The Viliv S5 Premium UMPC is speedy and well connected, but disappointing 3G support and an awkward software keyboard make it less than ideal for everyday use.
In search of a handheld that bridges the gap between netbook and Apple iPhone? The Viliv S5 Premium strives mightily to straddle that divide - and it does so with some success - but some drawbacks (including an awkward software keyboard) will probably preclude mainstream acceptance.
Styled as a portable media player, the Viliv S5 Premium is a small but loaded touchscreen (tablet-style) Windows XP Home Edition UMPC. Based on a 1.3GHz Intel Atom processor (from the chip family that kick-started the netbook craze), the Viliv packs not only Wi-Fi and Bluetooth but also GPS, although you'll have to supply your own software to use it. And some models offer a slot that accepts a SIM card for a 3G cellular-data network.
Viliv S5 Premium: Design
At first glance the Viliv S5 Premium looks a lot like a midrange GPS system for a car (and in fact you can buy a kit, with a charger and windscreen mount, to use it as such). Measuring 154x84x24.4mm and weighing about 445g, it's available in three configurations. A £499 model includes a 60GB hard drive but lacks the 3G slot. A £599 model swaps the 60GB hard drive for a 32GB solid-state drive but still omits the 3G slot. The model we tested, which sells for £629, provides both the 32GB solid-state drive and the 3G slot.
The 4.8in, 1024-by-600-pixel display is crisp and bright, and more responsive than most UMPC touchscreen displays we've tried (albeit prone to picking up fingerprints). And speaking of responsiveness, one of the more appealing aspects of the Viliv S5 Premium is its fast boot time. The XP desktop takes only about 20 seconds or so to appear after you power the device on.
You get a four-way joystick, but no mouse or keyboard - and on such a tiny Windows display, fingertip touches don't always land where you mean them to. Fortunately, the Viliv S5 Premium does provide help, although not in the form of a traditional stylus. Instead, you get something that looks like a guitar pick strung onto the handstrap. It works pretty well as a mouse substitute.
NEXT: keyboard concerns, and proprietary software