Pros Screen is beautiful @ 1080p, touch & music covers awesome, better battery support, 2 stage kickstand is genius, much faster, much more consistent, office included, USB 3.0, microSDXC, Bluetooth 4.0, growing app platform, Xbox apps, $449 priced point
Cons Arm CPUs can always be faster, but the Surface 2 would benefit from faster flash storage
Summary Surface 2 offers significant improvements over its predecessor. Forget about the app situation because it's growing with names like Facebook and Flipboard joining Windows RT. IE11 seem to be smoother and a nice step up from IE10. The new keyboard covers, including the Music Cover, are awesome and greatly improve upon successors as well as bring something "fresh" to the game that nobody else is doing. At $449 the Surface 2 should be the tablet you pick up unless you NEED an iPad. Buying Android almost makes no sense with inconsistencies and security issues no matter what tablet you come away with. After demoing the Surface 2 in a Microsoft Store for quite a while, I'm buying one on launch day because it is the tablet I've been looking for. I highly suggest others try it out. Windows 8.1 RT is also pretty slick and makes it easier to learn navigating the operating system.
Pros Full MS Office free (~$100+ value). Full USB 3 that supports 10s of thousands of devices. The best browser (IE11) on any tablet. Very innovative keyboard port with power abilities. Can print via USB, HomeGroup, etc. RDP for remote is best in class.
Cons Not as many apps as iOS, Android. Power connector is proprietary, no USB charging. Power consumption management not as good as iOS when not in use. Aspect ratio not optimal for eBooks. For the same money you can buy a Baytrail Windows Pro tablet.
Summary Build of Surface 2
* Light in weight, comparable to iOS and Android devices of similar screen size
* High build quality, feels "solid". Build-in kick stand is solid, guerrilla glass and high-end metal materials
* Keyboard covers are nice for when needed and easily flipped and swapped backwards in tablet mode
Features of Surface 2
* The HDMI out works very well and RT has the full Win+P functions such as extended display, duplicate, etc
* The Full USB 3 port supports almost all USB devices, including hubs, headphones, etc. Will charge mobile devices
* Expanded the memory by 64GB, works well (you need to mount the card as a folder on C to get the full benefits). There is also local File History sync built into Windows to auto sync to a local SD card
* Magnetic power cable allows for easy break-way without pulling the device into a drop situation
* Very responsive touch interface (same as iOS, better than Android)
* Innovative magnetically connected keyboards that act as protective covers that can be flipped around to use as a tablet.
Feature of Windows RT OS 8.1
* Gesturing in Windows 8.1 is, in my opinion, the best touch interface of all touch devices at this time
* Can connect most printers and print directly from the device or through a Microsoft Home Group or network IP
* External keyboard and mice work exactly the same as on a full Windows PC, best of any tablet
* Office (Word, Excel, Power Point, and OneNote) work flawlessly (no macro or VBA support), best suite of any tablet
* The wipe/reset device works very well
* Can connect to a Microsoft Home Group and use resources on other devices
* RDP is best in class and also allows Remote Assistance (only Samsung Android devices allow full remote via TeamViewer)
* Windows RT fully syncs all user settings (login, themes, taskbar placement, user files, etc) to SkyDrive. In fact if you set all of your Windows computers with the same account, they will all sync up with each other
* Installing and removing Modern UI apps is easy and frictionless with no configuration conflicts between apps or the OS
* The virtual keyboard allows for up to 3 types of keyboards. You can even setup a tweak for a floating, resizable keyboard. Also has handwriting input interface
* Although the RT desktop is locked down and more limited then Windows 8 Pro, most of the desktop functionality is still there such as computer management, control panel, local policies, registry, services, etc. All of these are configurable within the limits of RT.
* Full exposure with the file system. When connected to the LAN, allows connecting to network shares, even Mac shares
* Snap screen allows the viewing/interacting with more than one app, including the desktop. You can run a full video Lync meeting while viewing, say, an RDP session or a PDF (8.1 allows 50/50 screens and on larger external monitors, 25/25/25/25
* Full voice recognition and dictation software build into the core of Windows 8 (part of the accessibility suite)
* Scriptable with PowerShell commands/scripts/apps
* You can turn on Server in services and create file and resource shares on the tablet
* Can login with Microsoft Outlook/SkyDrive account, can create multiple Windows user accounts with various local rights
Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 11
* IE11 is, in my opinion, is currently the best browser on any tablet today. All pages render exactly as they would on a desktop
* Full Adobe Flash Player support (both Modern UI app and desktop)
* All IE favorites can sync between devices via the Windows 8.1 sync
* Desktop IE allows accelerators, plug-ins, extensions, etc.
