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Lenovo Miix 720 review: Living in the shadow of the best

Immediately likened to Microsoft's 2-in-1 golden standard, the Surface Pro, Lenovo's Miix 720 has a similar build, similar performance, and a cheaper price tag. Let's take a close look at the Miix 720 to help you decide whether or not it's a device you could use on a daily basis.

About this review

Lenovo loaned Windows Central a review unit of the 12-inch Miix 720. This specific configuration has an Intel Core i7-7500U processor (CPU), 8GB of DDR4-2133MHz RAM, and a 256GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD). This exact configuration costs about $1,250 (opens in new tab).

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Lenovo Miix 720 hardware and specifications

CategoryXX
ProcessorIntel Core i7-7500U (up to 3.50GHz)
Dual-core
Storage256GB PCIe-NVMe SSD
512GB PCIe-NVMe SSD
RAM8GB/16GB DDR4-2133MHz
Display12-inch QHD+ (2,880 x 1,920) IPS, touch, glossy
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 620
PortsUSB-C Thunderbolt 3
USB-A 3.0
USB-A 2.0
microSD card reader
3.5mm jack
AudioDual Dolby-enabled stereo speakers
WirelessIntel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
802.11ac (2 x 2)
Bluetooth 4.1
CameraFront-facing 1MP, IR camera for Windows Hello
Rear-facing 5MP
KeyboardMagnetic attachable
TouchpadPrecision touchpad
PenLenovo Active Pen
Battery41WHr
Weight1.72lbs (0.78kg), tablet only
2.42lbs (1.1kg), tablet and keyboard
DimensionsTablet only:
11.5 inches x 8.27 inches x 0.35 inches
292mm x 210mm x 8.9mm
Tablet and keyboard:
11.53 inches x 8.5 inches x 0.57 inches
293mm x 216mm x 14.6mm
OSWindows 10 Home
Windows 10 Pro
ColorBlack
Golden
PriceStarting at $1,250 (opens in new tab)

Living up to the best

Lenovo Miix 720 design

Lenovo has clearly taken the Surface Pro's design and made a few changes to it to better suit their own style. The tablet is made from a magnesium and fiber hybrid, and the review unit I received is finished in the usual sparkly, black paint that's common on ThinkPads. Holding the tablet in your hands, there's minimal flex and no creaking or cracking at all when giving it a twist. Chalk that up to the chassis, other than the kickstand, being made from a single piece.

Physical power and volume buttons make an appearance on the top-right edge of the tablet, both with machined silver edges that make them pop out; the touchpad has the same accented edge. To match the silver machined edges, a silver Lenovo logo is laid into the back of the tablet.

The right edge also houses a USB-A 3.0 port and one of two speakers that point out at an angle. This angled design serves as the spot where you can get a finger behind the kickstand. Smart choice to include the speakers here; sound is full and loud and doesn't easily get muffled.

On the left edge of the tablet, along with the second speaker, is a 3.5mm audio jack, a USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port (doubling as a charging port), and a USB-A 2.0 port. Using all ports at once I had no trouble with space. The decision to include USB-A 2.0 is sort of odd, but the inclusion of Thunderbolt 3 is welcome. Beneath the kickstand, you'll find a microSD card reader.

Perhaps the most attractive parts of the Miix 720 — other than the display — are the dual watchband hinges that work the kickstand. These are the same style hinges you find on Lenovo's premium devices, like the Yoga 910, and they work exceptionally well. Motion is smooth yet sturdy, and there's no sound whatsoever when moving the kickstand. They're also silver to match the other accents.

There are 150 degrees of motion here, which lets the tablet lie respectably flat. However, if you're looking for a tablet on which to draw, you might want all the motion possible; the Surface Pro's hinge has 165 degrees of motion.

The kickstand's narrow edge isn't the best for working on your lap. It's still an option, but if you're one who primarily uses their device on their lap, the ThinkPad X1 tablet's kickstand is likely better suited to your needs.

The Core i7 CPU is not fanless, so there are radial vents along the top edge of the tablet. Even when the fan does kick on, you won't feel the venting as if, say, they were pointed down or to the side.

