Lenovo Miix 2 8 review

£330
Price when reviewed

The compact cousin of the Lenovo Miix 2 10 Tablet, the Miix 2 8 is not only the first compact Windows tablet from Lenovo we’ve reviewed, but one of only a handful of compact Windows tablets on the market. Like its larger stablemate, the 8in Miix 2 is generously equipped, both in terms of core hardware and ports, and at first glance is a handsome piece of kit.

Lenovo Miix 2 8 review: design

Tall at 215mm, but surprisingly thin at just 8.5mm, the Miix 2’s lean, 9mm bezels make the 8in screen seem even longer and broader than you’d expect. Turn the tablet over and it still looks good, the slightly dimpled, gunmetal grey plastic back panel broken only by a similarly textured Lenovo logo and a thick band of smooth, silver plastic along the bottom.

It’s an understated design which, coupled with the Miix 2’s extra size, gives it the look of a grown-up compact tablet. However, it’s not all good news. While it may look attractive, it isn’t the best made tablet we’ve come across, exhibiting a worrying amount of flex and bendiness when twisted.

Lenovo Miix 2 8 review

Lenovo Miix 2 8 review: connectivity

The Miix 2 has a reasonably generous array of connections, with a microSD card reader, a 3.5mm audio jack and a micro-USB port, which doubles as the tablet’s charging point. We were a little disappointed with the lack of a dedicated video output, though, and the Miix 2’s micro-USB port isn’t MHL compatible.

Since one of the strengths of Windows tablets is their ability to be put to use as an occasional work machine, that’s a disappointment. There’s also no 802.11ac, the tablet instead boasting dual-band 802.11n.

We were more impressed with the Miix 2’s performance. Touting a quad-core Intel Atom Z3740 CPU running at 1.33GHz, supported by 2GB of RAM, the tablet stormed through the benchmarks, finishing the SunSpider JavaScript test in just 423ms and achieving single- and multi-core Geekbench 3 scores of 825 and 2,481. As a point of comparison, the Miix 2 is only beaten in these tests by the mighty iPad Mini 2 with Retina, which gained 418ms in SunSpider and multi- and single-core Geekbench 3 results of 1,390 and 2,508.

Lenovo Miix 2 8 review

In real world use, we found the tablet delivered quick and fluid browsing around Windows 8.1 OS and the web, while the Miix 2’s 4,730mAh battery helped it to a time of 9hrs 37mins in our looping video test. It isn’t the longest-lasting tablet around but it should get you through at a day at least on a full charge.

While graphical grunt may be weak by laptop standards, for a compact tablet it’s actually pretty good. Intel’s integrated HD Graphics chip delivered a smooth performance in our tests, finishing the onscreen GFXBench T-Rex HD test with an average frame rate of 21fps, and even graphically demanding games like Ashphalt 8: Airborne ran well with no visibly dropped frames.

Lenovo Miix 2 8 review: display & camera quality

There’s no chance of those games being spoiled by a murky screen, either. The 8in 1,280 x 800 IPS panel’s LED backlight reached a respectable 395cd/m2 at maximum brightness, thus outside use isn’t out of the question. However, competent screen luminance is pretty much the only thing this display has going for it.

Lenovo Miix 2 8 review

The contrast ratio of only 410:1 leads to limp, washed-out colours, grey-looking blacks and anaemic skin tones. We’d consider this obstructive to our enjoyment of any tablet, and other similarly-priced Windows tablets we’ve seen – such as the Toshiba Encore or Asus’ VivoTab Note 8 – have fared much better. In addition, the low resolution means text appears pixellated at normal viewing distances.

Finally, the Miix 2’s 5mp rear camera is fine for taking casual snapshots outside, but in low-light it produces noisy, smeary photographs, and the 2mp front camera suffers from the same problems.

Lenovo Miix 2 8 review: verdict

With some adjustments, the Lenovo Miix 2 8in may have been a contender: it’s well equipped, attractive and fast. However, the washed-out display, insubstantial build and the lack of a video output sour its appeal. In a market where competition is fierce, and prices cut-throat, this tablet simply hasn’t got it where it counts.

Detail

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical

Dimensions 132 x 8.5 x 215mm (WDH)
Weight 349g

Display

Screen size 8.0in
Resolution screen horizontal 800
Resolution screen vertical 1,280
Display type IPS touchscreen
Panel technology IPS

Battery

Battery capacity 4,730mAh

Core specifications

CPU frequency, MHz 1.3GHz
Integrated memory 64.0GB
RAM capacity 2MB

Camera

Camera megapixel rating 5.0mp
Focus type Autofocus
Built-in flash? no
Built-in flash type N/A
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Other

WiFi standard 802.11n
Bluetooth support yes

Software

Mobile operating system Windows 8.1 32-bit

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