By Xavier Lanier
I’ve been using a mobile internet device for the past couple of months and have enjoyed the experience so far. My MID of choice is the Viliv S5 and I’ve used it much more than I expected to.
I’m a Web publisher and spend most of time online, so it’s important to have Internet access wherever I go. I’ve helped put together a Web site that demonstrates how people are using MIDs in real life called MIDStories.com
Having a MID enables me to have a Windows XP experience anytime, anywhere, with a gadget that fits in my cargo shorts. MIDs are more powerful than smartphones and can run many of the same applications that I run on my larger PCs. This reduces the learning curve of using a new device and reduces the chances of mix ups when editing files across devices.
I bought the base-model Viliv S5, which comes with a 1.33 GHz Intel Atom processor, 60 GB hard drive, GPS, Bluetooth and a battery that lasts about five or six hours. It can stay in standby mode for up to 200 hours and takes less than five seconds to wake from sleep. It weighs less than a pound. I didn’t get the version that has integrated 3G because I use a Sprint MiFi 2200 (I can share the mobile broadband love with all of my devices).
There are several things that I do with my MID that I can’t do with any smartphone and I recorded a few of them in the videos below.
One shortcoming of MIDs is that they can be hard to type on, since they have on-screen keyboards or small keyboards. They work just fine for quick emails, updating my Facebook status or replying to comments on a blog, but you wouldn’t want to create long documents with them. I’ve gotten around this problem by using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 and my Ultimate Ears 5vi headset. In fact, this is the setup I’m using to write this article right now.
Photography is my number one hobby and I drag my camera just about everywhere I go. My mobile photography studio includes a Nikon D300, Eye-Fi card, MID and the Sprint MiFi 2200. I can instantly upload my photos on Flickr and to my MID with this setup. I use Google Picasa 3 to perform basic edits if needed. MIDs aren’t powerful enough to run apps like Photoshop, but Google Picasa 3 does most of what I need on the go and I save serious editing for my more powerful notebooks.
I also installed Microsoft Office 2007 on my MID so I can work on documents, spreadsheets and presentations on the go. My iPhone 3GS and other smartphones are ok for reading Office documents, but they are far from ideal for editing these files. Having a full install of Office has come in handy several times when I’m collaborating on files with team members and outside partners.
MIDs fit in somewhere between netbooks and smartphones. Some may have trouble justifying the cost of yet another device, but I’ve found my Viliv S5 to be an indispensable tool for my mobile lifestyle.
Xavier Lanier is the publisher of Notebooks.com, GottaBeMobile.com and MIDStories.com. GottaBeMobile.com is a community focused on Tablet PCs, touch computing and netbooks. Notebooks.com is a site dedicated to helping people learn about notebook computers. MIDStories.com explores how average people use Mobile Internet Devices.