Over the last few weeks, I’ve been road testing a number of different Windows 10 tablets and 2-in-1 computers. When I started the journey, my goal was to replace an iPad Pro – which is a great piece of hardware but doesn’t quite meet my specific needs – with something else. I really like the idea of a “proper” file system that lets me easily save documents and sync them to the could without any messing about. And a touchscreen is also part of my life. So, what did I choose?
Here’s the TL;DR. I went with the Lenovo Miix 510. Here’s what I learned along the way and why I made that choice.
I’ve been a Mac user for about 15 years. I really like the way OS X, and now macOS, work on desktop and notebook computers. Arguing about which OS is best is likely to spark a religious war but, for me, it passes the “just works” test.
iOS, within its limitations, also passes that test. But I need more from a $1500 computer that I carry around almost everywhere. And while UI is pretty good, I like to have more than two apps open on my screen sometimes. Split Screen on the larger iPad Pro works well but there are times I want three, or even four, windows open at the same time.
Windows 10 overcomes most of the issues I face with iOS but adds the touchscreen I really like – something I can’t have from a device running macOS – unless Apple unleashes something unexpected at WWDC in a couple of weeks.
I maintain that all portable computing devices are a series of compromises. We balance screen size, storage, memory, cost and other factors when we make the decision to buy a portable computer. We make similar compromises with desktop systems but portable require we compromise usability.
The Miix 510 I chose delivers on some key elements for me.
The display is good – perhaps not market leading but well and truly good enough for me. The keyboard is superior to the Surface Pro it’s most like of the four machines I looked at. And the price – by giving up the cellular connectivity (which I really like and think may cause some buyer’s remorse in the months to come) got down to $1200.
None of the machines I tested could get close to the iPad and its TouchID system when it comes to resuming from sleep and logging in. Even the HP Spectre 360, which had me questioning my budget, couldn’t get close with Windows Hello and its facial recognition.
And none of the systems I tested could get there with their fingerprint sensors. For now, I think Windows systems are way behind when it comes to fast authentication.
Aside from the price, display and keyboard, I came to realise the detachable keyboard is something I like. It means i can pass the Miix 510 through customs at the airport without having to extract it from my bag as it passes as a tablet and not a laptop.
Of course, it’s likely I won’t be able to carry it internationally at all soon. But, for now, I’m OK.
The presence of both USB-A and USB-C connectivity is useful as it offers me support for legacy devices and some future-proofing with peripherals. Integrated video output would be handy but I can live with using a dongle for the odd time I need to do that.
Although I could, potentially, have taken advantage of discounts that are sometimes offered to journalists (the marketing term is “influencers”) I shopped around and found the Miix 510 at a local Officeworks outlet.
As usual, I politely declined the offer of an extended warranty and paid my $1199.
But there are so many new systems out there
It’s easy to wait for something newer and better. Announcements made by Microsoft, Asus and others over the last week point to lots of new devices. But I need a computer now – I can’t wait another month. So, my decision is based on today, not what may come tomorrow.
What do you think about my decision? Did I blow it? What would you have bought?