on November 29, 2013
I'm going to post this review under both the Dell Venue 8 Pro and the Lenovo Miix 8 as I believe some people may find the comparison helpful.
I will cut to the chase and say that I have decided to keep the Venue 8 Pro and return the Lenovo Miix 8. I rated both of the devices a 5 because they are both very similar and I didn't feel it was fair to dock the Lenovo just because I preferred the Dell. If I could have rated the Lenovo 4.75, I would have.
Here is what I like and dislike about both devices:
1. Screen on the Dell is better than the Lenovo in my opinion. For example, in the Kindle App for Windows 8, after changing the settings to white text on black background, you get a truly "black" background on the Dell whereas it is more of a gray on the Lenovo. Also, the colors just seem to be more accurate on the Dell. The Lenovo offers a brighter screen but the Dell is plenty bright for me. I was also able to dim the backlight on the Dell more than the Lenovo which was helpful to me for nighttime reading. These are not major issues but it was something I noticed after comparing side by side.
2. I have grown to prefer the build materials and quality of the Dell more than the Lenovo. The Lenovo is thinner and lighter which I thought was something that was important to me, but the Dell is much more comfortable to hold. This is mainly because the Dell is made from some sort of rubberized plastic material that is very "grippy". It just feels comfortable to hold. The Lenovo on the other hand is made from some sort of slick plastic and it always felt like I was going to drop it. Also, the Lenovo made a faint "creaking" and "crackling" sound whenever I held it.
3. I originally didn't like Dell's placement of the start button on top of the device, and this was one of the reasons that I purchased the Lenovo. After using them both, I have grown to prefer Dell's implementation since I don't ever power off the device. The Start button acts as my "on" button and I have grown accustomed to the placement. I thought I would prefer the Lenovo with its capacitive button, but I find myself having to hit the button at least twice to activate it which is very frustrating. I realize it must be very difficult to design a capacitive button with just the right level of sensitivity, but if Surface and many Android tablets can pull it off, so should Lenovo. Hopefully both companies will figure out a way to engineer a hard button on the front like on the iPad.
4. I thought I would prefer having the GPS that the Lenovo offers, but since there aren't currently any good GPS apps for Windows 8 touch devices, I didn't find much use for it. I tried it with Streets and Trips and the program would not recognize the GPS sensor.
5. I get slightly better sound quality from the headphone jack of the Dell than I do with the Lenovo. It's just a minor difference and probably just a matter of personal preference, but it is something that is important to me.
6. Actual user performance on both devices was about equal for me, even though the Lenovo apparently offers a slightly better processor.
7. The Lenovo offers a cheaper case and stylus than the Dell. I have found the Lenovo case and stylus for as low as twenty dollars here on Amazon.
8. I was able to pick up the Dell unit for twenty five dollars less than the Lenovo and see a lot of deals on the 32 gb version of the Dell. Something to consider.
9. Battery life seems to be similar on both but I can't say I have performed any scientific tests to verify.
Here is a list of tablets that I currently own and used as reference points in deciding whether or not to keep the Dell:
1. iPad 2. I no longer have any need for this device and find it to be too limited for its size and weight. I have handed this down to my wife and kids. The kids get a LOT of mileage out of it playing various learning and leisure games. My wife mainly reads books and plays candy crush on it.
2. Kindle Fire HD 8.9. I ONLY use this device because of the text to speech feature and only when I need to read something technical and/or boring for work. I tried to "upgrade" to the Kindle Fire HDX 7" and later learned that Amazon crippled this amazing feature (you have to buy the audio book now) so I ended up returning the HDX. I may upgrade again if Amazon ever brings this functionality back.
3. ThinkPad Tablet 2. This is my go to device for customer meetings as it is very convenient for taking notes with the screen size and dock-able stylus. That said, the device is a little slow for my taste so I'm really looking forward to the new version early next year.
