It seems that Lenovo is trying to have a product that fills every need and price point. Some companies try to come up with a single product that fits everyone’s needs and ultimately is not right for anyone. Lenovo on the other hand creates products for every price point. On the high end is the Lenovo Yoga (a future review), and on the low end are the Miix products. The one we will look at today is the Miix 3 10.1″ tablet.
The Miix 3 for a low end tablet is a good option for a sub $300 tablet. The performance of the OS and the touchscreen is good enough for most people. Now, don’t plan on playing any major games on this. But it is more than good enough for working with Office applications or surfing the Internet. It is not going to win any speed awards, but since it cost less than half of the price of the high end tablets, you really couldn’t expect that to be the case. The high resolution screen is easy to see and is only washed out in the brightest of direct light and has reasonable viewing angles. And thanks to the fact that it is running Windows, and not a stripped down Tablet OS, you can run real apps, and get the full version of web pages and web apps since you have a full featured browser and not one geared and designed for phones and mobile devices.
Battery life is good, better than you would find in most tablets and even old similarly sized netbooks. But again, at a sub $400 price point, you have to expect some tradeoffs, and battery life is probably about 20% less than higher end model devices. But it still should be enough to get most people through a day on a single charge.
One of the big marketing points of the Miix 3 10 is the unique magnetic connection to the included keyboard dock. While the magnetic connection is every bit as good as advertised, the same cannot be said of the keyboard Dock. The fact that the keyboard is small and cramped (think Netbook) is not really a surprise, though it may annoy some with fat fingers, the chicklet keyboard feels so much better than working with a membrane keyboard. But that is as much “good” you can attach to the dock. The keyboard is finicky, it lags, and the touchpad software is missing the ability to configure some settings leaving it at best difficult and closer to maddeningly annoying to work with since there are definitely some tweaks in the sensitivity and way the touchpad works. But without the right drivers, you have no access to it, and much learn to live with the quirks. Which I can’t see people doing for very long. It really is a deal breaker if you are planning on doing some serious typing on this. Even if you are the type to just do a lot of email work, you will eventually want to just throw the whole thing out the window.
Conclusion: More and more people are going to look to this type of hybrid device to augment their laptop or desktop computer. Some will stick with the stripped down experience of an iPhone or Android tablet, but if you want full blown apps and web experience, the Windows tablet is the way to go. And if this stopped at the tablet alone, you would probably have something that would be getting a my full support, but unless Lenovo decides to fix the shortcomings of the Keyboard Dock and Touchpad, I can’t recommend this tablet in its current condition. There are plenty of other devices in this space that actually work, so I can’t see, even at this low price why anyone would subject themselves to the annoyances of the Miix 3 10.1 tablet.