Today, l’m traveling to Computex Taipei, the world’s largest computer exhibition in Asia and second largest in the world just behind CeBit in Germany. I’m traveling 18 hours to Taipei from Washington, D.C. stopping just once in Tokyo, Japan before heading on to the island of Taiwan as part of the Intel Insider program (a brand ambassador program) that I have been a part of for a year now. I will be attending a number of the Intel events in Taipei as well as meeting the Asia Pacific Intel representatives as I look to assist them as they get their own version of the Intel Insiders program started in Asia. I am honored to be attending such an important global industry event, as it offers a super opportunity to see lots of new shiny gadgets and devices. It also affords me an opportunity to dust off my somewhat virgin passport, getting some International ink along with cultural growth.
Since I have a lot of time in transit, I decided to use some of it reviewing two new Mobile Internet Devices, or MIDs, which I recently received: the Yukyung Viliv S5 and the BenQ S6. In this article I will share my perspectives on the two mobile Internet devices.
First, I gave the Yukyung Viliv S5 a try with its compact touch screen design and Intel Atom processor inside. It runs Windows XP, which surprised me as it booted up, as it looks just like a mini version of any XP PC experience. The device offers two USB port types and what appears to be some sort of memory drive that looked foreign to me. Since the device does not have an external keyboard I was curious to see how it handled data entry. This MID uses a horizontal touch screen keyboard that offers a vibration response to every key entry. It also has a stylus and thumb mouse for more complex activities and function specific buttons for very basic ones. The keyboard was interesting as I used Microsoft Office to type up a few points about the device (which I incorporated into this paragraph). The keyboard covers half of your activity window and is semi-transparent which can cause some interesting overlapping issues, which then calls for the use of a stylus to realign the page by paging up and down. I was happy to see that the keyboard recognizes my fingernails, which cannot be said about the current Apple iPhone keyboard. The device connects to Wi-Fi and also offers 3G functionality but I am unsure exactly how the data plans for the device are structured. It does not appear to offer a built-in camera or web-cam which I think is something that it overlooked and is needed. Overall, I was impressed with the device since it offered the smallest PC functionality I have ever seen. Since the Viliv S5 is running Windows XP, a system that I am very familiar with, it improved my overall comfort level and the learning curve for mastering the device.
Second, I fired up the BenQ S6 Mobile Internet Device as it offers a similar design and form factor to that of the Viliv S5. The first thing I noticed with the BenQ S6 was that it does not run an operating system that I was familiar with. I thought the lack of a familiar OS might be to its disadvantage but instead found the operating system to be rather intuitive, with a quick learning curve as it uses simple images to distinguish the various activity options.
Since it is not running Windows XP, the BenQ S6 does not offer Microsoft Word. So to create a document I used RedFlag6, which had all the basic word processing functions and allows you to save files as Word documents. The BenQ only offered a USB port and not the traditional USB 2.0 port we are all familiar with so I saw that to be a strike against it but it does offer a MicroSD card which is standard in many mainstream mobile devices. The video and picture displaying components drew my attention and I found the photo slide show application to be very slick. For video playback, the device leveraged a Real Networks player, which is not my choice but still gets the job done. The BenQ offers a touch screen just like the Viliv but it seemed to be more responsive and the non-transparent keyboard enabled me to type more quickly. The device also offers both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity but once again I am unsure exactly how the data plans for the device are structured. I did not notice a video web-cam on the device, which could be a nice feature. Overall, I was also impressed with the BenQ S6 as I liked its keyboard and easy operating system. My only knock would have to be the lack of USB A connection port and lack of actual programs that can be run on a traditional PC, but I feel like BenQ is accounting for solutions to the basic needs of a mainstream audience very well.
I could not figure out how to do screen shot capture on either of the devices or I would have included more clear screen shots of the keyboards and other interesting features.
In comparing the two Mobile Internet Devices, the Yukyung Viliv S5 and the BenQ S6, I found pros and cons for both and would be happy to further address any specific questions you might have in the comments section of this article, below. If I had to pick a winner right now it would be very tough since they are both really similar but I think I am leaning towards the Viliv S5 since it offers me more options to do the same PC functions that I can do today on a normal PC with a standard USB port, Wi-Fi and 3G to boot. Though I did find the BenQ S6 to be quite enticing with it's easy to use interface which was built for a mobile device and wasn't forcing Windows XP native functions into a mobile device like the Viliv. So if you are not tied to Microsoft products then BenQ might be your best bet.