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11/21/2013
09:06 AM
Michael Endler
Michael Endler
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Microsoft Surface 2: Hands-On Review

Microsoft's Surface 2 is a big improvement, but it's not for everyone.
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The Surface 2 is fun to use, but with a $449 base price, it might be too compromised for most users.
The Surface 2 is fun to use, but with a $449 base price, it might be too compromised for most users.

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Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
11/21/2013 | 9:13:21 AM
Anyone else?
Are any of you using the new Surface yet? Tell us what you think.
anon9387990004
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anon9387990004,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/22/2013 | 2:21:23 PM
Re: Anyone else?
I have the Surface Pro 2 and absolutely love it. I was at a meeting a couple of days ago and around me were a number of participants with their iPads. I had to laugh as I watched them try and bang out notes using the on-screen keyboard. I could type in an entire sentence in the time it took them to key in a couple of words. I kept up with my notetaking and presentation while I watched them continually lag so far behind that they rarely complete what they started before they were so far behind that they left each topic note unfinished.

I know third party keyboards are available with the iPads but it seems iPad users generally insist on running it "native" (without any add on devices). I guess better to look good than be efficient which reminds me of the Billy Crystal character Fernando on Saturday night live who would proclaim "You look marvelous" and then follow with "better to look good than feel good". That was the reality for the iPad users... not to say that I have anything to apologize about with my slick looking Surface - in my case I look good and feel good!
MatthewGudenius
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MatthewGudenius,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/24/2013 | 3:53:09 AM
Re: Anyone else?
Yep -- but it's really not the keyboard that makes the Surface Pro so great (in fact -- I really don't like Surface keyboards, and they are definitely overpriced); for me, it's the ability to use legacy apps, to access ALL websites (whereas iPads can't access about 25% of them due to Flash, Java, Silverlight, etc.), and last but certainly not least, the active digitizer stylus -- I love to be able to jot handwritten notes and diagrams, and I do a good deal of design, drawing, illustration, and planning diagrams, so that is a super powerful tool that you can't get on ANY Apple device  (nor on most Android tablets, although the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 offers nice functionality there -- I use the Galaxy Note II and it is definitely the only smartphone I have ever wanted to use, and I use the stylus pen on a regular basis, probably more than any other feature...)
dougee2fresh
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dougee2fresh,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/27/2013 | 12:21:26 PM
Re: Anyone else?
My daughter in high school wanted an iPad. Couldn't watch certain shows on Hulu because iPad is considered a mobile device. Then she realized she couldn't couldn't print or connect her phone or add music via usb or use Word or powerpoint to send work to teachers. Got her a Surface 2... No questions or problems. She loves it!
samicksha
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samicksha,
User Rank: Strategist
11/28/2013 | 3:50:12 AM
Re: Anyone else?
Personally i never recommend ipad/ tablet but Win8.1 64 bit devices, that can work as laptops and tablets,  this shall create a different story.
Shepy
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Shepy,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/28/2013 | 7:17:41 AM
Re: Anyone else?
"The new Mail app is so much better than its bare-bones predecessor"

Things like this irk me, this is a core app that has been crucial for years, why are devices being rushed out without this core functionality being spot on
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
12/6/2013 | 7:49:52 AM
Re: Anyone else?
This is where I think Microsoft got some things right.  Moving to one OS or at least a consistant experience across all of the device form factors makes the transition from tablet to desktop so much nicer.  I plan on replacing my work laptop with a Surface 2 or similar Windows based tablet device very soon since I'm not losing nearly as much as if I tried to move to an Android or iOS based tablet both of which I have had or currently own and use.   The tablet form factor is great for me but the frustration of keeping up multiple version of software or hunting for similar software between OSes kills the experience for me.
loudidonato
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loudidonato,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/21/2013 | 9:29:33 AM
Microsoft Surface 2
Why does Microsoft think they are relevant anymore? Who do they appeal to?

