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9/24/2013
07:58 PM
Michael Endler
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Microsoft Surface: 10 Best And Worst Changes

Microsoft's new Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 tablets deliver some cool new features, but not all changes impress.
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Some are no doubt disappointed that Microsoft will continue to sell keyboards and Surface tablets separately, but there's a silver lining: the new Surface keyboards are much nicer than the old ones.

The Touch Cover 2 is slightly thinner than its predecessor, which Microsoft VP Panos Panay said will allow users to type faster. It also now features backlit keys and comes in cyan, purple or magenta, in addition to the original black.

Another keyboard choice, the Type Cover 2, contains over 1100 sensors, which Panay said will ensure it registers what the user intends, despite its nearly paper-thin form. The original Type Cover had fewer than 100. Type Cover 2 also will have backlit keys.

Finally, for those who do a lot of on-the-go typing, or who just don't like fighting over power outlets at Starbucks, the Power Cover will be a welcome addition. It's heavier and thicker than the others but adds only a little depth and weight to the overall package. More importantly, it increases the battery life of the attached Surface by more than 50% -- meaning that even today's energy-hungry Surface Pro would achieve a respectable six hours, and that the Surface Pro 2 should last for around 10 hours.

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azcasa2
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azcasa2,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/26/2013 | 3:43:42 PM
re: Microsoft Surface: 10 Best And Worst Changes
Are these changes going to do anything for the first tablets that rolled out? Will Microsoft let us upgrade by buying our old units back so we can get the new ones?
Andrew Binstock
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Andrew Binstock,
User Rank: Author
9/26/2013 | 4:19:26 PM
re: Microsoft Surface: 10 Best And Worst Changes
I like my SurfacePro and am glad to see the company rev them.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
9/26/2013 | 4:58:51 PM
re: Microsoft Surface: 10 Best And Worst Changes
The power cover, an interesting battery life trick, makes me wonder why Apple has not rolled out something similar.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
9/26/2013 | 5:24:48 PM
re: Microsoft Surface: 10 Best And Worst Changes
Good question. The Surface Pro competes as much with the MacBook Air as with the iPad, at least from a BYOD perspective. The Haswell MacBook Airs get battery life that's equal to, if not a bit better, than what it looks like the Surface Pro will get with the Power Cover.

But the iPads are a different story. They get around 10 hours of battery life, or a bit less according to numerous online accounts. I guess Apple might not feel much urgency since their battery life is just good enough to competitive, and since the Surface Pro still needs an accessory to get what they deliver out-of-box. But maybe the new iPads will offer improvements. Apple hasn't shown much interest in iPad keyboards, with or without batteries, even though there's a decent market. They seem content to let third parties like Logitech do it for now. But with the recent push toward iWork, I wonder if they'll shift tactics, especially if either of the new Surface tablets gains a meaningful user base.

Speaking of which, I'm not sure of the new Surfaces for consumers, as they're pretty pricey. But I think Microsoft will make inroads in the enterprise. Here's the question, though: If companies deploy Surface Pro 2s, will it stop BYOD users from bringing in their iPads? At least one study - by Gartner's Mark Cotner - said "no, it won't."
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
9/26/2013 | 8:11:53 PM
re: Microsoft Surface: 10 Best And Worst Changes
As far as I know, Microsoft has no program to help current Surface users upgrade. That said, it allows users to recycle devices of all kinds in exchange for store credit-- so if your Surface is in good shape, you might be able to lower the upgrade cost. See here: http://www.microsoftstore.com/...
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
9/27/2013 | 4:49:26 PM
re: Microsoft Surface: 10 Best And Worst Changes
Apple is making iphone cases now. ipad cases seem logical soon. I agree re BYOD iPads -- they won't go away.
midmachine
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midmachine,
User Rank: Strategist
9/27/2013 | 5:20:42 PM
re: Microsoft Surface: 10 Best And Worst Changes
Yup, everyone still wants to bring their own toys to use to "consume" after they are done "creating".
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
9/27/2013 | 7:10:28 PM
re: Microsoft Surface: 10 Best And Worst Changes
Don't hold your breath...
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
9/27/2013 | 7:16:18 PM
re: Microsoft Surface: 10 Best And Worst Changes
The Surface Pro 2 will make better progress for those enterprises willing to make the training investment which means most will still pass on any Windows 8 devices until Microsoft lowers the leaning curve. Surface 2 (RT) is a dead turkey with or without Office.
dhodde770
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dhodde770,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/27/2013 | 8:49:54 PM
re: Microsoft Surface: 10 Best And Worst Changes
How can you expect a product to really take off when the market bashes it from day one just because it doesn't have an Apple logo on it? The media is very influential these days, and people pay attention, even if the media is wrong. so as a result, nobody bought. Unfortunate, too. I've used a Surface, and with a few tweaks (refreshed Windows 8.1, keyboard improvements, etc.) that seem to now be addressed I think it's a compelling bridge device. Not a great laptop, maybe not the best tablet, but if I can get 'pretty darn good' in one compact device, works for me every time.
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