4. Nexus 7 (1st gen). Too slow and battery life sucks. Pretty much collects dust now but I do use it occasionally as a controller for my Sonos system.
5. Surface 2. Love this device with the Type Cover 2 and use it as a bridge between my home pc (Samsung Series 7 Slate) and work pc.
6. Kindle Paperwhite. Love this device for long reading sessions as I don't get any eye strain like I do on my LCD devices.
7. iPad Mini (1st gen) Great for what it is, but very limited in what I can do with it. I use it mainly as a quick consumption device and ebook reader. I might end up getting rid of it now that I have decided to keep the Dell Venue 8 pro.
Well, I think that is everything I wanted to share. I do want to make it clear that I like both the Dell and Lenovo very much, and would have kept the Lenovo if the Dell wasn't a choice. Thankfully, I have a choice and will stick with the Dell.
on January 25, 2014
I've had the Miix 2 8" for two weeks, and it's definitely a keeper for me. I plan to use this for a different purpose than many of you. I need to mount this in my sailboat for use as a navigation tool (chartplotter) by the steering wheel. I've interfaced it to my boat's instruments using Bluetooth, and all the marine software that I use is written for Windows. So I have a special requirement for a Windows tablet (not Android or iOS) with an extremely bright display for daylight viewability, which this tablet excels at better than all the Windows 8 competitors out there right now. Also, this tablet has a built-in GPS, which makes it perfect for navigation. Most Windows tablets out there right now do not have GPS (though I'm sure they'll become more common over time). A quick note of warning - Windows 8.1 supports tablets with internal GPS chips in a way that only works with Metro apps, not with legacy desktop programs that expect to see the GPS on a COM port or TCP port. But there are free and low-cost programs available that will take the internal Metro GPS and emulate a COM port and/or TCP port, so you can use your old programs with it.
For me, the screen brightness and GPS are the two features that make the Miix2 8" stand out over the other 8" tablets from Dell, Asus, and the others. Those features may not be that important to you, but if they are, this tablet deserves a long, hard look.
The only significant weakness is the low audio volume, but that can be addressed with headphones or external speakers. I plan to get some Bluetooth speakers for use on my boat. The other weakness for some is the bright display. Some have complained that its minimum setting is too high to use in a dark room. Not a problem for me, but maybe it is for you.
Let me also dispel a few myths that are out there:
Myth 1: The Miix2 does not have a GPS. NOT TRUE. It definitely has one. It shows up in Device Manager, works with Metro apps, and works with my legacy PC software when running "Geolocation TCP" freeware. (Google it.)
Myth 2: Because there is only one microUSB port, "it is impossible" charge the Miix while it's connected to an external device. (Stated in several magazine reviews.) NOT TRUE. You just need a little creativity and a few adapter cables. You need a USB Y-adapter (two Type A plugs at one end, one Mini B plug at the other end) like those used for many portable hard drives, and also a USB adapter with micro B plug on one end and Type A female receptacle at the other end. Plug the power-only USB plug (often colored red or marked "Power only") into the Miix's power cube (or similar 2-amp USB power supply). Plug the other type A plug into the Miix using the micro adapter. Now plug the Mini B plug into a USB 2.0 hub and you have multiple USB ports while the Miix charges that you can plug in mice, keyboards, thumb drives, or another SD card reader. All the required parts are available at Amazon or DX for a few dollars each. I had them all lying around from other old computers.
Myth 3: 32 GB is not enough space. NOT TRUE (maybe). Everyone's need are different, but the first thing I did was put in a 32GB microSD card. I keep it in the microSD slot all the time, and I put everything I can on it, leaving the internal memory free for stuff that can only be installed there. It is true that there is only about 10 GB of available space on the 32 GB tablet, but 7 GB of that is contained on two recovery partitions that can be moved to an external drive, so you can get some of it back. If you need more, spend the extra $$ for the 64 GB version. But I got the 32GB because it was on sale for $100 less than the 64 GB version.
