Lenovo unveiled a $149 Windows 8.1 tablet at Mobile World Congress, and we were on hand to put the ideapad MIIX 300 through its paces to give you this preliminary report.
Build & Design
While not an extremely thin or light device, it will have a fairly typical form factor for a mid-size tablet, coming in at 0.8 lbs. (360g) and a thickness of 0.4 in. (9.3 mm). Its length and width will be 5.1 x 8.5 in. (130 x 215 mm).
Although the device will look very generic from the front, including average-size screen bezels, the back of this device will look very professional.
Some of the earlier low-cost Windows tablets had simply terrible displays, making them bad values at any price. The ideapad MIIX 300, by contrast, will have a quite nice-looking one. It is going to be 8 inches, with a resolution of 1280 x 800, giving it a pixel density of about 188 ppi. Admittedly, that’s a fairly low resolution, but not out of line for a $149 tablet. And this is going to be an IPS screen, so it supports wide viewing angles.
We have not yet had a chance to truly test this display, but preliminary indications are that it will be quite a bit better than some of its rivals, and actually quite decent.
Buttons and Ports
All Windows tablets come with a microSD memory card slot, and like all mid-size tablets running this OS there will be a micro-USB port, not a full size one.
There will be no physical Windows button on this model, just the on-screen one.
Intel continues to offer incentives to companies that want to use its processors in budget tablets, so the ideapad MIIX 300 will be powered by a quad-core Atom Bay Trail chip. Lenovo has not yet reveled the exact specs of this, however. Still, the prototype unit we tested at MWC offered respectable performance.
There will be 2 GB of RAM, and internal storage capacity will top out at 64 GB.
This tablet will come with Windows 8.1 with Bing, a slightly modified version of this operating system designed for budget tablets like this one. Lenovo has not yet said whether the MIIX 300 will be upgradable to Windows 10 when it is released later this year.
This computer will come bundled with a year’s subscription to Office 365, Microsoft’s suite of productivity apps. While running Word, Excel, and Powerpoint on an 8-inch screen isn’t ideal, it’s quite doable when necessary.
Wireless, Camera, and Battery
Wi-Fi b/g/n and Bluetooth will, of course, be included in the ideapad MIIX 300, but at this point there are no plans for a 4G LTE-enabled version.
The rear-facing camera will be 5 MP, which would be low for a smartphone, but tablet cameras are often ignored. There will be a front-facing camera as well.
Lenovo promises 7 hours of battery life on a single charge, but only a full, in-depth review can confirm this.
The Lenovo ideapad MIIX 300 is shaping up to be one of the better budget Windows 8.1 tablets on the market, mostly because it will have a display that is good enough to be used everyday for productive tasks or entertainment.
It is scheduled for release in July.