The Lenovo Miix 510 is a midrange 2-in-1 Windows tablet that gives you both the portability of a large-screen mobile device and a keyboard cover for use in long typing sessions. It builds upon the solid framework of its predecessors, and adds more memory, more storage, and the future-proofing of both USB 3.0 (Type-A) and USB-C.
Design and Features
The Miix 510 is one of the many Windows tablets to take its design cues from the Surface Pro line. Our review unit has a matte silver back panel and black keyboard cover, though some models come with a black exterior. It measures 0.6 by 11.8 by 8.1 inches (HWD) alone, and is 0.8 inch thick with the included keyboard case attached; altogether, the Miix 510 weighs 2.72 pounds.
The system is principally a slate tablet with a kickstand so you can prop it up on a work surface. The kickstand swings smoothly out from the back panel, using a pair of watch-gear hinges, swinging through a 170-degree arc that gives you a wide range of use whether you’re standing, seated, or lying down with the tablet on your chest.
A keyboard case is included, and as per the norm, it uses a two-stage magnetic latch and pogo plugs to pass signals to the tablet. It’s more secure and responsive than the Bluetooth keyboards used by many slates. The backlit keyboard is just as comfortable as any Lenovo Ideapad laptop’s, and the integrated touchpad is responsive and ready to control the cursor anytime you don’t want to use the touch screen.
The 12.2-inch IPS screen is clear and bright, and it has a 1,920-by-1,200 resolution. That’s lower than the resolution on the Miix 700 (2,160 by 1,440), though you probably won’t notice the extra pixels on such a compact screen. Text is sharp enough to be readable in a brightly lit room, and there’s plenty of space for your spreadsheets or website layouts. Touch sensitivity is excellent, and you can use the optional Active Pen if you need pressure-sensitive input for drawing or capturing accurate signatures, for example. The Active Pen comes with a removable plastic nub that connects it to the USB 3.0 port for storage (and, irritatingly, blocks it from other use), but you can also clip it to your shirt pocket or use the magnets in the keyboard cover to hold it when you’re not using it. The tablet’s included protective cloth pouch has a built-in loop for holding the Active Pen, so you have multiple places to stow it. The Active Pen has two side buttons for right-click and erase, but unlike the Surface Pen, it lacks a shortcut button on the top for opening OneNote or another program.
Sound from the built-in speakers is well defined and fills a small-to-medium-size room. It has very little low end, though; as it tends to favor voice over music and sound effects, it’s best suited for video conferencing and spoken-word files like audio books. Speaking of sound, one of the few nits to pick is the occasional noise from the Miix 700’s cooling fan. It wouldn’t be annoying in a noisy café, but it’s loud enough to be audible in a library or other quiet room.
There is a headset jack on the right side of the Miix 510. On the left, you’ll find the jack for the AC adapter and two USB ports, one 3.0 and one USB-C. This way, you’re all set for current and future accessories like USB memory sticks, printers, hard drives, external SSDs, and USB-C docking stations. That’s an improvement over tablets like the Miix 700 and the Surface Pro that lack USB-C. For wireless connections, there are 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0.
The system’s 8GB of RAM is more than enough to keep a few dozen browser tabs open along with your messaging client, word processor, streaming music, and maybe even an e-sports video stream going all at the same time. And the 256GB SSD is plenty for local storage these days, especially if you store your personal pictures on cloud-based services like Google Photos or Amazon Prime Photos. This is double the memory and storage of the Miix 700, and that will also help the Miix 510 last longer before it seems out of date. The drive has a few preinstalled programs, but for the most part, it’s the standard Windows 10. Lenovo covers the Miix 510 with a one-year warranty.
The Miix 510 comes with an Intel Core i5-6200U processor with Intel HD Graphics 520. It was among our leaders on the PCMark 8 Work Conventional test (2,820 points), way ahead of tablets like the Acer Aspire Switch 11 V, the Huawei MateBook, and the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S. It should feel fast for several years on day-to-day tasks like editing office documents, video conferencing, and Web browsing. Multimedia test results were also very good: 3 minutes, 3 seconds on HandBrake, and 5:58 on Photoshop, again ahead of the Switch 11 V, the MateBook, and the Galaxy TabPro S. But the Surface Pro 4 and the HP Spectre x2 were better performers on these tests.
As expected given the integrated graphics, the Miix 510 had trouble with our 3D gaming tests, returning less-than-smooth frame rates on our Heaven (17 frames per second, or fps) and Valley (20fps) tests at 1,366-by-768 resolution with the graphics quality set to Medium. The top performers (the Switch Alpha 12 and the Surface Pro 4) were only a little faster on each, so it’s not a huge gap. In any case, you’ll be able to play less-taxing games like Minecraft and Diablo III at moderate quality settings, but you’ll probably want to stay away from the latest AAA FPS titles with all the details cranked up.
Battery life is good: The Miix 510 lasted 7 hours, 49 minutes on our rundown test. While that’s almost enough to qualify as all-day computing (8 hours is our floor), it is a bit behind other tablets like the Spectre x2 (9:38), the Surface Pro 4 (10:19), and the TabPro S (11:13). Still, the Miix 510 held out longer than the Switch 11 V and the MateBook, each of which only managed about 6 hours.
The Lenovo Miix 510 offers a good blend of features, performance, and value. Its fast Intel Core i5 processor makes it a better performer than the Miix 700 across the board, and it has double the memory and storage. The Miix 700 has a higher-resolution screen and longer battery life due to its use of a lower-wattage processor, but otherwise the less-expensive Miix 510 is a better buy.