I’ve mentioned before that the keyboard on the Lenovo Ideapad Miix 700 frustratingly cuts out while typing, which sharply reduces the utility of the keyboard while in laptop mode. It was an irritating problem that I nonetheless shrugged through because laptop mode is not the main reason I got the device. I got the device because I wanted a reliable and relatively powerful tablet. So far, it has proven to fulfill that role quite well.
Still, the keyboard issues vexed me, so, while waiting for a verdict in a trial last week (we got a mistrial, which–given the circumstances–was a good thing), I started poking around on Lenovo’s website to see if there was a driver fix for the keyboard. At the time, I couldn’t find one. But that’s because I was a couple of days early.
On October 22, 2016, Lenovo released a fix which can be found here. And, lo and behold, it works. Every keystroke is registered, and typing is much more enjoyable.
Lament the Trackpad
But, there’s a downside. The trackpad doesn’t work anymore. Which seems to be something Lenovo anticipated since the second step of the instructions to install the keyboard fix is to install trackpad drivers. Here’s the problem: the trackpad driver didn’t work. It installed just fine, and when you look at the properties for the device, there are no reported problems. But it doesn’t respond to touch. Comparatively speaking, I’d rather have a functioning keyboard than a functioning keyboard, since I have found I use the trackpad a lot less with the touchscreen (and hey, iPad Pro users don’t have the option for one at all), sometimes it’s nice to have the relative precision it can provide. So, the next time I get some free time, I guess I’ll track down what’s going on with that.
Just about exactly one month ago, I purchased an open-box Lenovo Ideapad Miix 700 from Microcenter here in Houston, Texas. I discussed my initial impressions about the device, which were quite favorable, here. A month later, how has the device stacked up? Has it improved my workflow? Have there been any glaring problems? Do I regret the purchase? Well, let’s dig in.
The Miix 700 is a Good Size
Moving up from the 8-inch Dell Venue 8 Pro to the nearly 13-inch Lenovo Ideapad Miix 700 was a revelation. Five inches is a lot when you’re talking about tablet screens. In fact, the Miix 700 is almost exactly as wide as the V8P is tall.
The screen is beautifully crisp, colorful, and sharp. Having a full-HD screen in a relatively small display makes for an incredibly pleasing experience. While the V8P was serviceable at browsing the web and reading books on the Kindle client, the extra screen real estate means that reading Word documents and PDFs is pleasant, rather than a laborious chore. The small screen of the V8P meant that I was constantly zooming and panning to read documents, which was far from ideal. That doesn’t happen with the Miix 700. I can read documents in full-screen mode, and it’s essentially equivalent to reading on a standard sheet of paper.
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 mentioned yesterday that I was in the market for a 2-in-1 to replace the dead Venue 8 Pro. Though I mentioned a lot of options conveniently found at the Microsoft Store, I left a different device off the list: the Lenovo Ideapad Miix 700. This is largely because it debuted in September of 2015, and really didn’t make much of a splash. (Not that any PCs have made much of a splash in recent years…)
A Blessed Surface (Pro) Clone
Microsoft created the Surface line to show OEMs what a 2-in-1 is supposed to be, and has seemingly given its blessing to devices which essentially copy the Surface look and feel. Obviously, there is only so much an OEM can do to differentiate its devices–at the end of the day, you’re basically looking at a rectangle with a keyboard. Corners may or may not be rounded, and the devices will vary by a few millimeters and grams here and there. But, for the most part, a rectangle is a rectangle is a rectangle.
When it debuted, the Miix 700–which looks and acts almost exactly like Microsoft’s Surface offerings–fell somewhere in between the Surface 3 and the Surface Pro 3 in terms of price and features.
Integrated “continuous” kickstand with 0-150° of rotation.
(These were the best specs and prices I could determine based on the respective manufacturer’s websites. If they’re inaccurate, I apologize. Things in RED are an advantage, and things in GREEN are a slight advantage.)
I Found a Bargain on the Miix 700
Brand new, the Ideapad Miix 700 is a strong competitor, price-wise, but ends up being on my but-I-really-don’t-want-to-spend-that-much-on-this-thing list. For a lot less, I could get HP’s Pavilion x2, accepting its slower processor and taking a gamble on the stylus. Or, honestly, just leaving the whole thing alone until a new generation of devices comes out.
But last weekend, I decided to finally go visit Houston’s new Microcenter store. (It used to be on the West Loop, which was a traffic nightmare. Now it’s moved to South Rice Avenue, which is slightly less of a traffic nightmare.) I needed to get some toner and photo paper, but ended up discovering that there was an Open-Box special on a Miix 700, which put the price at roughly 40% off. In other words, it was less expensive than the Pavilion x2, including the Active Pen (only $34 on Amazon).
I had a decision to make. I’m wary of deals that are too good to be true (which this seemed to be). And Open-Box specials can be concerning–was there a specific reason this came back to the store? (The sales associate said that it was returned because it was unwanted, not because it was malfunctioning.) Why was there another Open-Box special for a couple hundred bucks more? (Sales associate did not know.) The manufacturer’s warranty (1 year) still applied, and there was a fifteen-day Microcenter return policy on all open-box items. So I bit the bullet, bought it, and ordered the active pen after I got home.