So far, HP has had the ARM PC market for tablets with keyboards all to itself, but Lenovo recently soft-launched its Miix 630 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (the Snapdragon 850 is not expected until the end of 2018).
On the first pass, the Miix 630 strikes a strong resemblance to the HP Envy x2, but that's not due to copying, but rather both are based off Qualcomm's reference design for such an ideal Snapdragon-powered Windows tablet. That's a good thing as it's a winning composition (certainly better than HP's attempt at an Intel version).
How does the Lenovo's Miix 630 compare to the HP Envy x2 and is this a worthy Windows 10 on ARM device? Check out my latest video review to find out.
Lenovo Miix 630 specifications
For all intents and purposes, the Miix 630 and Envy x2 are the same. But each company has added its personal touch to make it unique.
Lenovo, for its part, differs from HP's attempt in a few ways:
- Dual infrared (IR) lenses for Windows Hello (versus one).
- Speakers are sideward facing (not the front).
- Jet black (iron grey) vs. silver.
- About a half pound heavier.
- Magnets to keep the keyboard closed.
- Shared SIM + Micro SD slot.
- Faster eUFS 2.1 storage by Samsung.
- Keyboard has two-stage backlighting (instead of one).
- Includes eSIM in the box with free 1GB of data.
Other than those differences, the Mixx 630 and Envy x2 are the same. Similar display, same great audio quality, Precision touchpad, the same amount of RAM and storage size, etc.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is storage. Lenovo is using Samsung eUFS (~700 MB/s) for that 128GB of drive space, and it boasts about 200 MB/s faster read time over what HP is using. Normally, that's not a huge deal, but where performance is already somewhat compromised with the Snapdragon 835 every bit of power here counts.
|Category||Lenovo Miix 630 (ARM)|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835|
|Storage||128GB eUFS 2.1 (Samsung)|
|Display||12.3-inch FHD+ (1920 X 1280)|
Corning Gorilla Glass
|Keyboard||Backlit, Precision Touchpad|
13MP rear world-facing
|Stylus||Lenovo Active Pen (included)|
|Wireless||Qualcomm WCN3990 802.11ac (2x2) Bluetooth 4.1|
|Ports||USB-C x 1 (Gen 1, DisplayPort 1.3 Power Delivery), headphone/mic, dual SIM/Micro SD tray|
|Security||Windows Hello facial recognition (dual IR)|
|Weight||Tablet: 1.7lbs (770g)|
With KB: 3.1lbs (1.39 kg)
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||W/o keyboard: 8.23" x 11.54" x 0.29" / 210 x 293 x 7.3 (mm)|
|Price||$899 ($799 on sale)|
Lenovo is also great about including an actual eSIM in the device. Out of the box, users can connect to Lenovo's Connect system and nab 1GB of free LTE data for one month. Afterward, users can buy more data.
Sprint in the US is also running a great deal with free LTE data through 2018 when you buy from Microsoft or Amazon.
Lenovo Mixx 630 fit and feel
Lenovo's take on the Mixx 630 is slightly heavier – about 0.5 lbs – over HP's more rounded and slightly thinner attempt (6.9mm versus 7.3mm).
The Miix 630 though is solid with a nice, evenly distributed weight and machined edges that you only find on high-end premium devices. It looks sharp too being jet black all around – even the hinge on the keyboard omits any silver hues.
Lenovo opted to put the speakers on the side, and as a result, audio is somewhat diminished versus HP's preferred (and more expensive) "etched in the glass" front-facing speakers. Nonetheless, the Mixx 630's audio is excellent due to the dual 1W speakers.
Typing on the Miix 630 is very good, but I do prefer HP's take better. HP's keyboard is crisper and more accurate where the Miix 630 suffers from a bit of mushiness. It's not bad at all, but when directly comparing to HP's it's clear who is better.
With a Precision trackpad, I have no complaints about cursor movement. The trackpad is taller than HP's, but not as long. It's a great trackpad though.
The display is also just smidge better than HP's with some deeper blacks, but that is traded for a more fingerprint-prone finish. Color accuracy, brightness, and stepping of intensity are very good.
Finally, I did appreciate the dual IR camera for Windows Hello which I found more reliable than HP's attempt at using just one.
