Lenovo Miix 510 Review — Best Affordable 2-in-1?

About eight years ago I had a custom built gaming PC and a Windows laptop for school. I loved every moment of my experience with the two, minus the viruses. When the second generation MacBook Air launched I decided to pick one up out of envy of everyone in my college classes. I still remember the moment of unboxing it, booting it up, and being blown away by the user experience.

That same day I erased my windows laptop and posted it on eBay. I did hold onto my gaming PC for a few months, mainly because it was my storehouse for all my media and my place to game from time to time. Fast forward to today, before a month ago I didn’t use a Windows computer for more than a few minutes collectively since selling that gaming PC.

Now I have the honor to test a Windows PC, and I am glad that I got to test one from Lenovo.

Lenovo is one of the iconic brands in the PC world. They have been known to make the ThinkPad, the staple laptop in most offices. This computer Lenovo sent me is not one of those iconic form factors, it is a 2-in-1 style PC, very reminiscent of a Microsoft Surface. The computer that I am talking about the Lenovo Miix 510.

The Miix is a 12.2 inch 1920×1200 tablet PC, with a Lenovo style, backlit keyboard, minus the red eraser looking Pointing Stick. The body is fully made of metal including the Watchband Hinge which is constructed of 280 pieces of stainless steel and supports the kickstand. The kickstand is adjustable up to 170 degrees, so you can easily find a position that suits you, from media consumption to drawing. The Watchband Hinge was very strong during my testing, the only time that the hinge ever decreased height without me trying was when I pushed hard on the top of the screen. If you press at an average pressure you will have no issues with the kickstand creeping down. The Keyboard had a nice throw, for a cover style keyboard, but the right shift key was way too small and ill positioned. This caused me to consistently press the arrow up button instead of the shift key and threw off my position so much that I miss entered passwords 1 out of 5 times.

The Miix is not full of inputs but it has the essentials. There is a standard USB 3.0, USB 3.0 Type-C, and the now elusive headphone jack. It has a power button on the top right, followed by a volume toggle beneath it. In typical PC fashion, it uses a proprietary Lenovo charger, but the cable was more than long enough.

The user experience of the Miix was solid. The build was nice and sturdy. It wasn’t too big to bare as a tablet. The form factor was great for media consumption, although Windows as a tablet, just isn’t there yet. The typing experience was a step or two above mediocre, only because of that small out of place shift key. The Miix I tested was packing a 6th generation Intel i5 processor, Intel HD 520 graphics, 8GB of ram, and 256GB of PCIe storage. The performance will be more than fine for the average person browsing the web, editing documents, and casually editing a photo or two. My main things that I do on a computer is editing photos and videos. I am a Photoshop, Lightroom, Final Cut Pro X, Motion, Premiere Pro and After Effects user. Sure, I cannot get MacOS applications on a PC, so I tested the Adobe equivalents. I edited 40mp images in Photoshop and 4K footage in Premiere Pro, both of which performed pretty terribly. Both Photoshop and Premiere Pro seemed to become completely unresponsive for a few moments at a time. When this happened, the fans kicked on and there was not visual indication that it was struggling, it just froze. This only happened under load, so I wouldn’t worry about it if you fall into that category, but if you do I would shoot for something with a little more horsepower.

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My review unit came with the Active Pen. It takes one AAAA battery, so there is no recharging needed, just swap the battery. I didn’t see this as an issue during my testing, but only time will tell how the battery on the Pen performs. As for sensitivity, the Pen was very responsive. The only time I saw noticeable lag was when using it after it was idle for a while, but this quickly corrected itself. I found myself using it in OneNote often while the Miix was in the flattest mode possible. It felt like writing on an easel.

When it comes to a device in this form factor, I believe that battery life is important. The battery is rated for 8 hours. I was not getting anywhere near that on my unit. I was getting about 4-5 hours from normal usage. This consisted of browsing the web, updating documents, and listening to music. When I was editing photo or video this time decreased fairly rapidly, to 1-2 hours. Just as a disclaimer, this was my second unit. My first one stopped powering on after about a week of use. Lenovo promptly sent me a replacement and that unit has not had the issue. This could have been a one-off thing, but I thought I should mention it.

The Miix is not for a prosumer, and Lenovo does not market it this way. It is for the student, the casual PC user, or the person that wants an all in one solution. The model I tested came in at $729 US, which is very reasonable for the form factor. For a similar configuration from Microsoft, it will run you $999 US. If you are not a Mac addict or prosumer I can 100% recommend this for your everyday needs, but if you are, spend $300-$400 more for something that can perform to your needs.

Buy the Lenovo Miix 510