Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (Windows 8.1)
Manufacturer: Microsoft Part number: 286866600
- Bottom Line:
- Microsoft's subtly updated Windows 8.1 tablet feels more like Surface Pro 1.5 -- improved battery life and better accessories make it a worthwhile (albeit pricey) laptop replacement, but it's still not an iPad-level category killer.
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CNET editors' review
price range: $999.99
- Reviewed by: Dan Ackerman
- Reviewed on: 10/20/2013
The good: The Microsoft Surface Pro 2 is a faster, longer-battery-life version of the original model, upgraded with a current-gen Haswell processor. The keyboard cover is also improved with backlit keys, and is among the best tablet accessories ever devised.
The bad: The Surface Pro 2 remains stubbornly thick and heavy compared with some sleeker competitors. The base 64GB version may leave you starved for storage, and the keyboard cover, practically required, should be included instead of sold separately.
The bottom line: Microsoft's subtly updated Windows 8.1 tablet feels more like Surface Pro 1.5 -- improved battery life and better accessories make it a worthwhile (albeit pricey) laptop replacement, but it's still not an iPad-level category killer.
Not a laptop or an ultrabook, simply: Surface.
by WindowsAllTheWay on October 26, 2013
Pros: ~Very good battery life, will power you through the workday with a little on the side. don't expect a full movie marathon, however.
~Best mobile productivity solution, easy.
~So fast and smooth it's scary.
~Keyboard cover makes this thing epic!!!
Cons: ~I find the battery saver reduces performance too much and makes the thing sluggish and unstable, avoid at all costs.
~Very expensive, since the covers are a must have and cost extra.
~Lightning fast when awake, but takes forever to wake up (9 sec).
Summary: This is not an iPad killer, it's not meant for everyone. It's not for those who want to watch movies or play games, no, this is for people ...
Summary: This is not an iPad killer, it's not meant for everyone. It's not for those who want to watch movies or play games, no, this is for people who always want the most powerful productivity options available to them always.
If you're looking for an entertainment device, get out. While it's great for that, this is not for you. If you're looking for a productivity solution, then your search has ended right here, with Surface Pro 2.
This thing is pretty sweet. It's outstandingly fast! Incredible, just incredible! I can multitask with tons of desktop windows and Metro apps running in the background with plenty of processing power to spare. Never hangs up, quite the little solider! However, I've noticed the Power Saver setting seems to significantly reduce performance, to the point it's slow. I say avoid at all costs.
Speaking of the battery, the battery is very good on this! More than enough for the workday! Now, it's not likely to last through the evening that follows, but this is meant for getting work done, so lasting through the workday is more than enough. It seems to manage battery very well, I find that it uses 0% battery when in sleep mode. However, this may very well be the reason why it takes so long to wake up, nearly 9 seconds from pushing the button to when it's ready. I can't stress how fast it is when awake, but the latency between the button press and wake time can be very painful. I pray Microsoft will make an option in the future to chose quick wake times over battery life.
Now, for where this product reigns supreme: Productivity! It's amazing, this thing, when it comes time to get work done. It can run any Windows program you can think of, lightning fast. The keyboard covers make typing a breeze (I personally recommend Type Cover, the extra $10 is more than worth it), and the pen is very nice (handwritten notes, anyone?)
You get seamless integration with Microsoft's productivity suite: Office, SkyDrive, Skype, the cooperate compatibility of Windows, etc. It's amazing how everything comes together, and how the little things (like printing) have been improved all around in Windows 8(.1). So much power in such a little device.
Office can let you make you documents, presentations and all other such things with ease, and SkyDrive ensures they're always with you (and the new SmartDocs feature ensures non-essential files aren't occupying valuable storage space, and speaking of storage: 200GB free with a Surface). Skype lets you communicate and collaborate with peers. Then we mustn't forget just how compatible Windows is.
The USB port lets you connect pretty much anything your heart desires, and utilize it to its full potential. SD card support is always awesome, but to chose MicroSD is a bit of a head scratcher. The DisplayPort helps you connect to the big screen, up to two in fact, via Daisy Chaining. And then Windows 8 lets you access the widest selection of applications of all time. It's amazing!
There are a few issues, however. As I've already said, Power Saver must be avoided at all costs. The lag between when you push the button during sleep and when it actually wakes up is also very painful. The biggest pill to swallow, however, is the cost. Seriously, between the device itself, a keyboard cover, the extra cost of Office, plus extras like a USB hub, external monitors, etc. etc., makes this a device not for those lacking deep pockets. It's a powerful device for the money, and it will be money well spent, I assure you. But I also urge thee not to take out a second mortgage just to buy this.
