I’m writing on the Surface 2 right now. In the subway. It’s early in the morning, and I’ve managed to squeeze myself in a seat with Microsoft’s new tablet/laptop amalgamation right on my lap. This is where the updated two-position kickstand comes in handy—in the second position, it’s easier to see when I put it on my lap. Though I don’t get Internet access (yes, I know the MTA is working on that), I can easily flip through my apps with the swipe of my finger, going from this review to my music to the magazine I was reading this morning.
For those who don’t know, the Surface tablets from Microsoft are pretty recognizable. The touch or tap keyboard covers have become iconic, and now the keyboard is thinner and backlit. The tablet runs Windows RT, which now boasts loads more apps than was previously on the platform (including a Facebook one, now corrected). The Surface 2, released last week, is a big update from the first gen of Surface, starting with the OS: Windows 8.1. Windows 8.1 is a free update for anyone running Windows 8 or Windows RT. It comes standard on the Surface 2. There’s a host of improvements—among them speed, customization, and easier access to the SkyDrive, Windows’ excellent answer to the Cloud.
Fine and good. But why buy a Surface 2, or a Surface Pro 2? After all, some people note the size and limited apps as reasons to not get it. But if you think about it, you’re ignoring that there is no one-size-fits-all sort of device, that different needs are matched by different devices.
While there’s a tablet for every kind of person, the Surface 2 is the Get Stuff Done tablet. Angry Birds are fun for fifteen minutes or so, and you sure have access to it on the tablet, but the Surface 2 is for professionals and students who don’t dick around. The Surface 2 comes with Microsoft Office built in, and the keyboard, whether button or touch, is fantastic. Hardly a learning curve. With the ability to swipe through apps at rapid pace, it’s the best machine for multi-tasking. The battery power is an improvement over the last Surface, estimated at 10 hours of charge for video playback, and 7-15 days idle. One of the best features the Surface tablets have (and will apparently continue to have) is the USB drive for extra storage, a mouse, portable files, whatever you need.
That doesn’t mean there’s no room for fun on here. The video player is excellent. The 10.6” ClearType Full HD display is pretty gorgeous for games, videos, and photos. And for guys like us: A built-in Health and Fitness app tracks workouts, exercises, and calorie counts. And don’t forget Pepperplate, the Recipe, Menu and Cooking Planner. This app lets you swipe through an array of recipes from the simple to the gourmet.
In short, all this means your work (and your play) goes where you go, without the hassle and with easy access to email, the web, Word, Excel, sample Tilapia recipes... whatever you need to Get Stuff Done. It’s a must-have at $449 for 32 GB, $529 for 64 GB, keyboard not included. The Microsoft Surface 2 is the best product for the productive man.
<p><strong>Operating System</strong>: Windows RT 8.1</p>
<p><strong>Display</strong>: 10.6" ClearType Full HD display</p>
<p><strong>Battery: </strong>10 hours, video playback</p>
<p><strong>Dimensions: </strong>10.81 x 6.79 x 0.35"</p>
<p><strong>Weight: </strong>Less than 1.49 lbs</p>
<p><strong>Storage</strong>: 32 GB and 64 GB options</p>
<p><strong>Processor: </strong>NVIDIA Tegra 4 1.7GHz</p>
<p><strong>Ports: </strong>USB 3.0, micro-SD, HD Video-out</p>
<p><strong>Wireless Connectivity</strong>: 802.11n WiFi</p>