NetGuide NZ - Hands on with Microsoft’s Surface 2

Warning: This story was published more than a year ago.
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Hands on with Microsoft’s Surface 2

Although it has been a few months since the Surface Pro was released (end of May to be exact), Microsoft has not wasted any time by creating a new addition to the Surface family, the Surface 2 which launched and arrived in late October.

Compared to it’s predecessor, the Surface RT, the Surface 2 is both thinner and lighter, the kickstand has 2 angles which allows for use both on a table or on your lap, other physical upgrades include: USB 3.0 port, increased camera resolution (3.5M front facing, 5M rear facing), and powered by NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor which makes running apps smoother and faster.

There has even been a few upgrades in the accessories specifically the keyboard covers which are now thinner and now includes backlighting, early 2014 will see the introduction of the new Power Cover, which claims to add extra battery life. Other new accessories for the Surface family include: an in car charger, Power & Dock (Surface Pro 2 only).

Operating system is Windows RT 8.1 which has had a few upgrades as well, there are a few standard Windows RT applications which have additional features like: Xbox Music which allows free music streaming; Skype now has “Unlimited World” which includes free calling to landlines to more than 60 countries and unlimited Skype WiFi in more than 2 million hotspots worldwide each for a year; SkyDrive has 200GB of storage for 2 years.

Pros:

• 10.6” ClearType Full HD display can now render 1080p videos for playback. 5 point multi-touch.
• USB 3.0 Port for faster transfer.
• Increase camera resolutions.
• Thinner and lighter than its predeccesor.
• 10 hours video playback, 7-15 days idle time.
• Kickstand now has two angles.
• New Covers now include backlighting (sold separately).
• Some included applications have some cool extra features.
• Microsoft Office 2013 RT included.

Cons:

• Covers are sold separately and aren’t cheap.
• Account creation required to get the most out of Windows 8, including application downloads, updates and use of most of their applications.
• If you’re a multiple device user, you might find features in their applications like streaming music or SkyDrive not as relevant as other online services.

The Surface 2 has arrived with a few more extra features and some well thought out upgrades - the variable kickstand being my favourite, though at the same time it feels like they pushed out an upgrade faster than required. It claims to be the most productive tablet, however to actually be productive you need the accessories i.e. keyboard covers which come at an extra cost which seems a bit unfair as one would assume it would be necessary. The dropping of the RT from the new addition could also create confusion for customers. For what it’s worth, it definitely performed but at the same time, it feels like there could have been more added to it.

Score: 3.5/5

Have you got your hands on Microsoft's new Surface range yet? Tell us your first impressions below

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