All-in-all, I love my Surface Pro 2. I don't think it's thick or heavy. In fact, I think it's downright slim and trim after using it, and realizing how much raw power is contained within. Seriously, this thing is a beast, to add anymore power would require burning several suns. And battery life is pretty fair. It won't last any longer than 10 hours (without the upcoming Power Cover, anyway), but that should be more than enough to get your work done for the day. Combine all that with how well designed it is, how smooth and stable it is, and its great universal compatibility, it's an awesome device!
I just must stress this isn't for everyone. Even if you're looking for a laptop replacement, if all you do is email, surf Facebook, watch a couple movies or stream Netflix, maybe right an Office doc or to, then you're far better off with the far cheaper Surface 2 (or maybe even another Windows 8 or Android tablet, or even an iPad). However, if you're someone who's line of work requires easy and effective access to the best, most powerful software and cooperate connections, while also wanting to enjoy a nice game of Cut the Rope or some YouTube on the side (which you can literally do, thanks to Snapping apps in Windows 8.1),then the Surface Pro 2 is for you.
If you meet the criteria to be interested in this device, it's a no brainer. I barely scratched the surface (no pun intended) of what this device can do, you'll be more than satisfied with it. For everyone else who doesn't need this much raw power, who doesn't want to spend so much on a device, who doesn't need great backwards compatibility, who doesn't need a full PC they can easily carry with them, who doesn't need a productivity solution: then please, walk away. There are so many other great devices out there, explore them and find what works best for you. Just please, stop comparing this to iPads and MacBook Airs, because I as said before, this thing is just in a league of its own.
Thank-You, and remember:
"Click in, do more. Surface."
6 out of 6 users found this user opinion helpful.
It's not a tablet; it's a Super Tablet.
by dasjokker on October 23, 2013
Pros: Powerful, 3d graphics, Apps that are far more polished and responsive than anything you'll see on an Android.
Cons: A little heavy but nothing an adult cannot handle. I one-handed it for three hours last night with a dog and cat fighting for space on my lap and I never thought "this is too heavy".
Expensive for now...
Summary: It will run PC games just fine, serious business programs, as well as tablet stuff (entertainment). My biggest surprise was when I looked for apps to replace what I use ...
Summary: It will run PC games just fine, serious business programs, as well as tablet stuff (entertainment). My biggest surprise was when I looked for apps to replace what I use regularly on my Transformer Prime. Windows 8 apps, while fewer, are far superior to any Android app by a huge margin. Android Tablets are primitive by comparison.
I waited over a year for the Haswell version of the Surface Pro. If the price today is too high I would recommend waiting until the price drops (which it will) in 12 months or so because an iPad or an Android really (really!) is low end compared to an Intel Windows 8 tablet.
3 out of 3 users found this user opinion helpful.
Solid build, simple to use, excellent screen
by roger528 on October 24, 2013
Pros: Full blown computer in a tablet, will run all windows software even most games 100%, integration with work.
Cons: Heavy, does not have 100% integration with touch screen with web or non app software.
Summary: This is what I always wanted, I had a IPad, IPhone, HP Touchpad (loved it but no apps no Netflix) and several Android devices. The Surface Pro does all, everything ...
Summary: This is what I always wanted, I had a IPad, IPhone, HP Touchpad (loved it but no apps no Netflix) and several Android devices. The Surface Pro does all, everything that I wanted to do in the past. Memory expansion slot, simple method to connect the to an extra monitor or big screen TV. I enjoy watching Moto GP and cannot get it in my area on cable, so I purchased it online and stream it to my computer, now I can steam the Surface Pro 2 and connect to TV, it works great. I have tons of movies and music on my WD 1 TB drive, I can connect it to the USB 3 and quickly and easily transfer and remove whatever I like when I want to, I finally own a device that is truly mine and do not feel restricted like a child (Apple). I have download ITunes and it works great, I have Microsoft Office and it works great. And I have Outlook. One drawback is when you go on the web or use standard Windows software that is not an app, they do not seem to run smoothly as a tablet, you need a mouse. I have been using the supplied surface pen and it works as a mouse. The other is that it is heavy, I am not small and find it heavy, you can hold it with one hand but not for long, the built in support with 2 positions help. I have not found a game or software that does not work smoothly, I have not tried some of the more modern games that are heavy with graphics. But I played some games using my Xbox controller with the PC wireless connector, the surface recognized it right away and it work smoothly. Windows 8 took some getting used to and I like it, it is simple to use once you get to know it and works well, being able to go back to the old start screen is awesome, great for transferring music or video. One huge drawback is the account system. I have a separate Xbox account and Skype account, when I logged in for the first time the Surface Pro gave me a new Skype and Xbox account, I cannot switch it to my regular Skype or Xbox. I had to delete the Skype app and download the regular windows version and connect that way, it was easy to do and I pinned it to me apps so I use it as an app, but it would have been nice to use the actual Skype app o, the Surface. Have not found a solution for Xbox, but working on it. This is quite frustrating. I will write Microsoft on the issues and maybe one day this will all be in the past.
