The best Windows tablets are definitely here to stay. There’s a wide variety of devices on the market with detachable keyboards that use Windows 10 as a tablet and desktop OS. And, of course, Microsoft has made a few itself.
While the new Surface Pro is Microsoft’s latest, the Lenovo Miix 510 is closer to the Acer Switch Alpha 12 or the Surface Pro 4.
The Lenovo Miix 510 follows the Miix 700 (yeah, we know, just roll with it) with a 7th-generation Kaby Lake processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. There are cheaper options out there, but trust us, this is the one to buy.
The Lenovo Miix 510’s design centers on two watchband-style hinges that let you have more control and flexibility than the Surface Pro when it comes to the angle of the kickstand – and the screen. The included keyboard cover – something you don’t even see with the Surface Pro anymore – is another major benefit.
Like previous iterations, the latest Miix hybrid comes with an active pen. Styluses have a lot more functionality these days thanks to the Windows Ink feature in Windows 10, and they’re an essential add-on for any tablet that takes itself seriously. However, Lenovo’s stylus doesn’t attach to the device via a magnet, although there is a pen loop on the included slipcase.
Here is the Lenovo Miix 510 80XE configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: Intel Core i5-7200U 2.71 GHz
Graphics: Intel HD 620
Screen: 12.2-inch IPS, Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels
Storage: 256GB PCIe SSD
Optical drive: None
Ports: 1x USB 3.0 Type-C, 1x USB 3.0 (Always-On Charging), 1x Audio Combo Jack
Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
Camera: 2 megapixel front camera, 5 megapixel rear camera
Weight: 2.76 pounds with keyboard (1.25 kg)
Dimensions: 11.8 x 0.6 x 8.1 inches (30 x 0.99 x 20.5 cm)
Price and availability
There’s an Intel Core i3 variant of this device for $599 (£750, AU$600) which has half the amount of memory and storage as well.
The Core i3 version will be more than fine for most basic tasks, but if you’re looking at any kind of photo or video editing we’d recommend the Core i5. At the time of writing, you were looking at $669, £849, AU$750 for this device.
The Surface Pro 4 had just come down in price (presumably because of the advent of the Surface Pro) but the equivalent model still clocks in at $729/£899, so a significant premium when you take into account that the Surface doesn’t come with the Type Cover keyboard.
Depending on where you look, the Acer Switch Alpha 12 is around the same price, with Acer recently announcing a new version.
Now, while the Lenovo Miix 510 has been discontinued by the manufacturer, you can still find great deals on the refurbished version.
The Miix 510 is a well-designed tablet hybrid. That’s not to say it’s a stunner, but it does look distinctive and those watchband-style hinges give it a certain something. The detachable keyboard with optional backlight also doubles up as a protective faux leather folio case, which works quite well and is good to grip hold of. It’s a more premium-feeling and mature affair than Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 Type Cover, which isn’t included for free, unlike Lenovo’s version.
The side controls – especially the power button – are a little plasticky, but it’s a minor complaint.
Without the keyboard cover, the Miix 510 weighs just shy of 900g. That’s OK to hold in one hand, leaving the other free to draw or write on the display. This means you’re going to want to brace it against something or put it on a flat surface before too long.
The Lenovo keyboard cover sports Lenovo’s AccuType-style keys, which are slightly curved along the bottom edge. They’re sufficient in size but don’t possess quite as much travel as the Surface Pro 4 cover, and this doesn’t make for a great experience when you have a lot of words to type.
The biggest problem is that we found the keyboard flexes a bit. And if you’re a hard typist in any way (which device makers seem to be catering less and less for) then the keyboard bounces rather angrily. Light typing is always preferable, but we think you almost need to be a little too delicate here.
Elsewhere, the bezels around the display seem quite wide, but they’re not too much and they don’t make the device look chunky in any way. Quite the opposite, the tablet looks sleek and professional. Naturally, you’d expect this for a device with a price in this ballpark, but there’s no disappointment.
There’s a lot to like about the display here – blacks are black and colors are vibrant.
Viewing angles are also really rather excellent and this is a big benefit for anybody looking to use this 2-in-1 for collaborative work. What is a bit more of a problem is the resolution, which sticks with Full HD.
Mind you, when we say it’s a problem we actually mean it’s an issue comparing like-for-like with other tablets.
Both the Surface Pro 4 and Acer Switch 12 feature 2,160 x 1,440 resolutions. In use, it’s not a problem using Full HD on the Miix 510. It depends on how determined you are to have best-in-class specs in every department.