High resolution, deep color

Lenovo Miix 720 display

Here we have a 12-inch, 2,880 x 1,920 resolution touch display that steals the show. The 3:2 aspect ratio is perfect for a tablet, and the resolution, which is marginally higher than the Surface Pro's display, makes for a clear, crisp picture. Testing the color accuracy revealed 97 percent sRGB and 75 percent of AdobeRGB, both respectable results. The only complaint: it's quite dim at full brightness, a problem most Lenovo laptops suffer from. This problem is compounded by the glossy finish, especially when working outdoors.

The bezel around the display is pretty much the perfect size on a device you'll be using as a tablet, measuring just over a half inch on each side. Set into the top bezel above the screen is an IR camera that's compatible with Windows Hello. In testing, it worked as well as any other I used, and I was able to log into Windows immediately.

Lenovo's Wacom AES Active Pen, included with the Miix 720, has 2,048 levels of pressure for a decent inking experience. To achieve 4,096 levels of pressure, you'll need to invest in the Active Pen 2 (opens in new tab).

Instead of using a magnetic clip system like the Surface Pro, Lenovo is still using the USB port holder that really makes the pen feel more like an afterthought than an essential part of the product. It sticks out from the side of the tablet, and it's a bit of a worry that it's going to hit something and break off. Thankfully, there's a shirt clip on the pen if you need to carry it around without a case.

Heavy but comfortable

Lenovo Miix 720 keyboard and touchpad

The outside of the attachable keyboard is covered in a fabric-like material that gives the device a dossier look when closed. When opened, the fabric gives way to the same soft-touch, magnesium and fiber hybrid the tablet's chassis is made from. The result is a sturdy keyboard — there's really no flex, even when working on your lap — that weighs quite a bit. With the keyboard attached, the unit jumps up to 2.42 pounds (1.1kg). That's heavier than a lot of other 2-in-1 devices we've tested.

There's an ample-sized Precision touchpad here that works well with perfect sensitivity right out of the box, and there's no rattling or creaking when clicking. It feels solid, and the mylar construction is a treat for the fingertips.

The keyboard, while resembling one found on a ThinkPad, is not the same. The keys are not cupped, and it doesn't seem like there's quite as much travel, but they still deliver a comfortable typing experience. Bottoming out on the deck is relatively soft, and typing for long periods of time remains comfortable. A backlight ensures you can work in the dark, and the F keys include volume and screen brightness.

Why?

Lenovo Miix 720 included software

One of the major complaints about the Miix 720 is the amount of software that comes loaded on it. Along with McAfee antivirus, there are several other pieces of mostly useless, preloaded software. Not only do they take up room on the hard drive, they're actually on their own 25GB partition. That's a significant amount of space when you choose to go with the 256GB SSD.

If you dislike bloatware, you'll want to remove most of this pre-installed junk immediately. That's not much of a hassle, but dealing with reclaiming a partitioned section of the SSD should never be your first objective after buying a new laptop.

All-around satisfaction

Lenovo Miix 720 performance

After using the Miix 720 as my primary device for about a week, I found no standout performance issues. It was able to power through everyday tasks without breaking a sweat, but I did notice the fan kick on often. It's not the loudest fan by a long shot, but you'll definitely know when it kicks on.

As for the battery, streaming video over Wi-Fi at about 70-percent brightness got about five solid hours of playback, while regular usage with the same brightness netted me between seven and eight hours of life. If you really baby it, you'll no doubt be able to get through a full workday on a single charge.

CPU

Geekbench 4.0 Benchmarks (Higher is better)

DeviceCPUSingle coreMulti core
Lenovo Miix 720i7-7500U3,8707,322
Lenovo Yoga 720 15i7-7700HQ3,78410,255
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2nd Gen)i5-7200U3,9117,549
Surface Proi7-7660U4,5129,346
Surface Laptopi5-7200U3,7257,523
Lenovo ThinkPad T470i5-7300U vPro4,3948,580
Dell Latitude 5285i7-7600U4,6359,289
Lenovo ThinkPad X270i7-7600U4,5128,566
Lenovo ThinkPad T470si5-7300U vPro3,9196,077
Lenovo Yoga 720 13i5-7200U3,8817,509
Lenovo X1 Carboni5-7300U4,1398,311
HP EliteBook x360 G2i7-7600U4,4968,435
Samsung Notebook 9 15 Exti7-7500U4,3168,320
Dell Latitude 7280i7-7600U4,3817,935
Dell XPS 13 (9360)i7-6560U4,1207,829
HP Spectre 13i7-7500U4,1007,469
Surface Booki7-6600U3,9487,415

