Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Australian Review: This Is The Future

Tablets are great consumption devices. Media looks great on a portable screen you can just shove in your bag when you're done, but actually being productive on one is a pipe dream. Thankfully, with the Surface Pro 2, that pipe dream is finally becoming a reality.

What Is It?

The Surface Pro 2 is the follow-up to the original Surface Pro, packing better hardware and a better experience with Windows 8.1.

On the outside, it's pretty much the same as last time: same heat sink fan panel on the rear, same jet black design, same thick bezel, same port configuration. Hell, it even weighs exactly the same. The only real difference comes from the extra angle added to the kickstand to make it more lap-able.

The real changes are concealed under the hood, and they’re designed to push the Surface Pro 2 even deeper into laptop-tablet hybrid territory.

The new Surface Pro 2 is running the new Intel Fourth-Generation Core “Haswell” chips. It's an Intel Core i5-4200U under the hood to be exact, clocked at 1.6GHz with the capability to boost up to 2.3GHz if needs be, while also packing 4GB of RAM. The new Haswell chips means Microsoft is able to claim a 75 per cent battery improvement over the last model, dragging the overall usage time up to around 7 hours.

Customisability at build has also become a priority, with storage variants now ranging up to 256GB and 512GB solid-state options with 8GB of RAM apiece. That’s some seriously impressive hardware, and it’s doubtful you’d be wanting for much more in a mobile computing solution anytime soon. Don’t worry if you can’t afford a massive physical storage variant, however: both Surface 2 models will have microSD expansion slots and 200GB of free Skydrive storage for two years.

Surface Pro 2 starts at $1019 for the 64GB version, which is actually $20 more than the launch price of the original Surface Pro back in May. The 128GB Surface Pro 2 is priced at $1129, the 256GB model is priced at $1469, and the 512GB version is priced at $2039.

What’s Good?

There's so much to love about the Surface Pro 2. It's faster, smarter, better featured and more customisable than ever.

It's still just as beautiful as it ever was, with the matte-black finish and that wide 1080p screen that makes your content shine. It also now has that second-stage on the kickstand which means you can work in more places.

Despite packing power you're likely to find in a moderately-specced Ultrabook, the Surface Pro 2 is as-near-as-makes-no-difference completely silent when doing tasks like surfing the web, watching content or other basic functions. The fan kicks in a bit when you're playing games, which is probably a good thing considering how warm it gets. We played Metro: Last Light and Tomb Raider with reasonable performance from the Intel Iris graphics.

We experienced a few frame rate issues during big action scenes and water scenes (so basically the whole first level of Tomb Raider) but turning graphics quality down to low ensured a consistent experience. Despite having more power than necessary to handle Metro apps, really resource intensive stuff like gaming on the Surface Pro 2 is still a sometimes-food. Most of the time it doesn't need all that power, but if you're someone who wants a bit of grunt just in case you need to put your proverbial foot down and run Photoshop or a game on their device, then it's a necessary evil. Just weigh up how much you really want to do that before sinking the cash.

The accessories are really a slam dunk for the Surface Pro 2, allowing you to expand on your experience almost endlessly. That's really the whole point of an operating system like Windows 8.1 paired with this sort of device: make the base device small and portable for the majority of people who want that sort of thing, while also adding the ability to expand on the experience for others with clip-on keyboards, expandable display ports, USB 3.0 ports and even a whole desktop dock for office-bound folks. It's perfect. It's a true all-in-one.

The new Touch Cover has more sensors than ever so you don’t have to jam your fingers down on the buttons as you type. Instead, you can just gently glide over the keys as you would on a normal keyboard. It’s still kind of cramped and the feedback is still paltry, and that takes a bit of getting used to.

The Type Cover has also been improved, with more travel on the keys and a more robust construction. There’s even a Type Cover with built-in batteries now to give your Surface an extra bit of juice while you work.

The best part about both of these new keyboard covers is the backlight Microsoft has managed to squeeze in. An ambient light sensor at the top of the keyboard decides when your backlight should be activated, and it gently fades out when you’re not using it. You’re wowed, however, when you rest your wrists back on the front of the keyboard to find that the keys gently illuminate again, ready for use. That’s a quality touch.

We also have to give Microsoft props for allowing people to customise their Surface Pro 2 before they buy it. No two people compute exactly the same, especially with a device that can be used for just about anything, so allowing users to choose more built-in memory, more RAM or even just different accessories is really important.

The addition of the new USB 3.0 port is also welcomed. You forget just how important a decent I/O is to a tablet, and it's something that manufacturers like Apple and even Samsung have been missing from their tablets for a long time. Microsoft is even edging out OEM competitors like Toshiba and Asus by sticking a fast, full-sized USB port on the actual device itself.

