Microsoft Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 Review: ‘World's Most Productive’ Tablets Hit the Shelves

( [email protected] ) Oct 22, 2013 06:04 PM EDT
Surface Pro 2 October 22
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Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, dubbed by Microsoft as the 'world's most productive tablets,' have hit the shelves on Tuesday, October 22, 2013.

The new slates are a huge jump from their predecessors in hardware and software components. The devices' latest accessories, including Type Cover 2 and Type Cover 2, Power Cover, Docking Stations for Surface Pro, have largely increased the appeal towards business users who want an all-in-one tablet. With the seamless keyboard attachment of the cover, the Surface tablets help users become more productive instead of only consuming information. 

Like its predecessor, Surface Pro 2 comes with a Surface Pen and look exactly the same in external appearances. But the new tablet or "laptop replacement" is powered by a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 processor that, combined with other improvements, delivers increased performance and up to 75 percent longer battery life than its predecessor. If your shoulder is tired from carrying a heavy laptop bag, you should consider getting this device.

Surface 2, on the other hand, is powered by NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor, making apps run faster and smoother and increasing battery life to up to 10 hours for video playback.

Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 devices release date coincided with Apple's media event, where the new line of iPads were introduced. There were also rumors saying that Apple has created prototypes of its own keyboard aimed at distinguishing its 9.7 inch iPad from the iPad Mini, but Apple did not unveil any plans or hints of creating a keyboard.

In past reports, Intel has expressed that it is working on processors that will power a number of these crossover laptop/tablet devices that are scheduled for release in 2014. Until then, users who are looking to improve their efficiency now can consider starting out with Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2. After all, if you can get more done with a Surface tablet, even if it means writing an email, in the same amount of time spend on the device, then you have become more productive. 

Surface Pen is compatible with Surface Pro 2, but is not with Surface 2. The stylus pen allows users to jot down notes in writing and drawing.

Meanwhile, both Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 come with a kickstand that has two different standing angles, which allows for greater flexibility in use of device from different postures. 

Surface Pro 2 runs on Windows 8.1 Pro, and Surface 2 runs on Windows 8.1 RT. Some of you may have heard that Windows 8.1 update have caused some devices to not boot or load, which Microsoft have since pulled the update for further review and debugging. Among the Surface devices, this problem of not booting after upgrade or not being able to upgrade to 8.1 and rebooting back to Windows 8  affect just the Surface RT device.

Microsoft has released a statement saying that

"Based on our investigations of a situation customers have encountered updating to Windows RT 8.1, we can confirm that as of now this is a Windows update issue only affecting Surface RT customers. While only less than 1 out of every 1,000 ( or less than 0.1%) Surface RT customers who have installed Windows RT 8.1 have been impacted, improving their experience and ensuring their systems are fully operable as quickly as possible is our number one priority."

For those who are big Office software fans, Surface 2 comes preloaded with Home and Student Office apps, including Outlook 2013 RT, at no additional costs. As for Surface Pro 2, Office users can simply install their previous version of Microsoft Office suite onto the tablet through an optical drive. Surface Pro is capable of running virtually all Windows software and apps from Windows store.

Besides the devices productivity, the new tablets screen resolution have been upgraded to a 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD display that renders 1080p video with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. The

While some people would prefer a larger screen when they are working, the Surface Pro 2 can easily hook up to desktop PC peripherals in a single step. While Surface Pro 2 is docked, it can connect with up to two 4K external monitors, Ethernet, speakers and power supply. The Docking Station for Surface Pro will have an estimated retail price of $199.99 and has a projected release date of early 2014.

The Touch Cover 2 and Type Cover 2 have both been upgraded with backlit light. Touch Cover 2 now features 1,092 sensors, which completely erases its original Touch Cover 1 that had only 80 sensors.

Meanwhile, a former Apple employee claimed that Apple has created a keyboard prototype, borrowing from Microsoft's Surface Touch Cover. The purported goal of distinguishing the 9.7-inch iPad from the iPad Mini and market the larger version as a model designed for both content creation and consumption. However, nothing has been confirmed, nor did Apple said or hinted of this direction in today's media event that unveiled iPad Air (iPad 5), iPad Mini 2, MacBook Air (MacBook Pro), Ma Pro 2, and OSX Mavericks.

Surface 2 costs $449 for 32GB, $549 for 64GB. Surface Pro 2, which comes with a digitizer pen, costs $899, $999, $1,299 or $1,799, for 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and 512GB, respectively.

Both devices come bundled with a year of free Skype calling to landlines in more than 60 countries, unlimited Skype Wi-Fi, 200GB of free storage on Microsoft's SkyDrive online locker for two years.

The bottom line is that Surface 2 is far less expensive but can't run older software, but lets you do the simple work on Word, Excel, Powerpoint, One Note and Outlook and have a tablet to use. Surface Pro 2 can handle old software but doesn't have as long of a battery life, but the device is a business users' dream inside a tablet.

To purchase Surface Pro 2 and/or Surface 2, visit Microsoft's website