Lenovo Miix 2 (10-inch) review: Clever keyboard and high-res screen for Miix 2

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

Video Mini-HDMI
Audio Stereo speakers with added subwoofer on dock, headphone/microphone combo jack
Data Micro-USB 2.0 (tablet), 2 USB 2.0 (dock), microSD card reader
Networking 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Optical drive None

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.

Battery life in the Miix 2 also matched or fell slightly behind other recent Windows 8 tablets, running for 7 hours and 22 minutes in our video playback battery drain test. Acer's new Iconia W4 ran more than 1 hour longer, but other Windows 8 tablets from Asus and Dell were better by only 10 to 20 minutes. Some hybrids include secondary batteries in their keyboard docks, but that's not the case here.

Conclusion

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.

3DMark

Lenovo ThinkPad 8
15801
Asus VivoTab Note 8
15400
Acer Iconia W4-8202466
15224
Dell Venue 8
14177
Lenovo Miix 2
13870

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Handbrake multitasking (in seconds)

Dell Venue 8
947
Acer Iconia W4-8202466
953
Asus VivoTab Note 8
958
Lenovo Miix 2
1001
Lenovo ThinkPad 8
1051

Note:

Shorter bars indicate better performance

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)

Lenovo ThinkPad 8
315
Lenovo Miix 2
398
Acer Iconia W4-8202466
398
Asus VivoTab Note 8
399
Dell Venue 8
426

Note:

Shorter bars indicate better performance

Video playback battery drain (in minutes)

Acer Iconia W4-8202466
516
Asus VivoTab Note 8
459
Dell Venue 8
450
Lenovo Miix 2
442
Lenovo ThinkPad 8
422

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

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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