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Lenovo S10-3t tablet PC netbook review

Here’s a quick review of the Lenovo S10-3t multi-touch tablet PC. It’s not a brand new tablet PC but there aren’t too many reviews out there and I think it deserves bit more attention. Since price is excellent and at around $500 you get a netbook with rotating multi-touch capacitive 10.1” display (tablet), 2 USB ports, flash card slot, built-in webcam and optional auto-rotate detection (accelerometer). If you’re looking for a netbook with smooth multi-touch capabilities like the hyped iPad but with full windows 7 functionality, USB ports then this is a great deal.

Other reviews: http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptops/ideapad-s10-3t.aspx


The Lenovo S10-3t is a 10” netbook but with multi-touch capabilities and rotating screen to allow tablet mode as well. The model reviewed has a 1.83 GHz Intel N470 with 2GB memory. This model also has larger 250GB disk drive and blue-tooth. The price was around $500 (with $25 coupon from Logicbuy.com at that time). The Lenovo is sold directly be Lenovo and several other online retailers. Look for coupons if you plan to buy one online (e.g. Logicbuy.com).


The contrast of the screen is pretty good and black looks like black (which is not always the case with tablet PC’s). Also I don’t see grain or other pixilated effects that often occur with tablet PC’s. For that matter the display looks to me same as a typical non-tablet PC.

Maximum brightness is about average and for sunny outdoor use it’s not quite bright enough and the display is glossy so reflections make it harder to see. UPDATE: I did a test outdoors in the sun and it’s better than I expected (lot better than Viliv S5). It’s definitely viewable if sun is not directly on display or in little bit of shade.

The viewing angles are fairly decent horizontally but not good vertically. In tablet portrait mode the viewing angles are limited and best results are to slightly move it off center vertically.

The S10-3t has an accelerometer built-in which means it can automatically switch and rotate between portrait and landscape. However this can also cause inadvertent screen rotation so I’d turn it off and use the button to switch manually. Speaking of buttons there are 3 buttons on the side of the display: application start button, rotate button and a volume mute button. Lenovo doesn’t give you an option to change the buttons however you can with custom software. E.g. see http://www.lenovos103t.com/2010/05/alternative-rotation-program-with.html. Also the volume mute button can be reprogrammed using autohotkey. E.g. this will remap the button to page down if in Adobe reader:

; remove this for remap to be global
#IfWinActive,ahk_class AcrobatSDIWindow
SC120:PgDn ; remap mute button to page down

The touch-screen features multi-touch and you can zoom using pinch gesture, swipe finger to scroll up/down. Also rotate works with 2 fingers for pictures.

Keyboard and touchpad

Keyboard is pretty good and slightly smaller than an average size notebook but I had no problems typing accurately and fast on this keyboard. The touchpad is responsive but the small buttons at the bottom overlap with the touch area so it can happen often that while clicking the button you go too high and the mouse will jump. You get used to this little bit but tapping on the touchpad seems more reliable to left click.

Audio and webcam

The sound of the speakers are pretty poor and sound is very thin with almost no bass. On the other hand the headphones out quality was very good and better than most notebooks I have used. I haven’t tested webcam much but laptopmag.com tested the webcam so take a look at that review (see link above).


I did remove all programs that I didn’t use to increase perf a bit. I also disabled custom flicks to get slightly smoother multi-touch. From hibernate to startup takes about 25 seconds. Full boot takes about 1 minute. Standby is almost instant and the battery does appear to last almost a week in this mode. See battery section for more details.

Software & video performance

Software Works out of the box? Comments  / workarounds
Youtube.com regular 480p works but 720p stutters 720p will work fine if you download video first… (keepvid or browser plug-in).
Vimeo.com Stutters in default HD mode, turning off HD work also in full screen Non-HD still looks fairly decent but obviously not HD.
Hulu.com Stutters in all modes except the new 288p
720p MPEG2
1080p MPEG2
Yes I found even 1080p at 6MB works fluid and CPU usage is around 20%
720p MP4
1080p MP4
No (yes with corecodec) No Installing CoreCodec will make 720p MP4 fluid. 1080p just can’t be played regardless
720p WMV depends Older 720p WMV and higher bit rates will be jerky.
Browsers / Readers
Internet Explorer 8/9 Smooth 1 finger scrolling and pinch zoom is ok (slightly slow) Turn off hardware acceleration in IE9. Otherwise it won’t scroll fast.
FireFox Similar to IE8. Zoom not quite as fast but scrolling slightly smoother for some more complex sites Recommendation: download the youtube plugin
Adobe Reader (PDF) and Digital Edition (ebook reader) Yes You can move around using finger when zoomed in, otherwise you can’t swipe to go to next page but you tape left/right to do that
Microsoft Reader Works including activation Gives warning at startup for screen resolution but works otherwise ok
CDisplay Works
Stella 2600 emulator works 100% Note USB joysticks like the StellaAdapter works great
Winston Atari ST works 100% Audio is slightly distorted I noticed
Atari Lynx Handy works 100%
VisualBoyAdvance works 100% for most games
Project64 ? Haven’t tested it but other people reported it works
iDeas doesn’t really work Too slow…

Screenshot CDisplay and VisualBoyAdvance:


There is a 4 cell and a 8 cell available. Lenovo ships typically the 4 cell with the S10-3t and most other sites the 8 cell. The 8 cell is strongly recommended since it double battery life but it does makes the S10-3t bit heaver and the battery does stick out. I had one issues that I couldn’t figure out when the battery was fully charged and finally discovered then it blinks periodically (like every 2 seconds or so) when it’s charging. It’s steady when it doesn’t blink.

Expect about 2-4 hours with the 4 cell and twice of that with the 8 cell. Here are some numbers for balanced mode with display brightness at about 80%:

Software -% per hour 4 cell -% per hour 8 cell
Gameboy Advance 36%   (2hrs 47min) 18%  (5hrs 33min)
Video MPEG2 40%   (2hrs 30min) 20%  (5hrs)
IE Browsing 32%   (3hrs 8min) 16%  (6hrs 15min)
Reading pdf (WiFi off) 20%   (5hrs) 10%  (10hrs)

UPDATE: I also tested the battery drain in standby mode. The stand by almost consumes no battery power and seems that stand by will work for at least several days or even a week:-). Here are results:

Time -% per hour 8 cell
after 2 hours -1%
after 4 hours -2%


If you’re looking for a netbook tablet pc then there are very few choices (see http://lucienk.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!A4AE3FB12A26635!1934.entry for overview of touch screen mobile devices). For around $500 this is a great netbook with decent multi-touch capabilities. You may need to invest some time to tweak performance to get best results (use msconfig32 to remove unnecessary programs).

