Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 10 review

Windows 8 in a thin tablet

Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 10 review
The Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 10 runs full Windows 8

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Cinebench 11: 0.53
3D Mark: Ice: 3487
Battery Eater 05: 229 minutes

You can't say we didn't warn you that the Lenovo Miix 10 wasn't powerful. The benchmark results give us some numbers on that, since a mid-range chip would give us over 2.0 in the Cinebench tests, compared to just 0.53 here, while the graphics are comically low-scoring.

There's only one 3D Mark benchmark out of a possible three because it couldn't handle the other two, and for that one benchmark, it scored only a tenth of what Intel's integrated graphics in its Core i chips delivers.

Lenovo IdeaPad Miix review

But, as we said, that was to be expected. This is not a highly specced machine. The important thing is how this affects real-world use.

For a start, any games other than the most basic fare from the Windows Store are out. Other than that, though, we didn't have a problem with the graphics. Unlike the Samsung Ativ Smart PC, all windows moved around smoothly, the Windows 8 interface responded quickly, and scrolling and zooming through web pages was fine.

Where there were responsiveness problems, the processor seemed to be the culprit, and really is what holds this machine back in terms of performance overall. While the Samsung Ativ Smart PC frequently froze and crashed programs, things were much better here, with programs often hanging initially when switched to, but coming to life reliably after a few seconds.

Lenovo IdeaPad Miix review

Similarly, things like the sound effects on alerts might arrive slightly later than the dialogue window, but these can all be lived with - inconveniences rather than major concerns.

But the slowness is also reliable. Unzipping a folder takes minutes where it should take seconds, for example. Any kind of pure data crunching is just going to frustrate you. It also means that processor-intensive web content such as Flash media will slow things down massively.

If you don't really need it for that kind of thing, it's fast enough, though. It comes on from sleep pretty much instantaneously, and we wrote this review in Google Docs on it (it comes with a tile for Office, but it just takes you to an Office 365 trial) without any significant problems. We did experience one crash, but it was sorted after a restart. As a simple document productivity machine, there's no problem.

Lenovo IdeaPad Miix review

Well, there may be a bit of a problem. The lack of a trackpad in the keyboard case means that some fiddlier productivity apps will be a pain. Text selection is basically non-existent, for example, and though the touchscreen is actually nice and accurate, selecting fiddly buttons is no fun at all.

That said, the keyboard itself is excellent. It's a superbly comfortable size, and feels well made. It's very shallow, which reduces the feedback it offers compared to something just a little deeper, but the resistiveness of the keys is perfect. We found ourselves typing a suspicious number of double letters, and double spaces especially, when using the keyboard, but the simple fact is that we could use it for hours on end and be totally comfortable.

It's also good that the keyboard gives prominence to quick keys such as volume and Charms when they share a key with a Function - in a tablet, we find the former more useful than the latter.

Lenovo IdeaPad Miix review

However, it's a shame that the keyboard case is rather inflexible. There's only one position to stand the tablet in, and it's very upright. On a desk, that's not so bad, but on a train or any where else where space is limited, you really can't see the screen very well at all. The viewing angles are good, and the screen is nice and clear, it's just that the angle becomes acute enough to be awkward.

Speaking of the screen, it's great. It's not super high-res, no, but it's an IPS panel, so it's bright, clear and only darkens slightly when you're at an awkward sideways viewing angle.

The speakers are fairly loud and clear, though the way they fire away from you isn't totally ideal. They're not high quality, but are easily good enough for hearing people talk clearly in videos.

Lenovo IdeaPad Miix review

Of course, battery life is one of the key advantages of tablets these days, so we were hoping the Lenovo Miix would match up to the best out there. Or at least to the best Windows tablets out there. Sadly, that's not quite the case.

It managed 3 hours and 49 minutes in our intensive battery tests, which would be very good for a laptop, but is well behind what the Samsung Ativ Smart PC and small Windows 8 tablets achieved.

While you could certainly get much more life than that out of it with careful power management, it's still going to struggle to last you all day. However, it held its charge reasonably well when on standby (the Samsung drained alarmingly when sleeping), so it's a fairly reliable companion for a working weekend, provided you can charge it when needed.