Elitegroup Computer Systems, known to most of us as ECS, was formed in 1987. From their humble beginnings, they have become an industry-leading OEM that manufactures a large number of products for themselves and other vendors. ECS currently offers mini-PCs, laptops, motherboards, tablets, and other IoT devices under their various brands and has expanded into many markets. Even if you have never directly bought an ECS-branded product, it is still highly likely that you have used or owned one they manufactured. With each passing year, ECS continues to grow, offering a larger and more diverse portfolio of consumer products.
In today's review, I take a look at the ECS LIVA Z3 Plus. Compared to previous releases, ECS has bumped the specification up, leaving the older Pentium Silver series behind in favor of mobile CPUs, including the Intel Comet Lake-U Core i7-10710U SoC, i7-10510U SoC, i5-10210U SoC, and i3-10110U SoC. Our review sample comes equipped with the i5-10210U. Overall, it remains extremely compact and retains the ability to be mounted to a monitor or television with its VESA mount. Thanks to its HDMI 2.0 port, it is capable of 4K @ 60 Hz. While the company has moved away from eMMC in favor of an M.2 SSD, it sadly still stubbornly continues to offer only 4 GB of single-channel memory. So without further ado, let's take a closer look at what ECS is offering with the latest generation of its LIVA Z mini-PCs.
128 GB SATA M.2 SSD (Supports both M.2 SATA & PCIE NVMe drives)
Kaby Lake HDMI Realtek ALC256 High Definition Audio Controller
1x HDMI 2.0 1x Mini DisplayPort 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C Port 3x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A Ports 2x USB 2.0 Ports 1x Audio Combo Jack 4x Digital Mic (Support A4PC) 1x Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit LAN 1x Intel I219-LM Gigabit LAN
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 2x2 802.11ax Bluetooth 5.1 1x Intel I219-LM Gigabit LAN 1x Realtek Gigabit LAN RTL8168/8111
Active cooling (heatsink/fan)
OS tested: Windows 10 OS included: none
Packaging and Contents
The LIVA Z3 Plus is packed in a small sleeved bright blue box. The top shows off the system and product name, along with a few logos. Moving on to the left side, you will find the LIVA branding and the Z3 moniker, but not much else.
Taking a look at the back and right sides, there is very little to see here. The LIVA branding is again prominent, but otherwise, there is little to see here.
The ECS LIVA Z3 Plus itself is sealed in a plastic bag with only some cardboard offering protection. The accessories, power cord, etc., are placed in separate cardboard partitions, but other than that, there is no foam or extra packaging to be found.
Spartan would be one way to describe the rather barebones assortment of parts and extras. Still, that is not a bad thing as the bundle does include everything necessary to power up the system and mount it to the back of a TV. Considering a system like this has no optical drive, a thumb drive with drivers would have been nice because the system does not ship with an OS.
LIVA Z3 Plus
VESA mounting plate
A Closer Look
The system design is quite simplistic, with the top being a glossy black with the HDMI and LIVA logos the only things to mark the surface. The bottom lists the system model, various industry logos, and a small vent for fresh air. Two holes in the center allow for the installation of a VESA mount should consumers want to go that route.
Taking a look at the front, there is a power button, three USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports, and a USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C port. The audio jack is a combo jack and can be used for both headphones and microphones. A large vent is present on the left-hand side for improved airflow.
The I/O on the back is a bit limited, but not detrimentally so. ECS opted for a single HDMI 2.0 port and a Mini-DisplayPort for display connectivity. For networking, they went with two Gigabit LAN ports, one is an Intel I219-LM and the other a Realtek RTL8168/8111. As with most systems, the power plug is on the back as well. Finally, the right side offers a Kensington lock and another large vent for improved airflow.
The power adapter is from Asian Power Devices, a 90 W adapter with a rated output of 19 V and 4.74 A (model #DA-90J19).