In an attempt to conquer the rather lofty goal of combining the benefits of both mobile and desktop, Lenovo’s Miix 2 is a desktop stuffed inside a tablet. The waters of combinations like these are rife with dangers, not the least of which include the power and the screen space conventionally needed for a true desktop work experience. An 8-inch, 1280x800 screen displaying the latest generation of the Windows OS is certainly an interesting juxtaposition, but does it work?
Appearance & Feel
The Miix’s looks feel similar to Samsung’s sense of design, with a smoothly curved rear casing and a thin, shiny strip wrapping around the edges. Thankfully though, Lenovo skips the slippery plastic texture in favour of a metallic one. The front plate is uniform black glass with a rather obtrusive branding in the top corner and a small Windows 8 logo serving as a capacitive home button. The Miix is weighty, coming in at 350g, but not so heavy that is drags you down. The size, however, is a bit unwieldy. It’s a good 1½ centimetres wider and taller than a Nexus 7, which draws it well out of the “fit in my pocket” zone. Nonetheless, as long as you’re not planning on floating it around like a phone, it’s a comfortable carry and fits well in the hand.
Screen, Battery Life, and Performance
The space inside the Miix’s pretty shell leaves something to be desired, though. The papers brandish fancy-sounding specs, but in reality the tablet is unprepared for the daunting task of Microsoft’s full Windows Pro OS. To mildly sum up this section, it’s slow. It freezes, lags, and sometimes just decides it wants to do things at it’s own pace. The Intel Atom Z3740 processor that the Miix holds certainly can’t seem to do what we need it to do here. The battery can hold its own, but not necessarily to the standards that Lenovo boasts.
The claimed lifespan is 7 hours, and while my usage time was certainly less than that, it doesn’t account for rather long spans of idle time, and a lack of habitual overnight charging. The screen itself is nice, if rather low resolution. The viewing angles are massive and the colours are sharp. But, its small screen size (and relatively high resolution) makes for small interface elements (including even the icon titles on the desktop itself).
Let me start this section off by saying I like Windows 8. Maybe love it. It’s fast, versatile and pretty, and while the lack of the conventional Start menu is frustrating at first, the new one can be used with fluidity after just a little practice. This is remedied even further by 8.1’s addition of a menu shortcut in the usual bottom left. That said, the thing won’t work. Not on the Miix, anyway. As I went into above, the Miix lags, freezes, and slows, and there’s not a hell of a lot the user can do about it. Say I want to open Google Chrome.
I switch to desktop mode, reach to my taskbar, and miss the button. I try a couple more times and, eventually, I get it open. I get to YouTube, and have to try a couple more times to hit the tiny video links.You never really realize how small a pause button is, until it gets even smaller. Windows 8 is just dandy (in my opinion), but it’s hard to think of a beautiful painting as such when it’s faded. Or more bluntly, it's hard use Window's desktop interface elements on an 8-inch tablet.
Lenovo’s Miix 2 is well dreamed, well designed, and well built, but not very well thought out. The Start menu and Metro apps work well; they’re built to be big and visible. The Desktop half of the OS, however, is painfully downsized. The rift of these two OS halves showcases a very important problem when undertaking such a great task. You don’t want to run Windows on a small tablet, for the same reasons you don’t want to run iOS on a desktop. Size and input are two of the most basic elements of computing, and you can’t just switch them up as we’d like to. Good plan or not, the Miix has bitten off more than it could chew, and it’s hard to recommend unless the need for a mobile desktop OS is pressing.
- Sturdy and Good looking build
- Tablet Portability
- Desktop Abilities
- Slow and Laggy
- Screen is to small for Windows Pro
- Not overly convenient for any use