Sunday, July 12, 2009

Quick and Dirty Review of the Viliv S5

Thanks to my generous friend (and fellow gadget geek) @aussienick, I got the chance to spend a few days playing with a really cool gadget, the Korean made Viliv S5. Since the S5 has been reviewed more comprehensively by more reputable people, I won't bother doing the product shots and long musings, and just distill my impressions of the device based on what I like and what I don't like.

The Likes (ie. WANT!):
  • Long battery life - at least 4 hours (haven't really tried to do a battery drain test yet)
  • Crisp 5' screen - 1024x600 in a 5' screen = high pixel density = awesome!
  • Stereo speakers - still a bit tinny, but loud enough for viewing videos without headphones
  • Build quality - feels good, looks good, and provided (?) case looks good.
  • Built-in 3G (as an option) - makes sense in a device you can actually use whilst walking
  • Touchscreen - because I love touchscreens :)
  • SSD - makes the device rugged, and provides faster boot-up and stand-by times.

Dislikes:
  • Stubby telescopic stylus - the device is pretty wide, so it would have been nice if they could provide a stylus that was the same length as the width of the device, and had a silo on the hardware itself, instead of having it attached to the case
  • Touchscreen calibration issues - which I hope is only because the drivers for XP is not playing nice with Win 7 RC1 (installed in this unit), and not a hardware fault
  • Comes with plain XP - using Win7 on this emphasises how much more usable this device would be for me if it ran at least XP tablet edition
  • Small fonts - the trade-off of a high rez screen in a smaller screen - my eyes get quite tired when reading text
  • Onscreen keyboard - the buttons are nice and large, but the touchscreen can't really keep up with my thumbs unless I really slowed it down...and at that point, I'd rather use the tablet input panel for text entry (which I did)
  • Direction pad instead of a stick-type mouse - would have been so much better for the times when you want to keep both hands on the device, but still be able to navigate the whole screen
So there you have it, my impressions of the Viliv S5 so far. Overall, I do like the concept of the device, but for me there were just too many factors that prevented me from falling love with this device. In the end I felt a little disappointed, not because the device was a failure (because it did a lot of things right), but because it was so very close being my ideal gadget, but not quite getting there.

I do have a few more days to play with the Viliv S5 before I hand it back, so I'll update this post I find more things I like/don't like about it. Also, if you have any questions about it, or things you want me to test for you, just let me know and I'll post the answers up as soon as I'm able.


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