The dual-core Core i7-7500U CPU performs on par with what's expected, and there were no standout issues. This is enough power for your standard, everyday tasks, but you might want to look elsewhere if you're getting into anything specialized, like multimedia editing or heavy gaming.

GPU

Geekbench 4.0 Graphics OpenCL (Higher is better)

DeviceScore
Lenovo Miix 72019,688
Lenovo Yoga 720 1513,727
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2nd Gen)19,738
Surface Pro 201730,678
Surface Laptop19,256
Lenovo ThinkPad T47021,276
Dell Latitude 528521,921
Lenovo ThinkPad X27017,376
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s16,635
Lenovo Yoga 720 1318,185
Lenovo X1 Carbon20,932
Dell Latitude 548021,616
Dell XPS 13 (9360)19,410
Surface Book18,197
Dell Latitude 728017,827

Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 handle less-taxing jobs quite well. I was able to play Minecraft on high settings, but for anything more intensive, you'll want to have a look at a device with a dedicated GPU.

PCMark

PCMark Home Conventional 3.0

DeviceScoreComparison
Lenovo Miix 7202,695Better than 46 percent of all results
Lenovo Yoga 720 152,993Better than 57 percent of all results
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2nd Gen)2,773Better than 46 percent of all results
Surface Pro 20173,055Better than 57 percent of all results
Surface Laptop2,494Better than 40 percent of all results
Lenovo ThinkPad T4703,103Better than 62 percent of all results
Dell Latitude 52853,079Better than 57 percent of all results
Lenovo ThinkPad X2703,009Better than 57 percent of all results
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s2,576Better than 40 percent of all results
Lenovo Yoga 720 132,717Better than 46 percent of all results
Lenovo X1 Carbon Core i52,965Better than 57 percent of all results
Samsung Notebook 9 15 Ext2,998Better than 57 percent of all results
Dell XPS 15 (9560)3,534Better than 71 percent of all results
Dell Latitude 72802,829Better than 52 percent of all results
HP Spectre x360 152,472Better than 41 percent of all results

The PCMark Home Conventional tests measures how well a bunch of your hardware works together while performing everyday tasks. The Miix 720 performed quite well, even beating out some full-sized Ultrabooks. This result is evident in everyday use.

SSD

CrystalDiskMark (Higher is better)

DeviceReadWrite
Lenovo Miix 7201,183 MB/s595.1 MB/s
Lenovo Yoga 720 151,839 MB/s1,238 MB/s
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2nd Gen)1,253 MB/s763.6 MB/s
Surface Pro1,284 MB/s963 MB/s
Surface Laptop423 MB/s237 MB/s
Lenovo ThinkPad T4701,079 MB/s716.1 MB/s
Dell Latitude 52851,300 MB/s1,113 MB/s
Lenovo ThinkPad X270 PCIe1,049 MB/s636.9 MB/s
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s1,557 MB/s1,333 MB/s
Lenovo Yoga 7201,904 MB/s1,169 MB/s
Lenovo X1 Carbon1,518 MB/s1,188 MB/s
Samsung Notebook 9 15 Ext1,365 MB/s1,213 MB/s
Razer Blade Pro2,571 MB/s2,467 MB/s
Dell XPS 15 (9560)2,207 MB/s1,628 MB/s
Dell XPS 13 (9360)1,287 MB/s794 MB/s
HP Spectre x360 151,128 MB/s862 MB/s

The Intel 600p Series SSD wasn't the fastest we've tested — that title still belongs to Samsung hardware — but it gets the job done. Apps launch fast, and you won't be stuck waiting around while your documents load.