For some reason tablet PC are sometimes compared to iPad (e.g. LapTopMag who should know better). An iPad is not a notebook and is more like a multi-media device. It doesn’t have flexibility of a PC which may or may not be an issue. It’s not a coincidence that the iPad doesn’t have USB ports or a SD slot and it can’t process several common formats out of the box (PDF,DIVX/AVI,FLASH,WMV,DOCX,DIVX/AVI , …). Here are some things you can do with S10-3t and not easily with iPad if at all:

  • Install variety USB devices: printer, game controllers, backup drive, GPS
  • Install free game emulators (Atari, C64, Nintendo, Arcade emulators)
  • Use it as a backup device for your flash media (camcorder or camera)
  • Get USB or blue-tooth GPS and install Garmin or Street&Trips as GPS device
  • Install reader like CDisplay or Adobe reader and read any pdf
  • Connect to PC or XBOX 360 hooked up to your TV wirelessly and access audio/video/pictures
  • Tons of freeware available

Summary Pro/cons S10-3t:

+ Display: good contrast and relatively bright
+ Decent Windows 7 performance with 1.8GHz CPU and 2GB memory
+ Great price and comes with built-in webcam
+ Good headphones audio quality
+ 720p MPEG2/MPEG4 playback
+ Good multi-touch performance for zooming & scrolling
o 4 cell Battery could last longer and 8 cell is bit heavy
– Poor quality built-in speakers and not very loud
– Viewing angles could be little bit better
– Not enough performance to playback 720p HD flash
– No HDMI port
– Screen could be bit higher resolution
– flash card slot is tough to open and cover sticks out when card is inserted


Touch-screen portable windows devices overview

It’s been 2 years since I wrote an overview of ultra-mobile devices and things seem to have changed since then. Terminology is even more confusing nowadays.

Here’s an overview of portable touch notebooks with Windows 7 and explanation of the terminology. UMPC’s are still around and I’d define those as touch-screens smaller than 8” typically but they may not be that different than a small tablet PC except size and CPU.

Here’s an overview of terminology:

  • Slider: keyboard that slides out (typically MID’s: smaller displays 4.8" – 7")
  • Clamshell: keyboard flips open (typically MID’s: smaller displays 4.8" – 7")
  • Tablet Netbook: mini tablet PC with a keyboard (displays 6-10")
  • Slate Netbook: no keyboard just touch-screen (typically 10”)
  • Tablet PC’s: notebooks typically around 12".

Note for multi-touch devices with Windows you’d want at least Windows 7 Premium since that edition supports touch (e.g. drag ‘n drop and pinch for pictures/IE browser).

Selection of couple of popular various models ordered by size (click link for more info):



Display / CPU


Battery life


Slate UMPC

Viliv S5, $499

4.8” 1024×600  

Z520 1.33 GHz

single touch


395 g

7 hours, 5-9 hrs in my usage. Standby several days

Built-in GPS, wireless. Also sold at Best Buy. Great portable device. More info:

Viliv S5 overview & tests

Clamshell UMPC

Viliv N5, $649



Z520 1.33 GHz


single touch

172x86x25 mm

388 g

3-4 hours

Same as S5 but with keyboard and smaller battery and webcam

Slate UMPC

Viliv X70, $549-$900


Z520 1.33 GHz


single touch

210x117x22.5 mm

660 g

3-5 hours

Same as S5 but bigger screen, webcam and SD. There’s also a (white) S7 convertible tablet PC with keyboard

Slate UMPC

HP Slate 500, $799


Z540 1.8 GHz


234x147x150 mm

680 g

5+ hours

Ships in Nov 2010. Features USB, active digitizer, HD Acceleration


Hanvon Touchpad BC10C & BA10E, est. $650-$900



Z530/ULV743 1.3Ghz





3-4 hours?

USB+customizable side buttons+ trackpad. Expect many more slates to follow(e.g. Asus Eee Pad).


Viewsonic ViewPad 100, est. 549 Euro /$750?



N455 1.55Ghz?







3-5 hours?

Oct 2010 expected

Tablet PC / Netbook

Gigabyte T1000 $699





N450 1.66GHz




1300 g

6cell 1480g

? hours (4cell)

? hours (6cell)


Higher screen resolution than Lenovo S10-3t but also pricier. Not many tests done for this model.

Tablet PC / Netbook

Lenovo S10-3t, $480 



N450 1.66-1.83 GHz




1242 g
1490 g (8 cell)

1.5-4 hours (4cell)

3-8 hours (8cell)

8cell will stick out

Good contrast screen, vertical angles limited & could be brighter outdoors.Graphics power limited but responsive multi-touch. Overall great deal

Tablet PC / Netbook

Asus Eee T191, $400



Intel Z520 1.33GHz


225x164x28.5 mm

954 g

3-5 hours

Good contrast but not very bright display. Very underpowered.

Tablet PC / Netbook

Viliv S10 Blade, $799 – $1200



Intel Z530 1.6-2.0GHz




1210 g

6-10 hours est.

Thin & Light but bit overpriced & display angles below average. Multi-touch not as smooth as on other devices

Tablet PC

HP tm2


Optional ATI HD 4550 graphics (recommended)

2050 g

2-5 hours

Good performance & good responsive touch-screen for low price. Downside is screen contrast.

Tablet PC

Fujitsu Lifebook TH700/T730, $1149

12.1”, 200 nits
Core i3-350M 2.26GHz

1890 g

1-5 hrs est.

Haven’t found much info on this and other Fujitsu tablet PC’s

Tablet PC

Dell Latitude XT2

$2000 / $900 outlet



Core 2 Duo

1.2-1.6 GHz

no webcam


1690 g

2140 g

1-3 hours

2-7 hours with optional slice battery

Good screen but average performance and expensive. But at Dell Outlet you can get it for around $900.

