you $50 off just because its pink… the pink one has a slightly slower CPU – the Atom Z515 at 1.2GHz (vs. 1.3GHz for the low-end black model, or 1.33GHz on the high-end black model). Everything else, however, is the same as on the low-end black model: 8GB SSD, 512MB of RAM, and Windows XP. From the images it is a bit tough to tell exactly how glossy or matte the pink version is, but it appears to be more on the matte side of the spectrum, similar to the black one that I looked at.

*Dynamism has the pink M1 down as “limited edition”, but it isn’t exactly clear whether it is the pink M1 itself which is limited, or the deal currently running that includes a free pink pouch and 4GB MicroSD card.

Viliv and UMID coming to Europe.

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Mobilx were in touch yesterday with an update on availability of some of the most interesting UMPCs of the year. They will be selling the UMID M1 and the complete range of Viliv devices; the S5, X70 and S7.

Prices start, for the UMID M1, the S5 and the X70, at 543 Euros with the S7 starting at just 570 Euros (all prices inclusive of EU taxes so you don’t need to worry about customs and import costs if you’re in the EU) and if you order now you can expect shipment soon after the 20th November.

If you’re new to the UMPC scene I think it’s fair to say that these 4 devices are probably the most important UMPCs of 2009 and represent a great step forward in quality, performance and price. It’s great to see another reseller picking them up.

For details and prices, check out the UMPC page at Mobilx.

For information from our database, click the images below.


UMID M1, Viliv S5, Viliv X70 and Viliv S7.

Sharp Netwalker gets wobbly early reviews.

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netwalker-pocketables If its not one thing, its the other. The long old story of potential deal-breakers continues.

UMID M1 – Screen angle + USB dongles.

HTC Shift – Battery life + screen res.

Viliv S7 – Colour

and now, wobbly keys on the Sharp Netwalker which, given the importance of keys, is quite the problem. “The keyboard (14mm pitch, 0.8mm stroke) so far is a mixed bag for me…” says Jenn. “I’m not liking the keyboard at all.. key caps bend to all directions.” says JKK.

On the positive side, build quality gets a thumbs up along with the optical mouse, battery life and screen angle but performance is again, a bit wobbly. Standby, application start-up times and browsing speeds appear to be varying between acceptable and poor.

For a two-handed thumb-style mobile device, the Netwalker may have missed the mark. The Ubuntu UI is  unrefined, the keyboard caps not ideal for thumbing and the processing power slightly less than is needed for a smooth experience. There isn’t even any Bluetooth.

At well over $500, the Netwalker is going to have problems competing with the UMID M2 that is said to be launching at $499. Even with 512MB of RAM and Windows XP it will fly compared to this device. Battery life will be much less (at around 4hrs) and the looks and build quality may be slightly less than you’ll find on the Netwalker but for me, the UMID M2 (due to launch in Q4) still has the edge.

Sharp Netwalker information page.

JKK is planning a UMID Mbook vs Netwalker head-to-head. We’ll see if we can get a live session up very soon.

Top 10 Ultra Mobile PCs

Featured Report