Len­ovo Miix 630

Tech Advisor - - Contents - Do­minic Pre­ston

The Len­ovo Miix 630 2-in-1 is one of the first three Win­dows 10 de­vices to be re­leased that are pow­ered by Qual­comm’s Snap­dragon 835 pro­ces­sor – rather than an In­tel chip. Qual­comm re­vealed the HP Envy x2 and Asus No­vaGo late in 2017, but Len­ovo waited un­til CES 2018 to un­veil its Miix 630.

The up­shot of us­ing the Qual­comm chip is that the Miix 630 en­joys al­ways-on LTE con­nec­tiv­ity along with a mam­moth bat­tery life of 20 hours.

Price

The lap­top is ex­pected to go on sale some time in Q2 2018, but Len­ovo hasn’t been any more spe­cific than

that, or con­firmed if that re­lease win­dow is just for the US, or other mar­kets as well.

In terms of price, the base con­fig­u­ra­tion will be $799 (around £575), though we don’t know UK pric­ing yet. That’s much more than the Asus No­vaGo, which starts from $599 (around £430), and sim­i­lar to what we ex­pect for the HP Envy x2 – though that pric­ing hasn’t been an­nounced yet.

De­sign

The Miix 630 is a stan­dard 2-in-1 with a de­tach­able key­board. It’s at­trac­tive enough in an un­der­stated way, but it’s clearly not a de­sign-driven de­vice.

The core of the de­vice is a 12in tablet bor­dered by some thick bezels. Most of the time though, you’ll prob­a­bly use it with the in­cluded key­board cover and kick­stand, which does a pretty good job of repli­cat­ing the lap­top ex­pe­ri­ence. With a full-size back­lit key­board and touch­pad, the key­board cover is

a re­spectable sub­sti­tute for a proper lap­top. The key feel is sur­pris­ingly im­pres­sive, with­out the mushi­ness you of­ten find on de­tach­able key­boards, and the grey fin­ish is at­trac­tive and avoids look­ing cheap. There’s also a small strap on the edge to at­tach the Len­ovo Pen, a sty­lus that comes in­cluded with the de­vice.

As for ports, you get one USB-C port, one SD card slot, a Nano-SIM slot, and a 3.5mm au­dio jack. That sin­gle Type-C slot could prove lim­it­ing, but the SD slot is wel­come, and miss­ing from its Snap­dragon ri­vals.

As you’d hope, the Miix 630 is im­pres­sively light­weight. At 7.3mm thick and 770g with­out the key­board, the Miix 630 is slightly chunkier than HP’s Envy x2, but still com­fort­ably por­ta­ble. Adding the key­board takes it up to 15.6mm and 1.33kg.

Hard­ware

The big sell­ing point for the Miix 630 is that Snap­dragon 835 chipset lurk­ing in­side, which prom­ises a few big ben­e­fits over In­tel’s equiv­a­lents.

Ar­guably the big­gest ben­e­fit is to bat­tery life, with Len­ovo promis­ing up to 20 hours use. That’s re­port­edly from tests in­volv­ing con­tin­u­ous video play­back though, so we’d ex­pect most users to get even longer life than that in typ­i­cal us­age, with as much as a month of standby time. That could be a huge ben­e­fit to many users, and Len­ovo en­vi­sions it as an al­ways-on de­vice – like your phone, which could well have the ex­act same pro­ces­sor in­side it, you’d just leave the lap­top on all the time, top­ping the bat­tery up ev­ery few days.

The other part of that is that this is an al­wayscon­nected de­vice, with Qual­comm’s X16 mo­dem

of­fer­ing Gi­ga­bit LTE through ei­ther the Nano-SIM slot or the op­tional eSIM, though don’t ex­pect se­ri­ous eSIM sup­port in the UK.

Ac­cess to 4G In­ter­net on a lap­top-style de­vice could be a huge boon for some users, free­ing you from the need to track down Wi-Fi ev­ery­where you go, but it will likely come with the ad­di­tional on­go­ing cost of a data plan, so bear that in mind.

The im­proved bat­tery life and LTE con­nec­tiv­ity sound like big ben­e­fits, but there’s still the ques­tion of per­for­mance hang­ing over this and sim­i­lar de­vices. The Snap­dragon 835 is a pow­er­ful chip, ca­pa­ble of silky smooth per­for­mance on a flagship phone, but can it man­age the same run­ning Win­dows 10?

The Miix 630 will run Win­dows 10 S out of the box, but Len­ovo is of­fer­ing users a free up­grade to Win­dows 10 Pro within 180 days of ac­ti­va­tion, which will of­fer more func­tion­al­ity, but at a likely hit to per­for­mance and bat­tery life. Our time with the de­vice wasn’t enough to se­ri­ously stress-test it, but nav­i­gat­ing the op­er­at­ing sys­tem was slick and smooth.

As for the rest of the spec­i­fi­ca­tions, you get a choice of 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of flash stor­age, which should be plenty for most.

The dis­play is a 1920x1280 touch­screen, which seemed crisp and bright, and is about what you’d ex­pect from a de­vice at this price.

Ver­dict

If it can run Win­dows smoothly and con­sis­tently, the Miix 630 could be a great op­tion for users who want a 2-in-1 lap­top that’s easy to use on the go, with­out

wor­ry­ing about bat­tery life or Wi-Fi con­nec­tions. The big ques­tion marks right now are just how well it han­dles Win­dows, and whether HP’s sim­i­lar Envy x2 – which is lighter and more at­trac­tive – can match it on price.

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