Myth 4: Windows 8.1 sucks because there is no start menu. NOT TRUE. Just install Classic Shell and be done with it. With Classic Shell, it can works just like Windows 7 for PC apps, and you can always switch over to Metro apps for things that a tablet does best.
The Miix2 is not meant to be your primary PC, but if you need a portable 8" Windows tablet for under $300, this is a great one to consider.
I did have some difficulty connecting a portable hard drive to the Miix through my USB hub. It worked fine if I directly connected to the microUSB port on the Miix, but would not come up when connected through the hub. The problem is probably the $5 hub and not the Miix - I recall having similar problems connecting hard drives to other computers through a hub.
Mice, keyboards, thumb drives, and even additional card readers connected through the hub just fine. And when you use the Y-cable adapter mentioned in my review, you can charge the Miix at the same time you're using the external devices.
on December 8, 2013
The Lenovo is a good tablet and should suffice for users of previous Windows tablets and those familiar with Windows 8.1
Brief review and comparison vs. the Dell Venue 8 pro:
The Dell has the 3740D and utilizes single channel memory -- 2GB max
The Lenovo has the 3740 and utilizes dual channel memory -- 4GB max (but the Lenovo does not allow for a memory upgrade)
A look at the System Performance file shows a 6.4 memory for the Dell and 7.1 for the Lenovo.
The other performance scores are virtually identical.
So theoretically, the Lenovo should be a bit more snappy but I haven't really noticed it yet in "real world" use.
Under similar loads the Dell's back gets a bit warmer than the Lenovo's. The Lenovo has never become *hot*, so far.
The Dell *feels* nicer and more solid, the Lenovo makes a few creaking noises if flexed even a little.
The Dell's buttons certainly feel better with a good tactile response, the Lenovo's feel "mushy".
The Lenovo screen can be made the brightest, but the Dell screen can be made the darkest and looks better in a low light environment. The Dell seems to reproduce colors better at the widest angles while the Lenovo washes out (both are still, IPS though). The Dell has warmer screen temperature, the Lenovo is a bit on the cool side (partially explains the perception of brighter but the backlight is a contributor also).
I'm still evaluating the sound, Dell has released an update for both firmware and screen.
Haven't tried the Dell active pen, no one locally has it. A Targus aluminum barreled capacitive stylus works pretty good. Both have good handwriting recognition.
The Dell has the more feature-ladden BIOS while the Lenovo's is fairly simple. The Dell also has a nice hardware diagnostic menu/program as well.
The Lenovo camera allows for panoramic shots the Dell does not (same Windows app version)
The Lenovo has GPS the Dell does not.
I had to return my first Lenovo as the SD card slot was broken and wouldn't hold the sdcard. The second Lenovo was fine.
The Lenovo is a fine, if not extraordinarily well-built tablet. Snappy performance.
on February 10, 2014
Ordered the Miix 2 8 after giving up on the Dell Venue 8 Pro. Both Dell models I tried suffered from touch issues causing keys to repeat when typing and gestures and taps to be misinterpreted. Just search online for "dell venue 8 pro sensitivity" and you'll find a thread on Dell's forums (but ignored by Dell) about the issue. It was even worse when trying to use any kind of screen protector.
I've only had the Miix 2 8 briefly, but so far I am impressed. Will update my review and rating accordingly.
Won't rehash what others have said better than I can, but I did want to address a few topics that haven't already been covered or with which I differ/disagree.
Wifi Speed: I've seen several people mention wifi speed as an advantage of the Venue over the Miix 2. I believe the problem is that, by default, the Miix 2 wifi isn't taking full advantage of it's hardware. If you go to the Advanced properties of the Broadcom wireless adapter, there is an option to choose "Bandwidth Capability". By default, it is set to only use both the 20Mhz and 40Mhz bands on 11a networks. This limits the maximum connection speed on 11n networks to 150Mbs. If you change the setting to "11a/b/g:20/40Mhz", this will allow it to connect at the full capability of 300Mbs. I had a Dell laptop with the same default limitation.