The many things they are into that the majority of the public does not know or even see, that is what they should keep focusing on.
Susan Fogarty
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Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Author
11/21/2013 | 9:55:09 AM
Re: Microsoft Surface 2
To most businesses, I think Microsoft is pretty relevant. But that's part of the problem. They market the Surface as a consumer device, when they should be trying to sell it to businesses that need the application integration and security it can provide. Some of that is happening, but in isolated cases.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
11/21/2013 | 10:09:28 AM
Re: Microsoft Surface 2
I am a little bit reluctant to take it into use for business use. It's an innovation for consumer electronics but may not be suitable for full-fledge business use. Its functionality is still limited and there are restrictions as was mentioned in the post. So I would keep watching out instead of trying by myself.:-)
Marilyn Cohodas
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Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Author
11/21/2013 | 10:22:07 AM
Re: Microsoft Surface 2
I find it interesting that you have reservations about bringing Surface into the business environment, Li. If experienced IT professionals like you have doubts about Surface's place in the enterprise, that doesn't bode well for Microsoft. 
sfreeves
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sfreeves,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/21/2013 | 10:39:32 AM
Surface 2 vs. iPad
Thanks for the review! I have been going back and forth between what to get, either an iPad of a Surface 2.  I know all tablets have their flaws but I have heard more flaws about the Surface 2 than I have for the iPad.  I will be using the device for personal use and maybe down the road work use when traveling, so from the other reviews that I have read and this it seems that an iPad for me is a sure-fire way to go!
Texas888
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Texas888,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/21/2013 | 11:12:21 AM
Surface Pro 2
The Surface Pro 2 runs the full version of Win 8.1. Judging by the comments so far they all appear to be apple fan boys/girls.
fjrangel1
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fjrangel1,
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11/21/2013 | 11:52:11 AM
Good for Students
I have to disagree with the author regarding the 16:10 form factor (I assumed it was 16:9, but I digress). Watching videos on the iPad is mediocre, at best. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's ever watched YouTube and Netflix videos on his tablet. It's probably why so many Android tablets are at a 16:9 ratio. Besides, I don't hold tablets one handed for more than a minute. Usually it's resting on a table top, the ground, or my knees (I watch a lot of video on it).

 

The surface is bigger than your average tablet, but there's a reason for that. It also acts as a laptop. How tiny would the keyboard be to fit the width of an iPad? I've typed on the Surface 2's keypad, and it's no less comfortable than my laptop (except there is no space for a number pad).
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
11/21/2013 | 1:49:36 PM
Re: Good for Students
@fjrangel1, thanks for the comments. You bring up a number of good points.


Regarding the screen's aspect ratio-- you're right: the Surface 2 is a terrific media tablet. It doesn't have the iTunes ecosystem behind it, which will matter to some people, but everything else is great. I've watched a ton of Netflix on the Surface 2.

If you like to watch videos with your tablet in a static position, rather than held in your hands, the Surface 2's kickstand is an asset. For the purposes you describe, I can definitely see someone preferring the Surface 2 over an iPad. But tablets have many purposes, and I don't think the Surface 2 stacks up as well with some of the other tasks. It's clearly subjective, but for handheld use, I find the iPad Mini and the iPad Air to be much more user-friendly, for example.

The screen-size issue is a bit ironic. The iPad has a reputation as a consumer device, but its aspect ratio is actually perfect for reviewing documents-- a trait that's helped iPads to become popular in the workplace. At the same time, the boxier aspect ratio can detract from on the device's alleged core strengths-- media consumption. With an iPad, you're sometimes forced to choose between viewing content at the desired resolution, the desired size, or the desired aspect ratio.

The Surface 2, meanwhile, has a reputation as a "productivity" tablet, but its screen is arguably better suited to watching movies than the iPad's, , as noted above. So in a small but noteworthy way, both devices defy their reputations.

I'm a little surprised to hear you don't find the keyboard cramped-- but again, it's subjective. I have medium-sized hands, and it's my job to produce a couple thousand words worth of content daily, so my relationship with keyboards is going to be different than those of many IW readers. As noted in the article, I think the Type Cover is perfectly usable, but I wouldn't recommend relying on it if heavy typing is part of your routine.

Ultimately, I think your positive experience with the Surface reaffirms that it can be a terrific device depending on your needs. For certain use cases, it's clearly better than other options, from small laptops to iPads. I still suspect the Surface will attract only a niche audience, as the areas in which it excels don't necessarily offset the ways in which other options are more desirable. But it's always possible I'm underestimating things.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
11/21/2013 | 4:20:45 PM
The little Surface that could?
As someone who's written harshly about the Surface in the past, I must say the improvements here are not trivial. You can see that Microsoft is getting better at packaging and marketing the Surface. The lighter hardware, faster  Tegra 4 chips and improved battery life were all needed. The more flexible kickstand is important too -- I can say from experience that the original Surface kickstand is not comfortable. The free Skype Wi-Fi and the 200GB of free SkyDrive storage are seriously sweet perks.

