Even the best smart phones have their shortcomings when it comes to composing e-mail, Web surfing, and composing tweets and blog posts. The low resolution screens on even a large screen phones ensure that you have to zoom in/out on Web pages or scroll horizontally. The keyboards are too small for doing any serious writing. And, it goes without saying that no smart phone can give you the same Windows operating system you use on your regular notebook or desktop.
Enter the Viliv N5, a 4.8-inch, .88-pound mobile Internet device that looks and acts like a tiny netbook. Its diminutive display outputs at a generous 1024×600 resolution, the same as most 10.1-inch netbooks and offers resistive touch. Its 1.33-GHz Intel Atom Z520 processor allows it to run Windows 7 Starter or Home Premium. A 32GB SSD stores your data and programs while using less power and space than a traditional hard drive. Optional built-in 3G even keeps you connected everywhere you go.
We had a chance to play with the N5 at Viliv’s CES booth and we were very impressed with its small size, but large build quality. Nothing about this MID feels cheap, from the durable, rubberized buttom and lid to the responsive keyboard and bright screen.
The touchscreen on the display unit was not operational (our rep said drivers are still being finalized), but we really enjoyed navigating around the desktop with the tiny touchpad on the upper left corner of the deck. Left and right mouse buttons site on the upper right and while the separate between the buttons and the pad would be odd on a system that you put on a desk or your lap, it makes perfect sense of an object of this size where you can navigate with one thumb and click with another.
We didn’t get a chance to do performance tests or surf the Web (connectivity was limited in the booth), but we did run a video clip, using Viliv’s own built-in media player and it appeared smooth. We wonder how the N5 performs when running Skype as it does have a front-facing 1.3-megapixel webcam.
The N5 will be shipping later in Q1. Exact pricing has been announced, but our rep said it would probably start around $500.
We look forward to really putting the Viliv N5 through its paces once we get a review unit to test in our lab. For now, check out our hands-on video to see the N5 in action.