2 out of 2 users found this user opinion helpful.
Improved where it needs to be
by thisistheslam on October 20, 2013
Pros: Battery life is great, keyboard cover is awesome, stylus so good, speedy, options for SSD @ 64/128/256/512Gb, strong graphics performance, USB3.0, BT 4.0, best screen on market?
Cons: Still slightly heavy but only for its size, not class
Summary: This is THE product to have for mobility. Windows 8.1 is a welcomed improvement and the changes made from v1 are important and complete the product. I hope the ...
Summary: This is THE product to have for mobility. Windows 8.1 is a welcomed improvement and the changes made from v1 are important and complete the product. I hope the Surface team can shave .3lbs in v3 to shut up the unnecessary complaints of this tablet PC being heavy, but I'm okay with it as is. Best in class PC option as long as 10.6" of screen real estate is acceptable for you.
2 out of 3 users found this user opinion helpful.
by jrasero23 on February 4, 2014
Pros: Tablet Design
Premium materials and design
True desktop meets mobile os
Improved keyboard covers with back-lit and multi-getsures
Cons: Thick and heavy for a tablet
Very expensive for tablet
Keyboard should be included
Kickstand still doesn't match clam shell laptop stability
Track pad still a tad too small and not clickable
Could use one more USB port
Summary: Windows wants the Surface Pro line to be a 2 and 1 without compromises and but in reality it isn't if you want a prototypical tablet experience like an ...
Summary: Windows wants the Surface Pro line to be a 2 and 1 without compromises and but in reality it isn't if you want a prototypical tablet experience like an iPad Air because the SP2 as a tablet is thick, heavy, lacks the mobile apps iOS or Android has, and is almost double the price of the entry iPad Air. But to be fair the SP2 isn't a tablet with it's i5 processor, 4GB/8GB Ram, and the option to have hundreds of gigabytes more in storage compared to the iPad. The traditional ultrabook components would explain the thickness and weight of the SP2 to some degree, still some would have liked the device to have slim down from its 1st generation form. Speaking of the 1st generation SP, besides the Windows 8.1, the kickstand having two modes, and the processor bump the SP2 is almost identical with its 1080P resolution screen, pathetic cameras, and metal build.
With the new i5 processor I get 7-8 hours battery surfing the web and streaming movies. Pretty good, but still not iPad Air 9-10 hours battery I get but on the other hand the iPad is running iOS and is running a dual core mobile processor. The new SP2 processor is fast and can keep up with mostly anything you throw at it, even some minor editing, HD streaming, and Steam. Speaking about Steam or gaming in general the SP2 supports USB XBOX 360 controllers turning the SP2 into a truly mobile gaming system.
The device itself has kept the thick tank lick build case, which still alludes a sense of quality premium-ness with its VaporMg and angular cuts. With this being said holding the 2Lb SP2 as a tablet is tiresome and not ideal but is doable, but when paired with a preferably a Type Cover (.55Lb) you get a pretty lightweight ultrabook at 2.55lb (MBA 11" 2.38lb). The kickstand adds one more mode allowing the SP2 to recline at a greater angle, which provides a better overall viewing angle in most situation and digs deeper into your leg if situated on your lap to provide overall more stability. A small change but a massive result since I found the SP to topple over too much when on my lap.
Windows 8.1 overs a host of new features and on the SP2 you can run the limited amount of Windows mobile apps or the huge selection of traditional legacy software that has been built up over many decades. The Surface line arguably has inferior mobile apps but what the Surface hands down does better than any other competitor is multi-tasking and productivity. With Windows I can watch HBO Go while paying my BOA bills or surf the web while I Skype someone, the possibilities are endless. While Apple provides iWorks free for download, I found its features and performance lacking on my iPad Air, still nothing compares to Office (free for Surface and downloadable/pay for SP2). Yes iWorks and Google Docs are good in a pinch but not something I can or would want to rely on.