Speaker: For me, the speaker volume which others have discussed isn't a huge issue. The Dell was definitely louder and fuller, but the Miix 2 isn't terrible.
Display: I personally prefer the display on the Miix 2 over the Venue. Both are very nice, but the Miix 2 is clearly brighter. I also feel that text appears sharper on the Miix 2. I used my Datacolor Sypder colorimeter on both devices to calibrate the displays. The Dell was more accurately calibrated from the factory, but the Miix 2 looks better after calibration and has better color reproduction/gamut - ~75% sRGB for the Miix 2 vs only ~65% sRGB for the Dell.
USB: Using an OtG adapter, the Venue could only access low-power USB devices like flash drives. Portable 2.5" drives or DVD drives simply wouldn't work. These higher-power devices do work on the Miix 2 without needing separate/supplemental power.
Charging: The Venue can only be charged with it's own charging block. The Miix 2 can be charged from other USB power sources/chargers.
Resolution: In researching the available 8" Windows 8 tablets, I've seen many individuals and reviewers knock them because of the relatively low 1280x800 resolution. Many people said that the upcoming Thinkpad 8 (with a resolution of 1920x1200) was the one to wait for. As much as I wanted the higher build quality and specs of the Thinkpad 8, the higher resolution was actually the reason I did NOT want it. Unfortunately, the Retina world of iOS is a very different environment than Windows 8. High resolution displays simply aren't handled well in Windows or with Windows applications - specifically classic desktop applications. One option is to use 100% - in which case UI elements will be so ridiculously tiny on a high PPI screen that they can't be seen on the 8" display. The second option is to use Windows' DPI scaling to increase icon and text size, but then the problem is that many applications (and even some aspects of Windows) don't properly support/implement scaling (or don't do it at all) resulting in content that doesn't display properly or is actually less legible/sharp than 100% at 1280x800. The third option is to run the 1920x1200 panel at a reduced resolution (i.e. 1680x1050) to make elements slightly larger, but running an LCD panel at a non-native resolution will always result in blurry text and is defeating the purpose of having a higher resolution LCD. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you plan to establish any RDP connections to any other systems from an 8" Windows tablet, it's not possible to use DPI scaling on remote sessions.
I have seen comments elsewhere saying that using a cheap OtG plus power adapter for devices like the Nexus 7 and Galaxy S3 will allow simultaneous charging and use of the USB port. I'll have to give this a try and see. This definitely won't work with the Venue.
I've also seen comments saying that cheap MHL USB/microHDMI adapters allow HDMI out directly from the USB port without additional hardware. I will likely experiment with this, too. Have seen that this option also does not work on the Venue.
on December 25, 2013
At work I use word and power point quite frequently. I am also more comfortable with windows vs. mac. I bought an ipad 2 back in the day, and just never used it that much. Oh, it was fun for the first week or 2, but after that I realized I'd surf the net occasionally or play a game or 2 on it but that was it. Once the windows tablets started coming out I was interested in seeing how they worked. the surface was not for me because I don't like the idea of a windows lite. I'd rather have a full version, but the fact they had power point and word seemed pretty nice. I needed something the was portable and able to be comfortably held in one hand so I continued to wait. I almost got an ipad mini but held out, and I am definitely glad I did. I started looking into the miix2 when my wife got the miix 10. It seemed pretty nice but too big. I saw a review about a pending offer from lenovo the miix 2 I happened to check amazon and lo and behold the had it in stock. i ordered it immediately and it arrived 2 days later.
External appearance: Opening the box I was very pleased with it's initial looks. It seems very sturdy, maybe aluminum or something but there was certainly no flimsiness that i noted. I didn't like all the stickers on the back but they peeled off very easily and you can't tell they were ever there. It has a micro usb an SC card slot and a headphone jack. Speakers on the back one on top of each other and front and rear facing cameras. Windows button in good position bottom center. Plugged it in and after a few hours charge booted it up.
