Lenovo Miix 510 review

Can Lenovo’s latest 2-in-1 take the fight to Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4?

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Our Verdict

There are a couple of reasons (battery, screen) why you’d go for the Surface Pro 4 instead, but the Miix 510 offers an awful lot for the price.

For

  • Beats Surface Pro 4 on price
  • Has USB-C as well as USB 3.0
  • Included keyboard cover

Against

  • No microSD
  • Charger should be USB-C
  • Average battery life

The 2-in-1 tablet hybrid is certainly no longer a novelty. The market is now flooded with devices with detachable keyboards that offer up Windows 10's capabilities as a tablet and desktop OS. And, of course, there’s the small matter that Microsoft makes a couple itself. 

While the new Surface Pro is the latest in the line, the Miix 510 is more comparable with the Surface Pro 4 as well as Acer’s Switch Alpha 12.

The Miix 510 follows up on the Miix 700 (yes, we know, confusing) with a new latest-gen Kaby Lake version of the Core i5 and a strong central pairing of 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. As we’ll explain, there are cheaper variants available, but this is the one to go for in our book.

The Miix design language centres around two watchband-style hinges that enable you to have more control and flexibility than Surface when it comes to the angle to the kickstand and therefore the screen. Another plus is that the keyboard cover is included with the device – unless you nab a deal you don’t get that with Surface Pro.

Like previous iterations, the latest Miix hybrid comes with an active pen. Pens have a lot more functionality these days thanks to the new Windows Ink feature in Windows 10, and they’re an essential add-on for any tablet that takes itself seriously. However, Lenovo’s stylus doesn’t attach to the device via a magnet, although there is a pen loop on the included slipcase.

Spec Sheet

Here is the Lenovo Miix 510 80XE configuration sent to TechRadar for review:

CPU: Intel Core i5-7200U 2.71 GHz
Graphics: Intel HD 620
RAM: 8GB
Screen: 12.2-inch IPS, Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels
Storage: 256GB PCIe SSD
Optical drive: None
Ports: 1x USB 3.0 Type-C, 1x USB 3.0 (Always-On Charging), 1x Audio Combo Jack
Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
Camera: 2 megapixel front camera, 5 megapixel rear camera
Weight: 2.76 pounds with keyboard (1.25 kg)
Dimensions: 11.8 x 0.6 x 8.1 inches (30 x 0.99 x 20.5 cm) 

 Price and availability 

There’s an Intel Core i3 variant of this device for $599, £750, AU$600 which has half the amount of memory and storage as well. 

The Core i3 version will be more than fine for most basic tasks, but if you’re looking at any kind of photo or video editing we’d recommend the Core i5. At the time of writing, you were looking at $669, £849, AU$750 for this device. 

The Surface Pro 4 had just come down in price (presumably because of the advent of the Surface Pro) but the equivalent model still clocks in at $729/£899, so a significant premium when you take into account that the Surface doesn’t come with the Type Cover keyboard. 

Depending on where you look, the Acer Switch Alpha 12 is around the same price, with Acer recently announcing a new version.

Design

The Miix 510 is a well-designed tablet hybrid. That’s not to say it’s a stunner, but it does look distinctive and those watchband-style hinges give it a certain something. The detachable keyboard with optional backlight also doubles up as a protective faux leather folio case, which works quite well and is good to grip hold of. It's a more premium-feeling and mature affair than Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 Type Cover, which isn't included for free, unlike Lenovo's version.

The side controls – especially the power button - are a little plasticky, but irt’s a minor complaint.

Without the keyboard cover, the Miix 510 weighs just shy of 900g. That’s OK to hold in one hand, leaving the other free to draw or write on the display. This means you’re going to want to brace it against something or put it on a flat surface before too long.

The Lenovo keyboard cover sports Lenovo's AccuType-style keys, which are slightly curved along the bottom edge. They're sufficient in size but don't possess quite as much travel as the Surface Pro 4 cover, and this doesn’t make for a great experience when you have a lot of words to type. 

The biggest problem is that we found the keyboard flexes a bit. And if you're a hard typist in any way (which device makers seem to be catering less and less for) then the keyboard bounces rather angrily. Light typing is always preferable, but we think you almost need to be a little too delicate here.

Elsewhere, the bezels around the display seem quite wide, but they’re not too much and they don’t make the device look chunky in any way. Quite the opposite, the tablet looks sleek and professional. Naturally, you’d expect this for a device with a price in this ballpark, but there’s no disappointment.

 Display

There’s a lot to like about the display here – blacks are black and colors are vibrant.

Viewing angles are also really rather excellent and this is a big benefit for anybody looking to use this 2-in-1 for collaborative work. What is a bit more of a problem is the resolution, which sticks with Full HD. 

Mind you, when we say it’s a problem we actually mean it’s an issue comparing like-for-like with other tablets. 

Both the Surface Pro 4 and Acer Switch 12 feature 2,160 x 1,440 resolutions. In use, it’s not a problem using Full HD on the Miix 510. It depends on how determined you are to have best-in-class specs in every department.