Viliv S5 Premium UMPC. Full review.

Posted on 11 May 2009 by

s5hands2

After many months of wondering if the S5 was going to be as good as we first imagined it to be, it’s time to review the final retail version and make some conclusions. The Viliv S5 is one of the smallest tablet PC’s in the world. It includes a full PC hardware architecture and Windows XP software. The manufacturer has used a mature design from it’s PMP range and the end result is a solid, well-built pocketable device aimed at media, web browsing and, due to the built-in GPS, navigation.

Vilis S5 specifications, discussion, links, videos and images in the community specifications page.

First five minutes.

Viliv clearly have experience at pleasing the customer in the first few minutes of ownership. The packaging was good and included a surprise car package and leather pouch. This isn’t a standard accessory pack but we have seen a standard retail kit and again, the packaging was excellent. The S5 feels really solid in the hands. Tough in build but also rather dense. It only weighs 395gm (14oz) but as it’s so small, it feels slightly heavier than it should. Plastics are well fitted all round, there’s a nice matt finish to the black plastics and the cursor joystick feels well built. Plugging the battery in is easy and the device was booted in around 75 seconds. You’re presented with Viliv’s Cube UI overlay software and for the rest of your first five minutes, you’ll probably be playing around with it. It’s a new, fun, interesting way to view applications and shortcuts.

The unboxing and overview video is available here.

IMG_8178
Review package contents included some nice accessories.

Specifications

The Viliv S5 is based on the Intel Menlow platform that includes the Z520 Atom CPU and the ‘Poulsbo’ chipset (US15W) which includes a GMA 500 GPU and video decoding hardware. It’s exactly the same setup as on the Kohjinsha SC3 and Sony Vaio P which are much bigger devices. On the review model we had a 60GB hard drive (not SSD) and 1GB of RAM. There’s Wifi, Bluetooth, the GPS module, an infra red receiver, stereo speakers, a 1024×600 glossy, LED-backlit touchscreen and a number of back-lit buttons. The battery is a relatively large 24hr unit. Full specifications can be found on the product page.

Initial impressions

We wrote our initial impressions and link to a lengthy Q&A and testing video in a separate article, available here.

No showstoppers and an overall good feeling makes me want to use this device more and give the on-screen keyboard a chance. The battery life is incredibly impressive and the device truly is giving the user the full internet experience. Even without 3G and a fast SSD its up there as the best pocketable ultra mobile PC in my opinion but the lack of keyboard will be a not-starter for some. A real mouse pointer would have made it so much easier to navigate and it’s the only thing I’d class as a failure although some are also going to add the lack of microphone under that banner. Windows XP works well, the on screen keyboard and Viliv touch UI work well but Windows 7’s touch optimised interface and on-screen input could make this even better and give it even more character. The Viliv S5 raises the bar for UMPCs.

From the outside.

It’s clean looks and quality switchgear all-round with the Viliv. On the top you find an antenna (for the unused, Korean, DMB TV receiver) a three way (up, down, mute) volume switch, and on the top left, a headphone port. This is not a headset port and note, there is no built-in mic so you’ll have to think about Bluetooth or usb audio dongle for audio input.

Viliv S5 (21) Viliv S5 (17) Viliv S5 (18)

Viliv S5 (19) Viliv S5 (15) Viliv S5 (20)
Click for larger versions.

On the left you find a flip-down cover that hides a mini-usb (for using the S5 as a USB drive) usb and a/v breakout port. The a/v breakout port is for an optional cable that can supply component, S-Video, VGA, audio and composite signals. We didn’t have this accessory so it hasn’t been tested. Underneath the device are two airflow ports.On the right is the power/lock switch and the battery release catch. The rear of the device is covered by the battery.

Controls

On the frame of the the S5, you’ll notice the joystick on the top left. It’s a cursor control that can be turned into a directional pointer for the mouse and has a ‘tab’ response when pressed. As a mouse pointer its not accurate and not proportional which is a shame. A mouse pointer would have been far more useful considering the positions of the left and right mouse buttons on the right side. Underneath the joystick is a ‘menu’ button that’s equivalent to the Windows key on a keyboard. Underneath that is the IR receiver. On the right-hand side are the left and right mouse buttons (the left mouse button, marked MENU, also turns the screen off after along press) and a dedicated on-screen-keyboard button.

Note that there is no stylus silo. A pick-style pointer is attached to the lanyard and due to the very high resolution screen, is often needed for menu items. The lanyard is a useful addition and we kept it attached to the S5 all the time.

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70 Comments For This Post

  1. Steve 'Chippy' Paine says:

    New article: Viliv S5 Premium UMPC. Full review. http://cli.gs/NVMyWD

  2. jkk mobile says:

    RT @chippy: New article: Viliv S5 Premium UMPC. Full review. http://cli.gs/NVMyWD

  3. Ben Lang says:

    RT @chippy: New article: Viliv S5 Premium UMPC. Full review. http://cli.gs/NVMyWD

  4. John in Norway says:

    I see that Mobilx have removed any mention of Viliv from their website. Is America the only place to get one of these? I was hoping that the one with the keyboard would be released in Europe soon.

  5. Sokonomi says:

    Ive noticed that aswell. And having it sent from conics costs me 100 bucks, so thats a bit steep.

  6. Robert Nelson says:

    [reading] Viliv S5 Premium UMPC. Full review. | UMPCPortal – The Mobile Internet and Computing Referenc.. http://tinyurl.com/o278rs

  7. Vakeros says:

    Chipping under gaming you mention UMID…
    Nice review, confirms that I won’t be getting one, though it is nice.

  8. Sokonomi says:

    I wish they would have thought twice about the USB location though. wibrain/e-king learned from their mistakes, viliv should too.

    My choice was between this device because of its pocketability, and the E-king i1 because of its productivity, but since mobilx has sniped the S5 from their webshop now, I guess theres no more choice to be made for me. :’)

  9. men in black says:

    Great Review!! I wish I would get one.

  10. Riddick75 says:

    Probably we’ll have a distribution in Spain of the Viliv s5 in todoumpc.com. This shop says that the model
    in the shop probably the ssd with hdspa.

  11. Sokonomi says:

    SSD might be costly, but it would give the batterylife a nice little extra bump.

    I wish I could speak a word of spanish. :’) I have no clue what im paying for if I buy from that site.

  12. Riddick75 says:

    Sorry for my poor level of english.

  13. Marc says:

    Just spoken to Dynamism and mine is in today’s post. Luckily this review hasn’t made me want to change my mind!!

  14. Steve 'Chippy' Paine says:

    Found: UMPCPortal: Full review of Viliv S5 http://tinyurl.com/o278rs

  15. Krümel says:

    It is a very nice device, but my UX380n has still a better performance :)

  16. Sokonomi says:

    I hope your wallet has better preformance too. ;) For some people price matters too.

  17. squirrel says:

    Chippy,
    On one previous video i saw that applications were launched by drawing symbols on the screen. Did you test this very interesting UI feature?
    Did you open the device? Can the HDD be replaced, for example by SSD and WiMAX :-)

  18. Chippy says:

    Squirrel. There’s no gesture-based s/w on this. You might be thinking of StreetDeck which works nicely on the S5 and includes gesture-based commends.

  19. J says:

    Yes the internal drive can be replaced… I have tested mine with a Mtron MOBI 3000 1.8″ ZIF drive and also a a compact flash card using a zif to CF converter from Addonics.

    No idea on the WIMAX tho…

    Also the ram cannot be replaced or changed as it is embedded into the board.

  20. squirrel says:

    maybe intel echo peak 5150 (half size)
    http://www.intel.com/network/connectivity/products/wireless/wimax/wifi/index.htmusb is needed for wimax (pci-e for wi-fi, but it’s aleady built in)

  21. Ken E Kaplan says:

    RT @chippy: Found: UMPCPortal: Full review of Viliv S5 http://tinyurl.com/o278rs (KK says: I gotta get one of these with 3G!)

  22. Michael says:

    @squirrel
    I think that is StrokeIt and not the UI

    Nice review!
    Can you please say a word about Portraitmode (browsing and reading ebooks)?

  23. Chippy says:

    Rotation works although there’s no shortcut button or on-screen menu apart from the Intel graphics software and shortcut. (CTRL-ALT-Cursor keys.)
    Touch still works ok.

    Because of the vertical viewing angle limitations (it fades quickly when viewed from above), there’s a slight problem because when you hold the device close to the eyes, each eye gets a different color / contrast level. It’s a bit like the effect you get when wearing red/blue 3d glasses. It only occurs when you hold the device close, i think most people could put up with it and some people may not even notice it. It happens with a lot of devices but is more pronounced on hi-res handhelds because you hold the screen closer to the eyes.

