Starting at $1,029 (tested at $1,129), the Lenovo Miix 720 is a solid combination of tablet and laptop that's more affordable than its competitors. This 12-inch detachable 2-in-1 offers both a bright, vivid display and a comfortable keyboard along with performance that nearly matches that of the Surface Pro. However, the less than 6 hours of battery life leaves us yearning for more.
The Miix 720 features a metal-alloy shell that comes in a blackish hue Lenovo calls Iron Grey. Its kickstand rotates on a pair of stainless-steel watchband hinges that extend up to 150 degrees for use at a variety of angles.
But despite the versatile hinges and the Mixx's detachable keyboard made of sturdy plastic and faux-fabric, the laptop doesn't offer much stability unless you use it on a desk. When I tried typing on the machine in my lap, it didn't feel stable, but that's standard for systems like this. Still, Lenovo should be commended for including the keyboard; Microsoft makes you pay $159 for the honor with the Surface Pro.
With its keyboard attached, the 12-inch Miix 720 weighs 2.6 pounds and measures 0.6 inches thick. That's heavier and thicker than the detachable 12.3-inch Microsoft Surface Pro (2.4 pounds, 0.33 inches), similar to the 13-inch nontouch Dell XPS 13 (2.7 pounds, 0.6 inches) and lighter than the bend-back 13-inch HP Spectre x360 (2.85 pounds, 0.5 inches).
The Miix 720's left side features the 2-in-1's Thunderbolt 3 port (used for charging), USB 2.0 port and headphone jack, while the device's USB 3.0 port, power and volume buttons are on its right. It's worth noting that the Surface Pro lacks USB-C and Thunderbolt, so it's not as future-proof as this system.
A 5-megapixel camera sits on the Miix 720's back along with the 150-degree hinge. Along the front is a 0.9-MP infrared webcam (found in the middle of the display's top bezel) that supports speedy Windows Hello logins.
The Miix 720's bright, high-res screen produces great-looking images. Watching Tears of Steel on the tablet's 12-inch, 2880 x 1920-pixel panel, I marvelled at the powerful pink hue of a holographic brain, the bright green of flapping foliage and the strong yellow of daylight pouring into an interior. I also noticed tiny details, such as the weathered dirt on the limbs of a lumbering mechanical dog.
According to our colorimeter, the Miix 720 produces 130 percent of the sRGB spectrum, which is slightly below the reading from the Surface Pro (140 percent) and better than those from the Spectre x360 (102 percent) and XPS 13 (94 percent).
Emitting up to 361 nits, the Miix 720's panel is brighter than the 258-nit category average, the 302-nit XPS 13 and the 318-nit Spectre x360, but dimmer than the 396-nit Surface Pro. While the panel is a little glossy, it offers wide viewing angles, with colors staying true 45 degrees to the left and right.
The Miix 720's touch screen tracked my input without any latency, even when I moved my fingers as fast as possible. The tablet's display also consistently recognized Windows 10's navigational edge-swipe gestures.
Most detachable keyboards are terrible, but the Mixx 720's detachable keyboard breaks from tradition, offering a comfortable typing experience (albeit one that comes with a minor learning curve). When I tested the keyboard out on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, I hit a rate of 75 words per minute, pretty close to my 80-wpm average. While the Mixx 720's keys offer a mere 1.1 millimeters of travel (we look for between 1.5 and 2.0 mm), the 69 grams of actuation force (we expect at least 60g) helps make up for their shallowness.
Unfortunately, the Miix 720's shrunken right shift key and oversized up button drove me batty while I was testing it. Constantly moving my cursor up a line or to the start of a text field, I wasted time failing to accurately type in passwords and correctly spell words. The Surface Pro, XPS 13 and Spectre x360 do not present confusing keyboard layouts.
On the plus side, the keyboard's 3.5 x 2.3 inch touchpad is incredibly smooth and accurately tracks input. It also correctly recognized three-finger app-switching gestures.
The Miix 720's speakers filled our medium-sized conference room with passable audio. Listening to DJ Khaled's "Wild Thoughts," I noticed that while Rihanna's lyrics and the track's electric guitars came through accurately, bass and drum and cymbals sounded weak and muffled.
