Lenovo Miix 2 8: First impressions (hands on)

Lenovo Miix 2 8: First impressions (hands on)

Summary: Lenovo has a big line of tablets crossing the consumer space and the enterprise. This 8-inch tablet is a solid performer running full Windows 8.1 and packing Office.

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The folks at Lenovo have as many tablets as any OEM, and the Miix 2 8 is a good 8-inch model that packs a lot of punch for the decent price of $299. It has Bay Trail inside, and ships with Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Office.

Miix 2 8 in coffee shop
Lenovo Miix 2 8 (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

The Miix 2 8 has good hardware specs for that reasonable price. It is available at Best Buy and Lenovo configured as reviewed.

Miix 2 8 hardware specs as reviewed:

  • Processor: 1.3 GHz Intel Atom Quad-core (Bay Trail)

  • Memory: 2GB

  • Display: 8-inch, 1280x800, IPS

  • Camera: Front — 2MP; Rear — 5MP

  • OS: Windows 8.1

  • Storage: 32GB SSD (64GB model available for $309)

  • Ports: audio combo, microSD, microUSB

  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0

  • Battery: 7+ hours

  • Dimensions: 5.2" x 8.5" x 0.3"

  • Weight: 0.77lbs
Miix 2 8 in hand
Lenovo Miix 2 8 in the hand (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

The Miix 2 8 is comfortable to hold in the hand for extended periods. While the screen rotates to support all four orientations, the placement of the Windows button and Lenovo logo support the portrait orientation for primary use. The narrow width of the tablet fits perfectly in the hand.

The tablet weighs about the same as the iPad mini, and feels good in the hand. The light weight is distributed evenly for use in both portrait and landscape orientations.

Miix 2 8 side controls
Lenovo Miix 2 8 right side (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

All of the controls are on the right side of the Miix 2 8 with the exception of the audio jack on top of unit, in the default portrait orientation. Those controls are the power button, volume rocker, and also the microSD slot. There is a 5MP camera on the back of the tablet.

Miix 2 8 viewing angle
Lenovo Miix 2 8 viewing angle (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

Using the tablet

The 8-inch display is IPS and thus supports wide viewing angles as demonstrated in the image above. It's not the brightest display but has decent color saturation. There is a 2MP web cam in the center of the top bezel, and a capacitive touch Windows button below the screen.

The Bay Trail processor is a good performer, and overall runs things nicely. There is an occasional lag between typing on the onscreen keyboard and the appearance of the typed characters, but this only occurs infrequently.

I let a friend use the Miix 2 8 and we both find the 8-inch size to be perfect for surfing the web and reading Kindle ebooks. The lack of a physical keyboard option makes the Miix 2 8 a tablet designed for consuming media, and it shines at that function. It does come with Microsoft Office so it's possible to use it for some work functions, but the small display (1280x800) is not designed for heavy work on documents. It's nice to have that ability for emergencies, however.

There is no pen included with the Miix 2 8 which would be well suited for the 8-inch size. Lenovo does offer a Flip Cover for $29.99 which includes a stylus. Note that Lenovo has indicated the stylus is a capacitive touch model, as there is no active digitizer on the tablet.

Lenovo claims a battery life of 7+ hours, and I found 8 hours to be what I got out of a charge. This is not quite the 10-hour battery life that many 8-inch tablets get. The tablet charges via microUSB, and unfortunately Lenovo includes a paltry 3-foot cable for that purpose.

Pros:

Reasonable price ($299)

Full Windows 8.1

Microsoft Office included ($139 value)

Cons:

8 hours of battery life on the low side

Windows button is touch, not physical button

3-foot charging cable is too short

Conclusion

Lenovo provides a lot of value with the Miix 2 8 for $299. The Bay Trail processor provides decent performance, while the 8-inch display makes the highly portable form a reality.

That processor means the Miix 2 8 runs full Windows 8.1, and the inclusion of Microsoft Office makes it an even better value.

Reviewer rating: 8.5 out of 10

Miix 2 8 portrait
Lenovo Miix 2 8 (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

Additional coverage of Windows 8 tablets:

Topics: Mobility, Lenovo, Reviews, Tablets, Windows 8

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24 comments
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  • 2 positive articles about windows in a row

    Best be careful James, you'll be called a paid MS advertiser soon.
    Or Owl;Net will think he's converted you.
    ;)
    (perish the thought that people can enjoy multiple OS and manufactures)
    Boothy_p
    • Yeah

      I tuned in last year when he reviewed the X2 that I bought after reading his article and even got the $75.00 off coupon in time. Mr. Kendrick, I am not rich but am about to change my new desktop, and yes, get the new tech for my tablet. I want to know subjectively if you think the new slower but quad core chips are faster in use. I get tired of waiting so long for this one to load a webpage now. Have they improved speeds and snappiness enough, in your opinion, to justify swapping out my X2 4 1?
      AreV
  • No one would buy a Windows laptop with only 2GB RAM, so why Win8 tablets?

