The Lenovo Miix 510 is a 2-in-1 laptop to rival the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. On paper, it’s a much better deal, thanks to the inclusion of a detachable keyboard and stylus pen – and a cheaper price point.
Is this 12.2in Windows 10 laptop a worthy competitor, or does it fall short of its promise?
Lenovo Miix 510 review: What you need to know
The Miix 510 is significantly cheaper than the Surface Pro 4, at £850 including a detachable keyboard. That’s a saving of £192 versus the Surface Pro 4 with Type Cover.
But that’s not the entire picture. The Miix 510 keyboard feels flimsy and unpleasant to type on, and the display doesn’t match the resolution or colour accuracy of the Surface Pro 4. This makes the Miix 510 hard to recommend, despite the attractive price. If you’re in the market for a sub-£1,000 2-in-1 laptop, get the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. If you’re looking for a cheaper 2-in-1 laptop with a bundled keyboard, get the Asus Transformer 3 Pro for £700 instead.
Lenovo Miix 510 review: Price and competition
The Miix 510 is available from Lenovo’s website for £650 with a Core i3-6100U processor, or for £850 with a Core i5-6200U – the latter being the model at hand.
Identical specs can be found on the £917 Microsoft Surface Pro 4, but that doesn’t include the £125 Type Cover keyboard. The Asus Transformer 3 Pro is also similar, and can be found for £700 on Amazon and £999 through Tesco.
While not identical, the 2-in-1 £999 Core i5 HP Envy x360 is another option to consider.
Lenovo Miix 510 review: Design and build quality
The laptop is solidly built with an aluminium unibody design. That promises great durability, and the attention to detail is impressive. The rear kickstand is attached with a “Watchband Hinge”, made up of 280 individual pieces of stainless steel and providing 150 degrees of flexibility when using the laptop. Unfortunately, the bottom of the kickstand isn’t rubberised, so it’s apt to slide around on your desk.
At 900g, the laptop is rather heavy without its detachable keyboard, and attaching it pushes the weight up to 1.25kg. By comparison, the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 weighs in at only 786g without its Type Cover attached – something to consider if you’re regularly on the move.
The Miix 510 features speakers on both edges for true stereo. These have a limited power output, but you can improve matters by enabling Dolby Audio through Windows 10’s Sound settings. If you’re looking to play music or movies through the laptop, consider investing in a separate Bluetooth speaker – see our pick of the best for inspiration.
At the right-hand side of the laptop sit a power button, volume rocker and a 3.5mm audio jack. At the left there’s USB 3.0 and a Type-C port. Note that this can’t be used for charging: you’ll have to use Lenovo’s proprietary charger to give the Miix 510 some juice.
Finally, 2-megapixel front and 5-megapixel rear cameras make the Miix 510 ideal for Skype calls and casual snaps.
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Lenovo Miix 510 review: Keyboard, trackpad and pen
One of the Miix 510’s key selling points is the inclusion of a keyboard. But this isn’t really much to shout about.
To be fair, it’s a good size, and the keys have a good travel distance before being actuated. Even so, it’s not pleasant to type on. There’s noticeable flex, so if you’re a heavy typist it’ll cave under pressure. I also found the built-in trackpad would inconsistently jump about while I was navigating web pages, or fail completely to respond to my movements and clicks.
If you want to use the Miix for regular typing, I’d suggest the Logitech K400 Plus Wireless Touch Keyboard for £25 as an alternative to the bundled keyboard. It might not be an all-in-one solution, but it’ll give you a much better typing experience.
As well as the keyboard, you also get the Lenovo Active Pen. This works very well: it’s great for 3D Paint and Windows Ink, two features that have been a focus of Microsoft’s recent Windows 10 updates.
Lenovo Miix 510 review: Performance
Partnering the 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-6200U. Lenovo includes 8GB of DDR4 RAM at 2133MHz. That’s plenty for all your multitasking needs on Windows 10 Home 64-bit – which is just as well, as there’s no option to upgrade the RAM further.
Even though I was testing the more expensive Core i5 model, I was disappointed by its benchmark scores. It achieved a measly 30 overall in the Expert Reviews benchmarks, putting it effectively on par with the Asus Transformer 3 Pro, which managed a score of 31. For comparison, the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 with its Intel Core i5-6300U scored a much stronger 44.
In the cross-platform Geekbench 4 benchmarks, the Miix 510 achieved a single-core score of 2,892 and 5,682 for multi-core operations.To put that in context, the Huawei MateBook X, a non-convertible laptop with the newer 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7200U managed a score of 3,806 and 7,371 respectively.
^Lenovo Miix 510: Benchmark table
Although the Miix 510 didn’t excel in our benchmarks, it has plenty of power to churn through daily tasks. Browsing, watching movies and typing an essay aren’t a problem. It’s when you’re looking to do any video editing, or push the processor to its limits, that you’ll find the Lenovo unable to keep up.
It’s a similar story with the integrated GPU. Intel’s HD Graphics 520 is fine for watching movies and very light gaming, but if you start gaming on the laptop, its limitations immediately become apparent. Hitting just 30.6fps in GFXBench Manhattan and 21.5fps in GFXBench Car Chase, this isn’t a laptop that’s made for games.
It gets a little hot around the top of the casing too – but CPU temperatures stay low at around 65 degrees, which is well within its thermal threshold.
For storage, meanwhile, you get a blisteringly fast 256GB PCI-E Samsung SSD. With disk write caching disabled, the Miix 510 delivers 1,325MB/s sequential read and 1,068MB/s write rates. Copying files to and from the laptop is a painless experience.
^Lenovo Miix 510: Battery life
At only 5hrs 40mins, the Miix 510’s battery life falls short of many rivals’. It does beat the Asus Transformer 3 Pro by quite some margin, but overall it’s unimpressive. If you’re looking to take this computer on a long haul flight, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got access to power.
Lenovo Miix 510 review: Display
The Miix 510’s 12.2in multi-touch display works flawlessly on Windows 10. It’s not as sharp as the Surface Pro 4’s, though. That system’s stunning 2,736 x 1,824 resolution delivers 267ppi across its 12.3in screen. The Lenovo’s much lower 1,920 x 1,200 resolution translates to just 185ppi, meaning text doesn’t look as sharp.
The screen is also rather dull, with only 89.6% sRGB gamut coverage. Next to the Surface Pro 4’s 97.5% sRGB coverage, the Lenovo falls short in offering a vibrant display. An average Delta E of 2.73 also means the laptop’s screen isn’t particularly accurate. If you’re planning on editing images or videos with the Miix 510, consider using an external calibrated monitor.
On the plus side, the screen is nice and bright. I measured a maximum brightness of 334cd/m2, which means it’s bright enough to be used in direct sunlight. And with a 0.16cd/m2 black level and 1006:1 contrast ratio, dark scenes in movies are accurately reproduced.
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Lenovo Miix 510 review: Verdict
The price is tempting, but the Lenovo Miix 510 falls short in a few areas. It hasn’t got particularly good battery life, its screen is rather drab, it’s far from the fastest laptop in its class, and its detachable keyboard isn’t pleasant to type on either.