ECS LIVA X2 Mini PC Reviewajmatson -
Category: Small Form Factor
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ECS LIVA X2 Mini PC Introduction:
Today, we are going to take a look at a new small form factor computer from ECS - the LIVA X2 Mini PC. The LIVA X2 is the second generation in the LIVA X name following the ECS LIVA X, which was reviewed earlier this year in March. Mini PCs, like the LIVA X2, are becoming more popular these days as they offer decent performance in a small footprint. They are useful as second PCs for everyday browsing and school/office work, and even more as media PCs. No one wants a huge tower next to their television that can be distracting when watching a movie, especially if that computer has lots of flashy lights. The LIVA X2 uses a small, elegant form factor that measures only 156x83x51mm and weighs only 590 grams, or 1.3 pounds, which are really light.
One of the unique features of the LIVA X2 is that it can be VESA mounted using the including mounting plate. This feature allows you to hide the PC out of sight, keeping the area clean and out of view from hanging wires. With the included 802.11ac wireless and Bluetooth 4.0 card, you have the option to go full wireless for your networking and even the ability to use a small Bluetooth keyboard with trackpad for an amazing media PC experience.
The ECS LIVA X2 Mini PC comes with the new Intel Braswell-M SoC, which offers two times the graphics performance over the Bay Trail SoC used in the LIVA X. The Braswell chipset uses a 14nm next-generation architecture and also offers 4K UHD display support. The LIVA X2, specifically, is powered by the Intel Celeron N3050 Braswell-based chip that is a dual-core processor clocked at a base frequency of 1.6GHz on each core. The processor is low voltage and does not need active cooling, as we will see with the passive heatsink later in the review. The chip has a 2MB L2 cache, supports 64-bit instruction sets, and has a burst frequency of 2.16GHz. The TDP of this chip is six watts with a Scenario Design Power (SDP) of four watts.
Embedded in the SoC are Intel HD Graphics with a base frequency of 320MHz and a burst frequency of 600MHz. The graphics memory is shared from the system RAM for operation and can support up to two displays using the HDMI and VGA ports available. Speaking of memory, this specific model we are reviewing comes with 2GB DDR3L RAM; however, there is also a 4GB model available. For the storage, ECS opted for eMMC onboard flash storage as the base. For the 2GB RAM model of the LIVA X2, there is 32GB available, and for the 4GB RAM model there is 64GB. Storage can also be expanded by the internal M.2 port for up to 1TB SSD storage space. If you choose, you can also use external storage in the form of an external hard drive or flash drive thanks to the three USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports that are included.
Unlike the first generation LIVA X, the LIVA X2 comes ready to go out of the box with the included Windows 8.1 with Bing operating system pre-installed. This means you can be up and running in a matter of minutes from the unboxing to surfing the web. In addition to Windows 8.1, you also have the option to upgrade to the latest Windows 10 operating system with Cortana that can be operated with the included microphones on the front of the casing. You can also access your LIVA X2 via the supported Remote Desktop Application, allowing you to stream your content anywhere in the world. Windows 8.1 or 10 not your flavor? Well, there is good news there, too. The LIVA X2 supports Windows 7 with the use of the M.2 SSD (cannot be installed to the eMMC) or also Ubuntu Linux for you Windowphobics out there, which is subject to the version used.
ECS LIVA X2 Mini PC Closer Look:
First things first, we have the packaging that the ECS LIVA X2 comes in. You can see right off the bat this will be a small form PC due to the small size of the box. The box is pretty empty except for the LIVA X2 Mini PC logo on the front and clear space on the back. An elegant yet simple way to display the new LIVA X2, which is designed to be more fashionable. The color scheme of the box is very reflective and in simple gray and black colors for the logo.
Turning to the sides of the packaging is where all the magic of information happens. On the bottom side of the package there is the LIVA X2 logo again, along with the logos of ECS, Intel Inside, and the Intel Braswell SoC. On the upper side of the packaging, we have a listing of the specifications for the ECS LIVA X2 Mini PC, including the RAM and eMMC storage that is inside the box. You can see on this one we are looking at the 2GB RAM model with the 32GB eMMC built in.
The box for the LIVA X2 is a flip-top type that opens out from a lip and then up. There is a tucked tab that prevents the packaging from opening accidentally. This keeps the LIVA X2 securely in the box and prevents it from falling out and getting damaged. When you flip open the box, you will see the LIVA X2 snugly in the pocket to the left and the flip tab securing the power brick and plugs on the right side.
There are a number of items included with the LIVA X2 Mini PC, such as a quick start guide that gets you up and running in a few minutes, the user guide for more detailed setup info, and a driver CD. The driver CD, however, would be of little use if you do not have an external drive as there is not one included with the LIVA X2. In addition to the manuals and CD, there is a VESA mounting bracket and hardware that allows you to mount the LIVA X2 to the back of a monitor. This keeps the LIVA X2 out of sight and gives it a more elegant use. This is perfect for TVs for a clean Media PC Experience.
ECS was good enough to include an external power adapter that has several tips for different countries. This makes it handy should you travel and want to take your LIVA X2 with you and watch movies while in another country. The power tips included are for the United States, Great Britain, and Europe. Unlike the LIVA X, there was not an adapter for Australia included with the LIVA X2, which is unfortunate. Not sure if this was on purpose or if the tip was not in our sample. The power brick is made by Asian Power Devices Inc. and is model number WA-36A12, which outputs the 12V/3A needed to power the LIVA X2. Changing the tips on the brick is easy and painless - just press the release button and slide the old tip out. Once done, choose the new tip you need and slide it back in until you hear the click.
Now that we have everything out of the package and perused the unboxing, let's flip over and take a better look at the unit itself.