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Digital Life
 
TABLETS

Lenovo Miix 2 8" Tablet: Almost as light as an iPad mini

Published on May 5, 2014 7:00 AM
 
Lenovo Miix 2 8" Tablet

The Lenovo Miix 2 is the second 8-inch Windows tablet I have tried after the Toshiba Encore WT8. Both devices have similar hardware - a quad-core Intel Atom chip, 2GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage.

These slates run Windows 8.1, which adds support for smaller screens. The IPS display on the Miix 2 has a decent 1,280 x 800-pixel screen resolution. But the display, while comparable with the Encore, is not as good as non-Windows rivals, such as the Nexus 7 and the iPad mini.

The difference between the Miix 2 and the Encore mostly boils down to the look and feel. Lenovo's slate scores here with its lighter weight (350g versus 435g). In fact, the Miix 2 is almost as light as the iPad mini. It is very easy to hold with one hand.

This portability is enhanced by 3G support, touted by Lenovo as a first for a Windows slate. But the real competition comes from 4G-capable models from Apple and Android hardware manufacturers.

The Miix 2 is able to run powerful desktop apps, such as Microsoft Office, and it comes with Microsoft Office 2013 Home and Student Edition.

But unlike the older 10-inch Miix, the second iteration does not have a folio case with an integrated keyboard. This is unfortunate because it is frustrating to use touch in the Windows Desktop. My finger invariably hits the wrong icon or link. Bringing up the onscreen keyboard means that a sizeable portion of the small display is obscured by the virtual keys.

In the absence of a keyboard accessory, the main advantage of a tablet compatible with desktop apps disappears. While keyboards for 8-inch tablets can be cramped affairs, accessory makers have made them for other small tablets, such as the iPad mini. Most of these keyboards turn out to be decent.

The only Lenovo accessory is a detachable cover with a stylus that acts as a cover to protect the screen. It converts to a stand to prop up the tablet. At $39.90, it is a good deal.

The power button on the Miix 2 is stiff and difficult to press. MicroSD and micro-SIM card slots are hidden behind a flap near the volume controls. There is a micro-USB port for charging. The tablet has dual cameras - a 5-megapixel version at the back and a front-facing 2-megapixel camera.

If you are thinking of connecting the Miix 2 to an external USB storage device, you will need a micro-USB to USB adaptor. Most users will likely rely on cloud storage to transfer files between devices.

Unlike the Encore, the Miix lacks a micro-HDMI port to connect to an external display. However, the tablet does support wireless display via Miracast.

Performance is adequate, though I noticed a slight amount of lag while playing Star Wars: Tiny Death Star. Closing a couple of open apps rectified this. Battery life is on the low side at 51/2hr compared with 8hr on the Encore.

  • At its full $699 price, the Miix 2 will have a hard time persuading users to switch from the richer app ecosystem on iOS and Android. It also has a lower screen resolution than comparable non-Windows rivals.

vinchang@sph.com.sg

This story was originally published in Digital Life on Feb 26, 2014. 

Background story

TECH SPECS

Price: $699 ($599 for Challenger members, available exclusively at Challenger stores)

Processor: Intel Atom Processor Z3740 (1.33GHz)

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics

RAM: 2GB

Screen: 8-inch, 1,280 x 800 pixels

Connectivity: micro-USB port, micro-SD card slot, micro-SIM card slot, headphone and microphone combo jack

Battery: 17.5 watt-hour


RATING

Features: 4/5

Design: 4/5

Performance: 3/5

Value for money: 3/5

Battery life: 3/5

Overall: 3/5