The bottom line? This thing isn't just a paltry consumption device, it's a hybrid tablet workhorse dressed to impress and specced to the nines.

The Best Part

It's running a full version of Microsoft Windows 8.1, and not rubbish RT. It's a fully-fledged PC dressed as a tablet, and we love that.

What’s Bad?

Not everything is perfect on the Surface Pro 2, however. First and foremost, the battery is really disappointing.

We only managed to squeeze out an uptime of under five hours for this thing on a Balanced mode, despite the new power-sipping Haswell processor under the hood. What the hell, Microsoft? We don't want to compare the two directly, but by just sticking a Haswell chip into a MacBook Air 13-inch and changing pretty much nothing else, Apple was able to blow out the battery uptime to a whopping 11 hours. What's the Surface Pro 2 trying to run under there that's sucking up so much power?

According to Anandtech, the problem stems from an overzealous Wi-Fi module that's draining the battery faster than usual. There's already a firmware update for customers to download which reportedly shapes up the power drain from the Surface Pro 2, and we'll be testing that one throughout the next week to see if it improves. Early benchmarks have shown that battery life improves significantly post-update, with Anandtech experiencing life of 8.3 hours of web browsing. It's just a shame that the original issue slipped through QA testing.

It's worth noting — as we did with the original Surface Pro — that you're not about to set parties on fire with these speakers. Get headphones or a Bluetooth option if you want decent sound.

Also, those storage gripes are back to haunt us, with the operating system and other various bits and bobs taking up around half the storage space on the SSD before you even turn it on. We'd recommend getting a MicroSD card for your content, or just buying a bigger model.

We also noticed a few issues with Wi-Fi that meant the signal strength was weak, even when the device was sitting next to the router. Hopefully the firmware issue sees to that too.

As we mentioned in our review of the Surface 2, the new kickstand angle is great, but not without issue. Combined with the use of the new keyboard covers the whole thing gets pretty long. That means you had better have pretty lengthy thighs to get this thing comfortably positioned on your lap so it won’t not going to fall off and kill itself. Don’t try to cross your legs and use it, either. It’s not a rigid device, so you’ll be awkwardly folding yourself to match the position of your folding tablet.

The Worst Part

The Surface Pro 2 is fairly pretty expensive for what it is. Ostensibly, this thing is a tablet designed for getting stuff done, and while it's a slam dunk for hybrid device-lovers what with all the keyboards and expandable accessories, it still looks like a tablet on the shelf.

The 64GB Surface Pro 2 — that's the base model — costs $1019. For that you get the Intel Core i5 Haswell processor, 4GB of RAM and, naturally, 64GB of storage. If you want a Touch Cover, you'll be paying $139.99, while the Type Cover will cost an extra $10 at $149.99. All up, you're paying $1158.99 for the entry-level device.

For just $100 extra, you'd be able to find a swathe of Ultrabooks with more storage, a larger panel and potentially better battery life. Call me crazy, but I think people might baulk at the price for this professional-grade tablet, but I'm happy for sales figures to prove me wrong in the long run. The future might not be as compelling to users as Microsoft thinks it is here.

Should You Buy It?

This device is representative of the hybrid tablet-laptop future that we want. Not only is it still freaking gorgeous to look at, it's running a fully featured operating system, packing in amazing accessories and ports for you to expand your experience. It's expandable, lap-able, adorable and enviable, and we love it.

It’s everything you could want in your everyday Ultrabook, more than you could possibly dream of on your tablet, combined in a beautiful package with fully-featured software and intelligent accessories. Microsoft has found a winning formula, and all it needs to do now is play the hardware game each year to innovate on it. Thinner, lighter, faster, better accessories.

The sky is the limit for Surface Pro.


    What's bad; the fact the competition will do it better and cheaper. Already I'd rather have a Dell XPS 11 which has just launched, or a Dell Venue 11 Pro. This is just the beginning of the onslaught. Apparently the Nokia Tablet 2510, running Windows RT is deemed much better than the surface 2, not that Gizmodo will ever find out it appears. There is more out there than just Microsoft you know.

      This is the Surface Pro 2, not the Surface 2. Different devices.

        Really, different device, oh my how would I have known if you didn't point that out captain obvious.

        But all articles supporting Surface are paid.

      Anything running Windows RT isn't worth it. Windows 8 on a tailor built Surface Pro 2 on the other hand beats the competition on more than just specs. My Pro isn't perfect and neither is Windows 8, but the extremely fluid totally scalable OS they wanted Windows 8 to be is best represented in one of these.
      Frankly I don't get why they're releasing a Surface 2, it's a confusing device that only really serves to drag the Surface Pro 2 down.

