Sometimes, a little can go a long way. Whether you're a parent buying your child his or her first computer or you're looking for a secondary system for yourself, the Lenovo Ideapad Miix 310 is an affordable 2-in-1 that you can take anywhere. Not only does this $299, 10.1-inch detachable Windows hybrid provide all-day battery life, but its Atom x5 processor has just enough speed to get your work done. Though its keyboard layout is a little awkward and its screen is a bit too reflective, the Miix 310 offers value for the money.
This cute, pint-size detachable has a stylish, beveled edge around its keyboard deck, but the tapered edge that surrounds its display and keyboard make the cheap-feeling plastic lid and deck more pronounced.
The Ideapad Miix 310's tablet display docks to the keyboard deck using two magnetic Pogo pin teeth. To detach the two parts, you need to grip and lift the tablet while holding the keyboard in place. This requires more force than we'd prefer, but it creates stability in the display that prevents it from wobbling during use. You can't attach the two halves in other positions, so you lose out on the tent and display positions offered by detachables such as the Acer Aspire Switch 10 E.
Weighing 2.4 pounds attached to its keyboard, the Lenovo Ideapad Miix 310 is lighter than the docked HP Pavilion x2 10t (2.62 pounds) and the Aspire Switch 10 E (2.82 pounds), but heavier than the Microsoft Surface 3 (1.95 pounds with Type Cover).
The detached Miix 310 tablet weighs 1.3 pounds and measures 0.4 inches thin, which is similar to the Aspire Switch 10 E (1.4 pounds, 0.4 inches) and the Surface 3 (1.4 pounds, 0.3 inches).
Lenovo placed the micro-USB 2.0, mini-HDMI and power ports on the right side of the tablet, where you'll also find its microSD card reader, and buttons for volume and power. The Miix 310's USB 2.0 ports are found on the far corners of the left and right sides of the keyboard.
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The Ideapad Miix 310's 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800-pixel display offers vivid color, but the panel's low resolution and glossiness plague its output. When I watched a trailer for Suicide Squad on the hybrid, I appreciated the warm, glowing orange of El Diablo's hands; the inky, saturated black tones in a Gotham bar; and the bright blues and reds in Harley Quinn's hair.
Unfortunately, the Miix's sub-full-HD display didn't show off the cracks of Killer Croc's scales with the same crisp detail I've seen on other panels. The Pavilion x2 (1280 x 800 pixels) and the Aspire Switch 10 E (1280 x 800) also have low-res displays, but you can get a 1080p screen on the Surface 3.
According to our colorimeter, the Ideapad Miix 310's display can produce 84 percent of the sRGB spectrum, which beats the Pavilion x2 10t (68 percent) and the Aspire Switch 10 E (70 percent). The Surface 3 (99 percent) is more colorful.
The Miix 310's display emits up to 255 nits of brightness, which is close to the Pavilion x2 10t (264 nits) and the Aspire Switch 10 E (263 nits), but much dimmer than the Surface 3 (407 nits) and the category average (305 nits).
Unfortunately, the panel is way too reflective. When we looked at the display head-on with the brightness turned all the way up, we saw overhead lights bouncing back at us. The screen turned into a mirror when viewed at any angle but straight ahead, though colors stayed true at up to 45 degrees to the left and right.
Keyboard, Touch Screen, Touchpad
The Ideapad Miix 310's keyboard offers decent input, but its design is unfriendly to touch typists. When I tested the keyboard on the 10fastfingers typing test, I could only retain accuracy by slowing my rate to 54 words per minute -- a steep fall from my usual 80 wpm. The key mechanisms aren't to blame, as they offer a decent amount of travel (1.26 millimeters).
The culprit is the shrunken left Shift key and that the Delete and Backspace keys share the top right corner, which requires a learning curve. (Keyboards shouldn't have learning curves.). The number keys at the top of the keyboard are also a bit small, which forced me to look down every time.
The Miix 310's 3.2 x 1.9-inch buttonless touchpad provided a good response to each click, and it did a fine job of tracking my input as I navigated the desktop. The touchpad correctly recognized my two-finger scrolling as I navigated web pages but paused before accepting Windows 10's three-finger navigation gestures.
