Like the best Windows tablets, the Lenovo Miix 510 is here to stay. There are all kinds of devices with removable keyboards that use Windows 10 as an OS – Microsoft has a few of its own.

And, while the Surface Pro 6 is Microsoft’s latest, the Lenovo Miix 510 is closer to the Acer Switch Alpha 12 or the Surface Pro 4.

The Lenovo Miix 510 follows the Lenovo Miix 700 (we know), with a 7th-generation Kaby Lake processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. In 2018, this is last-gen hardware, but it’s a great option for most everyday users. There are cheaper Lenovo Miix 510 models out there, but this is the one to go for.

The Lenovo Miix 510’s design revolves around two watch band-esque hinges that give you more control and flexibility than the Surface Pro when it comes to the kickstand and display. The included keyboard cover – something missing on the 2017 Surface Pro – is a good bonus.

Just like the Lenovo Miix tablets that came before, the Lenovo Miix 510 comes with an Active Pen. Styluses have a lot more functionality across the board these days, thanks to the Windows Ink feature in Windows 10, and they’re an essential add-on for any tablet that wants to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, though, Lenovo’s pen doesn’t attach to the device via a magnet, though there is a pen loop on the included slipcase.

 Price and availability 

There’s an Intel Core i3 variant of this device for $599 (£750, AU$600) which has half the amount of memory and storage as well. 

The Core i3 version of the Lenovo Miix 510 will be more than fine for most people, but if you’re looking at any kind of photo or video editing, we’d recommend the Core i5. At the time of writing, you’re looking at $669 (£849, AU$750) for this device. 

The Surface Pro 4 has dropped in price, but it’s still more expensive than the Lenovo Miix 510, at $729/£899, so you’re paying a lot more when you realize that the Surface Pro doesn’t even include the Type Cover keyboard.

Depending on where you look, the Acer Switch Alpha 12 is around the same price, with Acer recently announcing a new version. But, the Lenovo Miix 510 has been discontinued, so you’ll have to go with a refurbished one.

Design

The Lenovo Miix 510 won’t blow your mind, but it’s still a well-designed tablet. It looks good, and those watch band-style hinges give it a certain je ne sais quois. The included detachable keyboard also doubles as a protective faux leather folio case, which is quite effective, and feels good in the hand. It’s a more premium feeling and mature accessory than the Type cover for the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, which isn’t included for free – unlike the Lenovo Miix 510’s.

The side controls – especially the power button – are a little plasticky, but it’s a minor complaint.

Without the keyboard cover, the Miix 510 weighs just shy of 900g. That’s OK to hold in one hand, leaving the other free to draw or write on the display. This means you’re going to want to brace it against something or put it on a flat surface before too long.

The Lenovo keyboard cover sports Lenovo’s AccuType-style keys, which are slightly curved along the bottom edge. They’re sufficient in size but don’t possess quite as much travel as the Surface Pro 4 cover, and this doesn’t make for a great experience when you have a lot of words to type. 

The biggest problem is that we found the keyboard flexes a bit. And if you’re a hard typist in any way (which device makers seem to be catering less and less for) then the keyboard bounces rather angrily. Light typing is always preferable, but we think you almost need to be a little too delicate here.

As for the kickstand, it’s an effective bit of industrial design from Lenovo. The ability to be able to poise the device at pretty much any angle is a huge benefit. Elsewhere, the edges of the device are covered by the usual fan and speaker grilles and ports, but everything comes together well, with power, USB-C and USB 3.0 on one side and power, volume and 3.5mm headphone jack on the other.

It’s incredible that the USB 3.0 port now looks weirdly large in comparison to every other cable connector.

With the stylus, writing detection is responsive enough on the Lenovo Miix 510 to jot down notes swiftly, and the pen itself is slim enough to remain comfortable for long periods.

The Lenovo Miix 510 is a sleek and professional device. Now, usually this is expected in a device priced like the Lenovo Miix 510, but there’s no disappointment here. 

 Display

The bezels on the Lenovo Miix 510 are a bit wide, but they don’t interfere with the device too much, especially because the display is great. There is a lot to love here – the blacks are black and colors are vibrant.

Viewing angles are also really rather excellent and this is a big benefit for anybody looking to use this 2-in-1 for collaborative work. What is a bit more of a problem is the resolution, which sticks with Full HD. 

Mind you, when we say it’s a problem we actually mean it’s an issue comparing like-for-like with other tablets. 

Both the Surface Pro 4 and Acer Switch 12 feature 2,160 x 1,440 resolutions. In use, it’s not a problem using Full HD on the Miix 510. It depends on how determined you are to have best-in-class specs in every department. 

Because we’re looking at the Intel Core i5 variant of the Miix 510 here, performance isn’t really an issue. There’s plenty of ‘everyday’ power on offer.

Naturally, you’re not talking about gaming performance, but between the fast PCIe SSD and the processor, there was no issue with any kind of everyday tasks we tried. 

Plus there’s plenty to like in terms of entertainment performance and we found the Miix 510 genuinely likeable for watching movies on with the kickstand.

The Lenovo Miix 510 showed, well, mixed performance in our benchmark tests. Performance was good, the multi-core Geekbench test and 3DMark scores are understandably comparable to other similarly-powered competitors.

However, battery life on the Lenovo Miix 510 fell short compared to other Windows tablets, namely the Surface Pro 4 and Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 that we’ve mentioned earlier. The Surface Pro 4’s battery life was 35 minutes longer on our looped TechRadar video playback test. Meanwhile, the Pro 4 lasted for 18 minutes longer on the harsh PCMark 8 battery test.

It’s refreshing to see USB-C included with the Lenovo Miix 510 – the manufacturer has provided plenty of options here with legacy USB support, too, but we’d prefer to see a USB-C charger rather than the round-ended standard charger included with the Miix 510. Next time. It’s a nice, light and compact power, brick, however, so it won’t weigh you down. Still, in a world where Microsoft continues to pretend USB-C doesn’t exist, this is a definite benefit for the device. Microsoft thinks people aren’t ready for USB-C, but Apple doesn’t seem to have any problems convincing its users.

Lenovo hasn’t included a microSD port here though; surprising in our book but not a deal-breaker. As you’d expect, you get a 2 megapixel front camera for video calling, as well as a decent if uninspiring 5 megapixel unit on the back. Dual-microphones cancel out background noise and we had no problem with being understood on calls. 

In terms of audio playback, it’s fine for everyday YouTube viewing, but you’ll want to hook it up to a Bluetooth audio system (there is a headphone jack, too) for any movies or music.

 We liked

There’s a lot to love about the Lenovo Miix 510. Firstly, there’s the fact this is a powerful device. The Lenovo Miix 510 has no issue dealing with the everyday and is very pleasant to live with, hook up to a secondary monitor or use on the move – the usual tablet/keyboard caveats apply, such as it really needing to be used on a flat surface, but the kickstand does work well for that.

We also appreciate Lenovo’s nod to USB-C, while the appearance of the thing is generally likeable.

 We disliked 

The display isn’t as high resolution as some, even if it is great quality – whether that will bug you is a matter of personal preference. 

However, it’s the battery life that really grates, especially when competitors have similarly specified innards and better displays. We really would have expected more here.   

 Final verdict

Even if the Lenovo Miix 510 has a compelling spec sheet and a svelte appearance, it’s still a bit hard to recommend unequivocally.

That’s because of the competitors that loom above and beside it, not least the Surface Pro family. It’s the battery life that really disappoints.

But if it’s price that’s your main motivator, you’ll find the Miix 510 a fantastic alternative choice. 

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