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Liva Z5 Plus Mini PC Review — Pint-Sized Problem Solver?

We go hands-on with one of the smallest and most interesting mini PCs on the market.

Jeremy Proome



The mini PC market is an interesting one. These pint-sized PC boxes aren’t full-on desktops nor laptops, but fall somewhere in the middle, giving users an option that can do the job without the need for a bulky set-up or costly notebook. Liva is a brand from ECSIPC specialising in mini PC hardware, and the Liva Z5 Plus (priced at R8,999) is an interesting model that brings some oomph and versatility for personal and business use.

What is it?

Housed in a box smaller than your average lunchbox and shorter than most TV remotes, the Liva Z5 Plus features some pretty impressive specs under the hood. You get Intel’s smaller and more efficient Raptor Lake 13th Core i5 processor (1335U), 16GBs of RAM, two HDMI display ports that can output 4K, and a DP (DisplayPort) too; along with a 256GB SSD (PCIe Gen4), WiFi 6E for a fast wireless connection, a USB C input, an audio jack, and 3 USB inputs.

So, what would you use it for?

Let’s address the elephant in the room. The Liva Z5 Plus isn’t here to steal the show from the high-end laptop and desktop world; it’s here to compliment them. It won’t necessarily replace a great piece of hardware, but it can slot in where sometimes an older PC or ageing laptop are causing more headaches than they’re worth. Furthermore, the space element is vital, as what it lacks in sheer power, it more than makes up for in convenience. Its size allows you to put it behind a set of screens, under a table, or even in a draw, ensuring that you have a slick, clean, and efficient workspace that still allows you to do the task you need. At a reception desk, office admin area, or multimedia control centre, the Z5 Plus will thrive.

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The device runs on Windows 11 Pro which is a huge bonus, allowing anyone who’s remotely familiar with Microsoft’s OS to jump in and feel at home as if they’re working on a desktop PC. It’s quick, quiet, and responsive, and while you may not have all the bells, whistles, and ports that you would on a full-size rig, realistically, you don’t need most of those to do most day-to-day jobs.

And while Liva Z5 Plus may not be mighty in size, but it can pack a punch. Also having the ability to connect to four monitors is a huge plus, as it can be used for multi-screen tasks (editing or monitoring) that isn’t too demanding on the hardware.

While you won’t necessarily be playing the latest and greatest gaming titles on the Liva Z5 Plus, as a secondary or purpose-fit PC to run a camera set-up, work as a backup unit for a company need, or a custom purpose where space and time-saving is crucial, and simplicity is needed, the Z5 Plus is a solid option to manage the job. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but having a product like this on the market is hugely beneficial.

Disappointingly, it comes with a US-specific power plug, so you will need to have an adapter to fit into South African plugs, and additionally, there is no HDMI included in the box, so just be aware that you will have to grab one you already have or pick up one if you want a dedicated set-up for your Z5 Plus.

The question of whether it’s necessary comes down to the purpose one would want to use it for. For some, mini PCs may be a little underpowered for their requirements. But, for some, it may be a game-changing solution that boosts productivity, efficiency, and saves space. If you run a business or home system that would benefit from a little more control and flexibility, the Liva Z5 Plus is a good go-to.

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The Liva Z5 Plus is priced at R8,999.

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