Liva Mini PC Kit Review: Possibilities of a Miniaturize PC


ECS Elite Group came up with a very sleek, unique and cute design for a mobile personal computer.  This mobile PC is very small that you will mistake it for a toy.  I received one review unit for Liva Mini PC Kit and I was really excited to review the unit and discover what it can do.

Can the Liva Mini PC Kit really be a helpful tool and advancement in computing?  Let's see...


Personally, I can be classified as your usual end user which has very limited tools on hand to actually do a high end review like what other does, however, unlike them I am similar to most consumers which Liva would encounter.

Problems encountered with Liva Mini PC Kit

1.  Operating System - this is perhaps the basic problem I have with the Liva Mini PC.  It does not come pre-installed with an OS so that means I have to manually install it.  Since the mini PC does not have any build in CD device I have to either install the OS through USB or through a USB connected CD/DVD..  I have solved this problem by downloading a 90-day free trial of Windows 8 Enterprise.  All you have to do is sign-up or create your own Microsoft account

2.  Booting problems - In order to install the Windows 8 operating system I have to install it via either a USB or a CD/DVD.  That means I have to booth from either of this device.  To solve this problem I entered the Liva Mini PC Bios and set the boot preference to USB and later to the USB DVD Device.

I used three methods to create a bootable USB/DVD: (1) Command promt creation in Windows 7, (2) Windows 7 USB DVD DOwnload Tool, and (3) ISO to USB Program.

The first method requires you to issue command via the command prompt and then copy the Windows 8 ISO into the USB.  After creating the bootable USB and use it on the Liva Mini PC it will not boot but directs you only to the BIOS.



The second method allows you to create either a bootable USB or DVD and directly creates an instance of Windows 8 installer in it.  For both the USB and DVD method it did not work and again I was just redirected again and again to the Bios setup.



The third method also creates a bootable Windows installer in your USB and unfortunately this method render the same results.

I have searched online for any similar problem and possible solution to this dilemma and unfortunately I did not find any.

Trying to install Windows 8 via a Bootable DVD from a USB connected Portable DVD Drive
3.  Back connections proximity -  Another problem with the Liva Mini PC Kit, at least with the one we have is the proximity of connections at the back.  The USB, HDMI and other connections are too close to one another which prevents proper utilization of these devices.  It also limits you to just 2 USB devices.

Making an Objective Review of Liva Mini PC Kit
























I actually thought of making reference to other reviews in order to finish this task but it would have been unwise to do it since other consumers might encounter the same problem as I have.  I was not able to use the Liva Mini PC Kit mainly because booting from either USB Flash or USB CD/DVD is not working.  Why is it not working?  That I do not know and it would help a lot if someone out there would really give me a solution to this problem.

Economy of the Liva Mini PC Kit

The suggested retail price of a Liva Mini PC Kit is around P8,000 - P9,000 pesos.  It does not include a monitor, a keyboard, a mouse, a speaker and you are limited to a storage of 32Mb to 64Mb at the most.

Here is the specification of the Liva Black Mini PC Kit and what is included in the package:

PlatformIntel® Bay Trail-M SOC
MemoryDDR3L 2GB
StorageeMMC 64GB/32GB
AudioRealtek ALC282(2CH) Combo Jack
LANRealtek RTL8111G Gigabit Fast Ethernet Controller
USB1 x USB2.0 Port
1 x USB3.0 Port
Video Output1 x HDMI Port
1 x VGA Port
WirelessWiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n & Bluetooth 4.0
Thermal1 x Fan-less Heat Sink
OS SupportWindows 8.1
Accessory1 x Antenna
1 x Power Adapter
1 x LIVA Case
1 x WiFi / Bluetooth Combo Card
Manual & Driver DVD