First use: Set up went just fine without a glitch. Mine didn't have the facial recognition software which I would have removed anyways. The apps preset were fairly minimal in keeping with lenovo's other offerings. I also removed mcaffee and several other non-essential aps without difficulty. The uninstall is extremely easy. Windows 8 is a great OS. I use 7 on my other computers but I really like 8 so far. The really nice thing is word, power point, excel, and one note are all there to be installed using the key provided in the packaging. Also while trying to get used to the new start screen, the desktop was literally a touch away. I installed itunes just to see if I could and that brings up another plus. This is full windows. If there isn't an app for something you need you can just install the program (size pending obviously). I don't need a citrix receiver app, I just install the client and it boots up. I can also port into my home or work cpu without difficulty. I have used this almost exclusively for the past 2 weeks and still love it. Although the ipad was never a laptop replacement I can see this tablet being close. I have a bluetooth keyboard and power point and word are with me wherever.
Screen: Very nice very bright. people have complained that the black isn't black but I found that by fiddling with the adjustments it a pretty good pure black to me. the contrast is very nice and the high def is great for me. Although like any other tablet it collects smudges, they don't seem to interfere with visibility that much.
Sound: Speakers are fine, nothing great but adequate. Certainly not busy airport loud, but I use headphones mostly.
Speed: I am very happy with the speed of internet connection as well as processing. Another plus is that I can run 2 apps/programs simultaneously without losing noticeable speed. I'm working on a powerpoint and need info I bring up chrome to one side and get the info. This is extremely useful.
Storage size: I have the 32 GB, and can see needing more space but with the SD slot you can just add a card and viola you have it. There is also a 128 GB coming out that should be great.
Battery life:I haven't tested it extensively, but I typically plug it in at night and haven't lost power during the day yet. I use it modestly though. Not sure how far it'd last if you were on it literally all day.
Work use: I already alluded to this but i am able to do pretty much everything I need to for my business on this it really is very close to being a laptop replacement. (If you have vision impairments (wear glasses, etc) the small screen may be an issue plus it you need a larger display this won't work as well but for me it's great.
Apps: the windows App store is still a bit light although getting better per report. There's also a lenovo app store which seems a waste of time but there are some exclusive apps there. If all you want is games, the ipad of android may be better, although xbox is getting a larger presence on the windows platforms and I can see them starting to push exclusive content. Just something to think about.
Overall durability: I have been using think pads for almost a decade now from back when IBM still made them and am definitely slightly biased as I think they are hands down the best laptops. The Miix 2 is definitely in keeping with their reputation for sturdiness. Now bear in mind its a tablet and I'm not going to go around dropping it just to see, but it certainly feels sturdy and the screen seems tough.
Overall: Great tablet I'm recommending to everyone I work with and anyone who reads the reviews on amazon. I bought a screen cover which I'd recommend anyone buying this to do ( they literally cost only a few bucks) and a evercase thin case for it both of which are great additions to make this a perfect tablet for me. The case was under $10 when I bought it and is very nice. Great value for the cost.
on December 8, 2013
This is a really great product. A perfect size for reading books, browsing the web and reading emails, plus it's a full PC. Battery life is about 7 hours and the performance is great. The screen is fantastic and the miix 2's weight is fine for holding in 1 hand for long periods.
on November 15, 2013
I bought this as well as the dell venue 8 pro and the dell one is better for a few reasons. The display is more color accurate, touch screen taps are more accurate, the WiFi speed and signal strength are better when placed in the exact same location and connected to the exact same AP, the build quality is more durable, and the speaker volume goes around twice as loud. No joke.
