Published on May 19th, 2017 | by Varuna Singh0
The Lenovo MIIX 510 Review: A reasonably priced Surface Pro update
There are a lot of Surface Pro like devices out there. This is the Lenovo MIIX 510. Clones by design. However recently every manufacturer has essentially built over that design and added more features and value to their versions. The Surface Pro Design – like that on the Lenovo MIIX 510, has really become a new form factor for tablets and computers. Its mentioned along with the other 2-in-1s to YOGAs and traditional laptops. Heck, even the iPad Pro with its magnetic keyboard and pencil starts looking a lot like the Surface Pro.
The Lenovo MIIX 510 is at the end of the day, an Ultrabook. It has a 7th generation Kaby Lake (the latest) Intel’s core i5 processor. The specific processor is i5-7200U 2.5Ghz. This means the processor has a Thermal Design Power of 15 watts and the U means Ultrabook. Its also clocked at 2.5Ghz which is a good core speed for an i5 processor.
i5 Kaby Lake processor with 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD in a 12.2″ clear display running Windows 10 Home
The PC comes with an acceptable 8GB of RAM. No, you cannot upgrade the RAM. You can however upgrade the m.2 SSD drive which comes at 256GB. That should be enough to get you started in Windows 10 Home.
There are definitely benefits of the design and the out-right copy of Surface Pro’s ergonomics. The whole unit in its own is rigid. The stand offers a much needed flexibility on laptop mode and angle when using the pen stylus. The complete guts of this PC is in the tablet.
There are pogo pins at the bottom with grooves and magnets. This magnetically attaches very strongly to the keyboard that is included with the device. The latch is very strong. Its strong enough to carry the weight of the tablet itself – while I wouldn’t recommend you do that.
The IdeaPad MIIX has been a Windows centric product range focused on lifestyle, value and mid-range performance. Its meant to offer value for the features you get. What’s interesting is how Lenovo managed to take the best parts about the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and sort of make it better while reducing the cost of the overall device itself.
The exterior of the MIIX 510 is made of the same Magnesium feeling metal that’s not as cold as metal but is rigid enough. The 12.2: screen is at a high resolution of 1920×1200. The stand at the back of the PC features the very well built “watch-hinge” that allows you to rotate the stand at almost every possible angle. Its sturdy and holds on the back using magnets. The keyboard that’s included in the box has backlit lighting and holds onto the tablet part in a sturdy manner.
There is also a Lenovo Active Stylus Pen included and it works really well. It has a AAAA battery included that should last you months. The pen itself is reliable and of high quality.
If the previous paragraph sounded like I’m pitching the Surface Pro you might think the device costs similar to the Surface line as well. Nope- the whole set costs just AED3999. The device also has a USB Type C port (USB 3.0). It isn’t USB 3.1 which means you’re not going to be able to charge the MIIX 510 with USB C . However the charger is very compact and looks more like a mobile phone charger than a laptop charger.
Another thing to note is that this USB Type C port isn’t thunderbolt so you’re not going to be able to do some crazy external GPU based things on this. Having this USB Type C port is also vital because the Lenovo MIIX 510 does NOT have any HDMI or display port output.
No Video Out but a USB 3.0 Type C port and a USB 3.0 Type A is a win
Apart form the small microSD card slot at the back and these two USB ports, there aren’t any more slots on the MIIX 510.
I have to hand it to Lenovo for keeping the USB Type A port and the USB Type C port. It looks out for your existing devices and the future as well. At this point with a good CPU, the right ports and satisfying performance, what’s wrong with the MIXX 510 ?
The keyboard is fantastic. It offers great key travel, it holds the tablet well and its two levels of tilts and latches work as expected. The only annoyance (that’s major to me) is the position of the right SHIFT key.
Annoying Right Shift key placement
Its past the up arrow button and that just makes it very annoying. I tried to get myself used to it and it took me a long time to get there. You should know that about the keyboard.
The speakers aren’t all that great. The MIIX 510 comes with some Dolby audio enhancements for scenarios such as Music, Game, Movie and Voice, but they all don’t seem to solve the lack of decent lows in sound.
The overall weight of the keyboard + laptop isn’t very light. I’m left hoping that the MIIX 510 could just be a little bit more lighter. It didn’t really affect my usage of the device since I pretty much had it placed on something most of the time. What made me realise is when I tried travelling and walking with it. It’s a very light laptop but a slightly heavy tablet. I’d recommend you take the keyboard case off If you don’t need it.
The Active stylus pen works really well
Then Active Stylus pen doesn’t magnetically latch to the side of the tablet. In fact Lenovo has bundled in a pen loop that goes into one USB drive of the device and it goes into the only USB Type A port on the laptop.
No fingerprint reader or Windows Hello IR cameras
The MIIX 510 does not have a fingerprint reader or a Windows Hello camera. You’re going to have to use good old passwords / passcodes again.
The Lenovo MIIX 510 has air vents at the top and on the right and left sides of the device. This isn’t as complete as Microsoft’s Surface Pro where there are uniform vents all round the device. If you look at how the MIIX 510 is under the case, you notice that the fan’s output is only towards one side. The other vents are mostly for air intake.
That brings me to the only remaining concern with the Lenovo MIIX 510’s the fan noise. The tablet would want to start its fan even if its at a cool temperature. It doesn’t happen all the time it comes and goes. On the upside, the performance in the MIIX 510 is top-notch.
Great performance with over 6 hours of battery life – good but could be better
Every Windows Store app I threw at it worked smoothly. The product feels tightly integrated with its hardware. You’re not going to be able to run AAA games on this thing but anything from basic video editing, programming in an IDE to your normal productivity and media consumption will work top-notch. This MIIX 510 is really a well performing device.
The Lenovo MIIX 510 has a battery capacity of 39Whr and that gave me a good 6 hours of real world usage. I wouldn’t be surprised if you manage to squeeze in a little more but its not at all super impressive. The Lenovo MIIX 510 takes about 2.5 hours to charge completely and the charger is small enough to go in the pocket of your backpack. A tear down of the device suggests that there is quite a bit of unused space around the battery. Lenovo should have put more battery in this area to make the MIIX 510 run longer. These days, getting 8 hours of battery makes a lot more sense – which is a whole days of work. I wish they did that.
- USB Type C + USB Type A port is a win (but it isn’t USB 3.1 or thunderbolt)
- New Kaby Lake processor is fast and stable
- Active Stylus pen and Keyboard built in with backlit keyboard works well
- Great screen
- Sturdy body with watch hinge
- Battery could be better after you realise they could have put a bigger battery
- Windows Hello IR cameras not present. No fingerprint reader as well
- Its slightly heavier than the Surface Pro 4
- The fan makes a big of noise at random
- Right Shift key is annoying!
- Not amazing sound or camera
If you like the Surface Pro form-factor, the Lenovo MIIX 510 is a very cost effective alternative with nice extras without Windows Hello
I’d recommend the Lenovo MIIX 510 if your heart is set on a Surface Pro form-factor. Its in many ways a better Surface offering more for less and not compromising on quality or rigidity. The Surface Pro design seems like the best implementation of an idea that needs questioning. But if you are won over that the Lenovo MIIX 510 is a great deal. For AED3999 you get the MIIX 510, a backlit keyboard and a nice active stylus pen. You should try out the keyboard before you buy it and maybe carry it and see if the weight suits you.