Lenovo Miix 2 8 review
Processor: quad-core 1.3GHz Intel Atom Z3740, Screen size: 8in, Screen resolution: 1,280x800, Rear camera: 5 megapixels, Storage: 32GB, Wireless data: No, Size: 215.6x131.6x8.35mm, Weight: 350g, Operating system: Windows 8.1
The 8in form factor for Windows 8 tablets is proving a popular one. We can see why, as this screen size is big enough to use Windows comfortably, while still making the tablet portable enough to carry around all day. The Miix 2 8 is another 8-inch tablet running the full version of Windows 8.1.
In our Windows benchmarks, which test image-editing, video-encoding and multitasking performance, the Miix 2 8 managed an overall score of 22. This is reasonable for a tablet and puts the Miix 2 8 up there with some cheap laptops, so there's certainly enough performance here to run some proper Windows productivity applications such as Microsoft Office.
We tested gaming performance with the 3DMark Ice Storm benchmark. The Miix 2 8's performance in this test was on a par with the Dell Venue 8 Pro. In the Ice Storm Extreme test it managed a score of 8,786 and in Ice Storm Unlimited it scored 11,842. There was very little to separate the two tablets, and both of them will be capable of playing any game you can find on the Windows Store. You'll struggle with many 3D Windows games, but 2D titles such as Faster Than Light run fine.
The Miix 2 8 has a 1,280x800-pixel IPS panel, which gives it a pixel density of 189ppi. It’s a shame so many Windows 8 tablets are using relatively low-resolution displays when considerably better screens are more commonly being seen on Android and iOS tablets for a similar price. Windows is also not particularly well optimised for resolutions this low; 1,366x768 is more comfortable with Windows 8.1.
The screen's viewing angles are wide, and the screen was just about viewable at maximum brightness outdoors in sunlight. In our calibration tests, the screen showed it was covering 71.9% of the sRGB colour gamut, which is around average for an inexpensive tablet. However, we preferred the Lenovo panel to that of the Dell Venue 8 Pro, thanks to its much purer whites and far less visible grain.
The Miix 2's design is smart and clean. The tablet is just 8.4mm thick, which is a fraction less than the 9mm Dell Venue 8 Pro. The tablet weighs 350g, so is fairly light and is comfortable to use one-handed. The back of the chassis is a silver metallic material, which has a slight texture which isn’t really enough to make it easier to grip. There’s a plastic strip at the bottom to allow reception for the wireless antennas, which slightly breaks up the seamless design and is vulnerable to scratches.
You’ll find the headphone jack located on the top of the tablet and the power and volume rocker on the right. The Micro USB charging port also on the right, as is the microSD slot, hidden behind a flap. There’s no Mini HDMI to output to an external display, unfortunately. On the back you’ll find a rear-firing mono speaker which was reasonably loud. The sound was quite harsh and lacks any bass, however.
The Miix 2 8 is equipped with a 2-megapixel front camera and a 5-megapixel sensor on the back, and we found the rear camera produced reasonable shots. It has tap-to-focus and locked focus reasonably quickly. Images were quite soft but overall colour accuracy was good. The camera app also records several frames when capturing a still image, allowing you to then select the best shot. There’s a less useful panoramic option that we found difficult to use. In a similar manner to Photosphere on Android, you need to tilt and rotate the camera to make the panorama, but we found the camera software struggled to line together shots correctly for stitching and it proved difficult and unwieldy to use.
The Lenovo Miix 2 8 lasted a healthy 9 hours and 59 minutes in our battery tests, so has enough stamina to last a day of working or browsing. The Miix is a solid Windows 8.1 tablet that looks smart, performs well and is reasonably priced. As the Lenovo Miix 2 8 also comes with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013, this makes it even better value; if you want an 8in Windows 8.1 tablet for work and play, it’s a great choice.