Security Features of the Surface 2:
* Secure Boot locks down the bios to prevent rootkits
* DRM lock only allows authorized executables from running
* Safe Screen is an anti-phishing process running in the background
* Defender is also running as an anti-virus app
* Windows firewall is turned on (but also configurable)
Pros Weight, size, type cover, office, windows interface, multi tasking
Cons Price, awkward portrait mode, lack of apps
Summary Before buying this tablet, I read CNET's review as well as all the other user reviews. I consistently saw the same thing here as well as other websites: the pro's knocked it but the users liked it more. I decided to take the plunge. Full disclosure, I have an IPad 3rd generation Retina and a Nexus 7.
Overall fit and finish of this thing is up there with the IPad. Very well put together. The functionality of this is way better than either of my previous two tablets. The IPad is great but it lacked office. I, like most professionals, need Microsoft office. Unfortunately that is something outside of my control. My work basically forces that on me and I have to use a PC at work. While the iPad has made strides there's still a gap there. I wanted something that is seamless and I didn't have to worry about compatibility.
This thing has way more usability than the Nexus. Honestly it was nice, light, had a great screen, decadent selection of apps, but at the end of the day I didn't use it much. I was always intrigued by the Surface.
I was looking between the Surface 2 and the Surface pro. If you're looking to replace your laptop, get the pro. If you want something to do work on and have the lighter weight, smaller price, Get the surface 2. I love this thing.
The type cover is a must.
Office is seamless on this. I love the fact I can edit spread sheets, power point, and type as fast as I do on a laptop. I gained a lot of respect for MS.
Price. This thing wasn't cheap. I think if they had it at $300-$350 for the Surface 2, that'd be a great price. But at $450 plus the price of the type cover, $149. You're looking at a pretty hefty price.
The only other thing I didn't like is the fact that it's weird when you hold it in portrait mode. It's not a deal breaker, but it takes some getting used to.
Lack of apps. Look this is something everyone brings up when comparing between MS, Android, and Apple. I read something somewhere that its not of a big of a deal if you just go to the website. For example Yelp. There's no yelp app, but I just went to yelp.Com and problem solved. Same thing with Spotify. Works fine on explorer. At the end of the day it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Explorer works great. You just don't see 'custom' designed things for the Surface. I hope they get there, bc that would be pretty cool and I think something like this deserves the same treatment from developers bc it's a great piece of machinery.
If you're considering the surface, I'd say take the plunge. I am glad I did and haven't regretted it once. Well done MS.
Pros 1. Compact size with keyboard is great for school.
2. Full MS Office/Outlook useful for work & law school.
3. Battery life lasts nearly all day (I've been getting ~8.5hrs of use)
Cons 1. App store has huge gaping holes (I couldn't care less about Instagram, but VLC Player? Chrome? It'd be nice)
2. Not sure the utility of the device without a keyboard cover. Include that in your cost calculations.
3. Did I mention the app store?
Summary I got this device after my previous laptop died halfway through my 2L year. It's been great so far for getting work done, web-surfing, news-hounding, socializing, and other activities in gerund form.
I'm a larger guy, so the form factor issues many people have raised aren't much of an issue for me; one-handed portrait mode reading isn't much of a problem.
That said, there are a handful of great apps in the MS Store, and a huge steaming pile of nonsensical "apps" padding the numbers. The App store from Apple is the same, except there are so many useful apps that I never had reason to complain about the "chaff" as it were. MS should really attempt to sweeten the pot for developers.
Finally, I'm quite computer savvy and, thus, navigating through the Surface 2 features wasn't much of an issue. However, I imagine for a non-"poweruser" the learning curve could be a bit steep. There isn't any documentation included with the Surface 2 (go trees!)- perhaps MS should create a section of their site with tutorial videos. If this already exists, then it says something about marketing that a person who has already owned the product for nearly a month is unaware of it.
Connects easily with printers and Bluetooth devices
Cons Needs more diversity in the browser department - Firefox and Opera would be nice.
Summary I've written a full review elsewhere, but let's start with the form factor. When I open the kickstand and fold back the touch cover, it sits perfectly on the lap or chest. Office and SkyDrive are A+. I have all the apps I need. YouTube and Netflix both work great. Web-based Spotify works fine in desktop mode as I'm multitasking. The Google app has great voice search. I already have a laptop for desktop programs. Surface 2 is a solid tablet. I could not be more happy with the thing.