I think eventually people will engage better with the Windows 8 tile-based UI. Microsoft may have been ahead of it's time releasing a tablet/laptop hybrid and the price of the Surface 2 is still troubling at $450, but I think the Surface will be the little engine that could.
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
11/21/2013 | 5:13:33 PM
Surface 2 Price Point
I agree the price is an issue.  The Microsoft side of personal computing has always had a price advantage when pitted against Apple's products even though it's had the application ecosystem advantage.  Now we have a device that's priced the same if not more (including keyboard) than the iPad but it doesn't have a comparable application ecosystem.  

Curious -- what price would make this a home run?  Would they have to knock $100 off?  $200 off?

What if the device was $299 and the type cover was $49?
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
11/21/2013 | 5:38:45 PM
Re: Surface 2 Price Point
If they dropped the cost to $299, there would be a waiting list of schools waiting to sign up-- or at least there'd better be. That would be a great deal.

But at that price, I assume Microsoft would also be losing money on every unit, in which case they'd need to compensate with a lot of app growth. I don't think that's a terrible strategy, at least relative to what they've been doing, but Microsoft seems disinclined to go that route.

Anyhow, it's a good question. $349 or $399 would have been better, obviously, but how many extra units would Microsoft ship with those lower prices? If a $349 base price would have boosted sales by 50%, then Microsoft is foolish and stubborn to have gone with $449. If the lower price would have boosted sales by only 5%, I can see why Microsoft is sticking to its guns with premium pricing.

Regarding the ideal price, I'm not where the tipping point is, and Microsoft has given no indication it wants to treat the Surface as a loss leader in order to stimulate the Windows Store. It's the problem, as I suggested in the article, with basing your entire device line around niche differentiation points.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
11/21/2013 | 6:25:51 PM
Re: Surface 2 Price Point
Does it do anything that would make a user of Apple products switch?
thinkingdifferent
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thinkingdifferent,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/21/2013 | 7:47:37 PM
Re: Surface 2 Price Point
Easily...and I used to be an all Apple person.  A couple of the things that I immediately noticed about the Surface 2 that are not readily apparent from the specs.  (1) User accounts.  Multiple members of your family can share the tablet and keep emails, files, and settings separate; (2) Multitasking.  Just being able to have IE open while reviewing your email is convenient.  You can have any two apps snap to the screen at the same time.  There are actually a litany of stuff but only if you intend to actually use a tablet as hybrid device and not solely as an Angry Birds/iTunes player.  
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
11/21/2013 | 9:05:46 PM
Re: Surface 2 Price Point
Has anyone done a tear down and price estimate of what the Surface 2 costs to build?
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
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11/22/2013 | 8:35:55 PM
Re: Surface 2 Price Point
IHS iSuppli said the Surface RT cost $271 in components. The Surface 2 has a nicer screen, which was probably more expensive, but other components have probably come down in cost in the last year, so I'm gonna assume we're not talking more than $300, if that.

iSupplie also said the original Touch Cover was only $16 in materials, so Microsoft is (or at least was) evidently trying to squeeze margins out of the keyboards.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
11/22/2013 | 8:39:49 PM
Re: Surface 2 Price Point
@Tom, I think if you're an Apple user who is skeptical of this whole convergence thing, the Surface 2 is going to do little to persuade you. If you thought the original Surface was a poor execution of a worthwhile idea, then perhaps the new model will sway you. Personally, most of the tasks for which I could use a Surface, I'd rather use a MacBook and iPad, even though it means sticking with seperate devices. My two cents, anyhow.
MatthewGudenius
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MatthewGudenius,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/24/2013 | 4:20:12 AM
Re: Surface 2 Price Point
Unfortunately, even a Macbook PLUS iPad can't do what a Surface Pro can do. I know this article is not about Pro, but wanted to point out that this is a major point -- even with a Macbook and an iPad, you can't get precise, accurate, pressure-sensitive writing and drawing capabilities on the screen.  That might not matter to everybody, but for anyone who works in a creative or multimedia capacity, it makes all the difference in the world.
NSMuraliMD
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NSMuraliMD,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/23/2013 | 9:28:35 AM
Re: Surface 2 Price Point
Have you used Dragon 12.5 professional on this device?

How is the quality, fidelity and responsiveness of the built in array microphone? Is it practical to use this for high quality fast dictation ( like we do on Pentium i-7 computers? )

I would appreciate your observations and comments.
thinkingdifferent
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thinkingdifferent,
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11/21/2013 | 7:37:53 PM
Satifisfied Surface 2 owner
I use the device primarily as a laptop replacement for my trips.  In reality, most people do not need legacy apps any longer.  The fact that the Surface comes with Office and enables me to shed my laptop for most business trips is pretty amazing.