For the best listening experience, I recommend keeping the preinstalled Dolby Audio sound utility on the Music setting, which is the most well-balanced option available. The Movies and Gaming options distorted vocals from a variety of songs.
Armed with an Intel Core i7-7500U CPU and 8GB of RAM, the Miix 720 can handle multitasking with aplomb. I saw no slowdown after splitting its screen between a 1080p YouTube video and 12 Chrome tabs (including for TweetDeck, Google Docs and Slack), with the 4K Tears of Steel clip open in the background.
The Miix 720 scored 8,434 on the Geekbench 4 general performance test, a higher score than the 8,147 from the Spectre x360 (Core i7-7500U, 16GB of RAM) and the 7,287 from the XPS 13 (Core i5-7200U, 8GB of RAM). However, the Surface Pro hit an even higher 8,652 (Core i7-7660U, 16GB of RAM).
The 256GB PCIe SSD in the Miix 720 duplicated 4.97GB of multimedia files in 25 seconds, for a speed of 203.6 megabytes per second. That's slower than the 233.3-MBps category average, the 339 MBps from the Surface Pro, the Spectre x360's 318.1 MBps and the 339.3MBps from the XPS 13's SSD.
The Miix 720 needed 3 minutes and 34 seconds to finish our productivity-suite test, matching 20,000 names to addresses and posting a faster time than thet 4:16 category average, along with the times of the Spectre x360 (3:33) and the XPS 13 (3:44). Still, this Lenovo was no match for the Surface Pro's time of 3:13.
I don't expect the Mixx's integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 chip to run Tekken 7, but I did expect a lot better than its disappointing score of 49,088 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited graphics test. That's far below the 75,438 category average. The Spectre x360, which also has Intel HD Graphics 620, managed to score 70,494, while the Surface Pro (Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640) notched an impressive 109,678
As portable as the Mixx is, it can't last long without being plugged in. The Miix 720 lasted only 5 hours and 37 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi). That falls short of the 8:04 ultraportable category average, as well nearly 2 hours short of the Surface Pro's time (7:30).
The Miix 720 gives you two cameras, but neither is great for photography. Sure, the 5-megapixel sensor on the back produces crisper images than the 0.9-MP front cam, but photos I shot with that camera suffered from overexposure and muted colors. The rear-mounted device did a better job capturing larger details like my forehead wrinkles but lost my stubble.
The rear camera can record full-HD 1080p video, but the footage appeared jumpy, even with image stabilization enabled.
The Miix 720 is one cool hybrid. After we streamed 15 minutes of HD video on the tablet, our heat gun captured readings on the device's touchpad (70 degrees Fahrenheit), G and H keys (69 degrees), and underside (81 degrees) that fell short of our 95-degree discomfort threshold.
Software and Warranty
Lenovo gave the Miix 720 some of its standard system utilities, as well as some third-party stuff you'll want to delete. Most people will make use of the tools in Lenovo Settings (its Battery Mode can help the tablet's battery live a longer life) and the system info of Lenovo Companion, but the value stops there.
You might be a Sling TV customer already, but nobody needs that app preloaded. Lenovo also placed a license-free version (that anyone could download) of the freemium Keeper password manager in the Miix 720. Our sister site Tom's Guide gave that service a 7 out of 10 review, and recommends you use LastPass (9/10) instead.
The $1,129 Miix 720 we tested packs a Core i7-7500U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB PCIe SSD. The other available model costs $1,029 and includes the same 8GB of RAM and 256GB PCIe SSD, but drops you down to a Core i5-7200U CPU.
The $1,129 Lenovo Miix 720 successfully straddles the line between tablet and laptop with its bright, colorful screen; comfortable typing experience; and solid multitasking capabilities. However, the less than 6 hours of battery life and undersized keys prevent this hybrid from rising further up the ranks.
The Surface Pro features a better keyboard and more speed, but at $1,758 for a configuration similar to that of the Mixx, it is much more expensive. But if you can adapt to the Miix 720's keyboard and take the charger with you, this is quite a capable 2-in-1.
Credit: Keith Agnello / Laptop Mag