The Lenovo Ideapad Miix 700 comes in a nice enough box which includes the tablet, the keyboard, the charging block and cable, and a small instruction sheet. The first thing I noticed was the oddly shaped plug on the charging cable.
See that little notch there? It fits into the USB 2.0 port on the left/bottom side of the tablet for charging. I suspect that means normal USB 2.0 cables don’t work for charging purposes. Which is a bummer. Proprietary cables are a pain.
I Hope I Like Gold
The next thing that stands out during the unboxing is the color of the device. The back is gold. Which is all trendy right now. Whether that’s Apple’s fault, or whether it is a trend I simply ignored, I don’t know. I’m not the biggest fan of gold stuff, so I’ll have to make peace with the fact I now own a device that’s gold.
I guess it looks nice, at least. And the vast majority of time, no one is going to see it because it will either be laying flat on my desk or covered by the attached keyboard cover. (More on the keyboard in a minute).
Stand and Deliver
You can plainly see the “watch-clasp” hinge for the integrated fold-out stand. I really, really, really like the way Microsoft and Lenovo have handled the stand. Integrating it into the tablet case means that it can sit on a desk or table or counter without the keyboard. Tablets like the iPad Pro, Huawei MateBook, and Galaxy TabPro S, require a cover of some sort be folded up as a prop.
To me, that’s flimsy and makes for a wobbly experience. That was my experience using a similar style of cover with the Venue 8 Pro, at least. (Anecdotally, I listen to Apple-oriented podcasts all the time, and the people using the iPad Pro seem to have no issues with it, so, maybe they like that style. All I can say is that I greatly prefer the stability of the Surface and the Miix approach.)
The Miix 700 Keyboard
The included physical keyboard cover is light and very sturdy. The back of the keyboard is a satisfying faux (I’m assuming) leather, that is ever so slightly padded, and easy to grip. The keyboard slots into a groove on the bottom of the device with a satisfying click and stays attached with confidence.
Typing on it, while somewhat cramped, is nonetheless mostly comfortable. There’s a decent amount of space between each key–which have slight curves on the bottom of each key–and the keystrokes are deep enough to feel like you’re typing on something other than a slightly squishy membrane.
That isn’t to say that I would type everything on it. For one thing, the Backspace key is too small, and is situated too far up in the upper right corner. While I have less typing muscle memory thanks to the fact that I routinely type on 3 or 4 different physical keyboards on any given day, it still means that when I make a typo, the results will often look like “alun==mini==um” while my right pinky consistently misses the Backspace key. Perhaps I’ll get more used to it, but for now, it’s a source of a little frustration. Other people have complained that the keyboard is not backlit, and I can understand the complaint. But backlighting isn’t essential for my needs, and I’m okay that it doesn’t have it.
Speaking of frustration and typos, the keyboard is… Well, it is sometimes unresponsive. That is, while typing, it will occasionally fail to register keystrokes. I’ve read that a firmware update might help with that, but I think I may have already installed it. (More on that in a later post.) In any event, slowing down and being more deliberate with my typing also ameliorates the problem, but since I’m not the world’s fastest typist, that means typing is a little slower on the Miix than on other devices. That’s okay, since my intended role for the device is primarily note-taking and mobile case support (and not whole-scale desktop replacement), but it would be nice if I had more confidence in its ability to fully gather what I type.
All in all, my first impressions of the device are very positive. It feels good in the hands, feels very well built, and I’m looking forward to really testing the Windows 10 experience on it, and I’m especially looking forward to using the stylus.