The Lenovo MIIX 520 is a 12-inch tablet with a “surface design”, which was already presented at the IFA in Berlin. It is the successor to the MIIX 510 . In fact, the MIIX 520 is the first Windows tablet to feature an eighth-generation Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor. These are now quad-core processors. Others are announced but not yet available. I have the tablet with keyboard dock and stylus now and start my test with an unboxing video and my first impressions.
The basic design of the Lenovo MIIX 520 is similar to the Microsoft Surface Pro. There is a built-in kickstand, a very similar keyboard cover and an active stylus. It is nice that the housing is made entirely of aluminum. This makes it feel very high quality. The hinges for the kickstand come from the yoga series and make a stable impression. In fact, the hinge is very fluid and the folding stand can be extended far.
As I said, the workmanship is pretty high quality. But the design is not quite as elegant as the Surface Pro. It is a few millimeters thick, that’s not bad and you only notice in direct comparison. The fans above are clearly visible and not as elegantly hidden as the Surface Pro. Both tablets must be actively cooled.
On the left side there is a USB Type C 3.0 port, as well as a full size USB 3.0 port. There is also the connection for the power supply and there is a speaker. On the other side sits another speaker, as well as the power button and the volume control. Underneath there is a fingerprint reader that allows you to quickly unlock the tablet with Windows Hello.
Rear there is an 8-megapixel camera and a MicroSD card slot, which sits under the kickstand. In front there is a 5 megapixel camera above the display.
Keyboard cover and touchpad
At the bottom there is a magnetic pin connector for the keyboard cover. The keyboard is similar to the Type Cover from Microsoft, but mainly made of plastic. I have been able to write very well on the keyboard so far. Nice is that it provides a backlight and can be easily angled thanks to a magnetic strip.
There is a touchpad under the keyboard. This works as usual, but could be bigger.
The display of the Lenovo MIIX 520 is 12.2 inches tall and has an aspect ratio of 16:10. It is an IPS panel with solid viewing angles. It is nice that the display is completely laminated, so there is no space between the touch screen and the IPS panel. This is usually the case in this price range. The brightness is ok, but there are noticeably brighter displays.
With 1920 x 1200 pixels, the resolution is significantly lower than the Surface Pro . So it’s a FullHD display. I think the resolution at 12.2 inches is high enough. However, as I said, the Surface Pro offers a higher pixel density.
On the touch screen you can not only work with your fingers, but also with an active stylus. The pen is included in the delivery and is called Lenovo Active Pen 2. It is really nice that the Wacom pen supports 4096 pressure levels. This makes the stylus as precise as the new Surface Pen from Microsoft or the latest S-Pen from Samsung. Many pens of inexpensive tablets only support 1024 pressure levels.
Hardware and Performance
The Lenovo MIIX 520 differs from the competition mainly in its internal hardware. Inside sits namely the new Intel Core i5-8250U the eighth generation. If you want you can also get the tablet with a Core i7. The cheapest model with the Core i3, however, is less interesting because it is still a dual-core chip of the seventh generation. The new ones are now quad-core processors and noticeably more powerful.
As mentioned earlier, the Lenovo MIIX 520 is the first Windows tablet to feature an eighth generation chip on the market. There are more to come, and I am sure that Microsoft will release a new edition of the Surface Pro this year. But so far, the MIIX 520 is the only one.
Other features include depending on the model 4GB, 8GB or 16GB of memory, and a 128GB, 256GB or even 1TB SSD. Optionally, you can get the tablet also with integrated LTE.
I have the MIIX 520 with a Core i5-8250U, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. My first impression is that the performance is really good. I have already run some benchmarks like Geekbench 4. The results are really good at around 4000 and 13000 points – similar to the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro with very similar hardware . Especially the multi-core test is significantly stronger than a seventh-generation Core i5.
OS and Software
The Lenovo MIIX 520 runs on normal Windows 10. There are some apps from Lenovo preinstalled, as well as a trial version of McAfee. I would throw that down directly. Useful, however, is the Wacom app, with which you can configure the pen itself. This seems to be the same program that exists for Wacom graphics tablets.
As I said, otherwise it is just normal Windows 10. If you use the tablet without a keyboard, I would switch to the tablet mode. Then Windows is easier to operate with your fingers.
My first impression is pretty good so far. The Lenovo MIIX 520 offers fast hardware, high-quality workmanship and a well-implemented stylus. On the negative side, the fans are not as elegantly hidden as on the Surface Pro. In addition, the touchpad could be a good deal bigger. Also, the resolution of the display is not as high as Microsoft, but I think FullHD is sufficient.
In terms of price, the Lenovo MIIX 520 is very well positioned. As I said, the cheapest version with a Core i3 for 879 euros I consider less exciting. But I find the model really interesting with an Intel Core i5-8250U, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. This model currently costs 1049 euros. Sure, cheap just over 1000 euros are not. But it is much cheaper than the Surface Pro.