TL;DR

Lenovo Miix 720 review: Conclusion

The Miix 720 is an interesting device. It's clearly meant to live up to the standard set by the Surface Pro, and in that aspect, I think it mostly succeeds. The tablet is built well, and I love the hinges, the display is beautiful and has deep color, the battery holds up through a day of use, and it has the ports you want.

The attachable keyboard, while comfortable to type on, is quite heavy and ups the overall weight to a noticeable degree. Lenovo's Active Pen works as it should and delivers a satisfying inking experience, but it feels tacked on rather than designed with the tablet. There's also the bloatware and partition issue.

The final comparison is to look at the price. This review unit, with a Core i7-7500U CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD, costs about $1,250 (opens in new tab) and includes the Active Pen and the attachable keyboard and touchpad. A Surface Pro with the same specs costs about $1,600 (opens in new tab), and that's before tacking on almost $300 more for the Surface Pen and Type Cover.

The bottom line here is that Lenovo has created a respectable 2-in-1 device that will no doubt attract a large audience. When you can save a few hundred dollars and still take home a laptop that's nearly on par with the best, the final decision really comes down to how much you're willing to spend.

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Pros

  • Beautiful touch display.
  • IR camera for Windows Hello.
  • Watchband hinges are smooth.
  • USB-C Thunderbolt 3 doubles as charging port.
  • Comfortable typing experience.

Cons:

  • SSD comes with huge partition.
  • Active Pen feels tacked on.
  • Attachable keyboard is rather heavy.
Cale Hunt
Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

7 Comments
  • The right shift key could be a problem for touch typers.  The keyboard layout looks like the same one they used in the Yoga 710 and after trying it, there's no way I could use it.  Too bad b/c that was the only thing I didn't like about the 710.
  • this type of title that you choose is to make people kind of angry and to make them come and visit. it is impossible for OEMs to make better quality hardware than Microsoft. because of these reasons. 1. Microsoft doesn't produce hardware to benefit from the money only. it makes the most premium hardware to make OEMs have better quality and lower prices. if they don't improve, windows would look as useless as mac. 2. very high prices are on primum devices and OEMs can't efford building them because then nonbody would buy. 3. if any OEM tries this kind of lunecy will alert Microsoft that somebody is going too far. and relation between main company and OEM goes in jeopardy. 4. companies other than american are having a hard time improving up to Americans. and they are really unable to catch up. at the end it is totally impossible for an OEM to build premium devices. maybe near but never premium. unless they plan to ruin the hole company. but Lenovo is too smart for that. and its very great because pixel proved that google is not smart at all. and google is not an OEM.
  • I don't get the weight comment, "...that weighs quite a bit. With the keyboard attached, the unit jumps up to 2.42 pounds (1.1kg). That's heavier than a lot of other 2-in-1 devices we've tested." - isn't this nearly the same weight (within single digit grams) of the 2017 SP with type cover that it has been pitted against?
  • I am using a Windows Surface Pro 2 with 8GB, 256GB SSD and the Dock with a 500GB USB 3.0 HD and for the money the Core i5 runs everything I use very fast. I was able to get this Manufacturer refurb for under $500 and it doen't even have a mark on it. The build qiality on the Pro 2 is really good and being in I.T. for a long time I feel I know good from Not so good, keep in mind Lenovo has always made one of the best systems in any class (they used to make the IBM ThinkPads). For a change I wanted to give Microsoft the praise they deserve. All we need now is the Windows 10 phone that plugs into a dock and becomes a full PC you can take with you. Yhey have shown this already so lets get it out their. Tom
  • Tom, let me second your appreciation of the Surface Pro 2. I have purchased two (one is a backup, of course) from a vendor of Manufacturer refurbs, and they are like new. I have some older drafting and designing programs with the drivers for Wacom digitizing tablets. I started using the SP2 as a digitizer, and discovered the power and convenience of a 2-in-1. Although I have a desktop and a couple laptops, the SP2 is my every day choice. Even though I have a current model Dell 2-in-1, I still want to add my praise for the Microsoft SP2. Regards, GuddoggEli
  • Still, not trusting them after Superfish
  • Can you make comparison of asus transformer pro 3, acer switch 5, lenovo miix 720 and surface pro? Haha