Lenovo Miix 630 – A solid (and cheaper) ARM option
With the Microsoft budget-focused Surface Go on the horizon for release, it is no surprise that Lenovo and HP are cutting prices where they can – this exacerbated by HP and Lenovo competing on what is 95 percent the same device.
I won't hide my thoughts here: this Qualcomm reference design is ace. The keyboard design with the folding hinge, Windows Hello, outstanding audio and battery life that hits around 15 hours easily is awesome. Even the size with its 12.3-inch display is a happy middle ground and much easier to use for longer duration than Microsoft's new 10-inch Surface.
The Microsoft Store is selling the Lenovo Miix 630 for $799 – on sale from $899 – and that's a competitive price for what's included in the box: PC, cover + keyboard, active pen, and LTE. The Surface Go with similar features, and a smaller display is $750 to $780, and that's not including LTE.
- Extremely long battery life.
- Outstanding build quality and hardware.
- Instant on, 4G always-connected.
- Cheaper than HP.
- Not all Store apps and games run on it (yet).
- Heavier and thicker than Envy x2.
However, there is the issue of the Snapdragon 850 launching later this year. That processor is reportedly up to 30 percent faster than the Snapdragon 835 used here. That makes buying this 2-in-1 a bit of risk.
The Snapdragon 835 is fine for Microsoft Store apps and the instant-on, long battery life, and always-connected LTE are the selling points. That makes the Miix 630 ideal for students, writers, reporters, lawyers, realtors, or anyone who needs a writing/email-first device with some web browsing (tied to Microsoft Edge, of course). That's a limited demographic, but for those who need what the Miix 630 can do that $799 price tag is tempting.
Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.
Massively over-priced. Chromebook functionality when in S-Mode and poor performance when unlocked. Needs to be $299 base price and maybe another $100 for the keyboard and pen. WoA will not grow with these rediculous prices. It is really bad when you are 3x the price Apple starts at!
Won't be that low given the screen quality alone. I disagree overall, though. Using email clients for multiple accounts and the store level apps hit the market Dan speaks about. At ~$800, keyboard and all, it can sell there. If they can keep within that range +/- $100 and the 850, I think it will remain as a category.
This is overpriced yet you will pay $999+for a phone?
I probably wouldn't, but if it was that good I would think about it. Anyways, a $1000 phone is going to be top of the line. It isn't going to have similar specs and performance to a $329 phone. It will have the newest processor(not an old one like the SD835), a 2k screen with no bezels, great camera, and the best build quality. Again, for $1000 you are getting the best phone possible, not low end specs and performance for a premium price.
Phones have usable apps... This has UWP. 😔😕
I bet your knowledge of UWP it's really limited
Yes. UWPs are a lot better than just usable apps.
Look (just one example) what Huetro4Hue can do compared to any Hue-App on Android - and it still easier to use.
Bleached, I will keep correcting you on your poor math. iPad 9.7 (128 + LTE) ($529) + pencil ($100) + kb ) $100) = $729. This is $799 on sale and is a full PC with a REAL keyboard, trackpad and stereo speakers vs. a single one. Please, take the time and learn this. Getting tired of correcting you but I will continue to do so. (Also, I know you're just doing this on purpose because you're trolling here).
This isn't a full PC. You never took it out of S-Mode for a reason: performance and compatibility isn't there for a full PC. This competes with iPad and Chromebooks. These devices start at ~$300 or less. $800 is massively over-priced for this segment. LTE, keyboard and pen isn't worthy of a $500 premium for a device with no ecosystem.
iPads and Chromebooks are also not a "full PC", which I don't even know what that means. Again, when equally spec'd out: iPad = $729 vs $799 for Miix 630. That is very similar. It can run non-Store "classic" apps. They run just fine, it's just performance is not as good. But people run Atom and Celeron PCs, so it's a personal call, not a technical point.
"LTE, keyboard and pen isn't worthy of a $500 premium for a device with no ecosystem."Says you. I say a sub-$300 Chromebook or a iPad is not worth my time. So what? The Logitech KB is terrible, the iPad a single speaker, and it doesn't support a mouse or trackpad in 2018. Passss. Even a basic iPad with no LTE, KB and Pencil is still $529 - for what? Something I can watch Netflix on or YouTube? How is that useful vs. just buying a PC laptop? You conflate your personal performance and desire and make a sweeping generation that this is what everyone wants.
