Len­ovo Miix 720

A great al­ter­na­tive to the Sur­face Pro, with its only no­table black mark be­ing rel­a­tively poor bat­tery life

PC Pro - - November 2017 Issue 277 -

SCORE ✪✪✪✪✪ PRICE £993 (£1,191 inc VAT) from pcpro.link/277miix

Len­ovo won’t win any awards for in­no­va­tion when it comes to the Miix 720’s de­sign – it takes all its cues from the Sur­face Pro play­book – yet it still man­ages to find room for small im­prove­ments. The re­sult is a pre­mium hy­brid that doesn’t quite steal the Sur­face Pro’s crown, but gives it some se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion.

If you’ve used a Sur­face Pro, the ba­sic de­sign won’t give you any real sur­prises. The light­weight tablet mo­d­ule is 9mm thick and weighs 780g – al­most iden­ti­cal fig­ures to the Sur­face Pro 2017 – and it latches onto the mag­netic con­nec­tor on the key­board, which then clips mag­net­i­cally onto the front of the screen to raise the key­board up at a com­fort­able work­ing an­gle. The kick­stand then pulls out, us­ing what Len­ovo calls a watch­band hinge to hold the screen tilted back at an­gles all the way down to 30 de­grees from hor­i­zon­tal. It’s sta­ble, with no signs of slip­page, and the tablet it­self feels solid and ro­bust. Much like the Sur­face Pro, as it hap­pens.

Len­ovo’s key­board cover has a lot to rec­om­mend it, too. The fauxleather cover looks great, and while some might miss the Sur­face Type Cover’s brushed fabric feel, there’s some­thing to be said for Len­ovo’s more con­ven­tional plas­tic con­struc­tion, par­tic­u­larly when it’s so smooth and com­fort­able. The key­board it­self is back­lit with a stan­dard ThinkPad lay­out and keys of roughly the same size and shape, and if you’re in the camp that likes the ThinkPad feel, then this slimmed­down key­board will be right up your al­ley. The ac­tion is crisp with a 1.5mm travel, and there’s a lit­tle less bounce when you type than on the Sur­face Pro. The touch­pad is also a beauty, with a silkys­mooth sur­face that doesn’t miss the slight­est tap. Un­like Mi­crosoft, Len­ovo bun­dles in the key­board, and the same goes for its pres­sure-sen­si­tive sty­lus. It’s a nice, solid pen, and while it only han­dles 2,048 lev­els of pres­sure and doesn’t have the clever an­gle sen­si­tiv­ity of Mi­crosoft’s lat­est Sur­face Pen, it’s still an ef­fec­tive tool for sketch­ing, notes and an­no­ta­tions, so it’s great to see it in the box. One area where Len­ovo trumps Mi­crosoft is con­nec­tiv­ity. Not only do you get one USB 3 port and one USB 2, but an au­dio jack, a mi­croSD card slot and a USB-C port. The lat­ter sup­ports Thun­der­bolt for file trans­fers at speeds of up to 40Gbits/sec, plus Dis­playPort or HDMI with an adapter, but is also used for charg­ing, which cer­tainly seems more for­ward-look­ing than

“Len­ovo could have dropped the ball when it comes to the screen but no, it’s ex­cel­lent, with a sharp 2,880 x 1,920 res­o­lu­tion”

Mi­crosoft’s pro­pri­etary port. What’s more, Len­ovo’s in­frared camera sup­ports Win­dows Hello fa­cial sign-in.

Len­ovo could have dropped the ball when it comes to the screen but no, it’s ex­cel­lent, with a sharp 2,880 x 1,920 res­o­lu­tion, deep blacks and in­cred­i­bly vi­brant colours. Colour ac­cu­racy isn’t quite at Sur­face Book or Sur­face Pro lev­els, with an av­er­age Delta E of 2.59 and 83.8% of the sRGB gamut cov­ered, but bright­ness hits 412cd/m² at full tilt. You might want to plug in some head­phones to lis­ten to mu­sic or watch movies – the sound is clear but a lit­tle thin and light on bass – but it’s fine for voice and video calls, where the 1-megaixel front­fac­ing camera should ren­der your face with­out ex­cess noise in most con­di­tions. The Miix’s rear-fac­ing 5-megapixel camera doesn’t take bril­liant pho­tos, but for workre­lated tasks it’s fine.

Per­for­mance is im­pres­sive. Our test model’s Core i7-7500U with 16GB of RAM pro­duced the third-best re­sult on test, be­hind the Asus Flip UX560 and the high-end Sur­face Pro. How­ever, bat­tery life lags be­hind the lead­ers, with just over seven hours of video play­back. It will get you through the av­er­age work­ing day, but the Miix 720 is no stamina cham­pion. Still, that’s the worst thing you can say about it. Given the com­pet­i­tive spec, ef­fec­tive de­sign and the fact that you get the key­board and sty­lus bun­dled in, it’s not just a Sur­face Pro clone but a cred­i­ble al­ter­na­tive.

ABOVE The silky-smooth touch­pad is a beauty, re­spond­ing to even the slight­est tap

BE­LOW The Miix squeezes in USB 3, USB-C and USB 2 ports, sig­nif­i­cantly more than Mi­crosoft

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