        Speaking as someone who owns a Surface 2 I can answer that. Price. It's $500 not $1000. Some people want a tablet with Full working browser + Office (go figure) and can get by with what Metro has to offer otherwise.
        So far I am able to browse and play all my tv shows and movies on my network wirelessly streaming mkv 720ps etc (1080p stutters but that's '1080p wifi restriction issue' not the Surface 2's fault. Copy the 1080p mkv file to a usb stick and it plays flawlessly, and I bet the Ethernet adapter would suffice as a workaround also).

        Surface 2 most definitely does not bring the Pro down, it just offers variety for those that need it. If u care to read my review it's here.

          What app do you use to play the .mkv files? I have been looking for ages and can't find one :(

          But for the price/functionality aren't you better off buying something else? I don't know, maybe it's great and I just haven't had it hands on enough. I'm totally sold on Windows 8 for mobile devices, from the first ten minutes of using my Pro onward I've felt like my iPhone's OS was something from the 90's, I just figured there were better options out there. I don't really get why it runs on Windows RT. It seems like they gave it RT for the sake of giving it a tablet OS instead of proper Windows.

          I'll give your review a read when I get home. I just can't shake the impression that the Surface RT should have been followed with a bare bones Surface Pro or something with a name that clearly differentiates the two. It seems like from day one the Surface Pro has been bogged down with confusion about the difference between a Surface and a Surface Pro.
          I remember investigating the Surface Pro before I brought it and while checking out reviews I ran into a lot of conflicting stories about what features the Surface Pro had. I had to keep going back to Microsoft's site to confirm stuff was there.
          Comments like daffy's up there are pretty common when you talk about the pros and cons of a Surface Pro/Surface Pro 2. In the opposite direction you've got people complaining about the Surface's price when they're actually looking at the prices of the Surface Pro.

            @shaunreilly, I use mobile.HD, lol I googled and it was the first one I tried, works with every 1080p mkv I have (2tb worth).

            @DogMan, If U can find sumthing with a 10 inch 1080p screen, gets 10hrs battery life, has office, full working browser, the ability to expand storage, choose yet own Logitech keyboard (not sold at all on the touch keyboards), can play and steam my HD movies and tv shows, highly portable, good for working on from a desk as well as sofa lounging, id like to know about it...
            I'm with U about the name, its confusing, Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 isn't differing enough.

              I'm with you on the keyboard. I think I've just got a bias against laptop keyboards that makes me hate anything that small, but having my choice of keyboards for the Surface Pro while maintaining the option to use the snap on touch cover when it's the most appropriate solution is sweet. The price on the touch cover was a bit frustrating and I don't use it that often, but I use my Pro for work and having the option there when I needed it has more than paid for the cost of buying it (the same could be said about the Pro itself, I've landed work that's paid more than it cost thanks to having my work desktop in my backpack).

                I also pointed out in my review that u can pick up TWO Logitech wireless mice and keyboards ($60 in total), keep one set at home and one set at work and u've still spent half of the amount a touch cover costs. Just put the Surface in a cheap 10inch protector case.. done.

          On your review I think you touch on my feelings towards the Surface RT/2 pretty early.

          The problem is most tablets seem a little ‘gimmicky’, that is unless you really have a valid reasons of why you want an iOS or android device in a tablet form they are often duplicating already what a good smartphone can do.

          I've never felt like the Surface RT/2 moved past that far enough. Almost like it handicapped itself for the sake of being on par with those devices rather than dramatically ahead. That may be a smart decision, look at the alienated response to Metro's basically the same but more functional Start menu, but I feel it wasn't the right way of moving ahead.
          I actually think that's a big part of what makes the Pro so satisfying for me. Enough of the selling points of a tablet are covered by my phone that the leftover features aren't enough to justify buying a tablet. Reading a comic or technical manual on a tablet is awesome and handy but I wouldn't buy a device for it and most of the other drawcard features of a tablet can be done, usually in only a slightly lesser capacity, on my phone.
          The Pro satisfies all those 'not worth buying a device for but I'd use it if I had it' itches but it justifies itself as a solid desktop/laptop solution for work. I've actually kicked around the idea of replacing my home desktop with a Surface Pro 2 dock and a file server. When they get to 1TB SSDs and I can find a good Surface-like touch screen that may tip the scales.

