A Pogue-Less New York Times Praises the Surface 2

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

About the author  ⁄ Suril Amin

Suril is a scientist, journalist and obsessive Microsoft observer. He holds an advanced degree in Biotechnology with minors in Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology. Send him tips on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/surilamin

  • Zdenko

    But thus does not play into our everyone is against us, woe are we, can’t get anything positive narrative that enables us to believe we are victims of a vast conspiracy plotting again all think Microsoft. Next thing you will suggest us maybe some of the decisions over the least ten years have been poor and maybe, god forbid, Ballmer isn’t a genius…shutter to think!

    • nohone

      It is the Apple fanboys who like to play that game. They still like to call it M$, even though Apple makes more, they still like to pretend that sites like Engadget and TheVerge are out to get Apple, and sites like this one need to be shut down because they are so biased (and mean, and hurtful, and …) against Apple.

      Yes, we complain when sites have people such as WSJ’s Mossberg in charge of reviewing MS products, or TheVerge’s Topolsky who claims that Microsoft “is a cancer” himself does the reviews for MS products (even though they hired Tom Warren to do that).
      If the web sites treat Microsoft fairly, then we have no problem with it. It is when something is immediately “Apple wins” that we have a problem. Case in point (even though it is not an MS product) is how yesterday Dell announced a 4K display, one site immediately panned it and proclaimed that Apple’s display is better. The problem is that 1) Apple has not yet announced a 4K display, 2) Apple and Dell use the same supplier for screens, 3) Dell displays have more options such as input connectors, USB hubs, etc. and 4) Dell displays are usually cheaper. But that Apple 4K display is much better because it does, I mean will, have an Apple logo on it.

      • arrow2010

        No Apple 4K Thunderbolt display will be superior due to:

        * superior build quality out of aluminium instead of plastic

        * iconic looking design(super thin)

        * Thunderbolt 2 ports which are faster and more capable(daisy chaining) than USB 3.0. This allows connecting up to 3 additional displays.

        * FaceTime HD camera

        * ambient light sensor

        * built-in speakers

        http://www.apple.com/displays/

        • arcana112

          This is the first time that I see someone claiming a DISPLAY is actually superior because it’s thinner…. and because it has a “facetime” HD camera (what the hell is that? also: no “Skype” camera? big fail)…. Oh, also it has Thunderbolt!!! Oh, wait it’s actually SLOWER than USB3 (http://nofilmschool.com/2013/05/macworld-benchmark-battle-usb-3-vs-thunderbolt/) with 1% the hardware availability…. And “daisy chain?” Newsflash: HDMI supports daisy chain just fine…
          At least it has (or rather WILL HAVE WHEN IT IS ANNOUNCED) “built-in speakers”…. Magical….
          zzzzzzzz

        • nohone

          1) That was the entire point of what I wrote – how do you know it will have superior build quality? I am using a Dell U3014. It has great build quality. I use an Acer T272HUL. It has great build quality. I don’t have one, but I am sure that Apple displays have great build quality. And yet, something that has not even been released yet is just assumed to have better build quality, even though it is using the same components as the Dell monitor.

          2) Oooh, it looks pretty! That makes it work better than any other device. I prefer the look of my U3014 to the current Apple displays, does that make it work better?

          3) Thunderbolt – the FireWire of the modern era. Nobody really uses it, it costs much more, and doesn’t get you any real ability. Since you are a big fan of it, you tossed all your USB devices and exclusively use Thunderbolt?

          4) A HD camera with a pretty marketing name. And where is that open specs for FaceTime Steve Jobs gave us his word would be released? I guess his word, and that of Tim Cook are not worth anything. And if you are to use the thinking of the Microsoft haters, don’t put it in your bedroom or living room, because it just allows the NSA to spy on your private life.

          5) What do I need that for? Auto dimming the display? That is the first thing I turn off on any device.

          6) I have my computer connected to a 5.1 surround sound system with speakers I spent about $3000 on, connected through a Onkyo NR818 receiver. But hooray! Apple has a tiny 2.0 speaker I can listen to audio with! Sign me up, because that will make it much better than a Dell or my current setup!

          http://www.DontBeAnAppleWhore.com

    • http://twitter.com/surilamin surilamin

      @745f60ef532babca3996d380b6840ff9:disqus You are certainly partially correct. We are starting to see what I call “Random Acts of Journalism” from various outlets from time to time. In the case of the New York Times, this has only happened because Yahoo grabbed David Pogue. However, it is still engrained in the culture it is okay to bash Microsoft and assume they have done wrong before right. This will take many years to fix, but stories like these by the times will start to help. Ballmer certainly made his share of mistakes, but I don’t think he is as bad as everyone makes him out to be.

  • HelloThisIsSteve

    Good riddance to Pogue and Mossberg. I might start to read NYT and WSJ tech articles again.

  • AppoApp

    This App can Play Local Videos and Youtube Videos! (Both in Same player) Check it

    http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/app/opentube/a49aca84-f2f6-4349-acdc-11e3e7fc55bf

  • Nham Thien Duong

    Finally, I’m sick of almost the entire global media having some anti-Microsoft sentiment for some reason.

  • John

    Quick…someone at NYT needs to hire Walt Mossberg. /s

    The Surface 2 is not perfect, but my wife and I use it as a laptop replacement, and it has been my favorite gadget in quite some time….and I used to be an all-Apple user.

  • NegLewis

    Look at who is behind “top 20 MS investors”.
    Ex-CEOs that bought MS shares. They need a weaker MS to sell it piece by piece. Return of investment.
    There are places in the world (here) where anybody can hire thousands of “bloggers” to bash/praise/confuse/gather info about anything. From politicians to devices.
    Our last president used them and won.