The Lenovo Ideapad Miix 520 aspires to contest with Microsoft’s Surface Pro, and it checks scarcely all of a boxes: excellent performance; a bright, high-resolution display; and a gentle typing experience. Only in battery life does it tumble good short. Nevertheless, a Miix 520 is a good choice to a pricier Surface lineup.
As Windows tablets fuse toward a 12.2-inch quarrel distance used by a Miix 520, comparing them is all about tradeoffs. The Miix 520, that is now accessible in usually one pattern (currently about $990 on Amazon), upgrades a customary inscription arrangement from 1080p to a 1920×1200 panel. But that aloft fortitude affects battery life, as you’ll see after in a tests. The other vital facilities are minute below.,
Lenovo Miix 520: Basic specs and features
- Display: 12.2-inch (1920×1200) IPS
- Processor: Intel 1.6GHz Core i5-8250U (Kaby Lake-R)
- Graphics: Intel 620 (integrated)
- Memory: 8GB DDR4 (2,133MHz)
- Storage: 256GB SSD
- Ports: 1 USB 3.0 (Type C), 1 USB 3.0 (Type A), microSD, headphone jack
- Wireless: 802.11ac (2×2), Bluetooth 4.1
- Cameras: Front (5MP, fixed-focus) Rear (8MP, autofocus)
- Battery: 39Wh
- Operating system: Windows 10 Home
- Dimensions and weight: 11.8 in. x 8.1 in. x 0.4 in., 0.6 in. with keyboard; 1.9 lb (tablet), 2.72 lb (with keyboard), 3.06 lb (tablet, keyboard and charger)
- Price as reviewed: $999
Unlike Microsoft, Lenovo bundles a detachable keyboard as good as a stylus, famous as a Active Pen 2.
Lenovo Miix 520: Build peculiarity and display
Save for Lenovo’s dulcet “watchband” hinge, a Miix 520’s gold china extraneous is discreet, as is a box with many tablets. Unlike a crisp, minimalist lines of a Microsoft Surface Pro (2017), however, there’s many some-more of a clarity of “busy:” a fan grille runs along a tip of a tablet, ports cluster to a left-hand-side, and orator grilles cocktail out here and there.
The watchband hinge isn’t usually for show. It supports a weight of a inscription (which, during 2.72 pounds with a keyboard, is a bit heavier than a competition), and it reclines to 150 degrees (the same operation as a Surface Pro) with frequency a wobble. Lenovo uses a skinny “sheath” kickstand that many inscription makers (except HP) employ, though, that can poke your thighs after enlarged use.
When powering on a Miix 520, we might notice one of a pattern touches that greatfully unreasoning Lenovo users: a on-screen battery gauge. You also have a choice (via a Lenovo Vantage software, discussed later) of fixation a battery idol widget on your taskbar.
While a Miix 520’s 12.2-inch, 1920 x 1200 IPS quarrel taxes battery life and lacks a visible cocktail of, say, a OLED shade used by a Samsung Galaxy Book, a knowledge is value it. There’s a obvious alleviation in arrangement peculiarity compared to 1920×1080. The resplendence maxes out during usually 298 nits, that is rather reduction than a competition, yet we cruise something between 250 and 270 nits to be gentle for normal use.
Unfortunately, one aspect where a Miix 520 skimps too many is Windows Hello. The inscription lacks a fingerprint reader, and a 5MP front-facing camera is not Windows Hello-capable. The rear-facing 8MP camera is suitable for Mixed Reality Viewer, a fun new underline in Windows 10 where we can snap a print with your inscription and afterwards dump in one of thousands of 3D objects to piquancy it up.
(If we review a original report on a Lenovo Miix 520, we beheld one change. Lenovo had creatively told us that a rear-facing camera, dubbed WorldView, would span with a bundled MagicWindow app that would let we insert 3D images into unchanging images. That app has not been bundled, and it’s not clear—even after checking with Lenovo—what happened with WorldView.)
Lenovo Miix 520: Keyboard, ports, and speakers
Lenovo is famous for a keyboards, and a Miix 520 generally does not disappoint. Instead of a Alcantara fabrics that have turn a pattern trend du jour, Lenovo opts for a some-more simple pleather, that surrounds a keyboard and works usually fine. Each pivotal is vast adequate to offer a gentle landing, and a 1.5mm transport lends itself to enlarged typing.
The quarrel of comparatively small duty keys during a tip includes dedicated controls for toggling a touchpad, adjusting a liughtness and sound, and locking a tablet. Users can also toggle a keyboard backlight, a good hold that isn’t always repetitious on opposition machines. Unlike a Lenovo X-series tablets, a Miix 520 also forgoes both trackpad buttons, as good as a iconic red TrackPoint indicating stick.
Though a trackpad feels rather small, a potion aspect allows well-spoken scrolling, and clicks purebred in all yet a really tip regions of a trackpad.
About a usually smirch we found was a tiny volume of keyboard flex, yet you’ll usually notice it by dire resolutely on a pivotal nearby a center. It’s not adequate to impact bland typing.
Lenovo some-more than creates adult for that with a clearly bulletproot captivating tie between a keyboard and a inscription itself. Like other tablets, a Miix 520 uses a twin hinge that folds back, formulating dual points of hit and angling a keyboard slightly. The keyboard grips so firmly that we was means to postpone a inscription itself from a keyboard. In other words, if a inscription is perched on your path and falls behind over your knees, it almost ain’t going anywhere.
