LEN­OVO Miix 510

Computer Shopper - - RANTS & RAVES -


The Miix 510 is at­trac­tively priced, but bat­tery life is me­diocre, and the screen could be sharper

THE LEN­OVO MIIX 510 is a 2-in-1 hy­brid to ri­val the Mi­crosoft Sur­face Pro (Shop­per 355). On pa­per, the Miix 510 ap­pears to be a much bet­ter deal – un­like the Sur­face Pro, Len­ovo pro­vides a key­board at­tach­ment and sty­lus in the very same box, and most im­por­tantly, the Miix 510 is an aw­ful lot cheaper.

An In­tel Core i3-6100U model with 4GB of RAM will set you back £650, while an up­graded Core i5-6200U ver­sion with 8GB of RAM is £850 (we tested the lat­ter). While th­ese are pre­vi­ous-gen­er­a­tion Sky­lake chips, not newer Kaby Lake pro­ces­sors, the roughly equiv­a­lent Sur­face Pro mod­els cost £799 and an enor­mous £1,249 re­spec­tively. Even go­ing back to the old Sur­face Pro 4, a Core i5 model with 8GB of RAM still costs £1,099, and re­mem­ber that none of th­ese prices in­cludes a key­board or sty­lus.

This is no cheap-and-cheer­ful piece of tat, ei­ther. The Miix 510 is solidly built with a com­mend­ably durable alu­minium uni­body de­sign, and the at­ten­tion to de­tail is im­pres­sive. The rear kick­stand, for in­stance, is at­tached with Len­ovo’s sig­na­ture Watch­band Hinge, made up of 280 in­di­vid­ual pieces of stain­less steel and pro­vid­ing 150 de­grees of flex­i­bil­ity. Un­for­tu­nately, the bot­tom of the kick­stand isn’t rub­berised, so it can be prone to slid­ing around on top of a desk.


At 900g, the Miix 510 is rather heavy with­out its de­tach­able key­board, and at­tach­ing it pushes the weight up to 1.25kg. By com­par­i­son, the Mi­crosoft Sur­face Pro weighs only 910g with its Type Cover at­tached, and 786g with­out – some­thing to con­sider if you’re reg­u­larly on the move. Len­ovo’s hy­brid has 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 in­stead. At the right-hand side of the tablet com­po­nent sit a power but­ton, vol­ume rocker and a 3.5mm au­dio jack. On the left, there’s a full-size USB3 port and a Type-C port – a use­ful com­bi­na­tion for both older and newer pe­riph­er­als. Nei­ther is ever taken up by a power ca­ble, ei­ther, as the Miix 510’s bat­tery is fed its juice through Len­ovo’s pro­pri­etary charger. Com­plet­ing the fea­ture set are the 2-megapixel front and 5-megapixel rear cam­eras, mak­ing the Miix 510 ideal for Skype calls and ca­sual snaps.


One of the Miix 510’s key sell­ing points is the in­clu­sion of a key­board. Un­for­tu­nately, this is also where the hy­brid be­gins to show some of its weak­nesses.

To be fair, it’s a good size, and the keys have a good travel dis­tance be­fore be­ing ac­tu­ated. Even so, it’s just not that pleas­ant to type on. There’s no­tice­able flex, so if you’re a heavy typ­ist it will cave un­der pres­sure. We also found the built-in track­pad would in­con­sis­tently jump about while we were nav­i­gat­ing web pages, or even com­pletely fail to re­spond to fin­ger move­ments and clicks.

It’s al­most worth look­ing into other wire­less key­boards to use in­stead, if you want to use the Miix 510 for reg­u­lar typ­ing. We’d sug­gest the £25 Logitech K400 Plus Wire­less Touch Key­board as an al­ter­na­tive to the bun­dled key­board. It might not fold up neatly over the Miix 510, but it will give you a much bet­ter typ­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

The Miix 510 is solidly built with a durable alu­minium de­sign, and the at­ten­tion to de­tail is im­pres­sive

As well as the key­board, you also get the Len­ovo Ac­tive Pen. This, con­versely, 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.