Tablet PC

Lenovo X201t,



Core i5/i7


single/pen or multi-touch




1600-1780g (4/8 cell battery)

1-3.5 hours (4cell)

3-6 hours (8cell)

Very fast and great display options (incl. outdoor). Very expensive but check for coupons and Lenovo’s outlet

Tablet PC

Fujitsu T900, $1600-$2000

13.3” non-refl.
Core i5 or i7


2380 g

1-3 hours
(+65% with optional 2nd battery)

Great display and viewable from almost any angle. Pricey though and poor battery life

Microsoft Kinect game list

I’m not maintaining this list anymore. Please checkout 123kinect.com or Kinectaktu.com for latest.

Last updated: 1/29/2012 Added Summer Stars
Last updated: 1/24/2012 Added Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 and added more demo links
Last updated: 1/14/2012 Added Kinect Rush
Last updated: 11/23/2011 Updated review scores and added demo links

XBOX marketplace: all current Kinect demo’s

Here’s a list of current and upcoming Kinect games. This will be periodically updated with latest information and any reviews/video’s.
Raised concerns:
  1. Not being able to use it sitting down: Microsoft confirmed you can use it when sitting down provided game supports it. Gunstringer is 1st game to support this and demo’s also showed Fable Journey
  2. Lag issues: some games you do see some lag but I did not notice any lag issues in Kinect sports. E.g. table tennis is fast paced and works wonderful. So it depends on the game and it’s important to checkout a review or a demo if available
  3. No ‘hardcore‘ games: several ‘hardcore’ games has been announced but so far most games don’t have a lot of depth and are more casual games.
Here’s a list of confirmed Kinect games:
Title Release date & Rating Comment
Adrenalin Misfits (Konami)
Nov. 2010

Downhill extreme sports
Video E3 demo:
Adventures of TinTin (Ubisoft)
Dec 6th, 2011

5/10 (gamespot)
7/10 (Eurogamer)

Main game is played with controller. Kinect is only offered for a few mini-games. According to reviews game is little bit short and easy
Gamespot Video Review
Big League Sports (Activision)
Nov.8th, 2011


6 sports games: baseball, basketball, golf, hockey, soccer, football. Similar concept to Kinect Sports Season 2.
Blackwater Kinect
Oct, 2011


Cabela’s Adventure Camp
Nov 1st, 2011

7/10 (123Kinect)

Carnival Games
April, 2011

6/10 (123Kinect)

Codename D (Suda 51)
Not much info yet. Trailer:
Child of Eden (Ubisoft)

June 14, 2011


On-rails shooter. Reviews have been very good.
E3 Trailer:
Crimson Dragon (Grounding)
2012 Demo shown Sept ’11. You control dragon movements with leaning left/right and down/up and can shoot with your hands.
Dance Central (MTV games), $49.99
Add the free demo to your download queue
Nov. 2010

Video E3 demo:
Dance Central 2
Add the free demo to your download queue
Oct 25,2011

9/10 (IGN)
8.5/10 (gamespot)

New songs (40), 2 player co-op mode
Dance Masters (Konami)
Nov. 2010

Video E3 demo:
Deca Sports Freedom (Hudson)

Nov. 2010

10 events: Tennis, Boxing, Archery, Paintball, Beach Volleyball, Dodge Ball, Kendo, Mogul Skiing, Snowboard Cross, Figure Skating.
Poor reviews since generally control is often poor. Instead take a look at Kinect sports which is one of the best Kinect games currently.
Disney Adventures Kinect
2011 Nov.15



Kids game. E3 2011 demo:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PP8bqV92zl8
Dr Kwashima’s Body & Brain Exercises (Namco Bandai)
2011 March Demo is out now.
EA Sports Active 2
Nov. 16, 2010

7/10 (ign)

Video E3 demo:
Fable The Journey
2012? E3 Video demo:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2Q1dgegSIo
Fighters Uncaged Kinect (Ubisoft)
Nov, 2010

Poor reviews.
Forza Motorsports 4 Kinect
2011 Oct.11

8.5/10 (gamespot)
9.5/10 (ign)

New Forza 4 game with some additional Kinect features: browse interactive 3D car models, head tracking to look sideways, optional Kinect mode to steer with hands. See also Forza 4 cars interiors
Ghost Recon Future Soldier
2012 March 6
Demo showed you could grab a weapon and aim with 1 hand and shoot with other hand. Info and video:
Gunstringer (Twisted Pixel, Microsoft publisher)
Add the free demo to your download queue
2011 Sept.13

8.5 (gamespot)
8/10 (ign)
4/10 (Eurogamer)

Reviews are mostly positive but I recommend trying demo first. It’s basically a shooter partially on rails but you use your left hand for jumping and moving left/right and with right hand you aim and shoot by flicking hand up. It also has elements of platforming (both 2D and 3D worlds). One of the first games that you can play sitting down.
Official trailer:
First 15min gameplay:
Game Party: In Motion (Warner Bros)
Dec. 2010

1.5/5 (about.com)
7/10 (123Kinect)

16 mini games like Hoop shoot, Darts, Rootbeer tapper, table hockey,… User Reviews have been fairly poor overall.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (EA)
Nov. 16, 2010

2.5 / 5
Kinect mode for Harry Potter game for 1 or 2 players in co-op team play.
Haunt (Xbox Live Arcade 800 points)
Add the free demo to your download queue
2012 January


8/10 (Kinectaku)

First person perspective game with flashlight and cartoon ghosts.
Demo gives you good control impression but not quite as varied as later levels.
Fun game but could be more challenging as it targets a younger audience
Gameplay video by KinectAddict
Joy Ride
Add the free demo to your download queue
Nov. 2010

6 / 6.5
Just Dance 2 (Ubisoft)
Nov. 5, 2010
Just Dance 3 (Ubisoft)
Oct.7, 2011


Review: IGN Review
Nov. 2010

6.5 & 7
Comes free with Kinect.
Add the free demo to your download queue
Nov. 2010