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The 10.1-inch touch screen lagged slightly behind my doodling in MS Paint, but its latency is something I can accept at this price.
Both the Aspire Switch 10 E and the Pavilion x2 10t also include attachable keyboards, but those who buy the Surface 3 will need to spend an extra $100 for its Type Cover.
The tiny speaker on the right of the Miix 310 barely produced enough sound to fill a small bedroom, and it neutered DJ Shadow's "Nobody Speak," flattening bass guitar riffs and muffling El-P and Killer Mike's vocals.
Armed with an Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor and 2GB of RAM, the Ideapad Miix 310 is fine for surfing the web or working with a couple of apps open, but it doesn't provide enough power for serious multitasking. Lenovo's hybrid stayed responsive when I split the screen between a YouTube video and five Chrome tabs, including a Google Doc, but I noticed significant slowdown when I added another four tabs.
The Miix 310 earned an OK score of 2,445 on the Geekbench 3 general performance benchmark. That narrowly beats the Atom-powered HP Pavilion x2 10t (2,289) and the Acer Aspire Switch 10 E (2,123), but the Microsoft Surface 3 (3,531) notched a higher mark.
The Miix 310's eMMC storage drive copied 4.97GB of multimedia files in 2 minutes and 17 seconds, for a rate of 36.7 MBps. That edges out the Surface 3 (33.7 MBps) but trails the Pavilion x2 10t (42.76 MBps) and the Aspire Switch 10 E (41.7 MBps).
The Miix 310 took 16 minutes and 55 seconds to finish our OpenOffice macro test, which matches 20,000 names to their addresses. That's a shorter time than those posted by the Pavilion x2 10t (19:12) and the Aspire Switch 10 E (25:49), but the Surface 3 (13:31) needed less time.
The Miix 310 is no gamer's notebook, as its integrated Intel HD graphics are mostly good for titles with low requirements, such as the preloaded Candy Crush Soda Saga. The Miix 310 notched 17,451 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited graphics benchmark, which beats the Pavilion x2 10t (15,457) and the Aspire Switch 10 E (8,557), but is far from the score earned by the Surface 3 (24,840).
You can forget the Ideapad Miix 310's power cord if you're taking it out for a day of work. The 2-in-1 lasted a phenomenal 12 hours and 24 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 100 nits). That time outlasts the Pavilion x2 10t (9:33), the Aspire Switch 10 E (8:28), the Surface 3 (8:01) and the average ultraportable (7:49).
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The Miix 310's 2-megapixel front camera and 5-MP rear lens capture OK close-ups but poor images from a distance. Selfies taken with the front camera rendered my skin tones accurately and captured fine details, such as the pores in my skin. Shots of the Manhattan skyline with the rear lens looked blurry, but a still of a shrub captured its vivid green color.
The Lenovo Ideapad Miix 310 can get a little warm, as the back of its display heated up to 97 degrees Fahrenheit. That breaches our 95-degree comfort threshold, but it isn't anything to worry about.
Lenovo gave the Miix 310 a mostly clean installation of Windows 10, save for two apps. Lenovo ID lets you interact in the company's forums, access its apps and personalize support. From here, you can also shop on Lenovo.com, as well as download Lenovo's Settings and Companion apps. The Lenovo App Explorer is also included, but that store is filled with the same stuff you'll find in the Windows App Store.
Lenovo sells the Miix 310 only in the $299 configuration we tested, which packs a 1.44-GHz Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 64GB eMMC hard drive and a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800-pixel display.
The lightweight Lenovo Ideapad Miix 310 detachable offers enough speed to get a modest amount of work done and enough battery life to go the distance, all for the affordably low price of $299. Unfortunately, while the display is colorful, it's too reflective, and the ho-hum audio isn't great for entertainment. We're also not fans of the awkward keyboard layout.
A similarly configured HP Pavilion x2 10t offers better picture and sound, but costs $70 more. If you can accept a few compromises, the Lenovo Miix 310's epic endurance and solid performance make it a great choice for children and bargain hunters of all ages.