          I think I still feel the same way about the Surface RT/2, although you've made some good points. A proper browser with Flash and everything I'd expect from a browser is essentially the core of reason I love the Pro instead of simply really liking it. Honestly I don't get how my iPhone doesn't have a real browser, letalone something built for browsing like an iPad. I didn't even consider it as a reason for liking the Surface RT/2 simply because I find it difficult to wrap my head around the idea of a tablet not having a full browser.
          I'd expect Apple to start making their tablet OS more flexible like that. There's too many benefits to ignore. With my Pro there's no need to wait for the developer to release a compatible version of a piece of software, no need to use a lame half functional app version, just the full thing when I want it or the app version if I feel it does a good enough job/is more appropriate for the job.
          It's such an under appreciate feature. When I first got my Pro I used the awful built in App for movies and then after about a week it clicked... I can just install the same media player I've got on my home PC. It doesn't sound mind-blowing but having the same version, same features, same everything makes such a difference to the usability options of these things.

            As I have an iPad, Nexus 7, Windows 8 Desktop PC, Nokia 808 Phone (Symbian packs a 41 megapixel camera tho ;) and the wife owns a Note 2 I think it's fair to say I'm pretty unbiased. I have tried all the OS on mobile devices, each has their pluses and minus.
            I use my Nexus 7 exclusively for Comic reading (and as a wireless music remote control to access foobar on the desktop pc). I am a huge comic book fan and therefore read comics every night in bed (hehehe). This is where the Surface 2 is just too large to hold comfortably, it's certainly not portable enough to take out and about (I use my Nexus 7 in malls, dr appointments, where-ever). Perhaps the Surface 2 might fair better with a smaller screen and far FAR lighter, then it's becoming more tablety.
            But at the end of the day we (my family) all had reasons as to why the Surface 2 would be sufficient. Wife gets Full working browser, Office (as do I), kids get full flash browser for educational websites that require flash, games, touch friendly interface, LONG battery life (can u Office without power supply for 10hrs non stop on the Pro?). It just ticked all the right boxes (and for half the price). Don't get me wrong, I would loved to have seen a $700 Surface Pro that was packing lesser specs. Sounds heresy right? But I have a proper Desktop PC where I do all my gaming, graphical work on the 27 inch monitor, a full (but cheaper) Surface Pro packing Win8.1 would also give me the freedom to choose Programs instead of Apps (just like u could with yer Media Player of choice).
            I think tho we're still early days for Surface 2 and Metro, I'm already pretty content with it, it's doing what I need currently, only more apps can be added to the market. By far the most functioning and useful tablet I have used, Surface 3 needs just to be lighter (and perhaps smaller variants).

        Very noob comment, go out and use the surface and then you'll wonder why you need the surface pro

        Maybe you should stick to your ipad though, that is more restrictive than the RT

          I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. I don't have an iPad because, like I think I said in another comment here, using Windows 8 on the Surface Pro has made the other portable OS' feel like relics. I have never owned an iPad and I have an iPhone I've hated since the day I brought it, so I'm not sure where you're getting the impression I'm some Apple fanboy. If anything I'm too vocal in my support of the Surface Pro.

          I just don't see the point of Windows RT on a machine that could have been built to run Windows 8. From where I'm sitting the Surface 2 seems like the core version of Surface Pro with RT slapped on it for the hell of it rather than because it improves the experience. Something designed to compete head to head with an iPad or one of the many other tablets out there. Microsoft has some advantages with the Surface but it seems like RT cuts off a few of the major ones.

          I'm about to read Bruce's article, and hopefully it'll give me a little insight into why Surface RT fans like it (see, I can't even write 'Surface fans' because it sounds like I'm talking about anyone who likes a Surface or Surface Pro). However I think I'm still going to end up a little confused by the decision to continue the Surface RT line rather than either making a budget 'Surface Home', which would just be a lower spec Pro minus the stylus, or making it an entirely different line of products.

      lol @ XPS 11, I got so many returned at work... its POS compare to this

        what's wrong with xps11? what are the issues?

      Complaining about too many Microsoft articles? On Gizmodo? You are either insane or grade A Apple fan boy.
      Also if your logic were sound no one would buy any i-product and they are one of the mos successful product lines of all time.
      Also you prove your naivete by pointing out you purchased a Dell XPS.
      How goes the biggest screen bezel in the universe? Or the dead keys?

        How does comparing Dell to Microsoft make him an apple fan boy?

        Wow, you are really lost

          I think he meant (correct me if i'm wrong), going by the fact that gizmodo post endless apple-loving articles and basically stating their shit doesn't stink, then for someone to turn around and say that, it must be a paid article because there is finally a positive microsoft article, ... must only be the words of an apple fanboy. That was a mouthful.. lol

      Daffy duck...the Nokia model compares to the Surface 2, not the Pro, which is what this article is about. There is no comparable device to the Pro. Yesterday, Gizmodo wrote about the Surface 2, to which your comment is better suited...