Kinect Rush
March, 2012 Video: Kinect Rush trailer
Nov. 4, 2010

7.5 & 8
One of the best Kinect games currently.
Bowling, Boxing, Soccer, Table tennis, Track & Field (jump,hurdles,javelin), Volleyball. Also has several mini-games.
Oct.27, 2011

6.5 (gamespot)
7 (vgchartz)

Golf, Darts, Baseball, Skiing, Tennis, American Football
Decent sequel but not as good I think as previous one and there are some lost opportunities in some of the games to add more dept (except Golf perhaps).
DLC: Kinect Sports 2 Challenge pack
Video E3 Golf Demo:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNGKOgrqRVE
Tennis hands-on Gamescom: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ad_9Imf-jy4
Darts hands-on Gamescom: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhR_cUxvd7M
Sept.7, 2011

6/10 (gamespot)

8/10 (Kinectaku)

7/10 (123Kinect)

Michael Jackson The Experience
April, 2011

6.0 (gamespot)
Generally reviews say it’s an average game with some playability issues but probably you like it if you’re a Michael Jackson fan
Michael Phelps Push the limit
Add the free demo to your download queue
Nov, 2011

5/10 (Kinectaku)

Video: Michael Phelps Push the Limit – How to Play Trailer
Motionsports (Ubisoft)
Nov. 6, 2010

3.5 & 4.5
Downhill skiing, hang-gliding, soccer, equestrian, football, ….
Generally poor reviews. Again instead take a look at Kinect sports.
Motionsports Adrenaline (Ubisoft)
Add the free demo to your download queue

2.5/10 (gamespot)

6/10 (123Kinect)

5/10 (Kinectaku)

Wingsuite, kayak, kitesurf, extreme ski, mountain biking,rock climbing,parkour, extreme trampolining
PowerUp Heroes (Ubisoft)
Add the free demo to your download queue
Oct, 2011

3.5/5 (Joystiq)

5.5/10 (ign)

Video Trailer: Ubisoft trailer
Rise of Nightmares (Sega)
Add the free demo to your download queue
2011 September


8/10 (123Kinect)

Reviews were little bit below average. Gamespot preview gameplay:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2EibS_vXOQ
Hands-on E3 2011:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKavuUBS-kk
TBD 2012 E3 2011 video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noKUH-PUHCI
Sonic Free riders (Sega)
Add the free demo to your download queue
Nov. 2010

4.5 & 7.5
Both bad and good reviews so try the free demo first.
E3 demo:
Summer Stars
2012 Q2
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

2012 April
Video E3 2011:
Steel Battallion: Heavy Armor (Capcom)
2012 Steel Batallion: Heavy Armor trailer
The biggest loser: Ultimate Workout (THQ) Q4 2010

7/10 (oxm)

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13
March 2012
Virtua Tennis 4
2011 May

5.5/10 (gamespot)

6/10 (123Kinect)

Kinect mode is pretty decent and unlike Kinect Sports Season 2 you can run left/right and to the net. But Kinect is ony used for exhibition games and not tournament modes.

Video: Virtua Tennis 4 kinect tutorial

Trailer: http://www.gamespot.com/xbox360/sports/virtuatennis4/video/6307540/virtua-tennis-4–kinect-trailer

Winter stars
2011 Nov. 8th

4.5/10 (gamespot)

8/10 (123kinect)

7.5/10 (ms xbox world)

Events: bobsled, figure skating, freeride skiing, short track, ski flying, snowboarding, snowboard cross, snowmobile, triathlon

Video: Official Winter Sports Trailer

Wipeout (Activision) & Wipeout 2
2011 June
7/10 (IGN)

1/10 Wipeout 2(Kinectaku)

Reviews have been mixed
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzqX00rmCEA
Your shape Fitness Evolved (Ubisoft) Nov/Dec 2010

7 & 7
“Choose a personal trainer to help meet your fitness goals, take a Yoga or Martial Arts class, or play fun, family-friendly mini-games”
Your shape Fitness Evolved 2012 (Ubisoft)
Add the free demo to your download queue

7.5/10 (IGN)

8/10 (123Kinect)

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 trailer
Zumba Fitness Party (Majesco)
Add the free demo to your download queue
Zumba Fitness Kinect Trailer
Gamespot review gave it a 4 out of 10.

Creating bootable USB drive and add backup utility

Here’s how to create a bootable USB drive and second how to add a backup utility so you could backup your UMPC or notebook. Note that the size of the flash drive must be able to hold the entire system drive with all files. There’s some compression though.

1. Create a bootable USB drive:
a. Format USB / flash card as FAT32: open computer and choose default allocation

Create bootable floppy to transfer system from (you can skip next 2 steps if you already have a bootable floppy):
b. If you don’t have a floppy drive you can create a virtual one with vfdwin:
    – download and install vfdwin
    – start vfdwin.exe and in ‘Driver’ tab click ‘install’, then ‘start’
    – Go to ‘Drive0’ tab and click ‘change’ and choose drive letter A:
    – In the same ‘Drive0’ tab click ‘Open/Create’ and select dft32.img as image, then click ‘Open’. This takes several minutes so if vfdwin appears to hang give it about 3-5 minutes. After it’s done you can verify if you can browse the A: drive
c. Download and run bootMe.exe to copy ME boot and select the floppy drive. This will take only a few seconds
d. Transfer floppy boot to USB:
    – Download and run HP USB Disk Storage Format tool. This will install HPUSBF.EXE and HPUSBFW.EXE
    – Start HPUSBFW.EXE and select your USB drive in ‘device’ and select ‘using DOS system files located at:’ and choose A:\

Done! You now have a bootable USB drive. You can close vfdwin.exe utility now by clicking stop/uninstall.

2. Install backup utility
a. Download and run AA1bwindows.zip. Run aa1bwindows.exe and choose below USB drive. This will install Linux boot partition and backup utility

3. Creating a backup with Viliv S5 UMPC as example
a. Insert USB drive
b. boot Viliv S5
c. Hit Menu button at boot-up to enter bios
d. Go into bios and change HDD boot order (last option, not boot sequence). You only need to do this once
e. Save bios and restart, this will start the backup utility.
f. In the backup utility choose BACKUP or RESTORE. Note that backup compresses the files


For other methods to create bootable USB drive see: http://www.bootdisk.com/pendrive.htm

Technologies to improve car fuel economy – meeting CAFE 2016

New stricter fuel economy CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards has been set for 2016. How would automobile makers achieve this and what would be the cost?