Ports are a pivotal courtesy with any Windows tablet, generally as manufacturers conduct a transition from bequest USB-A connectors to a new USB-C standard. The Miix 520 wisely splits a disproportion with dual USB 3.0 ports: one Type A and one Type C. The Type C pier doesn’t support a high-speed Thunderbolt protocol, nor is it used for charging—there’s still a dedicated energy port, withdrawal both ports accessible for use. No dongles are included.
Don’t forget about a microSD container tucked divided on a behind of a tablet, either. (On Lenovo’s website, a manufacturer erroneously reports that a Miix 520 includes a microSIM container instead.)
The Miix 520’s speakers broach audio during acceptable levels—a small softer than, say, a allied HP tablet, yet with good midrange and response in a tip registers. Over headphones, a Miix 520 digs low to broach a low-end drum response a possess inner speakers lack, with some of a many beguiling audio I’ve gifted from a tablet. A good reward is an tangible Dolby Audio app, finish with a graphics equalizer so mostly blank from Windows machines. (Somewhat sadly, though, it lacks any presets.)
The Miix 520 ships with what Lenovo calls a Active Pen 2, a stout stylus with 4,096 levels of pressure, yet no lean support. Lenovo also willingly includes Wacom’s possess Wacom Pen stylus app to conduct a Active Pen 2.
Though regulating a Active Pen 2 is a breeze, convention it is many some-more difficult than with other pens. You’ll need to unscrew a top, afterwards use a silver to dismantle that square into dual more pieces, install a smallest span of silver batteries I’ve ever seen, summon a top, afterwards dump in a AAAA battery to energy a whole contraption. It’s a charge you’ll wish to persevere some caring to. Lenovo appears to use apart batteries for powering a wireless tie to a inscription as good as a entire stylus functions, yet a boon isn’t immediately apparent.
Though a Active Pen lacks a eraser-nubbin duty of a Surface Pens, dual configurable tub buttons concede we to trigger Cortana, launch OneNote or other apps, or erase.
There’s one additional catch: Lenovo’s resolution for a annoying problem of coop government is a cosmetic coop holster that plugs into a USB-A port. It’s a reticent preference that sacrifices capability for aesthetics, and we risk gnawing off or incidentally detaching a holster inside your trek or carry-on.
Lenovo generally released bloatware from a Miix 520. The association bundles a hearing of McAfee LiveSafe, a Microsoft Office apps (which need a subscription to Office 365 to activate) and Minecraft, and a entire Candy Crush Soda Saga and March of Empires: War of Lords.
Somewhat oddly, Lenovo bundled both a possess Lenovo Settings app as good as a new Lenovo Vantage, a smartly designed application to do all from conduct updates to try several offers. When opened, though, Lenovo Settings simply informs a user that a Settings app and Vantage have merged, and Settings can be uninstalled. Maybe we could go a additional mile subsequent time, Lenovo?
Vantage and a associated Lenovo App Explorer also offer as front doors of sorts to additional, discretionary apps like Lenovo Le-Note, a OneNote-like inking app that allows we jot a note on a screen, even when a inscription is locked.
Lenovo Miix 520 performance: Marred by bad battery life
Lenovo’s Miix 520 is one of a initial stand of tablets to use Intel’s 8th-generation Core chips, and privately a many new Kaby Lake-R tools that guarantee adult to 40 percent some-more opening compared with prior-generation parts. The advantage is borne out in many of a tests below. Battery life matters in a inscription too, though, and in this regard, a Miix 520 misses a mark.
The tests subsequent uncover how a Miix 520 compares agreeably to a Microsoft Surface Laptop, a bone-fide laptop, and other tablets we’ve preferred, such as a Samsung Galaxy Book. Lenovo’s inscription will plow by any bureau charge with ease, and a 8GB of memory Lenovo offers is sufficient for Web browsing with 20 or so tabs. Rest positive that your inscription will play behind Netflix or other video during full support rates, as well.
PCMark 8’s Work 2.0 exam measures how a inscription will hoop tasks like spreadsheets and word processing. As we can see, a Miix 520 handles it with ease.
Both a Home and Creative aspects of a PCMark exam apartment are some-more applicable to a Miix 520’s dictated use. Though both tests share some of a same elements, a Home exam tends to highlight light gaming and print manipulation, while Creative pushes brazen into video editing. All of these tasks are applicable to home users, and a Miix 520’s success here indicates that it’s a plain choice.
Maxon’s Cinebench benchmark, that renders a formidable 2D scene, measures how good a device’s CPU performs from both a single-core and multicore perspective. The many critical dimensions in this box is a latter: How good does a four-core Core i5-8250U perform? Excellently, as it turns out.
We also use a Handbrake open-source video acclimatisation app to transcode a top-tier Hollywood film into a lower-resolution video format suitable for an Android tablet. In this case, Handbrake serves as a highlight test, putting a CPU underneath bucket for a enlarged period. An suddenly delayed outcome could prove CPU throttling underneath load. The Miix 520’s quick outcome suggests it didn’t take that step.
Our final benchmark examines a tablet’s 3D opening regulating 3DMark’s Sky Diver benchmark, that provides a plain bottom of comparison for other laptops and tablets. No inscription that we know of uses a dissimilar graphics chip; instead, manufacturers collect and select among integrated chips. While a Miix 520 can’t compare a opening of a almost some-more costly Surface Pro (2017), it fares utterly good interjection to a integrated Intel 620 3D graphics core.
Finally, we arrive during a Miix 520’s soothing underbelly: battery life. We sign it formed on a outline exam where we set a arrangement liughtness to 250 nits and bond earbuds to a audio port, with volume set to a midrange level. With a battery entirely charged, we unplug it and loop a 4K video until a device gives out, and record a time.