      6 months on, and the Surface Pro 2 has certainly held its own much better than the Dell XPS 11. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the XPS 11 $1,500 for a base model and an insane $2 grand for a 128 GB model? I don't think you can say it's better value than the Surface Pro 2 which does basically the same thing at $1,500 for a 128 GB model. And you certainly don't get more for your money either.

      If you wanted to name something that was better and cheaper though, I think nowadays the lenovo Ideapad Yoga 11s (quite different from the original Yoga 11 and hugely more like its big brother) is making quite a name for itself.

    You must love these tablets Luke cause you keep pushing them. Other reviewers have said it's much like the last one and has the same problems. Most people don't want to do anything more than play candy crush on their tablets and check their emails, so I'm betting this will sell just like the last one, which wasn't very good.

      It's true that most people only use tablets for checking emails, surfing the web etc. but that's not what some people, particularly those that want something they can actually use as a laptop as well, want, and that's quite frankly where the surface fits in the market.
      They should just say, "Works as a laptop, with the convenience and form factor of a tablet".

      I bought one, and I really like it. But I use it for a mix of work and study (mainly excel, EViews and MATLAB type work) as well as the occasional game of Hearthstone beta, being the only gaming I do on it. The stylus is actually a perfect replacement for a mouse for that sort of stuff as well.

      For those reasons i'm the market. However, if I weren't studying, or didn't occasionally need to be doing work on the road or off-site, I would be better off with a standard tablet.

        I don't understand why the surface doesn't come with a screen the same size an A4 piece of paper. The 10inch screen is too small for long periods of watching the screen.

          That will depend what you're doing. It is a perfect size for reading in Kindle - in landscape with two columns to simulate a double-page spread it feels very much like a hard-cover book, only less bulky. It's great for watching movies and TV shows, too. It's less great when it comes to using things like Photoshop but anyone who does that kind of thing, on even a semi-regular basis, will know enough hotkey shortcuts to get around the UI without having to press too many tiny virtual buttons. I can happily use mine to get work done all day, although it is obviously preferable to have it hooked up to my big monitor, as it was with all the laptops that went before it.

      Good thing this isn't just a tablet.

      Your mistake is thinking of this as a tablet first. This is an ultrabook first, in tablet form factor. Once you realise this will completely replace your laptop AND tablet, then it becomes a fantastic form factor. Especially with the dock accessory and a big monitor on your desk, you never need to switch devices.

        I can't over state how important the AND is in that statement. It's not a 'hit a button and it's a tablet' deal. It's just both at the same time all the time. I'm currently using it as a desktop, but even if I don't unplug it I can do tablet stuff. When it's unplugged I can do laptop and tablet stuff at the same time.
        If you want a tablet just for tablet stuff this isn't for you. However if like me you want a really portable, relatively powerful work laptop and appreciate the bonus of being able to do anything a tablet can just by holding it like a tablet then a Surface Pro is a solid choice.

        If Microsoft sold a Surface Pro style touch screen (borders and stand that lets it easily rotate) my desktop would be perfect.

        Keep in mind of the price too, there are few ultrabooks that are comparable in size to this (very important if you travel a lot), the first that comes to mind is Sony's Vaio Pro 11, which has a 100 Dollar premium over the Surface 2 128gb with a touch cover, which exactly the same specs.

      If I need easy to carry laptop, I either get this or MBP 13" (only getting this because it can dual boot OS X and Windows)

        But the thing is with a Surface Pro 2, you don't need to carry a laptop. If I wanted to carry a laptop, I'd still have a laptop but I got sick of carrying a laptop so now I have a Surface Pro. And dual-booting is the worst idea ever. It used to take Bootcamp about 3 minutes to fire up when I wanted to boot my new Mac Pro into Windows in my last job and then it ran even worse than it did with OS X.

      You're clearly not understanding where the trend in devices are heading? You can play your candy crush and read emails on basically anything out there. This is for folks that care to be productive, and consume, on the same sexy device, at any time, as they please... I.e. The future... ;-)

    I am in the niche market where my only good solution is a SP2. I have to use the entire Adobe suite and most of the Autodesk suite for what I need to do. I opted for the 256GB with 8GB version. I looked at Ultrabooks and the prices were similar but they were under woefully underpowered, had no touch screen or were not detachable. Last two are understandable so I went for the SP2.

      Why do you need touchscreen if you are using the Adobe suite and Autodesk which I assume are apps that are made for the mouse and keyboard?

