Lenovo Miix 510 review

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

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Because we’re looking at the Intel Core i5 variant of the Miix 510 here, performance isn’t really an issue. There’s plenty of ‘everyday’ power on offer.

Naturally, you’re not talking about gaming performance, but between the fast PCIe SSD and the processor, there was no issue with any kind of everyday tasks we tried. 

Plus there’s plenty to like in terms of entertainment performance and we found the Miix 510 genuinely likeable for watching movies on with the kickstand.

Talking of the kickstand, it’s an effective bit of industrial design from Lenovo. The ability to be able to poise the device at almost any angle is a real boon. Elsewhere, the edges of the device are covered by the usual fan and speaker grilles plus ports, but everything is integrated nicely, with power, USB-C and USB 3.0 on one side and power, volume and 3.5mm headphone jack on the other. 

It’s incredible that the USB 3.0 port now looks weirdly large in comparison to every other cable connector.

Writing detection is responsive enough to jot down notes swiftly, and the pen itself is slim enough to remain comfortable for long periods.

Benchmarks

Here’s how the Lenovo Miix 510 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:  

3DMark: Sky Diver: 3,269; Fire Strike: 761; Time Spy: Couldn't run
Cinebench CPU: 323 points; Graphics: 42.11 fps
Geekbench: 3110 (single-core); 6570 (multi-core)
PCMark 8 (Home Test):
2515 points
PCMark 8 Battery Life: 2 hours and 57 minutes
Battery Life (techradar movie test): 4 hours and 40 minutes  

Performance

In our benchmark tests, the Miix 510 was, well, mixed. Performance was good, the multi-core Geekbench test and 3D Mark scores are understandably comparable to other similarly powered competitors.

However, battery life was quite substandard compared to others on the market, not least the Surface Pro 4 and Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 that we’ve talked about previously here – the Surface Pro 4 lasted 35 minutes longer on our looped TechRadar video playback test. Meanwhile, the Pro 4 lasted for 18 minutes longer on the harsh PC Mark 8 battery test.

It’s great to see USB-C included in some way – Lenovo sensibly has provided options here with legacy USB support as well – but we’d have preferred to see a USB-C charger rather than the round-ended standard charger we get here. Next time. It is a nice light, compact power brick though. Since Microsoft is still bizarrely ignoring USB-C, this is a definite plus for the Miix over Surface. Microsoft still seems to think people aren’t ready for USB-C, but Apple don’t seem to be having too many problems convincing people.

Lenovo hasn’t included a microSD port here though; surprising in our book but not a deal-breaker. As you’d expect, you get a 2 megapixel front camera for video calling, as well as a decent if uninspiring 5 megapixel unit on the back. Dual-microphones cancel out background noise and we had no problem with being understood on calls. 

In terms of audio playback, it’s fine for everyday YouTube viewing, but you’ll want to hook it up to a Bluetooth audio system (there is a headphone jack, too) for any movies or music.

 We liked

 There’s plenty to like about the Lenovo Miix 510. Firstly, there’s the fact this is a powerful device. It has no problem coping with the everyday and is very pleasant to live with, hook up to a secondary display or use on the move – the usual tablet/keyboard caveats apply such as it really needing to be used on a flat surface, but the kickstand does work well within that. 

We also appreciate Lenovo’s nod to USB-C, while the appearance of the thing is generally likeable. 

 We disliked 

The display isn’t as high resolution as some, even if it is great quality – whether that will bug you is a matter of personal preference. 

However, it’s the battery life that really grates, especially when competitors have similarly specified innards and better displays. We really would have expected more here.   

 Final verdict

So despite a compelling spec sheet and generally likeable appearance, the Miix 510 remains a little hard to unequivocally recommend. 

That’s because of the competitors that loom above and beside it, not least Surface Pro 4. It’s the battery life that really lets it down.

But if it’s price that’s your main motivator, you’ll find the Miix 510 a fantastic alternative choice.