Second, the dearth of apps is not as much of an issue any longer.  There are still some key apps missing, but IE is a full browser, and I can essentially replace most any app that may be missing.  Frankly, I haven't really had to since there isn't much that I find lacking for my needs.

However, I do agree that given the cost that I wouldn't wholeheartedly recommend the Surface 2 to everyone.  At the same time, I still think the Surface 2 can be the hybrid device that satisfies a broad section of people from students to mobile professionals.  
Curtis Quick
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Curtis Quick,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/22/2013 | 1:11:36 AM
For Some a Surface is the Perfect Device
I know it is for me! I have a Surface RT and it has made my life so much easier. I used to carry my laptop around with me everywhere just in case I needed to access work documents and other information. I cannot tell you how much easier it is now carrying just my Surface RT around. It's so much lighter, almost like I am not carrying anything at all. The Surface RT is also very durable and of high quality. I have no cover for it (other than a touch cover) and it has no scratches after nearly a year of use. Who among you uses your iPad with no protective cover? Add the cost of the cover and the iPad costs even more than a Surface and weighs more as well.  

So now, when I am in transit or waiting in a coffee shop I turn on Internet sharing on my phone and just pull out my Surface and connect to the Internet. I open up PowerPoint presentation files I was working on in SkyDrive and get to it. I have no probem typing on my lap and if a table is handy sometimes I even get my tiny wireless wedge mouse out of my bag when I want extra fine control. I love the fact that I don't need to purchase a cover with a kickstand. My Surface just stands up on its own. When I get home, I can plug my Surface into a 32" monitor and use my wireless full size keyboard to work as if on a desktop. My Surface might not be a complete laptop replacement, but it comes awefully close.

If you use MS Office, a Surface may well be the perfect device for you as well.

Click here if you want to see some of the more exciting ways the Surface RT works better than other tablets.

 
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
11/22/2013 | 8:48:32 PM
Re: For Some a Surface is the Perfect Device

"When I get home, I can plug my Surface into a 32" monitor and use my wireless full size keyboard to work as if on a desktop. My Surface might not be a complete laptop replacement, but it comes awefully close.

If you use MS Office, a Surface may well be the perfect device for you as well."


Thanks for sharing your positive experiences with the device. It's good to get a mixture of reactions in here, and it's good to see Microsoft is winning over some people.

I think the two points of your points that I've quoted above are really important. I suspect that for many, the extent to which these ideas (Office, connecting to an external monitor and full keyboard) fit into one's workflow will the extent to which that person will be able to rely on the Surface for productivity. Otherwise, like I said in the article, I see it more as a great, albeit pricey, companion device.

But maybe I'm finicky about my keyboards and screens. Any other people who feel they're just as productive on a Surface as they are on a traditional laptop?

Bob Gill
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Bob Gill,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/23/2013 | 10:56:14 AM
Surface 2 RT = Maybe, Surface Pro 2 = Yes
I realize the article is about RT and maybe it can find a market, but the Pro 2 is really awesome.

The Pro 2 works so well as a full replacement and can dock.

In Irvine, CA several small to mid companies are starting to replace desktops and desk phones with the Pro 2, Lync 2013 and Windows cell phones.  The combo is not perfect, but it's far better than anything else.
MatthewGudenius
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MatthewGudenius,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/24/2013 | 3:49:15 AM
Re: Surface 2 RT = Maybe, Surface Pro 2 = Yes
Totally agree, 100%

 

Surface RT might be the most useless laptop out there (compared to Android and iPad), but Surface Pro 2, on the other hand, is exactly what I have been waiting a long time for.

It has all of the power of an actual laptop, plus the nice built-in HD cameras, and touch is now actually reasonable to use thanks to Windows 8 (and 8.1 truly is an improvement over 8 in many ways)

And, for me, the active digitizer stylus is a huge asset. More important than touch-screen, IMO. (I have enjoyed tablet PCs since I bought my 2004 Toshiba Portege, but unfortunately the Windows OS was less than ideal for tablets, and caused the workflow to be a bit clunky.  That is no longer the reality.)