        Using programs like Mudbox, Sketchpad, Illustrator, Photoshop 3DS MAX are what I am mainly aiming for. Pen enhances work capabilities significantly as well for some people i.e. myself suck using the mouse as their main drawing and moulding input peripheral.

          Wouldn't a Wacom stylus/pen and tablet coupled with a big screen work better than a Surface Pro 2 then? Honest question because I'm interested to know how you're using it in your use case.

      Have you got it yet? Does it run all those programs smoothly? I have a Helix i7 256gb with 8gb of RAM, wondering whether I'm better off with the i7, or with the newer intel graphics. Helix is definitely better for battery though with 10 hours, although that's with the extra keyboard dock battery.

      Then again, the wifi driver update for Surface Pro 2 this week is meant to give it 25% more battery time.

      Last edited 04/11/13 9:49 am

        Not yet, should get it by Wednesday/Thursday. Though from what I've seen and it will run those easily. I got friends with the Surface Pro and it runs easily on their so the Surface Pro 2 should handle them like a breeze :D

        I have Surface Pro v1. I run photoshop and blender which yes, both run very smoothly so I suspect SP2 is only going to improve on this. Also game with starcraft2 and L4D2. I don't use beefy graphics settings but the games run smoothly. Mind you the 3D performance of SP2 is apparently much better so maybe it can turn the settings up...

        I got the SP1 tentatively after feeling massively disappointed about my ipad which turned out to be useless for anything beyond shallow games (sketchpad pro with just fingers is just painful). So I wasn't quite sure how the SP would go but took the plunge.

        I have to say, it really doesn't matter what the fanboy's are spewing out one way or the other, because seriously, this is the device that just finally gets it all together. It has made heaps of things I normally do enjoyable and productive and I am loving it so much I am seriously pondering purging my wallet for SP2 (already have the relevant accessories so I only need the slate itself).

        I consume on it: web, email, videos etc.
        I produce on it: office, photoshop, blender, java dev etc.

        The SP1 does have negatives (the battery for example). But you would be incredibly short-sighted or ignorant to think this is at all significant to the massive number of positives.

        Oh btw, I am an Amiga fan from way back and you have no idea how much I *personally hate MS* from that era. So no fanboy here, I just use the best tools for the job which this happens to be this at the moment. I let the whiners continue their same old rants while I chuckle at them and just get on with it!

    What about the pressure/lag from the stylus? Try rendering any from edit or animation software?

      Gabe from Penny Arcade had no issue drawing a comic on his Surface Pro at PAX so its good enough for photoshop work.

        Does he use the stock stylus or a different one?

    I think most of the points here are valid. I've been waiting for a device like this forever. I have an ipad and iphone. I can't justify buying another ipad, because I can do everything on my iphone that the ipad can do.
    Enter my new surface pro 2!! I Absolutely love this device. One thing you failed to mention in your article was the Wacom pen. That pen is an awesome addition. I use it to draw, to write, and just as a mouse when in desktop mode. The other thing is TRUE multitasking, something you won't see even in the new ipad air. I won't be buying another apple device. I have everything I've always wanted in my surface pro. It could be better, but in my opinion it's just better than anything else out there. Everyone is comparing it to other ultra books without Wacom digitizer, without touchscreen and without as much power. Try it, you'll love it.

      You know what... you're totally right.

      I have an iphone 5 and an ipad mini. I walked into the apple store to scope out the new ipad air because i was thinking of going the bigger screen/faster processor but opted out because it was too big (for me... for carrying slyly on the train etc). But I reckon the sp2 is a way better purchase because I can actually get things done on the go.... I wanted the first iteration bad I think I'll finally dive into this one.

      Well done!! I too am an actual daily user of the SP2, and nothing else compares. The author fails to mention what truly differentiates this device from the rest. The ironic part is the reader comments still bagging the author for 'just writing about the MS device when there's others out there' Talk about blind, and blinder. ;-)


    Have you tried re-running the battery tests with the latest firmware update?

    Anandtech said they got around 25% more battery life out of it.

      I now get >8 hours of WORK out of this awesome device!

    I wouldn't mind getting one of these for work for the handwriting recognition. However, the price is a real put off. Unless my employer offers to buy it for me, I can't see myself getting one.

      Understood. But remember that the SP2 can, and should, replace both your productivity and consumption devices. All, within a device that can be fully managed by your employer. Win win...massive competitive advantage... ;-)

    If only the price is more reasonable.
    I'd love to consider the Surface Pro 2 (the Surface 2 itself is just not convincing enough), but compared to the new ipad air, and/or similar ultra books, it's just priced at a stupid point.
    it's ambiguous as to who MS is targetting, and how they want to segment this product line, shame.

