Lenovo's Ideapad Miix 310 is a versatile work companion that promises good bang for your buck. The portable 2-in-1 system boasts epic battery life and relatively snappy performance, and it's small enough to tote back and forth between home and the office. Its cramped, detachable keyboard makes it feel like a questionable choice for serious work sessions, but its affordable, $299 price tag makes it a decent secondary machine for business trips.
The Miix 310 includes a sturdy, 10.1-inch tablet that comes with a magnetic, snap-on keyboard in the box. The two pieces weigh just 2.4 lbs. when combined, making the Miix 310 noticeably lighter than rival systems like the 2.62-lb. HP Pavilion x2 10t and 2.82-lb. Acer Aspire Switch 10 E. That makes it a solid pick for commuters and frequent travelers, since you'll barely feel this machine in your work bag.
The system's plastic lid and keyboard deck feel a bit cheap, which is typical for devices in this price range. The matte-silver finish on the lid looks nice, though.
The tablet portion of the Miix 310 attaches magnetically to the keyboard, and the connection feels really secure. So secure, in fact, that separating the parts —which requires you to yank on the tablet while holding the keyboard in place — takes a fair amount of effort. On the bright side, the strong connection keeps the display from wobbling back and forth while you type.
I just wish I could tip the screen back a bit more to get a more comfortable viewing angle; the restrictive hinge lets you tilt the display back by only about 20 degrees. That's fine for desktop use, but I couldn't get a good view of the screen while typing with the system in my lap. I much prefer a kickstand-based system like the Surface 3, which gives you full control over the viewing angle.
The Miix 310 provides a decent selection of ports. The tablet includes a mini-HDMI port for connecting to monitors and projectors, and a microSD card reader for expanding the system's 64GB of storage. Meanwhile, you'll find two USB 2.0 ports on the keyboard dock for connecting accessories.
The Miix 310 sports a compact, 10.1-inch, 1080p display that produces vibrant images and crisp text, even if its glossy finish tends to pick up distracting reflections from windows and overhead office lights. For a work machine, I much prefer an anti-glare, matte finish on the display.
If you plan to work on the Miix 310, you should ask yourself if you can do your job on a screen this small. The system's 10-inch display can feel really cramped, particularly for split-screen multitasking.
The Miix 310's cramped keyboard is sure to be a liability for touch typists, though. Particularly annoying are the shrunken-down left Shift, Delete and Backspace keys, which are easy to miss. The keys are also on the shallow side, which makes them uncomfortable for marathon typing sessions. The Miix 310 is good for basic typing tasks like firing off a quick email, though.
The system's 3.2 x 1.9-inch touchpad is small but reliable. Cursor control felt accurate, and gestures such as two-finger scrolling worked well.
The Miix 310 also impressed us on our battery-life test, lasting for a stunning 12 hours and 24 minutes of web surfing over Wi-Fi. That blows away all challengers, including the Pavilion x2 10t (9:33) and Aspire Switch 10 E (8:28). The system's long battery life is a big perk for workers who spend a lot of time away from the office.
You also get decently zippy performance for the price. The Miix 310 is powered by an Atom x5-Z8350 processor with 2GB of RAM, a configuration that is responsive enough for everyday work tasks, though it's not quite powerful enough to handle serious multitasking. I tried editing a large spreadsheet with about a dozen tabs open in my Firefox web browser, and noticed some lag while switching between tasks.
The Miix 310 racked up a score of 2,445 on the Geekbench 3 test, which measures overall performance. That's not bad for the price; the score edges out rivals like the Acer Aspire Switch 10 E (2,123) and HP Pavilion x2 10t (2,289), but the Surface 3 was speedier, with a score of 3,531.
Lenovo's device also did fairly well on our spreadsheet test, matching 20,000 names to their addresses in 16 minutes and 55 seconds. That time beat the Pavilion x2 and Switch 10 E by around 5 minutes each, but lagged a few minutes behind the Surface 3. For context, a premium 2-in-1 laptop like the Surface Pro 4 can finish the same spreadsheet test in about 4 minutes.
For mobile workers with minimal computing needs, Lenovo's Ideapad Miix 310 isn't a bad buy. The system is just speedy enough for daily work tasks, and its long battery life blows away the competition. Plus, its superaffordable $299 price tag makes this machine a good secondary laptop that's easy to carry on the go.
On the other hand, the Miix 310's tiny, 10-inch display feels too cramped for real multitasking, and its cheap-feeling snap-on keyboard — while fine for firing off quick emails — isn't cut out for lengthy typing sessions. Overall, the $499 Surface 3 is a much more capable work machine, but it's also a lot pricier. For budget-minded workers, the Ideapad Miix 310 is worth a look.