The new CAFE standards indicate that an average (harmonic mean to be precise) of 42 mpg (18km/l) for the car fleet must be achieved and 26 mpg for light trucks by 2016. Note however this is not based on the new EPA test standards so you could add roughly 10% to current EPA numbers. Currently the requirement is 27.5 and 23.5 mpg and current industry combined average is 25.3 mpg. This means the combined vehicle fleet must gradually become 40% more fuel efficient in 2016. Note since it’s not a pure average but a mean average carmakers cannot get away by adding just 1 super efficient model and not looking at their existing less efficient models. Over the last 30 years the fuel efficiency only improved 15% so 40% would be quite a change.

Note that there’s a potential concession to exclude foreign carmakers with US sales less than 400K vehicles annually. However I don’t think this will give US companies necessarily a disadvantage since European regulations will be much more stringent and I don’t see why they wouldn’t offer competing fuel efficient vehicles in the US. In Europe the average CO2 emmissions would be required to be 98g/km by 2020 (-40%).

Overview fuel saving Technologies:

Technology Cost per vehicle MPG Gain Cost per 1% gain in MPG
Low rolling-resistance tires $6 1 – 2% $3
Low-friction lubricants $3 0.5% $6
Aggressive shift logic $38 1 – 2% $19
Cylinder deactivation $203-$229 4.5 – 6% $38
Reduced engine friction $21 / cylinder 1 – 3% $42
6-speed automatic transmission $161-$262 3 – 5% $52
Engine accessory improvement $124-$166 1 – 2% $83
Electric power steering $118-$197 1.5 – 2% $99
Dual-clutch ? 7 – 9%  
Smaller displacement Engine+turbocharging $120-$810 5 – 7.5%
Ford: up to 20%
$24 –
$108 (turbocharging)
Start/Stop systems $1800 – $2000 5 – 10% $200
Gasoline direct injection $122 – $525 1-2% $263
Diesel $3000- $8000 10 – 50% est $50 – $100
Hybrid system $2000- $4500 25 – 55% est $80 – $110



Model Technology Cost
Fuel economy without / with
city / highway / combined
% improvement
Acura MDX ‘10
5 vs 6 speed AT
6 speed AT TBD 15 /  20 / 17
16 /  21 / 18
+7% / +5%
Audi A5 2.0 TFSI
manual (Europe)
Start/Stop + recovery Standard 26 / 46 / 36 mpg
29 / 45 / 37 mpg
+8% / –2%
Mazda 3 series
Start/stop Mazda system ? +10-15% city +10% est.
Audi A5 2.0 TFSI vs 3.2 TFSI Automatic Engine displacement -$4000 17 / 26 / 20 mpg
21 / 27 / 23 mpg
+ 24% / +4%
Toyota Highlander
V4 vs V6
Engine displacement -$3000 18 / 24 / ? mpg
20 / 27 / ? mpg
+11% /  +13%
+10% est.
Toyota Venza
V4 vs V6 FWD
Engine displacement -$1825 19 / 26 / 22 mpg
21 / 29 / 24 mpg
+11% / +12%
Audi Q7 3.0 TDI vs 3.6 FSI Quattro Diesel +$4000 14 / 20 / 16 mpg
17 / 25 / 20 mpg
+21% / +25%
BWM 335d vs 335i
Diesel +$4000*** 17 / 26 / 20 mpg
23 / 36 / 27 mpg
+35% / +38%
VW Jetta Diesel +$5000 20 / 29 / 24 mpg
29 / 40 / 33 mpg
+45% / +38%
Ford Fusion Hybrid +$8000** 22 / 31 / 25 mpg
41 / 36 / 39 mpg
+86% / +16%
Honda Civic Hybrid Hybrid +$3500***
(vs EX)
25 / 36 / 29 mpg
40 / 45 / 42 mpg
+60% / +25%
Lexus RX ‘10
Hybrid +$3000*** 18 / 25 / 21 mpg
32 / 28 / 30 mpg
+ 78% / +12%
Toyota Camry Hybrid +$3500*** 21 / 31 / 25 mpg
33 / 33 / 34 mpg
+ 57% / +6%
Toyota Highlander Hybrid (AWD) +$4700*** 17 / 23 / 19 mpg
27 / 25 / 26 mpg
+ 59% / +9%

* Federal and state incentives not deducted
** Compared with base models, haven’t checked base equipment but at first glance similar
*** estimated with similar equipment


The biggest FE improvement and cheapest for consumers would be smaller engines. Saves money (if not turbocharged) and improves fuel economy. Also I’m sure manufacturers will offer more smaller car choices.

The biggest fuel economy improvements would come from diesel and hybrids (and don’t rule out combination of both in the future).

Some myth debunking regarding diesel vs hybrid: from environmental point of view hybrids do better than diesels: no (cancerous) rust particles and in city higher MPG & lower CO2. UPDATE: See this fuel economy comparison video which includes 1 diesel and couple of hybrids: Fuel sipper smackdown 2. The technologies though don’t exclude one another and diesel+hybrid combination is being looked into (downside is 2x cost hit at this point).

One claim against hybrids is that hybrid battery recycling is a problem. Both Honda and Toyota will take and pay for returned batteries and recycle almost all of it (hybrid batteries typically lasts lifetime of the car). But definitely something that should always be looked into.

Diesels are still not popular in the US due to price, fuel cost and image. Although I’m sure we’ll see a few more diesels from European manufacturers I’d expect a bigger increase in hybrid model selection. The cost premium for hybrids should also go a bit further down by 2016.

Viliv S5 ultra-mobile PC overview and software compatibility tests


I received the Viliv S5 Ultra-mobile PC last month and here is a quick overview (or rather small FAQ) and experiences with software and hardware compatibility. The S5 is a full PC running Windows XP (and some have been able to upgrade it to Windows 7 with some minor issues). The size is slightly bigger than a Dell Axim X51v.


