Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Review

Microsoft Surface Pro 2 is a huge improvement over its predecessor that was released about a year ago. While the basic concept of blending tablet and laptop into a beautiful hybrid remains the same, the real change is brought about by accessories, hardware, design and Windows 8.1 tweaks. But the cost of accessories clearly suggests that if you are planning to replace your laptop with a tablet, you will have to put in more greens than you think (Like $120 for Touch Cover 2).

Albeit, there are some quality upgrades that deserve some appreciation. Upgrades like improved display, inclusion of Intel Haswell processor, deeper cloud integration, and more SSD storage options make it a powerful laptop replacement but the alternate repercussions make it a less functional if not mundane Tablet. In addition, the specifications precisely explain Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 ambitions.

Specifications

  • Screen: 10.6in full HD 1080p LCD
  • Processor: 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 “Haswell” (4200U)
  • RAM: 4GB or 8GB dependent on storage version
  • Storage: 64/128/256/512GB SSD plus microSDXC slot
  •  Graphics: Intel HD 4400
  • Operating system: Windows 8.1
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 with BLE, Compass, USB 3.0, MiniDisplayPort
  • Cameras: 720p front and rear-facing cameras
  •  Dimensions: 275 x 173 x 13.5mm Weight: 907g

Surface Pro Review

Design

On design front, although Microsoft Surface Pro 2 lines up pretty close to its predecessor, there are some subtle retouches that make it aesthetically better. The most prominent design change is an adjustable in-built Kickstand that integrates a better tablet and laptop experience. The rest remains almost the same, for example it features the same chamfered Titanium-finish VaporMg chassis is the same bulky fingerprint-prone unit, measuring 275mm wide by 173mm deep by 13.5mm thick. Despite usual expectations the overall weight, give or take remains the same at 900g.

Display also remains the same as before with 10.6-inch ClearType full-HD, 10-point multi-touch screen with a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels. However, major color tweaking to deliver bright and crisp display in both horizontal and vertical viewing angles makes it one of the Surface Pro 2’s strongest forte.

SP Design

Pen

In conjunction with the adjustable Kickstand, the Smart-pen fares better than its predecessor, perhaps because of better interaction angles. The pen works on magnetic principle that in-turn makes regular writing and drawing snappier.

Performance

With Intel’s latest Haswell 1.6 GHz Core i5-4200U processor and integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400, 4GB of RAM, this is the one place where Microsoft beats all the competition. You can flawlessly run desktop apps like Photoshop and Chrome without having to worry about lags, which by far is insanely powerful and unusual for a Windows PC.

Battery

With all that power and display improvements, you would expect that Microsoft Surface Pro 2 is heading for a battery-life disaster; on the contrary, practically the results are pretty amazing. Surface Pro 2 clearly seems to respect Microsoft’s 75 percent battery improvement claims. It can last for about 8 hours on regular use which consists of internet-surfing, high-res images previews and the like at 65% screen brightness. While that might not be Tablet standard, it definitely is pretty impressive for a Laptop replacement.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for an UltraPortable laptop with raw power, appreciable battery life and elegant looks of a Tablet, Microsoft Surface Pro 2 is for you.

Sam Allcock