 

Right now, I feel the Surface Pro 2 is the best all-purpose device out there -- costs less than a Macbook, has the same processing power, and lets you do a heck of a lot more.  (as a teacher, I would love to get a class set of these, but unfortunately I need something with all-day battery power, and even the improved efficiency of the Pro 2 doesn't cut it at only about 6 hours... I need 8+ hours. So we ended up adopting the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 -- also a great device, with a lot of similarities to the Surface Pro 2, but much weaker processing power due to the Atom. The upside is a $550 pricetag and 10 hours of nonstop battery life)
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
11/24/2013 | 12:33:15 PM
Re: Surface 2 RT = Maybe, Surface Pro 2 = Yes
Thanks for sharing-- great points. The stylus support is something that deserves mentioning. It seems like now that Microsoft has tweaked the design and added Haswell, the Surface Pro line is gaining fans.

Interesting to hear about the ThinkPad Tablet deployments. Are the students losing any productivity due to the lower-power chip? Or due to the form factor, since its 10-inch screen might be a bit small for laptop-style work?

Or has the ThinkPad been fine for its intended purposes? Are students using it primarily for content consumption (e.g. electronic textbooks, etc), coursework (e.g. word processing), or other things (e.g. using educational touch apps, using the tablet's mobility to integrate it into field trips and lab work, etc).

We've done a few stories on tablets in schools-- both iPads and Windows devices. Always interested to hear more about how educators are putting these devices to work in the classroom.
anon9871515647
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anon9871515647,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/26/2013 | 12:40:21 PM
Re: Surface 2 RT = Maybe, Surface Pro 2 = Yes
Traditional Windows is crap on a tablet. It wasn't built for tablets. A stylus only makes it tolerable. Other than Office, Photoshop, Lightroom, and maybe CAD, what Windows software would you actually want on a tablet? x86 software is more bloated, more resource intensive, less battery efficient, and doesn't have the UI for touch. Ever used Windows 7 on a tablet. Outside of the Metro part of the OS, that's what traditional Windows 8 feels like on a tablet. Crap!
CharlesT591
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CharlesT591,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/24/2013 | 2:54:27 PM
Re: Surface 2 RT = Maybe, Surface Pro 2 = Yes
"Surface RT might be the most useless laptop out there (compared to Android and iPad)"

First Surface RT is a tablet not a laptop just like an iPad or Android tablets.

Also Surface RT is pobably the most underated tablet out ther compared to the iPad and Andriod tablets. Actually it can really do more. And in my humble opinion, it is more useful than the latter. Maybe after you watch the below video on YouTube you will have a change of opinion about the device.

And oh, Surface 2 is even better.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wG1b0yBJHLM (Why I Love my Microsoft Surface 2 : Tips and Tricks)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VYf5MWyTn8&feature=c4-overview&list=UUqD1vWlpai9SUvfNfzVvUqA (Why I love my Microsoft Surface RT)
anon9871515647
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anon9871515647,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/26/2013 | 12:37:57 PM
Re: Surface 2 RT = Maybe, Surface Pro 2 = Yes
"Surface RT might be the most useless laptop out there (compared to Android and iPad)"

LOL! This comment is straight up BS, considering it can do far more than either. It also has better performance than any Android tablet and as good as an iPad.

As for full Windows 8 tablets, the only part of them that is actually good on a tablet is the Metro part of the OS, the start screen and metro apps. Traditional Windows is garbage on a tablet, it wasn't built for touch, and doesn't have the UI for touch. Even with a stylus it's only tolerable. Not to mention who wants to run antivirus on a tablet, or experience Explorer crashes, things you don't have to deal with on a Windows RT tablet.

 

 
anon9871515647
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anon9871515647,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/26/2013 | 12:41:40 PM
Re: Surface 2 RT = Maybe, Surface Pro 2 = Yes
The Surface Pro is a $1000. How many people do you think are going to spend that on a tablet?
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
11/27/2013 | 1:28:04 AM
Re : Microsoft Surface 2: Hands-On Review
@ Michael Endler, considering the almost negligible place of Windows based phones in smart phone market, Microsoft had better taken humble start in tablets market regarding price. They may have lost money on every unit, but then they have enough money to lose to make a place in tablets market and get back that money doubled in future.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
11/27/2013 | 1:28:07 AM
Re : Microsoft Surface 2: Hands-On Review
@ thinkingdifferent, you seem to be more neutral voice than others in these comments. Having the option of plethora of different apps seems very fanciful, but in fact we don't need that much. If we still want to have things under hood that we might never use, that is a separate thing. But if we consider productivity, the things you mentioned are sufficient to play with. So let's not get too harsh on Microsoft except price.
Tom
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Tom,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/9/2014 | 8:06:23 AM
Surface RT & 2
Original Surface RT w/Type Cover owner here, and I've got my Surface 2 on order. In my opinion, the original RT was perfect for students and business use, whilst the new Surface 2 is ideal for a broader range of consumers as well.

