Seeking to compete with Microsoft and its famous Surface Pro, several manufacturers have gradually launched into the creation of hybrid 2 in 1 devices (very) good.
This was particularly the case of Samsung through its Galaxy Tab Pro S (which we had the opportunity to test a few months ago), or HP with its Specter X2 (which will also benefit from a new version very soon). Lenovo also has several hybrids under its belt, including a Miix 510 presented at the IFA in Berlin last September.
It is this terminal that was sent to us by the Chinese brand. Following the main lines of the Pro 4, the Miix 510 succeeds in distinguishing itself from its model and the competition by means of a very good quality / price ratio, enviable performances and an excellent detachable keyboard base with the machine).
With such advantages, the Miix 510 presents itself from the start as an attractive offer, but is it really up to what it displays on paper? Answer in the next paragraphs …
Specifications à la carte and apparent robustness
Delivered in three distinct versions, the Lenovo terminal boasts technical specifications that can reach a wide audience, without compromising performance. which is obviously an excellent thing.
We will start with a combo combining Core i3-6100U / 4 GB RAM / 120 GB SSD (sold under 600 euros); to achieve the efficiency of a Core i7-6500U backed up with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD (available at more than 1000 euros depending on the dealers).
The Miix 510 does not do things half as much as an intermediate declination, based on a Core i5, is also part of the game.
It is this version of the device (proposed at 799 euros) that has been entrusted to us. There is therefore a Core i5-7200U generation Kaby Lake, equipped with 2 cores (for 4 threads) and clocked 2.5 Ghz (3.1 Ghz boost mode). The bugger is also helped in its task by 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD (extensible as on other models by Micro SD), allowing to assure – without badly – a great reactivity to this model.
For the rest, these three versions of the Miix 510 share the same specificities. They feature a 12.2-inch Full HD + IPS panel (1920 by 1200 pixels), two photo sensors (2 Mpx on the front panel and 5 Mpx on the back), and feature WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0 and a Windows license 10 64 bits, obviously.
This short technical overview curly let us pass to the eminent question of what is worth the device once placed between our hairy mimines.
On this side the Lenovo Miix 510 demerits not, offering a robust manufacture for a rather sober and matt design. The lack of imagination in the lines of the apparatus did not seem problematic to us, on the contrary, this lack of aesthetic embellishments being at the service of a rather chiaded design.
The device benefits from a foot system similar to that of the Surface Pro 4, ensuring it a very good stability (something less common than one thinks on the market).
The tablet part of the hybrid thus welcomes an aluminum plate that will deploy in its back. The latter is attached to the shelf by two small hinges “inspired by a watch bracelet”, which will prove to be both aesthetic and particularly effective – in particular allowing the shelf to be tilted over 150 degrees; in almost all positions.
The only defect of this brilliant system will come from the absence of rubber “grip”, which should have been positioned at the points of contact. Placed on smooth surfaces the whole will therefore tend to slip slightly during use. Nothing very bad, but it should be noted.
The keyboard is for its part fixed by two magnetized bars. Here too the result is convincing, the latter holds perfectly in place and will be positionable flat or slightly raised, according to the preferences of each in striking.
And everything will be very pleasant to use thanks to keys spaced apart and a relatively long typing stroke for a 2-in-1 device keyboard. Note that Lenovo also had the excellent idea to integrate a backlight system, which is nevertheless roughly practical to write until the end of the night.
At the end of the day, if the Left Shift key had been larger and better positioned, the Miix 510’s keyboard could have been flawless – its shortcuts were also very practical and its trackpad rather accurate and efficient.
When Hybrid PC does not rhyme with simple improved tablet …
It is indeed one of the great strengths of the Miix 510. We feel that Lenovo wanted to make its hybrid a machine usable both in tablet and laptop – the presence of a physical keyboard is clearly not the only thing that brings the device closer to a laptop, and that’s good.
In addition to a hardware configuration very close to what can be found on recent ultraportables, the terminal is equipped with a rather complete connectivity with all it takes to really use it as a PC itself – and not as an “improved tablet”.
Beyond the inevitable headset jack and the presence of a USB Type-C port, the Miix 510 features a USB 3.0 input. It may seem anecdotal, but it does make sense on a hybrid.
Plugging in a hard drive, USB flash drive, or printer will be done in the simplest of ways and without the need for any adapter (such as USB-to-USB). A real happiness on a daily basis; moreover it would have been appreciated that a second port of this type is added, history to connect some additional peripherals (the enemies of the trackpad will know what one wants to speak …).
This proximity that the Miix 510 has with the PC world is not without setbacks. If the tablet is well equipped with a dissipation system, it can only modestly limit the heating of the Core i5 (and a fortiori an i7 …) when the latter is copiously solicited.
As a result of the rather high temperatures that the small fan of our terminal (positioned on the top) will indeed have difficulty to dissipate efficiently and durably. The latter will prove quite noisy in a quiet room, triggering and stopping very regularly at the sandstone successive heatstrokes of the processor.
The autonomy will also be impacted by the Intel Core chosen by Lenovo for its hybrid. If the latter will ensure a great firepower to the device in terms of pure performances, it is clear that they still tend to be a little greedy energy side, especially on tasks rather heavy as such as photo or video processing.
In general, the Miix 510 will enjoy a range slightly longer than that of the Surface Pro, included (according to the usages) between 4 and 6 hours. This is correct for a hybrid, but still too weak for a device designed for mobility. As an indication, the Tab Pro S of Samsung managed to do a little better thanks to its Core M3 (up to 7 hours of juice approximately).
Screen valid, but speakers not very melodious …
Let’s move on to what is certainly the centerpiece of any self-respecting tablet: the screen.
On this side Lenovo does not pay our head. We inherit a very beautiful IPS Full HD + (1920 by 1200 pixels) panel, globally well provided in terms of brightness (even if it lacks a bit of outdoor peps), contrast and colorimetry.
The blacks are deep, the whites bright and the colors bright and well restituted. All in all, a very positive assessment for a well balanced and quality slab.
The tactile part will also be globally precise and correctly calibrated, although some applications and some software under Windows will tend not always respond as required to the tactile commands. Well, that’s another problem.
Lenovo also offers a stylus, sold as an option at the price of 60 euros. The latter was unfortunately not supplied with our test machine.
In reality the only disappointment will come from the definition of the screen of the Miix 510. Full HD + being a small thumb in a market increasingly focused on QHD or 4K resolutions. The thing is not really disturbing to use – but what do you want, we always want more …
On the other hand, our competition apparatus takes the feet firmly in the carpet for speakers, with two loudspeakers of very poor quality.
The speakers of the terminal will be difficult to defend with too much volume, a near absence of “relief” at the level of sound and big problems of saturation and we will leave (very often?) Our headphones to compensate to their shortcomings. Pity…