You Can Now Buy the Snapdragon WOA Mini PC

Posted on November 16, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Dev, Windows 10, Windows 11 with 16 Comments

The ECS LIVA Mini Box QC710 Desktop is a low-end, Snapdragon-powered Windows 10 on ARM mini-PC that can be upgraded to Windows 11. It is aimed at developers, but since it only costs $219, it will be of interest to Windows enthusiasts as well. With one important caveat.

Qualcomm announced this mini PC as the Snapdragon Developer Kit for Windows 10 on Arm PCs back in May, but it hasn’t appeared until now for whatever reason. Now called the ECS LIVA Mini Box QC710 Desktop, it’s available on the Microsoft Store for just $219, making it a compelling option for developers who want to test their apps on real Snapdragon hardware. The hardware maker describes it as “the perfect testbed for Windows on Snapdragon application developers, an ultra-compact, ultra-efficient computer for a wide variety of home and business applications.”

The specifications are humbling. The ECS LIVA is powered, such as it is, by an older-generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c processor, 4 GB of LPDDR4 RAM, and 64 GB of eMMC storage. It has a very minimal port selection, with one USB 2.0 Type-A port on the side and one USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A port, one USB 2.0 Type-C port, and one full-sized HDMI port on the rear. There’s also a microSD card slot plus Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. Unfortunately, the one USB-C port is tied up by the power supply.

Enthusiasts will probably be more interested in this mini-PC than will be most developers, but be warned that Microsoft is not offering refunds on this purchase. “This product is meant for developers, not consumers,” it says.

Whatever. I ordered one, and I’ll let you know how well, or if, it works as a normal PC. And I will of course upgrade it to Windows 11 for 64-bit app support, which you have to think is part of the point here (for the developer audience).

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Comments (16)

16 responses to “You Can Now Buy the Snapdragon WOA Mini PC”

  1. remc86007

    Why can't we have this with the current flagship Qualcomm part, NVME, and 16GB of ram? I'm not saying it'd be a great experience, but it might be fast enough that it would encourage more development of WOA.

    • wright_is

      but it might be fast enough that it would encourage more development of WOA.

      Precisely for that reason, or rather, if developers have to ensure that their code is performant on this, then it will actually be usable on normal Qualcomm kit. Developers should always test (and this is a test rig, not a development rig) on the lowest possible specification, to ensure it works well, then users shouldn't have any problems with it.

    • MikeCerm

      The reason why is that it would cost $800 and still be slower than similarly priced NUC-type systems with Intel or AMD processors, and the relative power efficiency of ARM is meaningless for a system that is going to be plugged into power 100% of the time. Nobody would buy such a system to use as a "daily driver," but somebody might buy one of these for $219 to see if their app crashes when running on a WoA system.

      • waethorn

        So what you’re saying is that the future prospects for consumer adoption of Windows on ARM are dead.

        • MikeCerm

          I'm not saying it will never catch on in the future, I'm just saying that this isn't the device that's going to do it, and it will take a drastic technological shift that is years away (at least) to move the needle even a little bit. Qualcomm is saying they'll have something competitive in 2 years. Maybe they will, maybe they won't, just have to wait and see. In the meantime, WoA is basically just a waste of time (except in low-power portable devices, which this little PC is not).

  2. MikeCerm

    Even at $219, this thing is overpriced for anything other than as a developer test bed. There are lots of sub-$200 mini PCs with Apollo Lake CPUs that will perform similarly, without the limitations of this thing (4GB, eMMC, barely any ports). Since there is no upgrade path, it really should come with 8GB. Any Windows hardware that ships with 4GB of non-expandable memory in 2021 is basically e-waste.

    • Bart

      Yes, this is for develops...?

      • MikeCerm

        Sure, but some other people might be considering buying it as a low-cost, energy-efficient PC, and they shouldn't. Also, marketing copy on the Microsoft site includes things like, "the ECS LIVA QC710 desktop easily blends into any home, office, and retail environment," which is clearly targeted at consumers. There is a note, hidden by default, which says that they will not accept returns on this item, and that it is meant for developers, not consumers, but they have hidden this note behind a little + button. If they didn't want consumers to consider buying this, they would have put that note "above the fold," and left off all the marketing stuff that is targeted at consumers.

        • Bart

          Completely agree that this isn't for consumers. But this is what Paul says in his article, right?

          • MikeCerm

            He says, "enthusiasts will probably be more interested in this mini-PC than will be most developers," mentions that Microsoft won't be offering refunds, and then, "whatever. I ordered one," which certainly undercuts the message that this is only for developers. And that's what my original comment was meant to warn against. If you're an enthusiast thinking this will be something fun to tinker with, there are better, cheaper options.

      • rosyna

        You can’t run any development tools that’s generate WOA binaries on it and it doesn’t support RDP because it comes with Windows 10 Home and desktop RDP is a Windows 10 Pro feature.

      • waethorn

        Developing for who?

    • wright_is

      Good job it is just a developer testbed and not designed for anything else then.

  3. Paul Thurrott

    Samsung Galaxy Book Go has the same specs with a 14-inch display for $350.

  4. sscywong

    Can the Snapdragon 7c support 64-bit x86 app in Win 11? I read the news of this somewhere else earlier on saying that this CPU doesn't support so even after you upgraded to Win 11...