Viliv S10 Blade Convertible Netbook/Tablet Review

Updated on 10 June 2018 by

Performance.

As usual in our tests, we’ve performed the CrystalMark test and written notes about general usage performance.

CrystalMark test results

S10crystalmark

Results are as expected for a 1.6Ghz Intel Atom CPU. The graphic scores are relatively poor and this is a platform-wide problem with the graphics chipset used on these devices. The GMA500 CPU is not known for its graphic strengths.

crystaldiskS10

On the disk tests we see good read speeds but we’re a little worried about the slow 512KB write speed. The 2.7MB/s figure there is unusually low. We can’t say we’ve noticed it in general use though. Application start and file move times are good.

Windows 7 Performance rating

  • Processor: 2.2
  • Memory: 4.3
  • Graphics: 2.9
  • Gaming graphics: 2.3
  • Primary Hard Disk: 5.2

Video performance.

Our video tests cover both online and offline video usage. First lets start with YouTube; a good benchmarking tool!

Using Firefox 3.6 and Flash 10.0 we tested a number of YouTube video formats and we can’t say we were really impressed. Windowed 360p (Low quality) YouTube worked although with other flash content playing on the page, sometimes even this was jumpy. Full-screen 360p seems to work smoothly. 460p in full screen is not a smooth experience although seems to work well in windowed mode. It’s much that same story as with any netbook. Forget 720p or higher.

Switching to flash 10.1 beta didn’t really make much difference which surprised us so we installed the latest development drivers for the GMA500 on Windows 7, rebooted and re-tested.

Old Driver 8.14.10.2019

New Driver 8.14.10.2024

With the new driver we did get a slight improvement in the HQ video playback performance and were also able to watch some 720p videos in full screen although we preferred the HQ videos. They seemed to return a smoother frame-rate. At the 2mbps bitrate required for these videos, you need to make sure you have good connectivity for 720p too.

Full Viliv S10 specifications and more information in the UMPCPortal product database

Offline videos.

One of the features of the GMA500 CPU is that it is capable of decoding WMV, H.264 and other MPEG4 formats in hardware. On Windows XP and Vista this has often been unachievable due to the lack of software codecs but on Windows 7, many of the codecs required are build in and capable of taking advantage of the GMA500. In previous tests with Windows 7 on the GMA500 we’ve been able to play back H.264 and other formats to 2mbps with no problems but on the Viliv S10, it goes way beyond that.

Before we go any further though we want to point out that the K-Lite Codec pack is pre-installed on our test device. We suspect that Viliv have set this model up to demonstrate the best video performance possible. The K-Lite video pack is widely available so even if retail versions of the S10 don’t include this, it’s possible to set it up at zero cost.

In our offline video tests we succeeded in playing back:

H.264 720p at 2.48mbps

Divx 4.2Mbps – 50% CPU utilisation

WMVHD 720 – 6.5mbps 80% CPU Utilisation

MPEG2 – PAL, 2.5Mbps direct from DVB-T transmission

H.264 – YouTube 720p download. 2mbps

We also tried a 1080p file: H.264 – 1080p – 12Mbps average. On a freshly booted system it worked near perfectly with only a small amount of tearing noticeable. We also played this back on a 1440×900 monitor with the same, good result.

In general the S10 should perform well as a video playback device.

Note: There is no digital video output on the S10 although component (to 720p) and VGA (to 1080p) is available.

General performance.

We hesitate to call any netbook running Windows 7 ‘fast’ as the memory, graphics and CPU requirements of the operating system require something more powerful to bring an experience that flows. When we first tested the S10 we found the UI to be very slow and jumpy and it wasn’t until we turned of ‘Aero’ that the system felt like something we could use in typical netbook scenarios. When we turned off all graphics effects though the UI actually felt like something we would enjoy using and that is how we’ve left the UI configuration.

Application startup times are good. Firefox opens in a very quick 4 seconds. Chrome opens in under a second as far as we can measure.

Windows Media Center (not player) is a tough test for a netbook-style device and unfortunately, although one could say that it works, it’s hardly a smooth experience. Turning off animations helped a lot but we didn’t go much further with testing the application.

Audio.

The audio device is a Realtek audio chip with a single port. As you plug something into the port the Realtek software pops up a box to ask you what type of device you plugged in. Unfortunately, the port does not support input of any type so what you end up with is a single output port. That means there’s no possibility to plug in a mic which restrict the user to a USB headset, USB Mic or the built-in microphone. This could be an issue for some users.

The second problem is the extremely poor built-in loudspeaker. We actually think this might be broken because it’s quiet and distorts if you try to turn the volume up. There’s no midrange response at all. We’ll be checking with Viliv on this one.

