- Review Date: 9/19/2013
- Bottom line: The Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 10 Tablet is a fairly well-built Windows slate tablet, but it does little to distinguish itself in a crowded field of competitors.
- Pros: Compact and convenient tablet design. Decent battery life.
- Cons: Intel Atom processor offers limited performance. Keyboard accessory not available.
Touch and Windows 8 go together like peanut butter and jelly, each bringing out the best in the other. With the IdeaTab Miix 10, Lenovo has combined the two with a highly portable, energy-efficient tablet, letting you take this sandwich of goodness with you on the go. The Miix 10 is a decent Windows tablet, but it's not the only one on the market, and like a PB&J, if you've had one, you've had 'em all.
The Miix 10 is a 10-inch slate tablet with a slim design similar to other competing tablets, like the Lenovo IdeaTab Lynx K3011 and the Asus VivoTab Smart ME400C—the 10.1-inch display makes up the entire front of the device, and the chassis is backed by a polycarbonate plastic back. While it's sturdier than some, the Miix 10's construction feels decidedly middle-of-the-road. It's not noticeably flimsy, but it lacks the solid feel of an Apple iPad or Microsoft Surface Pro. The Miix 10 measures 6.8 by 10.4 by 0.4 inches (HWD), and weighs only 1.3 pounds.
In many respects, the Miix 10 is similar to the Lenovo K3011, with the main differences being the 1-inch delta in screen size and the Lynx's inclusion of a docking keyboard. Like the Lenovo K3011, the Miix 10 is sold as a tablet alone, but a separate keyboard will soon be offered by Lenovo to offer laptop-like functionality. While pricing isn't yet available, the keyboard puts Lenovo's AccuType chiclet keyboard into a portfolio-style case which doubles as a stand. Retailers are currently offering the Miix 10 tablet for sale without the accessory keyboard, but it was not available for our review, which will similarly focus on the tablet alone.
The 10.1-inch display offers 1,366-by-768 resolution, which is far from impressive, especially when compared to the high-res displays seen on smartphones and smaller CE tablets, but it's par for the course among Windows tablets. The touch screen offers 5-finger tracking, and the touch functionality worked well the entire time I tested the tablet. Tablets rarely have good sound quality, and the Miix 10 is no exception. The sound was fairly anemic, with little bass and tinny sound at the high end. As with most tablets, you'll be better off with headphones.
The 10-inch display is actually a bit easier to use than the 11-inches of the Lenovo K3011, but the 16:9 aspect ratio of the display is a little too long when held in portrait mode. This problem is by no means isolated to the Miix 10, but is something we've run into with most Windows tablets.
The slim confines of a tablet chassis don't leave much room for full-size ports and connectors, so everything's mini and micro on the Miix 10. On the bottom edge of the tablet is a micro USB 2.0 port, along with a micro HDMI port on the side, and a microSD card slot (supports up to 32GB cards). The micro USB port looks a little different, as it doubles as a docking port for the accessory keyboard, but it will still work with any micro USB cable. The micro SD card slot is a little inconvenient, with a removable cover and a recessed slot that's a little hard to reach. The micro HDMI port will also require picking up a separate adapter before you can hook it up to your HDTV.
On extra feature is Lenovo's Motion Control, which leverages the Miix 10's integrated 1-Megapixel webcam to let you use gestures in the air for things like turning pages, fast forward or rewind through music, and adjust volume with the wave of a hand. But why use gestures in the air when you have a touch screen literally in your hands? Webcam based gesture controls have always been something of a gimmick, but incorporating them into a tablet, with touch and gesture controls already baked in, seems like a waste.
Also using the webcam is Veriface, which lets you log into the system with both security and ease thanks to facial recognition. Lenovo puts just a few other programs on the Miix 10, but given the small storage capacity, you may want to remove any that seem unnecessary. On the Miix 10, Lenovo pre-installs a 30-day trial of Microsoft Office 365, one-month trial of McAfee Internet Security, as well as apps for shopping (Amazon, Ebay), media consumption (FilmOn Television, RaRa Metro, Zinio Metro, Amazon Kindle) and some productivity as well (Skype, Evernote). Lenovo also expands on the limited local storage with Lenovo Cloud Storage by SugarSync, which also lets you share files easily between the Mixx 10 and any other PC you use. Lenovo covers the Miix 10 with a one-year warranty.
With the same 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z2760 processor and 2GB of RAM seen in a half-dozen other competing tablets, I wasn't expecting much deviation from the norm in terms of performance, and I was right. In PCMark 7, the Miix 10 performed in line with competitors, scoring 1,443 points, and CineBench R11.5 with 0.53 points, nearly identical to all of the similarly equipped systems. The Miix 10 will do the trick for web browsing and media, along with some basic productivity, though you will likely see it bog down if you're browsing with several tabs open or trying to work with a large data set in something like Excel.
This overall performance is okay, so long as you recognize that these sorts of Atom-powered tablets are meant to serve as second or third devices and not replace a Windows PC. For example, the Miix 10 finished Handbrake in 6 minutes 43 seconds. While this is par for the course among its Atom-powered peers, it doesn't compare well against more expensive tablets equipped with Intel Core processors, like the Microsoft Surface Pro, which completed the same test in 1 minute 28 seconds.
But where Atom processors shine is in energy efficiency. The Lenovo Miix 10 lasted 7 hours 20 minutes in our battery rundown test, which means it will last you well through a full day in regular use. Compared with the likes of the Microsoft Surface Pro (4:58), this sort of battery life is superb, but it's actually on the low-end for Atom tablets, which frequently last longer than 8 hours. The Asus ME400C, for example, lasted 8:43, and the pint-sized Acer Iconia W3 lasted even longer (9:24).
The Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 10 Tablet is a solid entry into the ever expanding category of Atom-powered tablet PCs. While the overall performance and battery life don't deviate too drastically from the average, it does have the downside of not being sold with any sort of keyboard, an accessory offered bundled with or sold alongside most competitors. With or without a keyboard, the Lenovo Miix 10 is a thoroughly middle-of-the-road offering, without much to distinguish it from its peers. The current Editors' Choice for Windows Tablets remains the Microsoft Surface Pro.