If you want a Surface Pro 4 but find Microsoft’s price too high, the Lenovo Miix 510 may fit the bill.
Lenovo’s Miix 510 has more than a passing resemblance to a Surface Pro 4. It’s a Windows 2-in-1 with a kickstand. Ignore the Lenovo logos on the front and back and you could almost be looking at a Surface Pro.
There are compromises. Lenovo’s 12.2 inch display shows 1920 by 1200 pixels. The Surface Pro 4 screen is a fraction larger at 12.3 inches and has 2736 by 1824 pixels. This is noticeable.
If the build quality of the Surface Pro is ten out of ten, the Miix would rate a nine.
Lenovo misses small details that Microsoft got right. The power brick and connector are not as well finished.
There’s a thick border — known as the bezel in the business — around the screen. The buttons and speakers are less polished.
There are fewer ports. The Lenovo Miix 510 has one standard USB 3.0 and one USB 3.0 type-C port. Microsoft includes an SD card readers and a Mini DisplayPort on the Surface Pro 4.
It weighs more.
The Miix 510 is 880g when the keyboard is not attached and about 1.25kg when it is. This compares with around 790g for the bare Surface Pro 4 and a shade over a kilogram for a Surface Pro 4 with a keyboard.
While extra weight is enough to make a difference in your backpack or briefcase, 250g one way or another is not a deal breaker for most people.
There is a payoff. You get what some users will think is a better, backlit keyboard. In general I found it easier to type on and more laptop-like than the Surface Pro 4 Type Cover.
That’s saying a lot more than is apparent. Lenovo has an odd arrangement for the right shift key which takes some getting used to.
The keyboard is more robust than I’ve seen on other Surface Pro-like computers and doesn’t rely on Bluetooth thanks to plug connections. It flexes a little in use, not enough to trouble most people.
Like other Windows 10 2-in-1s the Miix 510 touchpad is disappointing. It feels more like an afterthought for people who don’t want to spend all their time reaching for the touch screen.
In practice the touchpad is functional enough, if you were looking for a touchscreen computer it won’t be the most important consideration. If you want or need a better touchpad you need to look elsewhere and spend more money.
There’s a kickstand to prop the Miix 510 on a desk. The hinges look neat, but in practice the arrangement functions just the same as the Surface Pro.
A grand less than a Surface
None of this should put you off. At the time of writing, Lenovo’s Miix 510 costs more than NZ$1000 less than a Surface Pro 4 equipped with the same processor and storage.
For a start, the Lenovo price includes a keyboard which it is a optional extra with the Surface Pro 4.1
Like the Surface Pro 4, the Miix 510 is a plausible laptop replacement. It offers more than enough power for most everyday tasks and is light and portable.
It misses many of the Surface Pro specifications, but not by much and not in ways that will matter to all buyers.
Everything written above compares the MiiX 510 with the Surface Pro 4. That’s a tough call. Microsoft’s 2-in-1 is the gold standard.
Compared with every other Windows 2-in-1 the Lenovo MiiX 510 is a standout.
While the MiiX doesn’t reach Microsoft’s lofty Surface Pro standard, it doesn’t fall far short. Put it this way, it is nine-tenths the computer at six-tenths the price.
Unless you need the higher screen resolution, you wouldn’t be disappointed with this computer.
- While I was writing this review Noel Leeming offered the Lenovo Miix 510 for NZ$1600. That buys a computer with a 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-6200U dual core processor and 256GB of storage. The same basic Surface Pro 4 configuration in the same store costs NZ$2350. The Surface Pro 4 Type Cover will set you back an extra NZ$240. ↩︎