    If only they make both the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 cheaper, I'm sure it'd kick off properly.
    Think about the amount of schools and students at least who would get it cause it has proper office?
    Think about the amount of young professionals who just wanted something on the way, who can bring to presos or do work on the way? seriously, price it better MS.

      Its likely MS will run the surfaces cheaper for students/schools somewhere down the line.

      I don't think it's actually priced that expensively. The 128GB model is only $200 more than the 128GB WiFi iPad Air and it is a whole lot more powerful, there's only $100 between the 128GB WiFi + Cellular iPad and the 128GB Surface Pro 2. The difference between $900-$1050 and $1100 is nothing when you consider you're getting a full operating system not a gimped mobile OS.

      The price comparison with ultrabooks is valid though. I always thought the highest capacity iPads were priced too expensively considering you can get a MacBook Air for the some price. I guess plenty of people, myself included, just bought both anyway so seems like a decent business decision.

      Last edited 04/11/13 10:58 pm

      Remember, the S2 is priced similar to the competition, and has Office. So, for the student, etc...they have the answer. The SP2 is a while different production powerhouse, that is unrivalled in the market. ;-)

      also...don't worry about MS's market segmentation strategy...just enjoy the fact that you have a device that can - and should - replace both your production, and consumption devices. 2 for 1...not so expensive now, right? ;-)

    I still think the prices for the keyboard covers are absurd. One of the biggest problems with the Surface and Surface Pro IMO.

    Last edited 04/11/13 10:43 am

      Spot on, but of course I bought a Surface 2 without the touch cover, I just use a K400 and I had lying around spare, works perfectly. There are plenty of other options of keyboards courtesy of that lovely usb3.0 port ;)

        Yeah but then you lose a USB port that you could be using for something else.

          Ok there are heaps of Bluetooth keyboards also. What else am I going to lose anyway? I have a microsd card slot also, and as Sean Ong proves in his video u can throw a usb hub into the port and gain a total of 4 usuable usb ports.
          Trust me, i'm using my Surface 2 with a nano reciever and I ain't found anything I really need in that port all the time other than that (webcam is 1080p after all). If i need to use a usb stick momentarily then big deal, I use the onboard keyboard for a few seconds as I transfer files across at usb 3.0 speeds...

      But other device out there has this awesome option? And, the tech inside this accessory is mind blowing! So, to what are you comparing the 'absurd' pricing too anyway? ;-)

    "It’s perfect. It’s a true all-in-one."
    "It’s everything you could want in your everyday Ultrabook, more than you could possibly dream of on your tablet..."

    "The Surface Pro 2 is fairly pretty expensive for what it is."
    ...not it's not, if "what it is" is accurately summed up above.

    It's expensive, but not "for what it is" IMHO. There are plenty of other options out there if it's a bit rich for your blood. It's definitely out of my price range, but I don't need Haswell and I can live without a Wacom digitiser/pen. Horses for courses, and this horse is a thoroughbred that's priced accordingly. Also, why annoy your OEMs more than you really have to?

      I dunno. I love my Surface Pro but I've got to say that as perfect as it is for what I do the prices on the Surface Pro 2 are a bit much.

    Not convinced I'll ever need to be this mobile and productive at the same time. The whole product idea still feels a little bit each-way to me.

    I've had one of these for two weeks and love it. It's fast, quick to wake from sleep, and the stylus is awesome. Battery life with too many tabs open, Foxit, Word, Excel, One Note and Outlook is about 5 hours, but I haven't done any strict testing.

    The only downside, I forgot it was not a laptop, and managed to push it far enough back on a uni lecture table so that the kickstand fell off. This resulted in my (16 hours old) device flying on to the chair in front of me and making a decent noise.

    It did not have a scratch on it, and the kickstand was slightly bent, but after bending it back into shape it's as good as new!

      That feeling when it falls..... heartbreaking :(

      Last edited 04/11/13 1:46 pm

    I really like the Surface Pro 2, but I can't see it being more than a niche device for a few reasons:

    - the price will put a lot of potential buyers off

    - while the form factor offers the benefits of both a tablet and a laptop, there are compromises compared to the 'pure' versions of each.

    - hybrid devices (i.e. laptop with a detachable touch screen) are the direction the market is heading in - all the major vendors have already released or will be releasing hybrid devices over the next 12 months.

    The Microsoft Surface 2 is actually a super powerful tablet - I was so amazed by it that I made this video just today: Let me know what you guys think.

      Watched yer vid, nice one. I haven't tried out the voice stuff yet on mine, will give it a whirl lol.

    this is what im waiting for... fujitsu STYLISTIC Q584 ... just better.. AND even better you can kill off the windows 8.1 install and put windows 7 back on it!