I’ll first start with the hardware. Specs:

  • 1.3GHz Intel Atom chip with hardware decoding for H264 / VC1 (ships with Cyberlink H264 codec)
  • 1GB memory
  • 60GB HDD (potentially could be DIY upgraded to SSD)
  • 4.8" (touch) screen with resolution of 1024×600
  • Windows XP (Windows 7 reportedly works but video out cable doesn’t seem to work yet)
  • Haptic touch-screen (simply vibrates if you touch software keyboard which can be turned off)
  • Wireless 802.11g
  • Built-in GPS Sirf III
  • Bluetooth (can be disabled)
  • No mouse or keyboard but joystick control with cursor and mouse mode 
  • Battery lasts roughly 4-5 hours which is pretty good for a PC! Note there’s also a standby mode that would work for several days (haven’t tested that myself).
  • Connections:
    • 1 USB port
    • 1 mini-USB port (docking to PC typically)
    • Proprietary Video connection for optional Video cables (VGA or combo component/composite/S-Video)
    • Headphones (can also be setup as microphone input)
    • Power

                  Availability & Accessories

                  Availability might be bit tough in some markets but in the US you can order it for $599 at Dynamism.com.

                  There are also a few accessories available. See Dynamism site and also here: http://jkontherun.com/2009/05/08/viliv-s5-accessories-revealed/. As pre-order I got free car kit and 2nd battery. Also I bought the TV out multi-cable (composite+s-video+component+stereo audio). I only tested composite so far and will test component HD later. The composite and audio worked fine and displayed wide-screen image on my old SD TV (right click graphic properties to choose display out settings). Text was bit too small to be readable though so you should lower resolution or better use component out.



                  Couple of reviews:

                  Manual / drivers

                  Manual can be found here: http://www.myviliv.com/eng/download/S5%20DETAIL%20GUIDE_090508.pdf
                  Drivers/FAQ here: http://www.myviliv.com/eng/board/board_faq/list.asp?a_gb=help&a_cd=13&a_item=0

                  Hardware: Mouse, Buttons and connections

                  There is no keyboard or mouse touchpad, only a joystick control. The joystick has 2 modes which can be switched by holding menu button: mouse mode moves the mouse 8 directions and moves faster the longer you hold it; or cursor mode but I found it only moves 4 directions and not diagonal:-(. No idea why they limited cursor mode to only 4 directions but I hope they update the driver someday. I found a workaround using autohotkey script to translate mouse movement into 8 way cursor control. See later under software compatibility how to do this. The joystick is small but movement is decent. Not sure how it will hold up over time. For games best to use external USB controller but for light gaming it might be ok.

                  The S5 has no built-in keyboard like some slider UMPC’s but there’s an on-screen keyboard which works alright but it’s not a fast way to enter text. Alternative is to get an external keyboard like Logitech DiNovo. Note that the lower-left button by default opens up the Viliv soft-keyboard. I found the keyboard to work well but it doesn’t have all keys like page up or page down. The Windows ‘On-screen keyboard’ in accessories is complete and bit smaller.



                  Couple of Key Combination examples:

                  • Menu + Volume: screen brightness
                  • Hold Menu button: switch joystick between cursor and mouse mode

                  Given there’s a limited amount of buttons on the S5 and in case you don’t want to use that assignable button just for opening the soft-keyboard, I recommend to use Autohotkey to map common buttons for each program differently. Autohotkey is a free program that among other things can remap buttons depending on application context. You can find a sample script I created here: http://cid-0a4ae3fb12a26635.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Public/Viliv%20S5%20utilities/HotKeys.ahk. After installing Autohotkey double-click this script and you’d get these mappings (you can edit/add to the script other mappings):

                  Internet explorer:

                  • Menu key (windows key): toggles full screen
                  • Left/Right volume: zoom out/in

                  Handy Lynx emulator:

                  • Right lower button: button A
                  • C button (right mouse): button B. Note: I found right mouse button is not invoked when mouse moves. So better to re-assign
                  • Menu button: toggle full screen
                  • Volume down/up: option 1 and option 2
                  • Volume mute: pause


                  • Left/right volume: page up/down
                  • right lower button: page down

                  Also note there’s a Viliv Cube application that comes with the S5 and is great way to navigate the S5 using just touch controls. See last screenshot below.

                  Battery life

                  I haven’t done extensive testing but I did one test running 720p MKV video file for about 3 hours (about 25% cpu) and gaming for 1 hour (50% cpu). Wireless was turned on and connected during this time (bluetooth was disabled). The Viliv shut down after little bit more than 4 hours (at 10% threshold). So that’s pretty great. The battery is pretty flat so you could carry a 2nd battery if you want to use the S5 all day.

                  One downside is that the remaining battery indication isn’t very precise. Seems it only supports a few levels. E.g. stays in 100% a while and then drops. And also seems to be mostly in 10% increments and I’ve seen it go back and forth at times as well.

                  Another great feature of the S5 is low battery standby time. It’s supposed to have up to 200 hours of time which is amazing. I haven’t tested it more than several hours but I’ve heard from several other people it works well. It wakes up out of standby mode in few seconds so this almost same experience as a pocket pc.

                  Screen & Video playback

                  The screen indoors looks great and pretty bright and has a very fine resolution of 1024×600. The screen size is 4.8” so I can see that some may find it hard to read at that resolution. But it worked ok for me. You can lower the resolution down to 640×480 (via graphic properties) but it won’t be as sharp. But most programs allow you to adjust font sizes and zoom in most programs. 1024×600 is great for browsing though and I used Autohotkey to assign buttons for zoom-in and zoom-out.

                  Outdoors is not so great. In full sunlight the screen is washed away. See below. That said in a car with some shade I still could read it. Not great but usable. My Dell X51V pocket pc does a bit better and actually is reflective in direct sunlight:

                  The Viliv S5 is great portable device for video. Since the Atom chip does have hardware decoding support for H264 and VC1 you can playback 720p HD MKV video smoothly. You do need to make little tweaks if you want to use other video players like KMPlayer to get video running smoothly but the included Viliv player works out of the box. See later in software table for tips how to get this running smoothly in KMPlayer.

