The Snapdragon invasion of Windows 10 is well under way, and the next to get caught in the undertow is Lenovo with its brand-new Windows tablet: the Lenovo Miix 630. With the Snapdragon 835 system-on-a-chip processor (SoC) inside, Lenovo is entering a new frontier of mobile computing at CES 2018.
In front of that SoC is a gorgeous, 12.3-inch touchscreen that’s wrapped up in an included keyboard cover with a loop for an included stylus. Yes, that’s two accessories included in the asking price.
That said, the Miix 630 does run Windows 10 S to start, and it has an awfully small port selection. Will the promise of immense battery life make it all worth it? Perhaps, but for now we’re looking at a seriously intriguing and impressive-feeling Windows tablet.
Price and availability
Lenovo looks to release the Miix 630 in the second quarter of 2018 – possibly as soon as April – for $799 (around £590, AU$1,020) to start. That starting price will net you a 12.3-inch, WUXGA+ (1,920 x 1,280) touchscreen covered by Corning Gorilla Glass, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 system-on-a-chip processor with Adreno 540 graphics.
For the starting price, 4GB of RAM and a 64GB solid-state drive will accompany the Snapdragon chip, which can be upped to 8GB and 256GB, respectively. At the time of this writing, Lenovo has yet to disclose international pricing and availability.
Oh, and that price includes both a keyboard cover and digital pen stylus – major, enormous props are due here.
Design and feel
Unlike the majority of laptops and tablets at CES 2018, the Miix 630 is a whole-cloth overhaul on an existing brand rather than a refinement. Gone is the kickstand with the watchband hinge on the back side of the device, and in is this new keyboard cover that bends in the rear to support the device.
Regardless, the tablet feels incredibly well-built and looks plenty sleek in its Iron Grey-colored, 12.3-inch metal frame. The fact that this device looks and feels just as premium as, say, the Surface Pro is testament to how serious Lenovo is about this new type of Windows device.
The tablet measures a measly 0.61 inches (15.6mm) and weighs 2.93 pounds (1.33kg), so it’s seriously portable. As such, you’re not going to find a veritable bevvy of ports here.
Lenovo has included one USB-C 3.1 port, an SD card reader, a Nano SIM card slot and an audio combo jack. Thankfully, the USB-C port will support many display standards and up to 4K resolution, but you’re almost certainly going to need a USB-C hub if you’re looking to do serious work at the desk with this machine.
As for the display, we’re impressed by its resolution, but the bezels are rather thick. We’d love to see Lenovo somehow work its Yoga 920-quality bezels into this device for that much more screen real-estate. Lenovo just has to keep that webcam with infrared Windows Hello capability right where it is – it’s a tough conundrum.
Regardless of its bezels, we’re grateful for the included keyboard cover that doubles as a screen protector in transit. Better yet is that the keyboard delivers fantastic key travel and response, making for a more pleasant typing experience on a keyboard cover than most.
We’ve yet to be able to fully test a Windows laptop or tablet running on Qualcomm’s smartphone processor, but we’re anticipating rather insane battery life numbers. That’s because Lenovo isn’t the first device maker to promise 20 hours of battery life from one of these.
No small part of that is thanks to the Snapdragon 835’s heterogeneous computing techniques and smart power management between its larger and smaller cores. This allows the tablet to run without need for any fans for cooling the components, which surely contributes to battery life gains.
Of course, with Snapdragon 835 comes arguably the best LTE modem in mobile devices, which in turn brings fully-integrated cellular connectivity to the Miix 630 with a Nano SIM card inserted. Naturally, you’ll need a data plan for this from a carrier or network operator. (Rounding out wireless connectivity offerings are 802.11ac Wi-Fi (2 x 2) and Bluetooth 4.1.
Now, know that this device runs on Windows 10 S, not the Windows 10 Home or Pro you’re likely used to. In short, it’s a far better version of Windows RT (Windows Store apps only!) that has a built-in escape plan for users that want more power: a free upgrade to Pro if you don’t like it.
We’re honestly just as interested in seeing how Windows 10 S performs with Snapdragon 835 as we are Windows 10 Pro. Stay tuned for a full review to see just that.
The Miix 630 looks and feels like an incredibly luxurious Windows tablet, with excellent portability and connectivity options. Should it pan out, the incredible battery life promises are another major plus.
That said, and we’re nitpicking here, we’d like to see a larger display within that frame. But, with magnets behind the bottom bezel, that makes this task difficult. We’re also a bit dubious of the Windows 10 S inclusion, but it’s likely what’s allowed Lenovo to price the Miix 630 thusly in regards to licensing.
At any rate, we’re majorly excited by the Snapdragon push into Windows 10, and this looks like one of the strongest devices in the fleet so far. Set a reminder now for this April to check TechRadar for a full review.