Speaking about productivity, the Type and Touch covers are back, thinner, lighter, and more advanced. The new covers have more sensors and are now back lit. I recommend the Type Cover since it over the best performance and its only $10 more than the Type Cover. While the covers have improved their track pad by now adding gestures I still find the track pad a tad too small and I haven't adjusted to the non clickable track pad. Overall great implementation and better performance than I imagined for how small the keyboard is but at $120-$130 they aren't cheap and arguably the Touch/Type Covers should come included with the SP2 since your spending $900+ to begin with.
So lets talk about price. If you are viewing this as a tablet the $900 starting price will bring some sticker shock, but IMO this isn't a tablet and if your looking for a tablet experience and performance get an iPad or a Galaxy or whatever because the SP2 lacks the apps in the end right now to play with the big boys as a tablet full time. But Microsoft is doing everything they can to entice you to get a Surface with them offering 1 year of Skype, 2 years of SkyDrive 200GB, and Best Buy has a $50 NFL Shop card, and free virus protection. Value wise the the SP line has been criticized for its pricing but if you compare a MBA 11" with similar specs they come out to the same price excluding the $120-$130 Type/Touch Covers and I think this is what everyone is stuck on. Why would I want to pay $120/$130 more to get a keyboard that should be included? Well the keyboard should come standard BUT for $120-$130 more you get a 1080P screen, Touch screen, Digital stylus, microSD, and the ability to use Windows mobile apps. If you think about it this way paying the premium price and paying for the keyboard cover makes more sense. None the less $1000+ for a SP2 is still expensive and maybe it is a mistake for Windows to think anyone wants to pay a premium price for a device not made by Apple, but I think Windows took a chance and it did it rightfully so. The SP2 has a premium construction, build, and feel that only Apple exceeds. Windows is trying to turn themselves into an Apple like "it" brand and is trying to provide consumers with the best Windows experience and product possible, but that experience does come at a price tag higher than an HP or Dell.
Windows pioneered the tablet and when they did they were ahead of there time and with W8 and SP2 they might again be slightly ahead of their time. The SP2 will not replace your tablet even though it is shaped as one and it isn't the best ultrabook with its small 10.6" screen and small pricey keyboard but what it does give you is versatility. The SP2 allows you to Netlix, Facebook, but also type a report in Office and all at the same time. The SP2 gives you the power to edit on the go and play serious games (sorry Candy Crush).
Overall the device is very enjoyable. It's not perfect but again no product is, that is why I have an iPad Air and Note 3.
fast,portable,great built quality, productive device
by adhyperd on January 20, 2014
Pros: portable, fast, great built quality, productive
Cons: none. surface pro performs all i want it to do
It does the job well if you know how to use windows 8.1
by ablejoe26 on January 1, 2014
Pros: Amazing power that can do almost all tasks well.
Cons: Heavy to use as a tablet only device, battery can improve, Keyboard is extra cost, should have included full HDMI port instead of mini HDMI and office should have been included like the RT version.
Summary: Amazing power on a small device and very portable and using it on a table is just pleasant with the stand being more appreciative than you would expect. The added ...
Summary: Amazing power on a small device and very portable and using it on a table is just pleasant with the stand being more appreciative than you would expect. The added pen is just a bonus to some and a need to others.
The Extendable memory slot and USB support.
Not getting freezing problems as some are stating however the WiFi drops occasionally but so does my iPad.
Bottom line it will take time to get used to it and set it up the way you need it and It won't replace the iPad fully as its to heavy to use it as a playing device (its not for children). But for
a work horse and a device to do your important tasks is more it.
Bare bones out of the box - naked and lonely.
by bouledoux on December 8, 2013
Pros: Compact, Attractive display, a number of included Apps.
Cons: No user manual, one lousy USB port, no VGA adapter cable. Keyboard cover is sold "A la Carte". Cheap, Cheap Microsoft. I know why you are doing this - to keep your prices artificially low compared to other brands but its still Cheap, Cheap trickery.
Summary: While this computer has a lot of built in start up prompts, upon powering up for the first time to help you to get going, it comes with zero, napa, ...
Summary: While this computer has a lot of built in start up prompts, upon powering up for the first time to help you to get going, it comes with zero, napa, nada, nunca, NO user manual, no foldout quick start chart, NOTHING. It leaves you frantically searching for what you know you must have overlooked, lost, or are missing.
Being a technically adept person, I was able over several days to get my wireless router connection set up, my POP email account working reasonably.
I quickly recalled why I dislike Internet Explorer so much and substituted my old familiar Google Chrome browser as default, so I'd have my old friend back - like an old pair of jeans or an old sweater.
As most of my usage is at home in my "Man Cave" I quickly discovered that I wanted the convenience of a full sized wireless keyboard and wireless optical mouse. I plugged my old familiar Logitech up and was much more happy with the result. Mouse pads and I are NOT friends. It is like accuracy of a hand gun versus a target rifle to use an optical mouse.
My first acquisition was a "Pluggable" brand 7-port USB3 expansion hub with a 4 Amp power supply. Now I could plug in my Dymo LabelWriter permanently. Highly, highly recommended. Use Velcro to stick it and the USB receiver assy to the desktop. My 2nd acquisition was a Microsoft VGA adapter assy. I own an HP w2207h flat panel monitor that I got just before my old desktop went toes up. Now I can SEE. I run Chrome +175 zoom on my tablet and it appears just perfect on my HP flat panel monitor.
I'm certain I'm daily going to be discovering things that SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN A USER MANUAL, but weren't. I had to for instance find out how to add people to my contacts address list for my Email. As my Email was through Bellsouth / Yahoo the contacts did not synch automatically and I had to ask each person on my old laptop to send me a short Email. I brought up their Email and clicked on the header which brought up an option to "Add Contact" then over on the right side another column appeared with a red little symbol and if you click on it, you get the option to "Save Contact". That puts that person into your "People" list. Now why in Holy Hades didn't they have something that explained that ? One by one I added back in my old favorite contacts. I also struggled figuring out Email forwarding, how to add contacts. YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE TO DISCOVER THIS YOURSELF !
I'm still figuring out how to get my Snagit screen capture program to work. It's not popping up in the foreground. That I can get from Snagit. I also want to find the Windows 8.1 equivalent to Windows Explorer I used in Vista and in XP before Vista. I also want to figure how I'm going to add in some things I have on DVD's or CD's. Sounds like I may need a USB CD / DVD external drive to plug into my USB expansion hub.
More later as I fumble through this thing. I originally thought of getting the docking station but at $200 for it plus postage [ When and if they offer it again - they won't say one way or the other ] versus the $35 I spent on my USB expansion hub - I don't see any real advantage to it right now that I cannot do without.
One of the best products recently on the market.
by stanboxS on December 6, 2013
Pros: Powerful laptop which run all professional programs easily, but can also be used as tablet. Just unbelievably useful. Top quality build. Will easily exceed any expectations.
Cons: Pricey. Not for everyone - probably will be mostly used in business segment.
Summary: I've owned all kind of laptops including MacBook and also IPad. But this product is all this packed into one beautiful hybrid. No other product currently on the market ...
Summary: I've owned all kind of laptops including MacBook and also IPad. But this product is all this packed into one beautiful hybrid. No other product currently on the market comes close to this. Surface pro 2 is so powerful and full of pleasant surprises. USB 3.0 makes the real difference. Especially useful is Wacom stylus - just fantastic to use. Top quality build - no shortcuts here. Business trips are so easy with this machine. It is pricey but consider that this machine will replace your laptop, tablet and desktop computer as well. This is the thing that will pull back Microsoft to the top players in the field. Just take lots of hard drive - 128 and 256 GB models are best and were first sold out.
Best of both worlds between a laptop and a tablet
by tlking4 on December 5, 2013
Pros: I have a fully functional Windows device in the hardware format of a tablet. There is almost nothing i can't do with the Surface that I would need a desktop for, but it is as portable as a tablet. Great productivity!
Cons: Price. You get what you pay for, but if you don't need the full blown windows os, this may not be the right tablet. A few things on windows 8 are not as mobile-optimized as they could be, but the difference was small.
Summary: An awesome purchase that I have no regrets over. Worth the money for sure.
Summary: An awesome purchase that I have no regrets over. Worth the money for sure.
- Manufacturer: Microsoft
- Part number: 286866600
- Bottom Line: Microsoft's subtly updated Windows 8.1 tablet feels more like Surface Pro 1.5 -- improved battery life and better accessories make it a worthwhile (albeit pricey) laptop replacement, but it's still not an iPad-level category killer.
- Type 10.6 nm
- Display Resolution 1920 x 1080
- Processor Intel 4th Gen Core i5
- Flash Memory 64 GB
- RAM 4 GB
- Color Dark gray
- Features Front camera ,
Dimensions & Weight
- Width 10.8 in
- Depth 0.53 in
- Height 6.8 in
- Weight 2 lbs