                  I haven’t tested 1080p but I have heard some claim to get it to run fairly smoothly (but most are not). WMVHD 720p I haven’t been able to to play smoothly yet. In theory the S5 should be capable to play it back smoothly since the Atom chip does have VC1 hardware decoding. But the issue is that I haven’t seen any drivers yet for WMVHD / VC1. Hopefully we should see these soon from Intel. Windows 7 has some built-in drivers for HD video but haven’t tested this.

                  Otherwise the resolution and quality is great (indoors) to watch HD video’s and sound is pretty decent. The volume through loudspeakers and phone is loud enough for my taste.


                  Software compatibility tests

                  Here’s an overview of software I tried on the Viliv S5 and any comments and/or workarounds required.

                  Software Works out of the box? Comments  / workarounds
                  Video / Readers    

                  MKK 720p will not play smoothly see comments how to workaround

                  MP4 720p plays smoothly (see previous comment)

                  WMVHD 720p stutters but see comment below in Windows Media Player (haven’t tried yet if there could be tweaks to impove this or Windows 7)

                  MTS Canon HF100 60i: stutters but plays fairly decent at half size

                  See this link how to configure KMPlayer to play 720p smoothly:

                  Basically all I did was to set external decoder for H264 to Cyberlink and changed the video renderer to DirectDraw overlay surface and YUV mode. That worked for me for 720p MKV.
                  1080i may work as well but may need a bit more tweaking. I haven’t tried it yet.

                  Windows 7 I’ve heard has built-in hardware playback support but haven’t tried that. I’m sticking for now with XP as I know that works plus I’ve heard video out doesn’t work yet correctly with windows 7.

                  Windows Media Player WMVHD 720p stutters but see comments I was able to get 720p (lower bitrates around 5Mb) running fairly smooth on XP:
                  1. Install Windows Media Player 11
                  2. Go to options and click ‘Performance’ Tab
                  3. Click ‘Advanced’ and select ‘Turn on DirectX Video Acceleration’

                  To test you can download sample videos: WMVHD showcase

                  Youtube.com Regular and HQ video works also in full screen but
                  HD stutters badly
                  To try to download video first… (keepvid or other). In theory that should be smooth.
                  Vimeo.com Stutters in default HD mode, turning off HD work also in full screen Non-HD still looks fairly decent but obviously not HD.
                  Hulu.com Stutters in all modes it seems 😦  
                  Web sites playing video through windows media player I noticed weird blocks at bottom of the video on all sites and when playing WMV in media player. See comments for fix

                  To fix: go to windows media player and go to options and tab Performance. Click on ‘Advanced’ and turn off ‘Use video mixing renderer’.

                  For other players configure ffdshow and change the WMx codecs to a value other than ‘disabled’.

                  CDisplay Works but shortcuts are mostly for keyboard so you may want to change the settings Rotated portrait display works as well but 600 pixels width is a bit small so I found default display best
                  Adobe Reader (PDF) and Digital Edition (ebook reader) Works Digital Edition activation works and I was able to view sample ebook. One downside is that largest font is still not very large on the S5. But most books have scalable fonts and you can adjust to any zoom level. Also it doesn’t have a true full-screen feature like Microsoft Reader. The arrow keys did work to switch between pages.
                  Microsoft Reader Works including activation

                  Nice feature: install free dictionaries to be able to lookup words when reading a book

                  Works well but in full screen mode page width is fairly narrow and font sizes could use more steps. Rotating to portrait looks a bit better but menu’s are slightly cutoff in the width and bookmarks are not visible(but book text looks fine). See here utility to start Reader automatically in portrait and set back to landscape at exit: MsReaderPortraitV2.ahk
                  GPS Navigation    
                  Garmin Mobile PC No, GPS not found see comments how to fix that

                  Otherwise works great

                  Problem is that default GPS settings are 9600 and it seems protocol is not compatible. To workaround:
                  1. Install COM0COM: com0com-
                  2. Install GpsProxy: GPSProxyPC-1.16-Setup.exe
                  3. Configure GpsProxyPC once: go to settings and in GPS tab set baud rate to 9600 and in 2nd application tab set application com port to com7. Settings should match this screenshot
                  4. Install AutoHotkey: autohotkey download
                  5. Copy this autohotkey script to automate setting up GPS: StartGPS.ahk

                  After you copied everything you can now run the AutoHotKey script and it will automatically configure GPS to be compatible with most GPS software. Also I setup the script to start Garmin Mobile PC automatically but you can change that line to your software. If you reboot you need to start it again (you could put in startup folder to always have this configured at startup).

                  UPDATE: I’ve created a 2nd version where I assigned Tab to sleep mode: StartGPS%7C_v2.ahk

                  For sleep It requires PsShutdown tool which you can get here: PsTools.zip

                  Street & Trips 2009 No, GPS not found see comments how to fix that

                  Otherwise works great

                  See above
                  Stella 2600 emulator Works but in cursor mode the joystick only moves 4 ways. See comments how to workaround I created a autohotkey script that will translate mouse movements into 8 way cursor control:

                  Setup/copy script:
                  1. Install AutoHotkey: http://www.autohotkey.com/download/
                  2. Use this script: mapMouseToJoystick_V1.ahk
                  3. Make sure joystick is in mouse mode

                  To run:
                  1. Run the script and check joystick is in mouse mode (if not hold menu button few seconds)

                  2. Run your application where you want to emulate mouse to cursor control
                  4. Make window application active (if that windows is not already active) and press left windows key. You get a msgbox saying enabled. 5. Movement is now controlled with joystick and mapped to cursor. To disable again press again left windows key. To exit script right click H button in notification area and select exit.

                  If movement is jerky increase mouse speed in control panel / mouse.

                  UPDATE: I’ve posted a 2nd script that also will hide the mouse pointer and won’t show msgbox:
                  1. Install nomousy.exe: Download and copy to public path (for example c:\windows)
                  2. Copy and run this script (after putting joystick in mouse mode): mapMouseToJoystick%7C_V2.ahk

                  Make sure you exit the script when control is disabled otherwise nomousy.exe will still be running. To exit this script: put joystick in cursor mode and push in.

