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Hands-on review: CES 2014: Lenovo Miix 2


Hands-on review: CES 2014: Lenovo Miix 2

Need the performance of a laptop with the rate and ease of a tablet? Do not all of us. Smartly, Lenovo has taken some other move at that very Windows 8 dream. It’s called the Miix 2, and it looks promising for its raw power alone.

The Lenovo Miix 2 is essentially a tablet loaded with the full version of Microsoft’s OS (Windows 8.1, to be exact). It comes with its own custom dock that gives it a full keyboard plus some extra ports.

We had our qualms about the original Miix, last year’s Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 10. It also docked using a magnet, but was burdened by Windows RT and sluggish Intel Atom performance.

Lenovo Miix 2 review

This new Miix 2 seems to have been dealt a better hand, as RT has been swept under the rug and the Bay Trail chip is restoring faith in Intel’s tablet capabilities.

Lenovo Miix 2 review

Like the new Lenovo Yoga 2, the Miix 2 comes two sizes, with the smaller 10-inch model packing the Bay Trail Atom processor and the 11-inch getting up to an i5 Haswell chipset.

Lenovo Miix 2 review

The thought of an i5 in this compact form factor has my curiosity plenty piqued. I got an early peak at both models at CES 2014, but consumers will be able to play with them as soon as March for the 10-inch and April for the 11-inch. They’ll start at $499 and $699, respectively.

Magnets. Can they be trusted?

I’ve reviewed detachable tablet and stand combos before and it’s always been their delicate nature that disappoints me. They fall apart too easily and often don’t collapse at a moments notice lime my beloved laptop. The Miix 2 is stronger than all that, staying together with hardly a wiggle as I picked it up.

Lenovo Miix 2 review

It’s at its most vulnerable when you collapse it, clamshell style. The base and the tablet are completely separated for a moment, so there is the chance that part of it could slide out of your grasp. You’ll want to do it on a desk, or with two hands at the very least.

Is the keyboard up to Lenovo standards?

Lenovo machines deserve their reputation for stellar keyboards and fine track pads. While I enjoyed the size of the Miix 2’s keyboard and the spacing of its chiclet keys was fine, the key presses lacked depth. This is nothing new in the keyboard dock game.

Lenovo Miix 2 review

I’ll have to wait until my full review before I can judge, but the keyboard seems like the biggest liability for getting real work done with the Miix 2. That, and the potential for tipping the tablet out of its base.

Rip then flip

If you’ve used one of Lenovo’s Yoga machines before then you know about stand mode, where the keyboard tucks behind the monitor. The Miix 2 has this same functionality, turning it into a purely a touch machine.

As usual, it seemed like a nice way to watch movies. It same thing many iOS fans do with their iPads, standing them up for poking and prodding or watching a movie.

Lenovo Miix 2 review

Along the base of the stand is a wide speaker grill and a subwoofer, according to Lenovo. We couldn’t really give it a proper test over the show floor din, but we’ll definitely be putting it head to head with an iPad Air’s speaker in out full review.

Lenovo Miix 2 review

Lenovo rates both machines for eight hours of battery. That’ll probably depend on which configuration you choose though. The 10-inch combo is only two pounds, while 11-inch is just shy of three.

Early verdict

The Lenovo Miix 2 has internals that really intrigued me. It’s also compact, light and attractive. Still, I have a hard time imagining a detachable in my life.

Then again, I’ve never been an iPad and keyboard dock kind of guy, and that seems to be Lenovo’s target here. If the Microsoft Surface 2 is what you want, but the price is too rich, this could be your machine. Just wait for our review first.