Viliv N5 Handheld Initial Assessment (Inc. Video)

Posted on 05 July 2010, Last updated on 29 January 2018 by

IMG_3789 For those looking for the perfect handheld PC for road-warrior and productivity work, the Viliv N5 has to be near the top of the list. Sliders and tablets are great but nothing beats the clamshell format for practicality in terms of usage and ruggedness. Very similar to the UMID BZ, the Viliv N5 offers a desktop operating system on a very efficient Intel Menlow platform with long battery life, an excellent video playback experience (up to 1080p tested successfully without any modifications) fast SSD and, in the version we’re testing here, the convenience of built-in 3G. The optical mouse really helps navigating round Windows where sometimes, a small touchscreen isn’t the best solution and, like the Fujitsu UH900, the N5 goes for a keyboard size that works for both touch-tapping and thumb usage although as always with keyboards that try and do both, it’s not optimal for either scenario.

Viliv N5 specifications, images, link, videos.

In testing over the last 4 days I’ve been impressed with the multitasking performance of the device. Compared to the UMID BZ it offers a smoother experience with none of the SSD-overload that is all too easy to experience on the BZ. The finish of the device is fantastic and represents Vilivs usual attention to detail.

See our Live, Open Review for more detailed hands-on work.

IMG_3790 IMG_3787

On the downside there’s no analogue video out (the VGA, composite, S-Video port is blanked-off) and the screen touch-layer is heavier than a lot of modern UMPCs. The brightness, too, is noticeably less than on other devices, especially the BZ. Windows 7 Home Starter limits how you can change your desktop (setting the display DPI to 125% really helps though and the video below was taken before I had made that adjustment.) The 32GB SSD is partitioned for a recovery installation and you end up with just 11GB of user disk space.

A note about battery life.

As I type this I’m seeing 25% battery left after 2.5hrs of use which equates to over 3hrs online usage. The screen brightness has been at 100% during this period and both Wi-Fi and 3G have been on concurrently for about 1 hour of this. Unfortunately, the battery life indicator on the Viliv N5 only shows remaining capacity in steps of 5% and it can be inconsistent and non-linear. With careful set-up, I expect users to be able to get 4hrs out of the device but not much more than that. The battery has only 15Wh capacity so with Windows 7 on the Menlow platform, don’t expect anything more than this.

All the important points are covered in the video below but as I write this, a second video is uploading which compares the Viliv N5 to the UMID BZ. There are advantages on both devices and as we learn about the UMID SE, maybe there’s a third option coming soon. Stay tuned for a second post focusing on the differences between the UMID BZ and Viliv N5.

32 Comments For This Post

  1. UMPCPortal says:

    New article: Viliv N5 Handheld – Initial Assessment (Inc. Video)

  2. Gretchen Glasscock says:

    Viliv N5 Handheld – Initial Assessment (Inc. Video): For those looking for the perfect handheld PC for road-warri…

  3. Steve 'Chippy' Paine says:

    RT @umpcportal: New article: Viliv N5 Handheld – Initial Assessment (Inc. Video)

  4. Steven Lew says:

    RT @chippy: RT @umpcportal: New article: Viliv N5 Handheld – Initial Assessment (Inc. Video)

  5. Guy Adams says:

    @chippy near drops the Viliv N5 during his overview; ( Nice catch chippy!

  6. Guy Adams says:

    RT @umpcportal New article: Viliv N5 Handheld – Initial Assessment (Inc. Video)

  7. Ben Lang says:

    RT @umpcportal: New article: Viliv N5 Handheld – Initial Assessment (Inc. Video)

  8. Guy says:

    I really don’t know why Viliv didn’t offer video out for all models in the N5 range, its a waste of the excellent video playback to not offer one.

    Also I use BatteryBar for my testing, its very in depth even showing battery wear and discharge rate which really allows you to see how changes in settings, turning off radios, etc affect the battery life;

  9. gmich says:

    Thanks for the great video as always, Chippy. But Since when did 3 to 4 hours translate to “long” battery life?

  10. chippy says:

    Per KG of PC, it’s as long as almost any product out there and remember, this is 4 hours of online working. If you need 8 hours, check out the S7. The S5 will give you 6 but you lose the keyboard!

  11. Guy says:

    And fingers crossed we will see a extended battery which could possible double that figure. I think for the size four hours online work with a full fledged operating system is fantastic.

  12. Jerry Fahrni says:

    Viliv N5 Handheld – Initial Assessment (Inc. Video) | UMPCPortal – Ultra Mobile Personal Computing

  13. komoornik says:

    Chippy, what you got with that Vista ? :)

  14. chippy says:

    Oh man. Vista on my mind for some reason. Sorry about any Vista references.