    Steve

  24. andrrey says:

    Goodd review! It is one more confirmation not to buy this strange device.

  25. Chippy says:

    haha. Like it!
    As with all UMPCs and MIDs, form factors and software vary wildly. It’s a very personalised segment of computers. The real personal computer!

  26. Flam says:

    Hi Chippy

    Great review thanks!

    Do you have any idea if there’s enough room for an 1.8″ 8mm hdd?? It’s the only thing I need to know before I’ll get mine!

    Cheers

  27. Morganj says:

    Great review Chippy,

    I see you are planning to test MapFactor Pc Navigator 9 on the S5.

    I’m using Pc Navigator 8 on my Aigo and aside from the obvious battery life issue it is working very nicely,
    the interface is very well suited to the touch screen (The menus and icons seem to stay the same size no matter what resolution you have the device screen set to) which i think will be a useful feature on the S3 as the resloution is so high.

    Even on the Aigo voice commands are clearly heard (which again i think will be better on the S5)

    I will be very interested to see your impressions of the Pc Navigator 9 on the S5, from what i have experienced on the Aigo it should make the S5 into a near perfect Navigation device.

  28. Fra says:

    Chippy,
    nice review thanks. Just one question: you know something about the release of S5 with SSD and HSDPA? I didn’t participate to the previous Dynamism rush sale, and I don’t know if to participate in the one on this Thursday, because I was waiting for the device with these features. But if it is a matter to wait too long, it is not a good point to wait.

  29. Chippy says:

    May, June? No details at the moment. I’m guessing if Viliv are focusing on north america right now that European (HSDPA) launch could get pushed out into June.
    S

  30. Joshua says:

    I’ve just received my S5 from Dynamism. Now just why does the US distribution not include that nifty plastic encasing? Alas, it would have been perfect for some of my work related use. Any chance you’ll sell yours? ;)

  31. Chippy says:

    Its not mine. All on loan from Viliv! Sorry.

    S

  32. Fra says:

    Thanks Chippy,
    if it is few months to see available the HSDPA and SSD it’s worth it to wait. Since with an eventual USB modem would be not so confortable to handle for the USB position.

  33. DK says:

    I had a chance to look at this up close in South Korea last week. It does feel pretty solid and the touchscreen was precise. The reason I didn’t purchase it was the resolution was way too small for my old eyes. It may appeal to you younger folks… The price came to $531 after the conversion which is more than I had guessed.

  34. Chippy says:

    Hi DK. It’s a good point.

    It’s not the resolution that’s too high, it’s the default font size in pixels (or ‘points’) that’s too small.

    There’s a setting in all versions of Windows (from XP and up, and most other desktop OS’) that allows you to boost the default font size which results in bigger fonts that are the same size as on bigger screens (actually screens with a lower pixels-per-inch to be more accurate) but better defined.

    The only downside to this is that you lose the ability to put a lot of text of the screen and that some applications don’t play well with the settings.

  35. Michael says:

    I wrote an email to viliv about 2 weeks ago asking them when the S5 Premium Air will be available in the US and europe and thats what they answeared:

    …..
    We don’t release yet S5 Air/S7 with SSD and HSDPA in Europe and USA.
    (we are talking about several potential partners about launching date and the price of S5 but we haven’t decide it yet)
    …..

  36. Velik says:

    Do they have an english version of that site? did you just scour the page for an email?

  37. Michael says:

    yes they do, but there is still much under construction…

    http://www.myviliv.com/eng/index.html

  38. TareX says:

    I don’t know… it seems that waiting for a more pocketable and functional Tegra Windows Mobile (or Android) phone seems like the better solution.

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/mobile_games_demos.html

  39. squirrel says:

    Yes, we all think about ARM Cortex (Tegra=ARM Cortex+GeForce+UI), so let’s wait Computex (June 2-6) where Nvidia promise to say when the devices on it will be lauched

  40. squirrel says:

    Sorry, Tegra is based on ARM11, so it’s not so interesting for universal MID, more for 1080p video and 3D graphics

  41. Velik says:

    I know this isnt exactly built for any kind of gaming, but I’d really like to see “Quake 3 Arena” benchmarked, i would think even an underpowered machine could handle it.

