As a reminder, all three essays (with their corresponding original entries) will be published here on Pocketables this week. Then starting this and ending on Saturday, readers will vote for their favorite essay to determine who will win a free Viliv N5. The other two finalists will each receive $300 off the purchase of an N5 from Dynamism.
Don't forget to participate in the comments section of the essays for a chance to win one of five $50 Dynamism-Gizmine gift cards. Commenters will be chosen at random.
All winners will be announced on Monday, October 4th.
Finalist #2: Joel S.
I recently purchased a Viliv N5 Ultra Mobile Mini PC to replace my cellular phone. Not only is this device the smallest, most stylish mobile computer but it is also the most useful tool I have ever owned. I now have a Netbook, Phone, GPS, Handheld Gaming Device, Mobile Internet Device, Mobile Media Player, Remote Desktop for my PC at home from anywhere. It's even a night light, an alarm clock, an ebook reader, a drawing tablet, and a hand/pocket warmer for a cold day! All of this and it fits in my pocket. The Viliv N5 has revolutionized mobile computing and is perfect for a minimalist! I no longer need to carry around a backpack. Everything I need is in the palm of my hand. I literally fall asleep cradling this baby.
Those days of stuffing your bags with electronics have come to an end. Now, it all fits in your pocket in one sleek, stylish, ultra-mobile PC. Clean up all that gadget clutter and let's take a look at the Viliv N5, the world's smallest multipurpose Windows 7 computer!
The N5's rubberized exterior surface is smooth as a peach and not only looks classy but also serves as an excellent grip. It has the solid, firm feel of quality. The unit includes a lanyard that acts as a wrist strap with an attached stylus that closely resembles a guitar pick, easy to use and improbable to lose. On the left side of the N5 is a protective flap that houses a single USB 2.0 port and a MicroSDHC slot; I wasted no time inserting a 32gb card nearly doubling file storage capacity.
Right out of the the box everything works perfectly. Windows 7 compliments the touchscreen and mobility features as well as offering personalization options unmatched by any other operating system. Boot time is fast and wake from sleep is practically instantaneous; the Intel Atom Z520 1.33ghz accompanied by the 1gb DDR2 RAM and 32gb SSD do an excellent job of crunching anything reasonable thrown their way. Menus, programs, music and video open in a snap and run smoothly when multitasking.
The 4250mAh li-polymer battery can be optimized to 4-6 hours of use after personalizing Windows power settings. WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G, webcam and screen brightness status can be modified through function key combinations or the included viliv Manager software to control power consumption. The battery is practically light as a feather, roughly the size of a checkbook and easy to carry a spare.
In its default state the N5's mono audio sounds soft but can be easily adjusted through the device settings. The microphone and 1.3 megapixel webcam work great with Skype. I purchased a Skype subscription with a phone number and a stereo Bluetooth headset to take advantage of the Bluetooth 2.0+EDR and Bluesoleil drivers, which perform flawlessly during wireless VOIP calls, music, video, and games alike. The N5 is perfectly functional as a mobile VOIP phone, of course leaving it powered on like a cellphone quickly depletes battery charge and slightly increases device temperature over time. I didn't splurge and get the 3G version of the Viliv N5, I instead use home and public WiFi hotspots jumping from one to another with ease with the built-in 802.11b/g WiFi adapter.
Video playback on the N5 is amazing for a gadget of its size; 720p videos flow like water. The 4.8" LCD touchscreen at its 1024×600 native resolution and Intel GMA 500 produce a sharp, colorful display.
Intel's GMA 500 graphic accelerator is capable of lightweight 3D applications such as Google Earth and some extremely light 3D gaming.
Many older PC games, console classics and Flash-based games are very playable and some work with touchscreen input. The touchscreen response requires slight pressure so a screen protector is a smart investment; anti-glare helps a lot as well.
The Viliv N5's handheld form provides gamepad-like control on the tiny-but-full QWERTY keyboard. The right handed optical mouse and left hand mouse buttons may seem strange on appearance but feel very comfortable hands-on; they're easy to use and surprisingly efficient, more so than a common touchpad.
The keyboard is compact and slightly modified from a standard layout, most keys serve multiple roles when pressing the function key simultaneously. It's easy to get the hang of and not too difficult to write this entire review with. Using the power jack and the USB on the left while holding the device and thumb typing can be a little awkward; I found it more comfortable to rest the N5 on a table with the display tilted back and finger type until the device is disconnected.
Having the option to use touchscreen, keyboard, and optical mouse input depending on the situation greatly improves productivity and control over the N5 as well as providing convenient web browsing and video game control.
The Sirf Star3 satellite GPS receiver is useful for urban adventures, hiking, or just general navigation. Microsoft Streets and Trips 2010 and Google Earth GPS tracking work like a charm, tracking my every move outdoors.
Upgrading Windows 7 and installing drivers is fairly painless. I encountered a few snags though there was nothing a Google search and a bit of patience couldn't solve. Dynamism customer support is always helpful and in my experience responds promptly.
After a month of pushing the Viliv N5 to its limits and testing all its features, I remain completely satisfied with my purchase. I carry it everywhere I go and use it regularly throughout every day. It's so little, lightweight, and beautiful that it's easy fall asleep cradling this baby.
Small enough to fit in the palm of the hand, pocket, or a purse yet powerful enough to run many Windows games and applications, this high-tech gadget is a cost effective all-in-one solution capable of performing the tasks of a dozen devices. Overall, the Viliv N5 is at the top of its class as one of the most elegant, useful, ultra-mobile PCs to come out of 2010.