All throughout University I'd just bought cheap Atom processor netbooks around the £150-200 with a version of Office supplied by my Uni. I liked doing it this way because they were light, they were cheap, they were expendable, and because I ultimately didn't see the point in buying a top spec laptop anyway. I had a proper gaming desktop I'd built myself at home I could use for intensive applications and games, and any laptop I bought would always fall short/seem inferior to it, so I just stuck with something basic that I could use for work, browsing and movies whilst on the move. I wanted a tablet, but wanted it to check these boxes as well. I very nearly purchased an Asus Transformer Prime with Keyboard Dock before I saw the Surface release statement.

Pros of the old RT were:

*Free Office. There's no comparable productivity suite out there as far as I'm concerned, and 2013 has Touch and Keyboard input modes that makes it ideal for the RT. Big factor for me over the Pro in fact.

*Great Software with update. Windows 8.1 syncs with my desktop, HTPC, work station and even my Lumia 920 to an extent. Native apps, like Mail and PDF reader, make good use of screen space. Bing News is great, as is the Recipes and Fitness apps. Bing search is still a bit rubbish, but there's option to easily switch default search engine to Google.

*IE11 is all the browser I need. Fast, well optimised for the Surface and obviates the need for many apps.

*Level of customisation on home screen. Live tiles.

*Portability. Lighter, thinner and slicker than a netbook.

*Multi-Tasking. I use snap screen all the time.

*Hand gestures are better than any other OS on the market. It's possible to do everything with quick swipes and pulls.

*Good battery life, no virus concerns.

*Expandable storage is great. You can get micro-SD cards for next to nothing, same with USBs. USB port full size too!) is also a massive plus for compatability.

*Good screen. Resolution was a bit sub par for the price point, but cleartype HD rectified it somewhat. It's a good screen quality.

*Kickstand is genuinely handy.

*Looks and feels good. They're pretty durable as well - I used a £1.99 netbook carrying case to protect it in my bag and, after over a year's ownership and regular use, there's not a scratch on it.

*Type Cover is very slick.

*Genuinely useable as a netbook (if perhaps not full laptop) replacement, and tablet. A very good hybrid device which makes better sense of Windows 8.1.

Cons:

*Too expensive at release. Tablet should have been £320, not £399, and Type Cover around £60 tops. The Type Cover in particular was a bit of a joke. I felt pretty cheated when the price on them plummeted 6months after release, as it meant the 2nd hand value on mine fell too so I had to wait a while to get the Surface 2. I still bought the RT at the first chance as it had everything I wanted, but it was certainly too pricey.

*Type Cover key travel is a bit hit and miss. It's a good productivity unit still, but I wouldn't want to spend all day typing on one.

*A small amount of lag when typing sometimes.

*Inability to install programs not in the App Store can be a little irritating at times, but not often. There are payoffs which make it worthwhile - most notably battery life, virus protection and, hopefully, as the App Store increases more of these programs will be integrated via the Store.

*Lack of a USB charger, or ability to charge from a separate battery. I always carry a spare power point for my phone, but can't re juice my tablet without a power socket. This limits its range and needs to be addressed.

*Camera isn't fantastic. I'm not bothered about the rear camera so much, but Skyping could be better.

What did the RT need? It needed a better (Full HD screen), a better processor, a better camera and Miracast. The Surface 2 has the lot. Now I look forward to wirelessly using my 40" Toshiba as a second screen for work and movies, in full 1080p.

Hopefully, the new Type Cover 2 is better too in terms of actual typing experience. I'll hold off on buying one for now as the advantages don't seem big enough to upgrade.

So, who is the Surface 2 for? For anyone who doesn't want to shell out for a low/mid-tier laptop and tablet, and who doesn't want to carry both around. Especially for anyone who will be using it for a fair amount work as well as play, so students and in business. Who isn't it for? Young children, the elderly, brand lovers and people who are seriously nuts about their apps/games. Also not suitable for power users who work on the move - they'll need a Pro, or an expensive laptop.
GarrettB719
50%
50%
GarrettB719,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/14/2014 | 5:38:32 PM
Surface 2 RT Broken in less than 6 months
Thankfully it has a limited one year warranty and will be replaced, and mine could be an anomaly, but this is a disturbing lack of product reliablility for such an expensive product especially compared to the reliablility I have seen in its competitors.
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