  42. Tom says:

    What??? No Mic and no SD/Micro SD slot? Even the PSP has a memory slot (granted it’s the stupid Memory Stick).

    Uggh, why make such a great device and not include those things. Seems like a no brainer. Geez, at least include it in the Premium models.

    Now the hard decision, go for the current model or wait until they fix these glaring annoying problems.

  43. Marc says:

    No Mic I can live with, no memory card slot is silly, but I can get over it.

    After five minutes with this device (just arrived in UK from Dynamism) and I have to say I’m pretty impressed, the build is great and XP seems to just work. The potential deal breaker for me isn’t the memory card slot, mic or lack of keyboard, it could be the lack of stylus/place to put stylus.

    The thing on the lanyard works fine, but it’s already annoying me…

  44. Marc says:

    Oh, and if you are waiting for a card slot and mic, then I think the wait will be long. If they are a problem look for another device…

  45. Sokonomi says:

    Oh wow, really no SD card? Not even microSD? That makes my decision final, E-king i1 it is then. I have about 32gb worth of SD 8gb cards laying around, and not being able to use these them would be a big loss. As for no mic, I guess a bluetooth headset is nicer to use anyway.

    Another detail that made me doubt the S5, was the USB port location. The thing would become useless with an external drive hooked up to it. You would be barely able to hold on to it, not to mention typing on it.

  46. Marc says:

    Had another quick play (I really should be doing some work).

    Leather case is very nice, and you can use it as a kick stand (at least on a still surface, would need to test a train), would have been nice if they had made that a deliberate feature like Samsung did with the Q1 case, it wouldn’t have been difficult.

    The case does have a stylus and place to put it. Surely that means they realised it would be a good idea to have one in the unit?

    So I think I’ll keep it in the case, rather than keep the lanyard on. Neither ideal.

    Runs all my normal websites beautifully. Need to see if I can find a way to do an increase zoom in firefox from some kind of shortcut. Default text is a little small. It’s probably mentioned in the review, but browse with firefox and install grab and drag. Perfect!

    HD seems to have a regular annoying tick. I think there is a thread on Pocketables on it. Will have to check that later.

  47. tmarks11 says:

    Seems like they could easily get rid of the antenna and put a stylus silo in it’s place on models exported from the country.

  48. Gary Greco says:

    Viliv S5 – Premium UMPC – Full review http://bit.ly/OMEgb #UMPC

  49. Supermoocow says:

    Just bought one of these beauties on dynamism and was wondering if anyone knows of a compatible uk mains adaptor (charger) that I can purchase?
    I expect that the default charger will be a 2pin and different voltage than uk :(

  50. Marc says:

    Power supply is a worldwide 100-240volts so works fine in the UK.

    All you need is one of these at a massive $1.92 delivered to the UK. (Be warned dealextreme can be an addictive place):

    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.2709

  51. Tony says:

    Hi guys
    Do you think this can play warcraft 3? It’s not really a modern game, considering the age, but I’m not sure if the GPU is able to handle it..
    thanks

  52. nor500 says:

    Chippy,
    I am wondering how to use the virtual keyboard in a pre boot environment, like for example in Bios or in multi boot menu etc..?

  53. Marc says:

    You couldn’t, you would need a USB keyboard.

    In a boot menu, or in the bios, the buttons on the device would provide certain functionality such as cursor control and enter.

  54. Rad says:

    Is it OANDA software possible on this UMPC ?

  55. final says:

    How much space free after Installing a clean OS? ~28GB?

  56. twinkerz says:

    Anybody got any idea if the F-log model from korea means it includes the 3g module? Or we cannot get the S5 with 3g module from korea directly? tks

  57. nor500 says:

    I received my s5 3g from Dynamism. Sadly they only supplied it with the battery charger with only north american type electric socket. That socket is changeable on the battery charger, so they could have supplied it with other regions socket too, especially when people send an order from Europe. That changeable socket part is a very cheap spare part but can be very annoying to the buyers not having that with the device. In my country, in Hungary, we use the german standard of electric socket.
    Chippy, is it normal that dynamism sent the s5 with that only north american socke type?

  58. Marc says:

    Dynamism are a US based operation and get the S5s supplied to them for a US market. They choose to sell them internationally, but don’t have the parts for the rest of the world.

    I agree it is annoying.

    I couldn’t find the correct part and just paid a couple of euros for an adapter. Not sure what you have in Hungary, but something like this should do the trick?

