The New York Times published their review of the Surface Pro 2 & Surface 2 today. Even though the author, Bob Tedeschi, is an Apple developer, he gave the next generation Surfaces a relatively objective look and was fairly positive about both devices. It is amazing what can be accomplished with David Pogue finally leaving the New York Times. I am looking forward to Walt Mossberg leaving the Wall Street Journal too. Here are some pull-quotes:
But the second iteration of the Surface, which went on sale in late October, most of those downers have been addressed. The new Surface includes Outlook, an upgraded battery, a kickstand with two viewing angles instead of just one and faster USB ports, and other goodies.
It has roughly the same thickness and weight as the iPad — it weighs 1.5 pounds without the cover — and the overall screen size is 10.6 inches, giving it slightly more viewing space. With a Type Cover, it feels similar in your hands to an iPad with a cover. In all, the device falls nicely below the “bulky” threshold.
The company says the battery lasts up to 10 hours, two hours more than the previous version. I tested it by streaming video with the screen at full brightness and had power for 8.5 hours.
Why buy the Surface 2 instead of the Surface Pro 2? The Surface Pro 2 is a $900 machine, not including the $130 keyboard, and at that price the detachable tablet would have to provide a great all-around experience to justify the cost. While the Pro has an excellent high-definition screen (1080p) and a feather-light feel, you can get better apps — and many more of them designed for a mobile experience — on Apple and Android devices. (Disclosure: I co-created an iPad app.)
The value proposition of the base Surface 2 seems about right. For around the price of an iPad, you get a tablet that’s great for watching movies, checking email, browsing the web and using most of the basic apps you’ll need.
But still. The Surface is a bargain machine that packs a tremendous amount of value for the price. The software sparkles with thoughtful and innovative touches that will most likely find their way to competing platforms. When a website or page includes information that spills over onto another page, for instance, part of that page peeks out at you as you browse, so you know it’s only a swipe away.
You can toggle between the traditional Windows interface and the mobile interface by just tapping the home button. And if you want to devote a small portion of your screen to one thing — say, your Twitter feed — while using the rest for another app, the software lets you do that easily.
I found the touchpad on the Type Cover less responsive than the touchpads found on laptops, but then I realized: Who needs one when you can swipe and tap the screen?
That said, Office RT is far better than mobile apps that seek to approximate the Office suite. Google last year bought the best of the bunch, QuickOffice, and the user reviews have plummeted since the deal.
In the meantime, Microsoft gets to enjoy a first-out-of-the gate advantage in the category. Imagine that.
Positive coverage of Microsoft in the New York Times. Imagine that.
Source: New York Times