ECS LIVA Z Review: Fanless Apollo Lake Mini PC
Introduction and First Impressions
The LIVA family of mini PCs has been refreshed regularly since its introduction in 2014, and the LIVA Z represents a change to sleek industrial design as well as the expected updates to the internal hardware.
The LIVA Z we have for review today is powered by an Intel Apollo Lake SoC, and the product family includes SKUs with both Celeron and Pentium processors. Our review unit is the entry-level model with a Celeron N3350 processor, 4GB memory, and 32GB storage. Memory and storage support are improved compared to past LIVAs, as this is really more of a mini-PC kit like an Intel NUC, as the LIVA Z includes an M.2 slot (SATA 6.0 Gbps) for storage expansion, and a pair of SODIMM slots support up to 8 GB of DDR3L memory (a single 4GB SODIMM is installed by default).
The LIVA Z is a very small device, just a bit bigger than your typical set-top streaming box, and like all LIVAs it is fanless; making it totally silent in operation. This is important for many people in applications such as media consumption in a living room, and like previous LIVA models the Z includes a VESA mount for installation on the back of a TV or monitor. So how does it perform? We will find out!
- Intel Apollo Lake Pentium N4200 SOC
- Intel Apollo Lake Celeron N3450 SOC
- Intel Apollo Lake Celeron N3350 SOC
- Memory: 2x SO-DIMM Memory, DDR3L Up to 8GB
- 1x eMMC 32GB/64GB
- 1x M.2 expansion slot for SSD (SATA)
- 1 x Combo Jack
- 1 x Digital Mic
- LAN: 2x Gigabit LAN
- 3x USB 3.1 Gen1 Ports
- 1x USB 3.0 Type-C port
- Video Output:
- 1x HDMI Port (HDMI 1.4)
- 1x mini DisplayPort
- Wireless: Intel WiFi 802.11ac & Bluetooth 4.0
- OS Support:
- Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
- Windows 10 64bit
- VESA Support: 75mm / 100mm (bracket/screws included)
- Adapter Input: AC 100-240V,Output: DC 19V / 3.42A
- Dimensions: 117 x 128 x 33 mm (4.61 x 5.04 x 1.30 inches)
- ECS LIVA Z (Celeron N3350): $199.99, Newegg.com
The LIVA arrives in a glossy retail box, and inside we find a mini-PC much smaller than the packaging might indicate.
First we’ll look at the included accessory pack, which offers the requisite power adapter along with a VESA mount and driver software on a CD-ROM. Now we’ll take a look at the LIVA Z itself.
At around 5 inches square and just over an inch tall (4.61 x 5.04 x 1.30 inches, to be exact) the LIVA Z is a very compact computer on par with the slim Intel NUC machines. It has a black plastic construction with rounded corners and a glossy top panel.
As to I/O, the front panel contains the LIVA Z’s only USB ports, with a trio of USB 3.1 Gen1 ports and a USB 3.0 Type-C port.
Around back we see a video output via mini DisplayPort and standard HDMI (v1.4), and a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports.
The sides of the LIVA Z are vented to help keep the Apollo Lake SoC cool during operation.
Next we'll take a look inside the LIVA Z and cover component/OS installation.