    It seriously sounds like you all work for Microsoft. This tablet is heavy, average spec and battery life sucks. I bought the Surface Pro original, I can see why they sold a cubic assload of nothing

    Ooh now it has Haswell and 4GB of memory, wow, what a power plant.
    1080 on a screen that small is also average when it comes to touch and it kills the battery.

    Windows has never done touch well and fragmentation with RT was another pile of fail. I also fail to see why the stylus had the magpower attachment as 90% of the time this thing is in need of juice. Lack of ports, one USB? Very little monitor manufacturers offer display port, original kickstand was useless for your lap.

    If "This is the future" count me out. No wonder Apple is doing so well. They don't make thick heavy tablets. With OSX and iWork for free 99 now, you can unchain yourself from the rip off that is Microsoft Office too.

    I'm no Apple fan as I'm a Windows Engineer and that is my bread and butter but I can see why consumers would grab a MacBook Air over this! Thinner, Lighter and 12 hour battery. Free Office variant and well made hardware. Consumers don't really need touch screens? How productive are you really with fat fingers and a useless trackpad on the type keyboard.

    I gave up with Windows hardware, I now use a MacBook Pro 13 with Retina and use VMware Fusion to run Windows. This was just for battery life and reliability.

    Once you've used an Apple trackpad, you'll see where MS has gone wrong.

      Why are you talking about the Surface RT on a Surface Pro 2 article?

        I have the surface pro and was referencing that. The surface pro 2 is exactly the same but with a new processor. I don't own the RT. I mentioned fragmentation as all RT has done for Microsoft is confuse consumers.

    ;-) can we catch up 12 months from now, and revisit your response? ;-)

      I assume you are referring to my comment, I would love to catch up with you in 12 months. The surface won't gain anymore traction....

    I DIGITAL ARTIST. I want tablet to draw on away from studio/office. I use photoshop. The sp2 is a computer & wacom tablet. Sowhen I'm away from cintiq 24hd at studio I can still develop ideas and work on the go. I can take this to life drawibg classes, sit outdide, cafes, busses, planes. You get the idea. Sure there is other similar tablet pc options, but sp2 is pretty decent all rounder for $$. Sure the companion would he be nice. But its really iver priced with a very short shelf life.
    Im keen for sp2 because its an excellent artist tool and my ipad 2 is collecting dust. because despite its awesome app library it is still a toy. Sp2 is a full blown computer, much less of a toy!

      Correct me if I am wrong but drawing on a moving bus would be insanely hard.

    here's a tip - whip this beaut out in one of you're lectures and watch your classmates gravitate towards you, looks of admiration in their eyes.

      If it's an IT lecture, I think you would be very wrong. Anyone that works in IT wouldn't own this device. Tablets are not productive, a device with a real keyboard would put this to shame. All this while you run out of battery in your lecture.

    Hi Guys,
    can some of you help me please. I would like to purchase the surface Pro 2 but cannot find out if there is an app that will enable me to annotate ,highlight ete, epubs and pdf documents on the Surface Pro 2.

      I don't bring my pen to work so can't test, but I think you can do this using OneNote:

    As a student, I'm pretty much sold on the pro 2. I have one main concern not already covered - what is is like to type on this device for long periods? This device looks great for all other aspects of my student requirements, but is it going to be a major pain to type up essays/a thesis?
    I'll probably invest in a wireless keyboard and I already have a wireless mouse, but will I hate the screen after an hour?

    Hi, I'd like to say here that I own a surface pro 2 but however have seen the original surface and believe it to be a brilliant device and if not on the same level as the surface pro 2 which is heavier although does have the ability to remain active for another 3 hours more or so. What has RT got to do with this argument, RT is almost identical to windows 8. Admittedly the original surface and surface 2 was intended to be a tablet more than a laptop but still is a very powerful machine for a tablet.

    Does the Surface Pro 2 - have a SIM card/cellular functionality. I am an iPad user thinking of switching, provided it has the cellular functionality. Appreciate your comments..

      Sadly, it doesn't. It does have Wi-Fi, however, so you can connect to your smartphone tethering connection or a Wi-Fi hotspot on the go.

    This is the future.....without a dock.

    I have two of these bad boys running in my business. The staff love them, however I had to use third party docking stations. Also looks like Microsoft have now removed the docking station all together from their store.

    If they really wanted the Surface Pro to take off in the business world, why the f*#k would they not make sure docking stations are available.

    The docking station they did release in limited quantity only caters for single displays.....WTF Microsoft?

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