Image Source: Microsoft
As we gear up for the upcoming holiday shopping season, the race is on: what will be the top tech product for 2013? Tablets are undoubtedly this year’s hot product. Something about the powerful functionality combined with the mobility and sleek designs are just too appealing for the masses to pass up.
One tablet stuck out to me in particular. My co-worker recently got himself the Microsoft Surface Pro. After about 2 weeks of testing, I think I am hooked. Venturing further down the Microsoft tablet path, I came upon their latest offering.
Microsoft has recently released the new Surface Pro 2. I won’t waste anymore of your time with build-up. Let’s get down to the brass tacks.
First, the Pro 2 is powered by a 4th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, making it nearly as powerful as your standard laptop. You could run the tablet on the dual-core CPU at 1.6 Ghz, or expand it to 2.6 Ghz with a Turbo Boost. All this means that the battery life is greatly improved on the Pro 2 and the tablet is much quitter overall. You could run the Pro 2 for 6 to 7 hours comfortably. Couple this with 4GB RAM (up to 8 GB) and a starting 64GB storage (up to 512GB) and you’ve got a viable laptop replacement.
The tablet features a 10.6 inch full-HD IPS LCD display and a ClearType resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The pixel density is a modest 208 ppi (weaker than some of the crisp smartphone displays), but has 46% better color accuracy and record low reflectivity. This makes outdoor use a possibility. The screen is Gorilla Glass 2, so you know it is highly durable. It utilizes Wacom active digitizer technology which allows for awesome pressure sensitivity when using a pen or stylus. The Pro 2 is a great option for artists who do most of their work by hand. Don’t worry, the screen possesses palm rejection, so your hand won’t interfere with your sketching.
The Surface Pro 2 is outfitted with a 5 MP camera on the rear and a 3.5MP front-side camera. It takes decent photos but doesn’t feature auto-focus or flash.
Now, let’s move onto the design. The body of the Pro 2 is acceptable if not a bit bulky. The tablet is encased in a magnesium chassis and features USG 3.0 port on the leftside, a microSD car slot on the right, a micro HDMI port, magnetic charging port and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack near the volume buttons. The entire package weighs in at 2 lbs. However, this above-average shouldn’t deter anyone who is looking for functionality.
The Pro 2 has a built in kick stand that allows it to prop up in 2 different angles. It comes with an optional keyboard cover (additional $150). There are 2 types of keyboards that you can get but they both click on to the bottom of the tablet with magnetic pins. The connection is strong between the 2 so you don’t have to worry about the keyboard falling off at any time. Both keyboard covers are 1.5mm thin and backlit. This allows for effective typing in dark settings.
Finally, let’s talk about the software. The Pro 2 runs Windows 8.1 ‘metro’ interface. The Start menu has been dropped but otherwise, the Pro 2 offers the equivalent of a desktop PC experience. The Live Tile nature of the desktop allow for extensive customization of the layout. One useful function is the inclusion of split screen which allows you run to run different programs simultaneously. This is almost a necessity in the tablet industry nowadays. However, navigation can be a bit troublesome on this tablet.
One big sticking point for the general public may be the price tag. The Surface Pro 2 is a bit over $1,100 with the keyboard attachment.
So to break it down, the Surface Pro 2 is powerful, features a beautiful display and has enough ports for everything you need. It also possesses dual-sided cameras, excellent touch sensitivity and a sleek design. On the other hand, it can be too clunky for some users, the touchscreen can be a bit wonky sometimes and it doesn’t play well with Google. It is also relatively expensive compared to other similar tablet options out there.
However, when all is said and done, it is a useful piece of tech that can flow seamlessly between work and play roles. If you can stomach the price tag, then this will be a great and reliable tablet in your arsenal.
Our rating is a solid 8 out of 10. We really liked it but want to see the next model improve on some of the issues that we covered here. Will the surface Pro 2 be at the top of your holiday shopping list? That’s your call.