I have to admit that the mix had a slightly better camera and was lighter, but the above features were more important to me.
on July 18, 2014
Update May 2015: My tablet suffered the dreaded touch screen issue that seems to be common. If you do some research there are all kinds of proposed fixes. The only one that worked for me was opening up the back of the tablet and re-seating the connectors. There's a video of this out there. It's not hard to do. USE CARE when opening the case. Most people recommend a thin, plastic tool, like a guitar pick. I carefully and slowly opened mine up, pushed the connectors down, and then put the case back together. A month after doing this 5 minute fix I've had no more issues with the touch screen.
I also installed the pre-release of Windows 10. It's going well and I like it a lot on this tablet. The new browser is excellent and the UI is more intuitive. It does have some quirks, so be warned if you decide to do this. So far it's made this great tablet even better for me. A year after getting it I'm still impressed with how well it runs.
Based on most other reviews this seems to be a very under-rated tablet. Before considering this, think about how you want to use it. This is a fully functioning PC running Windows 8 in a tablet form-factor. It's not a iPad. If you want a simpler tablet (which has huge advantages), go with an iPad, Windows RT, or an Android tablet. Running windows 8 adds complexity and means you won't have the simplicity of those other OSs.
I needed to make some changes to get this to work better as a tablet. Firstly, increase the windows UI scale to 125% or larger. This makes fonts and scroll bars larger and far easier to mange. The network performance was terrible on mine. I went to the Lenovo site and got the latest driver - problem solved.
Some other common complaints:
1. No HDMI output: this tablet will output HDMI with an micro-usb to HDMI cable. You can get one for less than $10.
2. Doesn't charge while connected to other devices: this is incorrect. You just need to have a device with enough power. I'm running a USB charger into a USB hub (in addition to the hub power supply) and then connecting my Miix 2 8" to the hub. It connects to unlimited devices and charges. I've also used it with an un-powered OTG hub. No issues with that either. Power into the hub, hub into the tablet. Other devices off the hub get powered as well.
3. Speakers don't get loud enough: I don't see this as an issue. Any sound coming out of a device this small is going to sound terrible anyway. If you need "loud" from a tablet you may need to look at something else.
I was trying to decide between this tablet and the Dell Venue that's essentially the same device. I like the features of the Dell better, especially the rubberized covering. But there are too many issues and not enough support for the Dell. Given all the hardware problems in the Amazon reviews, the Lenovo is the one to get. It works great as a tablet and I can connect it to a monitor and keyboard and have a PC when needed. This is a good tablet and a pocketable PC.
on November 9, 2013
Got this today. Just inputted my Microsoft account and all my settings were set up in 5 minutes in the exact way of my desktop settings. Skydrive, Skype, email settings are all there and sync seamlessly. Saving a lot of time. The screen is very good; resolution is fine at this size, no need to spend more money for higher res. Viewing angle and contrast is superb. Unlike iPAD, this tablet can be used effectively in portrait and landscape orientation. The new atom CPU is super fast. The touch response is so good. If you think to get an IPAD mini retina, try this one first or you will be regretted. At the price of $299, with a full version of Office 2013, and now with real time authoring in Office web apps launched directly from Skydrive, there is no reason to use Google Docs or Apple iWork.
Con : no HDMI output. Toshiba Encore has HDMI output but it is a bit heavier and more expensive.
on November 25, 2013
I have been using this tablet since the first day it came out. I originally purchased it to serve as an eBook reader and for light entertainment on trips, but have found myself using it more than my iPad. Having a full version of Windows in my pocket is amazing and having a the real Office pre-installed is a great bonus. I have been using it mainly for writing reports and performing off-site computer support. On a side note, if you are going to use it for office applications, a bluetooth keyboard is a must. The screen is simply too small to touch type either in landscape or portrait mode.
On the performance side, it is nice and zippy, not what you would expect from an Atom processor. I would not suggest using it for gaming or 3d graphics manipulation, but as an everyday computer.
I have seen some complaints about the screen and it having lower resolution than a certain competitor's tablet. This is true, though I have not seen any issues. As for color accuracy, I have yet to see an issue with this.