At 10.1-inches, the Miix 2 isn't really large enough to be your all-day, every day computer -- for that the cut-off is really a 13-inch laptop. But, for a long afternoon in a conference room or cross-country flight, it will work. An 11-inch version of the Miix 2 has also been announced, and it will include full Core i-series Intel CPUs, and presumably cost more.
Lenovo Miix 2 connections
Stereo speakers with added subwoofer on dock, headphone/microphone combo jack
Micro-USB 2.0 (tablet), 2 USB 2.0 (dock), microSD card reader
802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Connections, performance, and battery
Tablets, and hybrids that lean more toward the tablet side, typically suffer from a lack of ports and connections. The Miix 2 is no exception, offering only micro and mini versions of popular ports on the tablet itself. That means you'll have to travel with a pocketful of adapters and cables to make full use of the Miix 2. Fortunately, the keyboard dock includes a pair of full-size USB ports, which is handy, even if they're of the slower USB 2.0 variety.
Like most current Windows 8 tablets, the Miix 2 uses an Intel Atom processor. This low-power chip is designed to balance application performance with long battery life, while also running cool enough to work in small, sometimes fanless, systems. But in practical terms, even current Atom chips can feel pokey, depending on the task at hand. In systems with larger screens especially, the disconnect is more obvious, as you naturally expect those to act more like full-size laptops.
On the positive side, the Windows 8 tile interface, as well as most Windows 8 optimized apps, run very smoothly, even with an Atom chip. In hands-on use, the Miix 2 felt speedy most of the time, but also occasionally lags, which mirrors our experiences with other Atom-powered tablets and hybrids.
In our CNET Labs benchmark tests, the Miix 2 performed comparably to, or slower than, several other recent Windows 8 tablets, each of which has a similar Intel Atom chip (although not always the exact same model) and 2GB of RAM, but none with a screen as high-res as the Miix 2. In real-world terms, the performance differences were minor, and you're unlikely to notice much practical difference -- with the exception that one may be more forgiving of slowdown on smaller screens.
Lenovo's Miix 2 stands out from the Windows tablet crowd by offering a larger-than-usual screen, higher resolution, and a unique keyboard dock. It also costs more, at $599, which is closer to what you'd pay for a decent budget laptop, although the big 128GB SSD is no doubt responsible for some of the cost.
If the keyboard was easier to use and the CPU a little more powerful, the Miix 2 could be a handy portable productivity machine, but as it is, this will be relegated to being your backup device at best.
Find out more about how we test laptops.
Lenovo MIIx 2
Windows 8.1 (32-bit); 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3740; 2GB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 32MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics; 128GB SSD hard drive
Asus VivoTab Note 8
Windows 8.1 (32-bit); 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3740; 2GB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 32MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics; 32GB SSD hard drive
Dell Venue 8 Pro
Windows 8.1 (32-bit); 1.3GHz Intel Atom 3740D; 2GB DDR3 SDRAM 800MHz; 32MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics; 32GB Sasmung SSD
Lenovo ThinkPad 8
Windows 8.1 Pro (32-bit); 1.46GHz Intel Atom Z3770; 2GB DDR3 SDRAM 800MHz; 32MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics; 64GB Sasmung SSD
Acer Iconia W4-2466
Windows 8.1 (32-bit); 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3740; 2GB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 32MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics; 64GB SSD hard drive
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