Lenovo Miix 2 8in review
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Author: Bobby MacPherson
You say briefly in the article that it has Win 8.1, but in the specs it is listed as Windows Phone 8.1. I would have thought the operating system would be a factor for discussion, anyway, but certainly needs to be clarified.
By mypointis on 11 Jul 2014
it is an Atom based device, so it has t be Windows 8.1. It is also a tablet, not a phone.
I guess the WP is a typo.
By big_D on 13 Jul 2014
Missing items in your review
What's it like to work with? So far you've basically told us it's good for watching videos and for gaming.
How well does it integrate with Office 365, can you handwrite notes onto OneNote, can you take photos on site and link them with notes to your Office account? Is it a better "productivity" device than an iPad or an Android tablet, and why?
Surely your magazine is called PC Pro because it targets those who want to use computer technology to enhance their productivity, rather than to improve their leisure time?
By johnm411 on 17 Jul 2014
Been using one for a while now.
I've been using a 32gb Miix 2 for over 6 months now for work and play, and I couldn't be happier with it.
Your review seems harsh especially with regards to the display which seems to have really bright colours and certainly not pixilated at all.
To answer johnm411, for work and productivity it is great, I've struggled with Android and the iPad only lasted two weeks before it went back. It comes bundled with Office and the integration with Office 365 is pretty seamless and gets better all the time. Now we get 1tb of OneDrive storage, it's the smallest tablet I'll never fill up.
Handwriting in OneNote, or any thing else that needs a keyboard (this has been handwritten), is far more natural in meetings etc. than crouching over a keyboard and not participating.
It does have it's limitations: 32gb really isn't enough, it takes a while to get used to flicking between the full desktop and 'metro' screen and apps and the lack of video out is disappointing. For home I use a Pluggable dock with keyboard, mouse, monitor etc. so I don't have a problem there.
To sum up, a great device for accessing the Microsoft infrastructure.
By Greasemonkey377 on 24 Jul 2014
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