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Lenovo Ideapad Miix 700 review: A great value Surface Pro 4 opponent

Lenovo has been on top form with its 2-in-1 hybrid devices recently, and the Ideapad Miix 700 is looking to continue that trend. Following hot on the heels of its business-focussed sibling, the brilliant ThinkPad X1 Tablet, the Ideapad Miix 700 promises a taste of Lenovo’s hybrid brilliance in a prettier package.

Suffice to say, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Miix 700. When one of my colleagues got some hands-on time with it back at IFA 2015, they initially mistook its sleek, familiar shape for a Surface Pro 4. And while we’ve since seen a fair few 2-in-1 devices from rival manufacturers such as Acer and HP, the Miix 700 remains a handsome-looking device.

Granted, it hardly reinvents the wheel – perhaps not surprising given the superficial similarity to Microsoft’s iconic hybrid – but the metal chassis and sturdy build make for something that both looks and feels like a premium purchase. Look closer, however, and it’s clear that you’re not just looking at a carbon copy of Microsoft’s tablet. The subtle design touches echo the design of other devices in the Ideapad range, and the kickstand’s “watchband” hinge is transplanted directly from the Yoga 3.

Lenovo Ideapad Miix 700 ports left

Portability is high up the agenda. Weighing only 780g and measuring 292 x 219 x 8.95mm without the keyboard attached, the Miix 700 is just as lightweight as its most feathery of rivals. It’s a smidgen thicker and heavier than the Surface Pro 4, but it’s noticeably lighter and thinner than HP’s Elite X2.

The specification is pretty promising for the money, too. For a penny under £900, you get an Intel Core m7-6Y75 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage. Oh, and there’s a clip-on keyboard and a stylus included as standard. That’s not bad value at all, and it’s especially good when you consider that the HP Elite X2 ships with a similar specification, yet costs around £230 more.

Keyboard and touchpad

The keyboard gets the Miix 700 off to a bit of a wobbly start. It’s not awful by any means, but it’s immediately less impressive than the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet’s solid, high-quality keyboard attachment. It’s easy to get used to the slight bounce in the base and the short-travel keys, but it feels much flimsier and bargain basement than pricier models. In short, it’s easy to see where Lenovo has saved a few pennies.

It holds to the tablet snugly thanks to a set of reasonably strong magnets, and like the Surface Pro 4’s Type Cover, you have the option of propping up the keyboard against the tablet’s lower edge or just laying it flat on the desk.

The touchpad beneath is likely to be less divisive, but it’s a little too small for my liking; my fingers far too frequently brushed off the sides while scrolling through long web pages. This is a relatively minor moan, however. Multitouch gestures work as you’d expect, and cursor control is smooth and stutter-free.

Lenovo Ideapad Miix 700 keyboard zoom

There’s something quite arresting about the Miix 700’s kickstand, and that’s that it shares the  “watchband” hinge design from the Yoga 3 laptop. This isn’t just there to add a little polish and sparkle to the proceedings, though. In addition to looking good, it also provides a smooth, stable range of adjustment so that you can get the display tilted just so, regardless of whether you’re working on a desk or balancing the Miix 700 on your lap.

Display

Like its bigger brother, the Miix 700’s display is one of its strongest suits. The 12in 2,160 x 1,440 resolution screen reaches a peak brightness  just shy of 400cd/m2, and that’s just bright enough to make it usable outdoors in the glorious British sunshine. It also puts in a good performance in our other tests. The contrast ratio reaches a respectable 1,036:1, and the sRGB colour gamut coverage of 89% means that it only struggles to reproduce the most intense shades of colour. All told, it’s more suited to colour sensitive work than the HP Elite X2’s disappointing screen, even if it’s off the pace of the Surface Pro 4.

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