You admit this device has Atom performance, a very low end chip from years ago. You think $800 is a good price for an Atom level performance? Be honest. Surface Go is $399 and has a substantially more expensive processor ($160 vs $60 if your figures were correct, I am sure LTE doesn't cost them $100 more to implement). That processor is also better performing. Why again do you think these devices shouldn't be $300, or at least matching the base iPad ($329).
Are you an idiot or just trolling? The Surface Go has less storage, a smaller screen, and doesn't include the keyboard or pen and you think this Lenovo should be cheaper? Than you talk about processor price while ignoring EVERY other component, I'm guessing you've never built a PC before. The system with the more expensive processor isn't automatically better.
You would buy Atom performance for a premium price? At $800 you are in Dell XPS territory.
Surface 3 with an Atom x7 sold for $499 + KB ($129) + Pen ($50 at the time). So, $679. That model had 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage! Go to the 4GB/128GB Surface 3 and it was $780 and still no LTE. Add LTE and Surface 3 was $930 total...all for Intel Atom. Plus, no Windows Hello, no GPS, and it ran the OS/Store apps worse than Snapdragon. It was one of the most popular Surfaces to date. Again, you're just terrible at math and have ZERO idea of how to compare devices.
Keep it up Dan. We're tired of this resident troll.
In some articles that he is everywhere, I just skip the comment. Not worth my time. He keeps saying the same thing again and again, even after losing the discussion.
Sorry, it isn't 2015. Atom performance isn't acceptable, unless the price matches. We can revisit this next year when ARM still has no ecosystem, sales are terrible, and it is no longer Microsoft's "focus". Apple can put out an iPad for $329 with better build quality, better processor, fingerprint sensor, and a full ecosystem. Why can't Microsoft put out an ARM device for the same price? At $800, no one is going to buy these. Sales are going to be terrible. Developers aren't going to pay any attention and manufacturers will get frustrated and give up. Microsoft has to be competitive or it will be another failure.
Well, here i have to disagree. I bought my Surface 3 + keyboard + Pen for €499. I would also say $800 is a bit to much (would be 830€). However, i'm looking forward to get a device with a SD850 at arround that price tag (since my now 1,5years old XPS13 starts to show some physical wear).
i think what he means about "Atom / Celeron Performance" is when the ARM Processor trying to run x86 programs, which is all reasonable because it's doing emulation. and when it compared to iPad or Chromebook, these two can't even run x86 programs. when the programs is fully optimized for ARM, the Snapdragon 835 gives you performance about equal with Core m3 or older generation Core i3 ULV, not so that bad especially with the long battery life, always connected, nice touchscreen and pen.
There is no poor performance when unlocked. There is only performance degradations when running x86 apps - but this is totally independent of UPW/Store or Win32. If the UWP or Win32 apps is ARM64 or ARM32 (most store apps are 32 bit ARM) performance is great - when the UWP or WIN32 apps is x86 performance is lower - how much depends on the app but typically factor 2-3 slower than native ARM64. And even the x86 apps are not really un-usable slow. On the bright side, you are getting the fastest passively cooled Windows tablet which happens to also have the longest battery duration and always connected capabilities - where you can actually wake-up the device from standby by saying "Hey Cortana"
$399 Surface will be perfectly fine for S-Mode and way faster for legacy Windows programs while being passively cooled.
S-mode can't run legacy apps other than preinstalled one or centennial one. So yes it will run fine for a very long time.
I'm using windows 10 S for almost a year now.
Windows 10 S is millions times better than Chromebooks can be. So take your opinion in your ass.
Nice review, and great comparison with the HP device. I'm impressed you found any differences :)
In my country the Surface Go is marketed by MS to have "the power of a laptop and the mobility of a tablet". The Lenovo device with a weight of 1.4 kg. is both heavier and thicker. To me it seems like an attractive laptop, but it does not have the mobility of a tablet. It is not something that you will want to allways carry with you. The attraction of the Surface Go to me is the combination of being both laptop and tablet - a true mobile device. I would like the battery life of the Lenovo Miix 630 though. Perhaps this will be the case with the next generation of the Surface Go with ARM 850. Still, my mind is set on the Surface Go as a secondary truly mobile device, that can perform as a laptop.
I mean, it is true that a 10-inch device is lighter than one with a 12.3-inch display. The question is, for many, is 10-inch worth the trade off for usage versus weight? I could make a very light laptop with a 9-inch display, but not sure it's ideal either. But, hey, choice is good.