Technically to make the Liva Mini PC Kit function well you need a lot of other things which makes it not very mobility friendly and you have to rely on the presence of other devices.  Thus the actual cost of a Liva Mini PC Kit includes:
  • Liva Mini PC Kit - P8,000.00
  • USB Keyboard - P200
  • Operating System - P3,500
  • Monitor - P4,000
  • Mouse - P300
  • TOTAL - P16,000.00
At this cost you can actually buy a desktop computer with very good specifications and which will outdo the Liva in performance and usability.  Let us see what specification can P16,000 be for a desktop or a laptop.  
  • LENOVO G40-30 (80FY002APH) LAPTOP BLACK
  • LENOVO G405 (59387576) LAPTOP
  • ACER ASPIRE E3-111-COM6 SILVER 11.6" WINDOWS 8.1 LAPTOP
  • ACER ASPIRE E14 E5-411-C313 LAPTOP BLACK
You can also create a clone desktop at the same amount of price.

Advantages of the Liva Mini PC Kit

Placing a Liva Mini PC beside an ordinary Desktop makes it look like a toy

Unlike the conventional laptop or dekstop the Liva Mini PC Kit is very small, lightweight and mobile.  It is a very powerful device given the size and compactness of the mini pc.  If you have exiting equipment which can be connected to a Liva or you are doing installations and is always on the go doing demos, presentation and such the Liva Mini PC Kit is a very good alternative.

Possible Improvements for the Liva Mini PC Kit
  • Inclusion of an Operating System pre-installed
  • Increase in the capacity of the MMC storage in the device
  • Increase the number of USB slots
  • Adapt a better proximity
  • Ensure bootability of the device and make an online FAQ readily available for users.
  • Include a built in speaker if possible.
  • Increase the power of the device.
Liva Mini PC Kit Review Summary

I do believe that ECS Elite Group through the Liva Mini PC had created something really innovative and useful in making computing more mobile, smaller and user friendly.  This is the initial venture of ECS into a device like this so let us expect more improvements in the future.  Let us take a look for example at the great improvement they have for the newly released Liva X:




Future of the Liva Mini PC Kit



The Liva Mini PC Kit will surely be something that everyone will be looking forward to.  Liva X, the upgraded version of the model we are reviewing had received high praises from most reviewers.  They say that Liva X is the result of ECS Elite Group listening to the comments and feedback from the previous version of Liva.

I had already saw that some of the concerns we have raised here are already resolved in Liva X.

PlatformIntel® Bay Trail-M/Bay Trail-I SOC
MemoryDDR3L 2GB/4GB
Expansion Slot1 x mSATA for SSD
StorageeMMC 64GB/32GB
AudioHD Audio Subsystem by Realtek ALC283
LANRealtek RTL8111G Gigabit Fast Ethernet Controller
USB1 x USB3.0 Port
2 x USB2.0 Ports
Video Output1 x HDMI Port
1 x VGA Port
WirelessWiFi 802.11 b/g/n & Bluetooth 4.0
PCB Size115 x 75 mm
Dimension135 x 83 x 40 mm
VESASupports 75mm / 100mm
AdapterInput: AC 100-240V,Output: DC 12V / 3A
OS SupportLinux based OS (UEFI mode)
Windows 7 (via mSATA SSD)
Windows 8
Windows 8.1
*Recommends to install Windows, ECS does not provide other OS installation technical support.
Accessory1 x Power adapter (US+UK+EU AC plug)
1 x VESA Bracket
7 x Screws
Manual & Driver DVD

Recommendation

I would highly recommend people to check out Liva Mini PC specially its latest developments.  Though I am a bit disappointed because I did not manage to install an OS on my Liva PC due to problems with booting the unit, I find this device very helpful.

Liva Mini PC is still in its infancy stage and it would be something that I think would surprise us in what it can do as it develops through time.  I would be personally dedicated into getting myself updated with its development.

What do you think of the Liva Mini PC and the future of this new product?  Share us your comments and feedback.

To know more about LIVA and LIVA X visit their official site here.



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