    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.13525

  59. nor500 says:

    Did you test the wireless speed of the built-in marvel wlan adapter? Mine is disappointingly slow. I didn’t read thouhgts about that in this reveiew. Mine is under the factory installed windows xp home only could around 5Mbs (350-450 kbyte/sec file transfer speed tested in totalcommander and netmeter ) which is much below what 54Mbit/s standard in real world condition usually can (2300-2500kbyte/sec).

    Chippy, did you notice that wlan bandwith issue? I updated the drivers and was playing all the settings of the wlan card, but nothing helped.

  60. Fra says:

    Finally since few days I got my S5 3G from Dynamism. The first impresssion is very good even the lack of a onboard microphone and webcam is incomprehensible (I knew anyway) the same for the lack of the card reader, but what has really surprised me is that is not even possible to use the microphone of a headset!!!! (there is only the place for the hearphone jack!!!) So it is necessary to use an USB headset or a Bluetooth one.
    The onscreen keybord is ok since I will do mainly a “consumer” use of this device and not a “producer” one.
    The 3G works good and was surprisingly positive to find the software to use the device as a cellphone for voice and sms.
    The speed of the wireless connection is good.
    Another remarks is about the documentation. The manuals are very poor and the support on the website is still not very helping.

    Now I am wonderig how to do certain things, like:
    – somebody knows how to scroll webpages( and maybe other documents like Word etc.) moving the finger on the touchscreen? I have seen this done on some youtube videos, like the one of the review of JKK. If I do that on the Chrome or Mozilla or IE I got the elements selected instead scrolling pages.
    – someone knows how to install the drivers dowloaded from the myviliv website? They are not execurable files, so a not IT expert like me doesn’t know where to put these files.

    Thanks

    Fra

  61. Fra says:

    ok, about the fact that is not possible to use a headset with microphone is not true!!! I just read this http://forum.pocketables.net/showthread.php?t=3164

    Fra

  62. Marc says:

    Use Firefox as your browser and then get the ‘grab and drag’ plugin. It does what you need and makes Firefox the first choice browser for devices like this.

  63. Fra says:

    Thanks Marc I will try. Even my preferred web browser is Chrome. You know if there is the same functionality in it? I guess not till it is still under development. And what about other software like Acrobat Reader, Word etc:?

    Fra

  64. Marc says:

    Chrome is my preferred browser too, but as it doesn’t support add-ons it can’t do this and won’t be the first choice for tablet devices until it does.

    You also want to get the full screen add-on. It let’s you put a full screen icon on the toolbar. Useful for maximising screen space rather than trying to find it in a menu.

    Not looked into other drag scrolling stuff for Windows, but do vaguely remember there being a thread over on Pocketables forums. A quick google suggests this may do the trick if you can adjust the settings??

    http://lifehacker.com/399221/mouseimp-pro-makes-scrolling-windows-easier

  65. Fra says:

    Ok Marc thanks again. I will give a look to that link.
    Moreover… you know how to use handwriting recognition in windows xp? There are special software or there is something in windows wp?

    Fra

  66. Marc says:

    You need XP Tablet edition to do this.

    Sadly you can’t buy it. So you can’t get it unless you have access to MSDN/technet or a ‘unofficial’ source.

    There is a way of hacking in XP Tablet functionality onto XP and a website about how to do it somewhere, but I can’t find my link right now! (I’ll have another look in a minute.)

    Again this has been discussed in the S5 forum on pocketables. I suggest you go and have a look over there as you’ll find some other useful tips.

    Good luck!

  67. Marc says:

    Here it is:

    http://www.winmatrix.com/forums/index.php?/topic/21199-tablet-pc-input-panel-for-xp-pro-home-mce-and-original-windows-7-mat/

    Quite confusing as they talk about lots of things in one post and the English isn’t perfect.

  68. Fra says:

    ok, thanks once again Marc.
    now I have allot to study :)

    Fra

  69. Ishman says:

    not sure if this has been posted but, I have a problem with the awesome bar on firefox when I use the on screen keyboard. So to fix this I followed the direction here

    http://www.downloadsquad.com/2008/06/17/dont-think-the-firefox-3-awesome-bar-is-awesome-heres-how-t

    and set the value to 2. Now it does not interfere with my keyboard

  70. downlad free full games says:

    I really appreciate the effort that was put into this info you have posted.

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