Al­though the spec we were sent is the more ex­pen­sive op­tion, it’s jus­ti­fied by the in­clu­sion of a 2.3GHz In­tel Core i5-6200U, as well as 8GB of 2,133MHz DDR4 RAM. That’s plenty for all your mul­ti­task­ing needs on Win­dows 10 – which is just as well, as there’s no op­tion to up­grade the RAM fur­ther.

All that said, we were rather dis­ap­pointed by the Miix 510’s bench­mark scores. It achieved a measly 30 over­all in our 4K bench­marks, putting it ef­fec­tively on par with the £900 Asus Trans­former 3 Pro (Shop­per 348), which scored 31. It wouldn’t be fair to com­pare the Miix to the high-spec Sur­face Pro we tested, but the Sur­face Pro 4’s In­tel Core i5-6300U model did man­age a much stronger 44 over­all. In the cross-plat­form Geekbench 4 bench­marks, the Miix 510 achieved a sin­gle-core score of 2,892 and 5,682 for mul­ti­core op­er­a­tions. To put that in con­text, the Huawei MateBook X, a non­con­vert­ible lap­top with the newer, Kaby Lake 2.5GHz In­tel Core i5-7200U, pro­duced re­spec­tive scores of 3,806 and 7,371. We imag­ine that us­ing Sky­lake did help keep costs (and thus prices) down, but it’s hard not to won­der what the Miix 510 could have done with more up-to-date hard­ware. Still, al­though the Miix 510 didn’t ex­cel in our bench­marks, it has enough power to churn through daily tasks, and brows­ing, watch­ing movies and typ­ing doc­u­ments don’t pose any prob­lems. It’s when you’re look­ing to do any video edit­ing or push the processor to its lim­its that you’ll find the Miix 510 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 hy­brid that’s made for games.

It gets a lit­tle hot around the top of the cas­ing, too, al­though ac­tual CPU core tem­per­a­tures stay low at around 65°C, 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 swift and pain­less process.

At only 5h 40m in our video play­back test, the Miix 510’s bat­tery life falls short of many ri­vals. It does beat the Asus Trans­former 3 Pro by over an hour, but over­all it’s pretty un­der­whelm­ing, es­pe­cially next to the 2017 Sur­face Pro’s 11h 33m. If you’re look­ing to take this com­puter on a long flight, you’ll need to make sure you have ac­cess to a power socket.

The Miix 510’s 12.2in mul­ti­touch dis­play works flaw­lessly on Win­dows 10. It’s not as sharp as the Sur­face Pro’s, how­ever. That sys­tem’s stun­ning 2,736x1,824 res­o­lu­tion de­liv­ers 267ppi across its 12.3in screen. The Len­ovo’s much lower 1,920x1,200 res­o­lu­tion trans­lates to just 185ppi, mean­ing text doesn’t look as sharp.

The screen is also rather dull for a tablet 2-in-1, with only 89.6% sRGB gamut cov­er­age com­pared to the Sur­face Pro’s 94.3%. 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. We mea­sured a max­i­mum bright­ness of 334cd/m2, which is more than enough to stay leg­i­ble in di­rect sun­light. What’s more, with a 0.16cd/m2 black level and 1,006:1 con­trast ra­tio, dark scenes in movies are ac­cu­rately re­pro­duced.


The price re­mains tempt­ing, but the Len­ovo Miix 510 trips over in a few ar­eas. It doesn’t have 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.

If you’re look­ing for 2-in-1 com­put­ing on a bud­get, you’ll be bet­ter off with the Asus Trans­former Pro 3 – true, its bat­tery life is even shorter than the Miix 510’s, but it makes up for it with a far su­pe­rior dis­play and bun­dled key­board. Christo­pher Minasians

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