When connected to a home HiFi system, the audio jack output is clean of major electronic interference until you turn the amplifier too high. On headphones, the interference is undetectable.

Note: After coming out of standby, we were hearing some significant hum on the output. It turns out that after removing the power cable in our standby test, the hum was there. Re-inserting the power cable removed the hum. The hum is only noticeable when the there is nothing being played through the output and it has a consistent level equivalent to 1 on a scale where 100 is maximum output volume. It won’t affect any music listening experiences for most people.

Heat and noise.

The system is free of any moving parts and is, therefore, silent.

Heat build-up is noticable in the area underneath the power button but is only significant when charging. In tablet mode, this heat build-up does spread across the unit and can be significant if using CPU and GPU intensive tasks. In normal use, we didn’t have any issues with the heat produced by the Viliv S10.

Stability.

Two notes to put in this section:

  • Firefox 3.6 crashed twice when playing online videos.
  • Media player crashed once when coming out of standby.

In general, the S10 has been very stable during two weeks of testing.

Boot-up, standby, hibernate speeds

Boot-up

Return from hibernation – 25 seconds.

Return from standby – 3 seconds. (+ wifi)

Cold Boot – 55 seconds (auto-login. Time until main Windows 7 desktop shows.

Battery life.

On our test device the battery indicator only shows 10% granularity and no indication of remaining battery life.

In our open review we took regular measurement of the battery drain. During our tests we saw figures consistent with 7.5hrs with Wifi-on, 70% screen brightness, general use.

Battery drain when in standby – Very low.

Battery drain when off – Negligible.

Our Viliv S10 photo gallery available here.

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33 Comments For This Post

  1. UMPCPortal says:

    Full Review: Viliv S10 'Blade' Convertible #Netbook #Tablet – http://bit.ly/cFJPYt

  2. Steve 'Chippy' Paine says:

    RT @umpcportal: Full Review: Viliv S10 'Blade' Convertible #Netbook #Tablet – http://bit.ly/cFJPYt

  3. Ricky Cadden says:

    Man I want one of these. RT @chippy: RT @umpcportal: Full Review: Viliv S10 'Blade' Convertible #Netbook #Tablet – http://bit.ly/cFJPYt

  4. Oliver Herbert says:

    RT @chippy: RT @umpcportal: Full Review: Viliv S10 'Blade' Convertible #Netbook #Tablet – http://bit.ly/cFJPYt

  5. Neil says:

    RT @chippy: RT @umpcportal: Full Review: Viliv S10 'Blade' Convertible #Netbook #Tablet – http://bit.ly/cFJPYt

  6. Jerry Fahrni says:

    Cool device RT @chippy RT @umpcportal: Full Review: Viliv S10 'Blade' Convertible #Netbook #Tablet – http://bit.ly/cFJPYt

  7. Vakeros says:

    Thanks for the in-depth review. I guess the main point of a multi-touch screen is when used in tablet-mode as you can’t access the keyboard or mouse pad.
    You find it to heavy to use in tablet-mode. How does it compare with other netvertibles for weight and size?

  8. Yu says:

    @ Chippy: Doesn’t the low end version come with a 60 GB HDD of yet unknown quality?

    As for weight…
    I think the Gigabyte T1028X weights 1.5kg at a claimed 6.5h battery life.
    The Lenovo Ideapad S10-3t weights 1.5kg but comes with an 8 cell battery, so it should provide relatively good battery life in exchange ( 8h according to cyberblog.de ), it’s the best competitor at that point.
    The Asus EEEPC T101MT weights 1.3kg but comes with less battery life (6h being realistic under laboratory conditions only, but 5h+ still being realistic for actual use if I remeber right). But: It’s the only Convertible Device in the Netbook area I know to provide palm rejection ( the asus software provides a “pen mode” where fingers are ignored alltogether but the stylus is not ). Also it comes with a matte screen.

  9. c1oudrs says:

    The poor speakers kill it for many people. Viliv needs to resist introducing deal breakers like that in their line. Also, 1gb of ram in their high end seems silly. BAD Viliv! Bad. BAD! Viliv is an innovator, no doubt about that. But the competition is getting fierce–its an industry of innovators right now–and Viliv needs to decide if they want to bother to compete. Many companies have jumped in the free for all since the S5, X70 and S7 have come out. A ‘good’ product isn’t enough anymore. Frankly it was heating up with the x70 introduction but now it seems everyone is in the game. Notice that 2 out of 3 of their competitors offer 2gb ram but Viliv is still offering the same ram on their higher ends that they did for the smaller devices last summer. The not-as-sensitive touchscreen is a smaller issue in my opinion but it becomes evident that Viliv is doing their own thing and not paying attention to business. If I was Viliv management I would be having conniptions.

  10. Lucien says:

    How does the screen look when viewing off-center? Especially in portrait slate mode reading books or browsing? Most netbooks will have a falloff in brightness viewing at certain angles.

  11. Lucien says:

    Never mind see now it’s mentioned. Picture would be great to illustrate the color shift in portrait mode from side. At which angle does it occur? Would it be visible looking straight at the screen in portrait mode? Or only if you tilt little bit?

  12. Johannes says:

    Great Review Chippy! I played around with JKK’s Viliv S10 during cebit and it is a great convertible.

  13. umpcaddict says:

    thanks for the review chippy. you’re always on point brotha.

    no upgradable ram? viliv is just trying to stretch their manufacturing capabilities correlating to the times, but the competition is fierce like cloudrs said. and this isn’t really a developer’s machine. windows shouldn’t look like one. what’s windows 7 without aero? what’s the benefit of 6+ hr battery without being able to waste some of that watching hd movies? who really writes up documents and works on spreadsheets for 6 hours on such a small, portable device? multi-touch and no multi-task? =\ that screen would respond better to those gestures if it had more ram.

    and that sd card slot/dip is ugly. it should be on either side, seems out of place.

    it’s got a nice black gloss and matte finish but it seems like it’s a woman’s machine. it’s a bit dainty. i hate how the whole machine rocks when you tap the screen in traditional laptop mode. they should’ve used more straight-edged corners and made it a little bit more boxy and without that staggered height from front to back. men are usually the majority consumer of electronics/netbooks/laptops/umpcs. if i buy this, and that’s a big IF, i’ll probably buy it for my sister lol.

    the weight/size/battery and it being a convertible tablet is a plus but i think this is going to come and go like the asus t91 and the gigabyte m912. viliv should’ve started at $549-599.99 for the lower model and then work up. imo, that would’ve been a better marketing strategy. s5’s price+size+battery opened the doors up for them. they should’ve prepared these price points for the Viliv S12 with 2+ GB ram (because that’s probably going to happen) to ensure longevity and in becoming a household brand/product. they would sell the blade like hotcakes if it had more ram and better prices. they would broaden their consumer base and reach when they release the s12, because the s12’s release could be stretched 2-3 quarters because of the s10’s popularity. people would definitely be excited without questioning the S12’s design or hardware because they would be so satisfied with the s10. who knows, maybe this isn’t their focus product?

    and did anyone notice the scar on the woman’s forearm in this picture? why? because it’s a “blade”? lol. we should run a poll. subliminal benefit vs. lame

    http://www.myviliv.com/eng/img/product/s10/s10_img_9-1.jpg

    i say lame

    one more thing..good thing this isn’t white. i think i saw ken lee with a white one ;)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KU8wOVpcbY

    i’m sorta looking forward to your review of the n5 when you get a pre-production unit chippy. thanks again.

  14. crabolsky says:

    I happen to agree with most of what you’ve said here. I don’t think the design is too “dainty” but I do agree that it is styled to be as svelte as possible. Unfortunately at the detriment to a number of important elements. I keep trying to convince myself that I cant stretch the dollars to meet my desire to own this good looking bit of hardware. I come close But I still cant justify the $800 (the base model isn’t worth it).
    They have over stretched their aspirations for this one. Or maybe this price point is what is needed to make these netbooks look this pretty? The engineering, tooling and materials surely add up, but to what end?

  15. Debloussie says:

    its exactly what a 1008HA would look like if it were a convertible!

  16. Cody Fink says:

    @DMBarlow http://bit.ly/aws0TM

  17. digitaldoc says:

    Chippy … good luck in your impossible pursuit to find a productivity gain from multitouch. MultiTouch is for fingerpainting !
    I am so happy to see you demoing multitouch in Paint …. AND … doing fingerpainting !

    MultiTouch is a virtually pointless feature … Do you really think if a smart guy like you hasn’t seen even some possible benefits to multitouch … that you will eventually find any ! NO !

    To top it off, any multitouch bonus you find, I’ll be able to do better with single touch and the Mouse Pad ! I promise.

    Note: I do think Microsoft Surface benefits from MultiTouch … and I would want MultiTouch if my entire desk was a Microsoft Surface PC. But MultiTouch on a S10 is without any use other than ….. :)

  18. techb4l says:

    You’re points are dead on. I’ve been trying to understand what are the actual benefits of multitouch netbooks or convertibles for a few months. All the web buzz has continually been multitouch this, multitouch that. I never got it. Chippy is the only player I’ve seen be truthful about this issue. Multitouch isn’t that useful on a Windows netbook/convertible. I thought I was crazy this whole time. While I still may be, it’s not because of this issue.:-)

  19. Simon says:

    Hi all,

    Just a heads up for the European release!

    Think4.com is the Master Distributor for Europe and are currently taking back orders for the S10. Please feel free to contact – Simon Thomas for further information.

  20. Michael says:

    Hi Simon, I am a bit surprised about your comment as I got the following e-mail response from Viliv this morning:

    “The EU area will be next step of launching. […] CarTFT and / or MobilX will launch this device to EU market. If the launching schedule is fixed, they might do some promotion of sales.”

    Though I have seen that Think4 is listed as Viliv’s distributor in the UK, their sales team did not mention it (to me) at all. It would be great if you could provide some additional information here.

  21. Simon says:

    Hi Michael,

    Thank you for your response!

    Yes you are correct in pointing to CarTFT and Moblix with referance to the reseller arm of viliv. We (T4) are the Master Distributor for the EU Channel. We are acting in the capacity of Channel Manager for the S10 in the UK through a number of resellers. I will be looking to update the viliv web site with this information shortly. In the mean time we are taking orders for and on behalf of our reseller network. The resellers information will also be included on the viliv site too.

    Many thanks,

    Simon.

  22. Michael says:

    Hi Simon, thanks a lot for the quick clarification.

  23. Michael says:

    (On a side note: I do not doubt the seriousness of your comment. I am just wondering about the actual stage of the launch as Viliv did not state anything specific regarding EU availability.)

  24. Simon says:

    Hi Michael,

    Again you are correct!

    The anticipated launch for the S10,N5,HD5,P3 is expected to be around the end of April / early May. This is to be confirmed but that is the indicative ETA.

    Thanks again,

    Simon.

  25. Davide-NYC says:

    If this came with an active digitizer option I’d buy it in an instant.
    If they stick a wacom digitizer (capacitive/active) it would take the corporate world by storm.

  26. Yu says:

    Got a point there. With a pricing aimed at the professional market the ability actually to write with a pen would probably be even more important for a convertible device :-/ Asus has demonstrated by now, that it is possible to achieve such with software settings with the T101MT though ( except that I think it is done by reducing the responsiveness of the screen in pen mode to the point where only a small pen tip may easily produce the necessary pressure, because one user reported a joint of his small finger interfering with writing ).

    Though being no optimal solution, it would probably make the device more interesting. Handwriting recognition is nice, but it doesn’t help you much with note taking if you have to rest your palm on the screen’s border…

    Note: Though I speak of “making the device more interesting” I’m still intrigued by some of the features: SSD and fanlessness make the device unique, the battery life is well above the netvertible competition and the high resolution isn’t bad either ( though a 3Qi-Screen would easily make me drop the want for a HD screen as it seems to be available only in 1024×600 so far ). Still I’d rather go for a less premium device. After all, the Asus EEE PC T91 has demonstrated the two (to me) most interesting features, if it wasn’t for the small 9″ form factor I have no use for :-/ (also 9″ means that a 3qi screen won’t fit in)

  27. Tom says:

    Doubt it. Inking has never been very nice to use on tablets. In what situations in a corporate environment would benefit from this device having inking abilities. I’m sure pulling out a small notepad is more convenient than pulling out a big and heavy device to just write down some notes.

  28. techb4l says:

    “…never been very nice…” Huh? That statement sounds like you’ve never actually inked on a tablet PC. One may not find it a compelling input method, but real inking on an active digitizer works pretty perfectly. I’m not a tablet PC guy, but the times I inked on the old OQO were very pleasant.

  29. Tom says:

    I have and it was not as nice as pulling out a notepad and pen or just typing.

  30. 刘苏 says:

    刘苏到访,留个脚印…

  31. Davide-NYC says:

    I agree that the experience is not “as nice” as writing on pen and paper.

    But *NOTHING* beats having all of your notes in a single place and SEARCH-ABLE.

    I’m about to purchase an old TC1100 to keep running along side my laptop to avoid generating un-search-able text in a notepad while I’m on the phone.

    A lot of people (including myself) do not type well enough to type notes in real time without interrupting the flow of the conversation.

  32. Lucien says:

    I just noticed the Lenovo X201 and HP SmartTouch tm2 test video’s and multi-touch works smooth as it’s supposed to be. Check last minute of this video and compare to S10:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrOq5ScFLUo

    So unfortunately S10 is underpowered to make effective use of the multi-touch features.

  33. Kym Dancoes says:

    Perfect blog post man, I realistically like the look and additionally the feel of this specific internet page. You write fully well, you need to be a aware guy. Will without a doubt come back

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