    Memory is cheap, extra memory wouldn't decrease (may even increase) the battery life. It's a no brainer.
    bradavon
    • Don't knock it until you try it

      These tablets run exceptionally well with just 2gb of memory. True that having 4gb would be ideal, but the OEMs are fighting a tough battle against other tablets at the $299 range so every dollar matters.

      This generation of windows8 tablets is a massive improvement over last years models. It really is where available hardware should have been when Microsoft released Windows8. If rumors about the next generation of hardware are true for the next 6-12 months, then things are only going to continue to hit the sweet spot for those wanting more.
      Emacho
      • And

        I'm more than happy with the performance of my last years model. The Bay Trail might be twice as fast, but there aren't many occassions where I miss that extra speed in day-to-day use.
        wright_is
    • It's not just about $

      Memory costs battery power. Particularly for sleep time on Connected Standby devices. 2GB is a good balance here. This is one of the main reasons you don't see many (any?) 4GB SoC-based tablets, with any OS.
      BrandonLive
    • Never mind the RAM

      1200X800 dispalys are so 2012... That is where the improvement needs to be on the current crop of Win 8 tablets.
      onefussyone
  • Why Windows 8.1 not Windows RT 8.1?

    The Desktop on an 8" form factor is a hindrance, not a plus.
    bradavon
    • Perspective is important

      I think many would agree that using the desktop on an 8 inch screen is not ideal. Ideal being the keyword there.

      However, having the option to use the desktop anywhere at anytime is a huge benefit. Again, using the desktop is an option, not mandatory.

      The Miix does just fine as a consumption device in addition to offering the additional functionality of the desktop to a user if they need it.


      $299 for a full powered computer that weighs 12 ounces and can fit into a small purse or cargo pants pockets is pretty incredible.
      Emacho
      • This would have been a higher end PC just three years ago

        That's what we need to keep in mind. The specs that Windows demands haven't gone up since Vista. This machine is plenty powerful for what it needs to do. And here's the interesting part: Hook up a DisplayLink USB docking station, and you can have Ethernet, full mouse, keyboard, external monitor and anything else you want, all running simultaneously and now your 8" tablet is a full-fledged desktop. One question, though...can you charge this tablet while you use it this way? I think that's the major limitation (it is on my Venue Pro 8).
        x I'm tc
    • Having the Option is better than not having the Option

      Just because the desktop is there does not mean you have to use it. plus, on my Dell Venue 8 Pro. I have installed some older games that actually run well on the bay trail processor. I could not have done this on a WinRT tablet. Also for some things the Desktop Version of OneNote is more friendly then the WinStore version.

      WinRT has its place, but given the choice at equal price points it is a no brainer to go for the Full Win 8 Tablet.
      AceOfClubs
      • Viruses

        Immunity to viruses is the biggest advantage of Windows RT, and no x86 Windows 8 tablet will ever offer that feature in any form.
        chefgon
        • STDs

          Immunity to STDs is the biggest advantage of abstinence, and no form of protection will ever offer that feature in any form. But, you don't hear many people that would prefer abstinence over using some form of protection.

          For most people, they would rather have a choice and feel that the risk is worth it. Same with computers; nobody wants a locked down device that they can't use the way they want to. Those that do already own an Apple device.
          dblizard87
          • Angels on the Head of a Pin

            Or, in this case, how many legacy apps are you actually going to use on an 8 inch screen?
            AudeKhatru
    • ...because it can function as a desktop...

      ...once you plug it into a USB docking station.
      brian@...
      • Docking Station???

        If it were a real docking station, meaning not USB, but a true docking station, then I would agree, though the point is valid.
        AudeKhatru
    • Because Lenovo gave up

      Lenovo's first Windows RT models were sales bombs so they gave up on the platform. I'm a Windows RT fan myself, but I can't say I blame them for giving up on a platform that was costing them money.

      It's a shame, though. I've been using a Windows RT based Yoga 11 as my main computer for almost a year and it's been the best computer I've ever owned. I hope Microsoft discovers a way to pick up the demand for the platform so I might see Lenovo make a proper sequel some day.
      chefgon
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but...

    Looking at Lenovo's site indicates that it comes with Office 2013 TRIAL, not full-blown Office. As such, I'd rather have a Surface 2 which DOES come with full-blown Office, which would be the incentive to buy, even thought the Surface 2 is more in terms of initial cost.
    rmazzeo
    • I think they all come with full office (home/student edition)

      Microsoft offered some bundled incentive to device makers to start making 8 and 10 inch tablets by offering some steep discount on Windows8+Office for those devices.

      They come with the "trial" installed and an activation keycode printed on a card in the box.
      Emacho
  • Sounds like a decent tablet..

    I'm an iPad user that's really loving all of these new full Windows tablets at decent prices that are coming out. This seems like a decent tablet but the Asus Transformer Book T100 still sounds like a better deal for the money.
    Hoodgrown_Magazine