Video: Vista Home Premium on the Willcom D4


One of the most common questions I get about the Willcom D4 (Sharp WS016SH) is about Vista performance. The UMPC’s 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor is still quite new, so many are understandably curious about how it carries the weight of Vista Home Premium with just 1GB of RAM. I told you in my early impressions post that the OS was "more than satisfactory for me," but now I’ve got a 14-minute video to actually show you.

Despite what you see below, the video really is about Vista on the Willcom D4. Of all the frames that could’ve been used, Vimeo just had to use the one about prank calling your friends (damn YouTube’s "videos being watched right now" feature!). I know it isn’t handpicked, but come on!

If you don’t feel like watching the video (I can rarely sit through more than a few minutes of online video, so I understand), this is what’s included in it:

  • Awakening from sleep
  • System icons loading and window switching with Aero enabled
  • Turning off Aero
  • Launching Firefox 3
  • Viewing quick snippets of YouTube and Hulu video
  • Opening 10 tabs in Firefox while streaming internet radio in one of them
  • Running Firefox 3, Open Office, Adobe Reader, and iTunes simultaneously
  • Doing everything with CPU Meter (Windows Sidebar) visible
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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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18 thoughts on “Video: Vista Home Premium on the Willcom D4

  • Thanks for this Jenn. I am starting to (mildly) warm up towards the device.
    How does the performance stack against the Shift? I am not looking for benchmarks, but how does it feel compared to it? Thanks!

  • Since I only really use Firefox with just a few tabs open at a time, I don’t really notice any difference. The Shift is noticeably slower in other tasks, but none that I actually do on a regular basis. I’m really enjoying the D4 and am using it in conjunction with the Shift and Kohjinsha SC3 to give my TZ more rest.

    The D4 is more of a two-handed device for me (I mostly use the Shift and SC3 balanced on one leg), so it’s a nice change. I actually haven’t owned a slider UMPC since the UX, which I got in 2006; I didn’t realize how much I missed the form factor. To me, gadgets like the Nokia N810 and mylo 2 pale in comparison to a full-fledged UMPC.

  • From what you showed the D4 is an excellent performer and I don’t run many apps at one time, especially power hungry ones like adobe reader and itunes. The only thing I ever has open is Firefox and sometimes GOM player and even then the OQO slows down sometimes. But even as you said, there is horrible battery life and without battery I can’t consider this. So sad =(

  • You could just get the extended battery

  • Seems faster than an OQO 02, just from the control panel

  • The question is, can it run Crysis?

  • Jenn,

    Great video!!!!!!!

    For me I see no issues thus far with the performance at all. I can see this computer meeting my mobile needs very well. I think the only thing that I am wanting to wait and see is to get your real world results when you get the extended battery. As long as that battery provide about 3 hours I’d probably buy it, if it does 4 or more hours I’m sold for sure.

    Very impressive UMPC due to the form factor and overall performance so far!

  • Conics is showing a triple capacity battery as an option for $93 bucks. I feel so stupid owning a UX when Sony extended batteries are $300 +. Argggggggggggggggg

  • I’ve been unimpressed with all the UMPC’s until seeing this incredible Sharp D4! Wow, it has such a perfect design with the long length to provide a normal keyboard, and the flexibility of slider and what I’ve dreamed of a clamshell design all in one device!

    This is truely a UMPC I could see purchasing and am glad to see that Vista actually works very well. I know it is a bit pricey but for me the terrible designs of UMPC’s are the reason I would never buy one. They have all been too large and had no real keyboard. I’ve read a lot of negative opnions on Vista on UMPC’s but I see nothing wrong with how this computer runs Vista at all.

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    Finally they came out with a device that compares to the glorious PSION 5xx / REVO of the old…

    …anyway, LOVE the form factor; two hands thumbs typing rules !!!=)

    Hope they will release an ‘open’ version of it, or at least one aimed at EU / US market, so that we can enjoy the 3G / GPS capabilities of the device…

    Also, I’m putting XP on this, and too bad it’s only 1Gb RAM. I think I saw a picture of the innards showing it’s soldered on teh MoBo, so unless they put a 2Gb chip on request as an option, I don’t see this changing anytime soon…

    Will be interesting to see how much the extended battery will impact the form factor ( will it remain pocketable ? )

    Thanks for the preview Jenn !

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    oh, BTW, is there a WiFi button or must it be turne on / off via software ?

  • I’m so disappointed that Pandora isn’t usable in Germany :,(
    pandora.com says the following:
    “We are deeply, deeply sorry to say that due to licensing constraints, we can no longer allow access to Pandora for listeners located outside of the U.S. We will continue to work diligently to realize the vision of a truly global Pandora, but for the time being we are required to restrict its use. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.” […]

  • Avatar of

    I’d love to see you thumb typing on the next video; can you please show us how the grip looks…


  • @ unnamed commenter: No, there’s no hardware switch to turn the wireless radios on/off.

    @ unnamed commenter #2: The grip of what? The keyboard? There are some close-ups of the keyboard in the “Details” section of my D4 unboxing.

  • Hi Jenn,

    Thanks for a great little video!

    Any chance of a similar one showing app performance on the SC3?

    Failing that, could you just comment on how the SC3 compares to the D4 when running Office/Firefox/other app & perhaps running lots of Firefox tabs?

    Any general comment would be great – I am guessing it is almost identical to the SC3 (given the fact that they use the same processor), but just want to confirm before I part with my precious cash :-)

    Thanks very much!


  • I would have loved to have watched that video but my 1.33ghz Silverthorne-based SC3 is so slow that it won’t play more than a few frames per second! Does it work with your D4 or SC3 Jenn?

  • @ Mark: My SC3 feels a bit zippier because of the memory upgrade (2GB), but performance is generally the same. Performing the same tasks as shown in the video, the SC3’s memory usage ranges between 35% and about 50% (even with Firefox, iTunes, Adobe Reader, and OpenOffice running at the same time).

    I don’t know how this could be the case, but the CPU now seems to max out more easily. I don’t remember it pegging so much before, but when I just checked it to write this response to you, the CPU meter hit 100% a lot more often than ever before. I find this particularly strange because when I wrote the review, I had Aero on and Vista hadn’t been optimized at all. Just now, though, I turned Aero and a few Windows features off to better replicate the D4’s environment, and performance seems to have gotten a little worse.

    Even in this state, performance is still more than satisfactory for me, but it isn’t what it was out of the box. Very odd.

    UPDATE: After a reboot, it’s back to normal again.

  • @ Steve: Hmm. Playing the video on both devices side-by-side right now, the D4 is actually outperforming the SC3. No dropped frames on the D4 that I can detect, but a few dropped on the SC3. Audio seems to stutter a bit on the SC3 as well.

    I’m a little taken aback by this because there weren’t any major problems with online video playback (as long as it wasn’t in HD) before: [see video]

    Maybe it’s having trouble with the bitrate. It’s somewhere around 2Mbps, I think. I don’t know why the D4 would be able to play it with no problem, though.


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