  15. ArchiMark says:

    Great overview video as usual, Chippy…

    I assume that if one wants, you can upgrade the N5 from Win7 Starter to Win7 Home Premium, etc, right?…

    So, then you’d get the missing features…

  16. focus says:

    Too bad these 2 devices are only very small laptops and nothing more!
    Remember this is an UMPC site!?

  17. chippy says:

    …and these are UMPCs.

  18. focus says:

    I know you NEED to be soo,but…
    Look these like Q1 for you?

  19. Chippy says:

    No but since when was the tablet form factor the only UMPC? OQO, Flipstart, U60, U560, Shift, Everun? Ultra Mobile PCs took on many forms over the years and it needs to stay that way to satisfy multiple user types.

  20. komoornik says:

    7″ is ultra mobile?

    That’s funny.

  21. Phillip says:

    Looks like a UMPC to me.

  22. Mark says:

    No VGA out, 11 GB left for the user, 3 hours tops battery life, twitchy touchscreen and $650? I’ve been looking forward to this device since January and “disappointment” is a massive understatement. Now, the same guts as the S5 in the N5 form factor would have been welcome. The N5 is a major disappointment.

  23. Guy says:

    Mark, very good points and I’m left feeling the same somewhat. With the N5’s excellent video playback a video out connector would be a excellent for outputting to a TV or external monitor and using it as a playback device.

  24. Bill G says:

    Well, I guess the decision not to buy will be very easy for you.

    As far as I can tell, the N5 is the best ever UMPC of its type. To me, that’s not a major disappointment. It’s always possible to second-guess a manufacturer and say they could have done something better. They probably could have. But making a device that is the best of its class is a solid accomplishment.

    As for me, I am planning to immediately blow away Windows and the recovery partition, and replace with Linux; I expect to have around 25Gb available for user data after I install all the software I want. Since I will not have wifi/3g on and 100% screen brightness ALL the time, I expect quite a bit longer than the 3 hours “tops” that you quote; in any case, I’ll have an extra battery weighing just a few grams which will double whatever the expected time is.

    The price? Well, it’s expensive, but so are all the tiny Intel PCs. Looking at the other devices in the category, the price is right in the mix. Did you really expect the N5 to be the styliest, most powerful, AND cheapest device? Please.

  25. dennisvjames says:

    Mobile is…mobile. 7 is minimum and 10 hours is what folks around here consider mobile. Anything less is not…mobile. 3 is just crazytown.

  26. Mikey says:

    Can you tell me what UMPC (5 inch screen or less for me) lasts 10 hours? I’d like to get that.

  27. Minions says:

    I assume hes refering to something along the lines of a phone.

  28. Guy says:

    I don’t think I know of any Windows based UMPC that lasts 10 hours. One of the nice touches of the N5 is the ‘slice’ style battery on the bottom which means an extended battery is a possible option if Viliv release one. For an extra few millimetres thickness potentially battery life could be doubled.

  29. kiz says:

    looks like the hardware is capable of 3d gaming
    would good drivers be available any time soon to support 3d gaming

  30. FredericDuy says:

    Can i install windows xp on it?
    How do i get the drivers?

  31. drifter77 says:

    Yes you can. Drivers are here:

    Note that most drivers are windows 7 compatible, you might be missing the HSPA driver on XP, other than that, it should run fine.

  32. John says:

    Oh boy, they keep building these devices with those tiny screens, tiny keyboards and desktop OS’s and I can’t escape the thought that these companies are trapped into a death spiral. I am sure there is some niche market somewhere, heck there is a niche market for almost anything. The question is not that of existence but that of size: is there a market big enough to support real innovation?

    What kind of innovation have we witnessed in the umpc market the last few years? A little more battery life, but still too little. A little more processing power, but still too little. And the same old “inappropriate” screens and keyboards – inappropriate for the kind of OS they are paired with.

    How about the software front? What kind of real innovation have we witnessed there? Mobile computing became mainstream – we are in the middle of a huge revolution in personal computing where mobility got center stage and yet the poor umpc family was not even invited to the party. Umpc’s got marginalized even further amidst the “mobility revolution”! What better proof that something is fundamentally wrong here…

    I know that this is a umpc site and people that come here are by definition interested in umpc’s, but for me this site is first and foremost about “mobility”. Umpc’s where a focal point in the history of evolution of mobile computing – a history that as we speak changes very fast, especially on the software front, and away from that primitive initial point. Shift your focus umpcportal (!), these dictionary-like devices that run full blown windows have no future…

Search UMPCPortal

Find ultra mobile PCs, Ultrabooks, Netbooks and handhelds PCs quickly using the following links: