Microsoft Surface 2 Review Round-Up

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Surface 2 Silver

Microsoft Surface 2 reviews appeared online today. I’ve collected some conclusions from those reviews from popular websites. Mostly, the hardware received positive reviews with the exception that it is not pushing the boundaries. And the lack of apps in Windows Store was the most popular negative thoughts of Surface 2. Read the full reviews by clicking the title of the blogs/websites below.

AnandTech:

Surface 2 is a big step forward compared to Surface RT. The chassis looks awesome, the device is significantly quicker and battery life is appreciably better. The new display is much better than its predecessor (and so much better than what you get from most $449 PCs). The new touch/type covers see similarly major improvements. Surface 2 also benefits from the update to Windows RT 8.1, giving it a far more polished OS than what launched a year ago. The overall package is just a lot better than it was last year.

I really like everything about Surface 2 as a physical device. The chassis, the weight, the kickstand, the feel, everything. The software/services side of the story needs work, and until it gets there that puts a good amount of pricing pressure on Microsoft – at least if it wants broad adoption. There is an alternative solution to this entire problem however. I can’t help but feel like if Microsoft threw Intel’s Bay Trail in the Surface 2 chassis that a number of users might come to a completely different conclusion about the device. When we first posted about ASUS’ T100, common feedback was that users would be willing to pay more for an even better device. A Bay Trail Surface 2 could’ve been that device.

Engadget:

Pros

Thinner and lighter, sturdier kickstand
Well-crafted, premium design
Long battery life
Sharper display, great viewing angles
Full-sized USB port

Cons

Windows Store is growing, but still has holes
More expensive than tablets running full Windows

Bottom Line

Microsoft has already proven it makes the best hardware of any Windows OEM, but the Surface would be more competitive if it ran full Windows and supported traditional desktop apps.

Gizmodo:

Should you buy it? Probably not. The better screen, better camera, and better processor help make the Surface 2 a much more compelling tablet than the Surface RT, but it’s not quite as compelling as the competition, and what unique value it does bring to the table is not for everyone. Not for many.

The Surface 2 is still remarkable for its accessories, specifically the Type and Touch Cover 2, which are much much better than the covers the Surface RT had to contend with. If you really do find that you need a tablet that simply must have a physical keyboard, but also that physical keyboard must be attached and svelte and not just some bluetooth one, then yes, the Surface 2 is your tablet. But you belong to a very small niche.

TechCrunch:

All told, Microsoft has a far stronger lineup of tablets in play, and a vastly improved operating system to support them. If it can’t turn that into a sales improvement over its first generation’s rocky year, it can’t become an OEM, period. But with smart advertising (lots), and proper expectations, the company may do well.

I can sum up all the above by saying that if I was heading to a cafe in 5 minutes, I would probably take the Surface 2 with the new Touch Cover, and leave my Macbook Air at home.

ZDNet:

Ultimately, the real market for this device is people who need Microsoft Office and are comfortable with other Microsoft services like Exchange Online (Office 365), SkyDrive, Outlook.com, and Xbox Music and Video. Are there enough of those buyers willing to pay $449 ($549 for the 64 GB version) for a light, thin device that’s almost a PC? Or will they prefer a tablet or touchscreen notebook with a full Intel processor? The latter option trades the simplicity and lightness of the Surface 2 for compatibility with desktop apps.

About Author

Pradeep, a Computer Science & Engineering graduate.

  • NGM123

    Will wait to see how it stacks up of course, but the Toshiba Encore with the power of a full windows OS and over $100 cheaper is looking hard to beat IMHO.

    • Wtechrover

      You don’t need a full Windows OS. That’s what you use on a desktop or >13′ laptop. Tegra and Qualcomm beat Intel SOC on the GPU part. For games. More important then x86 compatibility. I know after having 2 tablets with ARM and Intel SOC.

      • NGM123

        Agreed, however the point I was trying to make is the more powerful version is the less expensive one. RT is fine for a tablet IMO but the chip set of the Toshiba is clearly better then the Surface, and for less money.

        • Wtechrover

          Not on the GPU part. Also the Tegra4 and Qualcomm are allready very fast chips on the CPU part. A major step up from Tegra3 and earlier Qualcomm chips..

        • Cruncher

          The Toshiba has only an Atom SoC of the BayTrail flavor, which compared to say Snapdragon 800 is mid range at best. While the CPU core is reasonably fast (comparable to Cortex A-15 in Tegra 4), the GPU is slow. This makes BayTrail Tablets overall comparable to last years Snapdragon S4 when running likes of 3d mark.

      • Bugbog

        Such a pity then that there has not been any 8″ RT tablets yet!

  • Bugbog

    Seems to me that most reviewers that are complaining about the lack of “popular” apps are mostly based in the US, where there are certain apps that are popular to Them.

    • Guest

      Very good point.

      Look at Nokia WP8 Lumias, no one in the US cares about them but elsewhere they are selling 6 million or more just last quarter.

  • Wtechrover

    The sum up is that the reviewers have nothing to complain and only say something about price and legacy app compatibility.
    In other words: the Surface 2 is a great tablet and one the best available.
    Getting mine tommorrow.

  • donzebe

    Not surprise at all these bias reviews especially from bloggers / tech journalists that adore the ipad and mac air.

  • jaylyric

    Smh.. Here go the useless reviews. First of all with the app (non)-issue, Who needs most of the ones that some reviews talk about,when a lot of them don’t even have tablet based apps. Second. Scaling an app meant for a phone looks shity. Third. Since the Surface 2 is more than some toy,you can use the full website of a lot of those and a lot of website still function better than the apps. The sad thing is that most people who read these reviews don’t need what the reviewers say missing,and probably don’t even know what things like desktop apps are,and will probably get put off by these stupid reviews (opinions) without really educating themselves and seeing if it’ll be suitable for them. Bottom line is that with or without app. The Surface 2 is better than the IPad or anything Android period. I have two on pre-order. I started out with an Android tablet,we have a iPad and mini. So I know that the experience of the Surface 2 is vastly superior. Unlike the reviewers though,I’ll at least say that this is my personal opinion.

    • Bugbog

      Tie the use of the websites in with the ability to get RSS feeds through the Live-tile shortcut icon of the website, and 8.1 tablets are Golden!

  • Andreas Luebbers

    What they seems to ignore is that with IE11 and Adobe Flash most apps are not needed, the websites are good enough or even better. For example the first generation of Surface devices could play online games like thesettlersonline.com which is not possible with iPad. I think the type of windows (RT/x64/x86)will uninteresting in some years for the customers. Microsoft has only to make sure that the business apps are made available as Modern UI Apps than nobody needs an full windows.

  • koenshaku

    Still crazy to me that this device is not compatible with windows phone apps.

  • SategB

    I think that great Nokia leader said it best when he was referring to another soon to be deceased OS:
    “Burning Platform”

    Trying to be everything to everyone is not a successful strategy.

  • alukard

    The same people that would happily take a chromebook. Hypocrites.