                  C64 – CCS64 emulator See previous comment. Works but joystick needs workaround to use in 8 way mode  
                  Nintendo 64 – Project64 emulator Too slow depending on game but most games not very playable Most games will be too slow and will run at around 25-30fps with stutter. Potentially you could tweak graphics plugin but I had no success with the default plugin which should be one of the fastest.

                  External analog joystick/game controller is really needed besides the 4-way issue.

                  iDeas Nintendo DS emulator Too slow with few games I tried (about 5-10fps)  
                  Nintendo GBA VisualBoyAdvance Most games run close to 100% but see comments. Also see again joystick comments above In full screen 1024×600 mode the screen is not filled but looks very sharp. Speed is most of the time 100% but can drop now and then. To get faster speed try different render methods.
                  Atari Lynx Handy emulator Works fine. See joystick comments above Works well even in cursor mode since most games only require 4 way directions.

                  With Lynx II background and in Lynx LCD mode the image is too wide for the screen. Either no background or use another mode (default will work)

                  I recommend to use Autohotkey to map buttons.

                  VST Host Bit of a lag when playing many keys at the same time. Otherwise usable for some basic sound programming. Screen height is a bit small This is a free VST Host program that can hosts VST plug-ins like OPX-Pro, Pro-53, FM8, ….
                  Wireless network See comments I found I had to switch my router to mixed 802.11b & g mode. 802.11n mode didn’t work. Note my router uses WPA security mode (WEP may or may not work)
                  Stella Atari 2600 adapter Works out of the box, no driver install required  
                  Roland Fantom-X Works Install Roland driver first, then plug-in USB


                  Couple of screenshots to give you an idea what you can run on this PC:

                  Applications: Garmin Mobile PC, Street & Trips 2009, IE8 web browsing, CDisplay, Stella 2600 emulator, VisualBoyAdvance, Microsoft Reader, Handy Lynx emulator, VST Host and Viliv’s free Cube utility (multi-media interface).



                  Roland Fantom X WAV Sample import Tool

                  UPDATE: 5/30/2011: 0.95 beta: fixed same multi-sample issues and improved refresh. Download: Fantom Import Tool 0.96 beta

                  I was looking for a decent CP70 electric grand piano sound for my Roland Fantom X. The sound was popular in the 80’s (Tears for Fears, Talk Talk, George Duke, Genesis, U2) and more recently Keane used it on several records.

                  I first tried the SRX-07 but just didn’t quite capture the sound. So I decided to upgrade the internal sample memory to 512MB and buy a CP70/CP80 sound library (note CP80 is same as CP70 but with full 88 keys). I found several CP libraries: Definite CP70 Electric Grand by Hollow Sun and Prominy PCP-80. Both were tested well in Sound on Sound magazine but the first one was sampled with 2 velocity levels and the latter with 20 levels (!). I always thought the CP70 does sound quite different at full velocity so to be safe I bought the PCP-80 (under $100 new on Ebay). I think now 2 levels is probably enough but price was similar.

                  UPDATE: you can find free CP80 samples here: http://forums.rolandclan.info/index.php?action=show_thread&thread=29580&fid=1&page=1

                  Now the challenge is to get this massive library trimmed (to 2-4 velocity levels) and imported into the Fantom X. I stumbled upon a nice Fantom Sample Editor by Henrik Greg which imports selected wav files onto a Roland Card. Missing however was keeping the original key settings and loop data. So I decided to create a similar import tool which does retain key and loop settings. See below screenshot:

                  Quick instructions for importing:

                  1. First select source directory on the left with the wav files you want to import.
                  2. Select Roland Card Drive (you will get an error most likely first time program starts that drive cannot be read, ignore). Select the drive where you have the flash reader (you can also select a Roland card root directory on a hard-disk). All directories will be remembered so you only need to do this once (make sure you have write permission to the config file)
                  3. Select one or more WAV files that you want to import on the left
                  4. Select slot on the right where you want to import the WAV files to. Note that there must be enough contiguous space otherwise it will not copy. Note stereo samples will take 2 slots
                  5. Click Import and files will be copied to the card. Currenly ‘smpl’ chunk key and (first) loop data in WAV files will be also imported. Roland samples will be copied as is. Also if no original key data can be found I check if the last characters of the file name contains a valid key string. E.g. mySample_A4.wav will be seen as having original key A4.

                  I’ve tested it with a few samples (Roland formatted WAV files (PCM 16bit signed), WAV files with and without sample loop and key data). Works so far pretty well. I haven’t thoroughly tested it so use at your own risk and always backup all data.

                  UPDATE V2: I enabled multsample functionality and added an optional filter for source files. To use the filter enter a pattern (e.g. 87* or *C4*) and then either select a path or hit enter at the source path textbox to refresh. See screenshot below for multisample screen:

                  To create multi-sample:

                  1. Click on ‘Create multisample’ to go to ‘Edit Multisamples screen’
                  2. Select at least 2 samples on the left
                  3. Enter name for the new multisample in the middle textbox
                  4. Select destination on the right. If you select an existing multisample it will ask if you want to overwrite it
                  5. Click ‘Create multisample’. This will auto-generate the multisample same as Roland does (spreads samples out evenly according to original key)

                  UPDATE V8: Changes:

                  • Added Ctrl-C in right destination sample listbox to copy selected text to clipboard. Ctrl-A will now select all non-empty samples
                  • Added batch update for sample parameters. If you select more than 1 sample and then click edit you’ll see ‘various’. If you leave it as various it won’t update that parameter, otherwise it will update all selected samples with the new value.
                  • Minor fixes for handling invalid path in source directory and wave files not showing up due to bug in key note detection. Last fix exception for filenames ending with underscore and with less than 2 characters after that.

                  UPDATE V9: Changes:

                  • Fixed multi-sample issues where it was not setting source (e.g. card)
                  • Save was not working correctly when you hit cancel in multi-sample and choose save
                  • Improved list refresh so you don’t have to keep scrolling back to last position after import/delete

                  UPDATE V9.5: Changes:

                  • Fixed multi-sample lack of stereo wav files support
                  • Refresh multi-sample list after returning from edit
                  • WAV file import: writing now couple more fixed bytes in Roland header (not sure what those mean but just in case the created file is now about identical)
                  • 9.6: Sort source file names

                  Download link: Download Fantom X Sample Import Tool Beta 9.5