Lenovo Miix 2 8in review

10 Jul 2014

A competent Windows tablet let down by a disappointing screen and a lack of video output

Price when reviewed: 
330(£330 inc VAT)
Buy it now for 
3

The compact cousin of the Lenovo Miix 2 10in, the Miix 2 8in, is not only the first compact Windows tablet from Lenovo we've reviewed, but one of only a handful of compact Windows tablets on the market. Like its larger stablemate, the 8in Miix 2 is generously equipped, both in terms of core hardware and ports, and at first glance it's a handsome piece of kit. See also the 11 best tablets of 2014

Tall at 215mm, but surprisingly thin at only 8.5mm, the Miix 2's lean, 9mm bezels make the 8in screen seem even longer and broader than you'd expect. Turn the tablet over and it still looks good, the slightly dimpled, gunmetal-grey plastic back panel broken only by a similarly textured Lenovo logo and a thick band of smooth, silver plastic along the bottom.

Lenovo Miix 2 Tablet

It's an understated design that, coupled with the Miix 2's extra size, gives it the look of a grown-up compact tablet. However, while it may look attractive, it isn't the best made tablet we've come across, exhibiting a worrying amount of flex and bendiness when twisted.

The Miix 2 has a reasonably generous array of connections, with a microSD slot, a 3.5mm audio jack and a micro-USB port that doubles as the tablet's charging point. We were a little disappointed with the lack of a dedicated video output, though, and the Miix 2's micro-USB port isn't MHL-compatible. Since one of the strengths of Windows tablets is their ability to be put to use as an occasional work machine, that's a disappointment. There's also no 802.11ac Wi-Fi, the tablet instead boasting dual-band 802.11n.

Lenovo Miix 2 Tablet

We were more impressed with the Miix 2's performance. Touting a quad-core Intel Atom Z3740 CPU running at 1.33GHz, supported by 2GB of RAM, the tablet stormed through the benchmarks, finishing the SunSpider JavaScript test in only 423ms and achieving single- and multi-core Geekbench 3 scores of 825 and 2,481 respectively. As a point of comparison, the Miix 2 is only beaten in these tests by the mighty iPad mini with Retina display, which gained 418ms in SunSpider and multi- and single-core Geekbench 3 results of 1,394 and 2,526.

In real-world use, we found the tablet delivered quick and fluid browsing around Windows 8.1 and the web, while the Miix 2's 4,730mAh battery helped it to a time of 9hrs 37mins in our looping video test. It isn't the longest-lasting tablet around, but it should get you through at least a day on a full charge.

While graphical grunt may be weak by laptop standards, for a compact tablet it's actually pretty good. Intel's integrated HD Graphics chip delivered a smooth performance in our tests, finishing the onscreen GFXBench T-Rex HD test with an average frame rate of 21fps, and even graphically demanding games such as Asphalt 8: Airborne ran well, with no visibly dropped frames.

Lenovo Miix 2 Tablet

The 8in 1,280 x 800 IPS panel's LED backlight reached a respectable 395cd/m2 at maximum brightness, so outside use isn't out of the question. However, competent screen luminance is pretty much the only thing this display has going for it.

The contrast ratio of only 410:1 leads to limp, washed-out colours, grey-looking black and anaemic skin tones. We'd consider this obstructive to our enjoyment of any tablet, but on a tablet costing £330 it's unforgivable. In addition, the relatively low resolution means text appears pixellated when you hold the tablet at a natural distance.

Lenovo Miix 2 Tablet

Finally, the Miix 2's 5-megapixel rear camera is fine for taking casual snapshots outside, but in low-light it produces noisy, smeary photographs, and the 2-megapixel front camera suffers from the same problems.

With some adjustments, the Lenovo Miix 2 8in might have been a contender for the A-List crown; it's generously equipped, attractive and fast, and it even comes with a copy of Microsoft Office Home and Student preloaded, however, we simply can't get over that washed-out display, the lack of video output and the high price. In a market where competition is fierce, and prices cutthroat, this tablet simply hasn't got it where it counts.

Detail

Price ex VAT £275
Price inc VAT £330
Warranty 1 yr return to base
Overall rating 3
Performance 4
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 2

Physical

Dimensions 132 x 8.5 x 215mm (WDH)
Weight 394g

Display

Screen size 8.0in
Resolution screen horizontal 800
Resolution screen vertical 1,280
Display type IPS touchscreen
Panel technology IPS

Battery

Battery capacity 4,730mAh

Core specifications

CPU frequency, MHz 1.3GHz
Integrated memory 64.0GB
RAM capacity 2.00GB

Camera

Camera megapixel rating 5.0mp
Built-in flash? no
Built-in flash type N/A
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Other

WiFi standard 802.11bgn
Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes
Upstream USB ports 1
HDMI output? no
Video/TV output? no

Software

Mobile operating system Windows Phone 8.1

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