Depends on the use scenario. I had a 10ish inch S3 and it was better than my SP when I am walking around the classroom using it during lecture.
You're absolutely right: having a broad choice between different devices is great! That's why I have always preferred the Windows and Android ecosystems to Apple. For my use case 10-inch is enough for a mobile device (document reading/editing, mail handling, note taking, browsing, doodling, movies on the go). But I would certainly not use it for large spreadsheets or writing the next big novel! Personally I will only bring with me something like the size and weight of this device if I know I'm going to need it. Whereas something like the Surface Go is light and small enough to always carry with you. But that might just be me!
Tempting but as always when the next gen processor is speced out and on the horizon people will hold off for the fire sale when the 850 version comes. MS needs to get their hardware out when the processors are new, not when they are already dated (SD845 mobile devices are in the wild, which is what the 850 is based on).
Good to see more OEMs making WOA. gen 2 will be the one to watch. Surface go 2 will likely be WOA too.
People complaining about the price need to understand that OEM's were never going to sell their ARM-based versions for a lot less money. They're not going to undercut sales of their Intel devices. These first generation WoA devices will be made in low volume and priced to be profitable.
Huge mistake by Microsoft. They should have had a better plan for these devices. After poor sales due to high price, the manufacturers aren't going to be interested and developers aren't going to increase their support. Microsoft needs to get cheap ARM devices out in the wild as soon as possible. Otherwise it is only a matter of time before they kill the project due to lack of interest.
Only a Simpleton would buy this at this price. The price has to come down. Any bets on how this will sell?
I'd be curious to see what if any store games run on this.
Basically anything that could run on an Android phone I would assume.
Great Review Dan. As a current 2Gb SP3 LTE user for years, and someone that reviewed a unit in the local MS Store today, my question to you is "how" do you put the device into "always on" mode? I see nothing but Restart, Shutdown, and Suspend. .... Do I simply tap the power button like a phone? Is this worth an new article? 😀
Yeah, what it's doing is never going into a hibernate/suspsend/s3 state like Intel PC's due (usually after 30 minutes by default on batter). On a Surface, Dell, or HP, when it's "off" for a few hours and you turn it back on you see their logos, then some animation to let you know it's turning back on, and then Windows login. That can take anywhere from 15-45 seconds depending on processor, storage, design, etc. This never does that. It's like your smartphone. You just hit the power button and it's on. Doesn't matter if it's minutes, hours, days, or weeks. There's no setting for it, it just works like that.
Of course I'm excited about Windows 10 on ARM, but this article completely misses the biggest drawback of the platform as it currently stands- USB and driver compatibility. This is something that most consumers that are buying these products won't understand, and may get frustrated by after their purchase. People buy Windows over other operating systems out of a need for compatibility, and while the software compatibility is mostly there (several video games don't work because of graphics incompatibilities), hardware is a complete shot in the dark. Anything with a basic USB plug and play driver (like a mass storage device or a camera) will work fine, but get into the more application-specific USB devices, and you're going to run into a real headache. Not only is this what has kept me away from the platform, but I'd imagine this is really going to confuse some consumers who buy USB hardware that's marked as "Compatible with Windows 10" only to find that the drivers that device needs don't work on ARM.
Again, like performance concerns, this is a solvable problem though, not an inherent flaw with the platform. It's literally no different when we switched to x64 and it took years for drivers to get updated/come over. Did you ever run Windows 2000 as a consumer? Considering these devices currently only have one Type-C port, which is also used for charging the use case appeals more to mass storage/charging rather than plugging in multiple peripherals (the same applies to all smartphones, btw, and that really has not caused much headache). So sure, it's a drawback. I'm however not convinced it's the biggest one.
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Definitely would prefer a tablet sized GO like option myself. ARM sounds like a sweet deal to me (atom level speeds for win32 is fine, you can game on that if it's not heavy, and longer battery life and instant on? Yes please). But I've never been sold on larger hybrids, I like the idea of mostly using a tablet like ...a tablet, reading comics and mags, and surfing or watching shows, and using the keyboard option in a pinch. If the next GO is arm, I'm in. Otherwise, someone please make one, for casual/non business users who like a beefier OS than crappy android etc (like a full desktop browser, multiple tabs, full media software)? thanks.
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