Viliv's S7 netbook tablet PC is tiny, but packs surprising performance.
"Damn, that's small!" My exact words after first laying eyes upon the Viliv S7. This tablet netbook is tiny. I'm talking more minuscule than the original Asus Eee PC netbooks. It's practically coat-pocket size, like the Sony Vaio P.
The Viliv S7 has a surprisingly solid design with enough going for it that I'd actually consider buying one - except for the £709 asking price. Although Viliv provided us with a production-level unit, it explains that all specs haven't been finalised yet.
The keyboard and mouse-button layout is, in a word, insane. As one might expect, the keyboard is small. Human adult males will find the Viliv S7 a little difficult to use without setting the machine down on a flat surface and carefully pecking at the keys. And in order to squeeze in as many keys as possible, the company has put an odd cluster of punctuation keys in the lower right part of the keyboard in such a way that the keys for commas, colons and quote marks aren't where they are supposed to be.
The temptingly small size makes you wish Viliv could trim an inch off the S7's width. If it did, you could probably thumb-type. I have the same issue with Fujitsu's LifeBook U820 micro-size tablet PCs. Maybe with a smaller next-gen model we can get that. But my keyboard complaints faded compared with those for the touchpad.
The mousing strike zone is parked above the keyboard. You could place two standard postage stamps side-by-side and cover up the whole area. And the left and right mouse buttons are on either side of that, making it about as comfortable as taking a stretch on the rack. In short, HP and Acer, for all those times I mocked you for the touchpads on the Mini 1000 and the original Aspire One, respectively - I take it all back. The Viliv S7 has the worst mousing area I've ever seen, hands down (or, more accurately, hands on the screen). You see, the S7's saved by a single-point 7in touchscreen. If it weren't for that screen, I'd have chucked this thing back in the box and called it a day. (Friendly tip for the next S7: Ditch the touchpad altogether or stick with a Lenovo-like touchpoint.)