Lenovo Miix 510 review

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

TODO alt text

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

Like the best Windows tablets, the Lenovo Miix 510 is here to stay. There are all kinds of devices with removable keyboards that use Windows 10 as an OS – Microsoft has a few of its own.

And, while the Surface Pro 6 is Microsoft’s latest, the Lenovo Miix 510 is closer to the Acer Swift Alpha 12 or the Surface Pro 4.

The Lenovo Miix 510 follows the Miix 700 (yeah, we know), and it features a 7th-generation Kaby Lake processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. There are cheaper options out there, but trust us – this is the model to get.

The Lenovo Miix 510’s design revolves around two watch band-esque hinges that give you more control and flexibility than the Surface Pro when it comes to the kickstand and display. The included keyboard cover – something missing on the Surface Pro – is a good bonus.

Similar to previous Miix tablets, the latest comes with an active pen, too. Styluses have a lot more functionality these days, thanks to the Windows Ink feature in Windows 10, and they’re an essential add-on for any tablet that wants to be taken seriously. However, Lenovo’s Stylus doesn’t attach to the device via a magnet, though 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 of the Lenovo Miix 510 will be more than fine for most people, 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’re looking at $669 (£849, AU$750) for this device. 

The Surface Pro 4 has dropped in price, but it’s still more expensive than the Lenovo Miix 510, at $729/£899, so you’re paying a lot more when you realize that the Surface Pro doesn’t even include 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. But, the Lenovo Miix 510 has been discontinued, so you’ll have to go with a refurbished one.

Design

The Lenovo Miix 510 isn’t going to blow your mind, but it’s still a well designed tablet hard drive. It looks distinctive, and those watch band-style hinges give it a certain something. The detachable keyboard with optional backlight also doubles as a protective faux leather folio case, which is quite effective, and feels good while it’s at it. It’s a more premium feeling and mature accessory than Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 Type cover, which isn’t included for free – unlike the Lenovo Miix 510’s

The side controls – especially the power button - are a little plasticky, but it’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.

Still, the Lenovo Miix 510 is a sleek and professional device. Now, usually this is expected in a device priced like the Lenovo Miix 510, but there’s no disappointment here. 

 Display

The bezels on the Lenovo Miix 510 are a bit wide, but they don’t interfere with the device too much, especially because the display is great. There is a lot to love here – the 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.