Microsoft Surface 2 Review
It’s always scary getting into some sort of new venture. Like seriously, some gambles pay off instantly – while others require some time to mature. Although they were somewhat late to the party, Redmond-based Microsoft finally took the plunge late last year with the Surface, the first commercial tablet to run Windows RT – an operating system designed to compete with Android tablets and the iPad. Sales figures didn’t quite pan out for this first-generation model, but seeing that Microsoft is one of those companies sitting on a pile of disposable cash, they’re quickly moving forward with its successor. Armed with some significant upgrades, this year’s Microsoft Surface 2 is hoping to be a more well-rounded offering in the hopes that it can tangle with the greats in the space.Note that what we're dealing with here is the $450 Surface 2, which runs Windows RT (meaning there's no support for legacy Windows software), while the similarly named Surface Pro 2 (starts at $899) has desktop-class hardware and runs full-blown Windows 8 Pro.
The package contains:
- Wall Charger
- Documentation information
There’s nothing to this one, as the Surface 2 largely remains the same as the first generation. Quite a distinctive looking thing, it has a prevalent modern edge with its design – thanks in part to the angled cutouts around its edges. Admittedly though, those angled cutouts make it feel rather sharp when it’s held in the hand. On paper, it’s bit thinner and lighter (0.35” profile & 676 gr) than its predecessor, but it’s barely noticeable holding and seeing it.
This time around, it’s available in an additional silver color, which is a nice departure from the sole black slate offering. Oh yeah, its chassis is also constructed from the same magnesium “VaporMg” material, which so happens to give it a solid build quality.
Taking a look around the Surface 2, it features the same ports and buttons from before – like its distinctive power button, dual speakers, 3.5mm headset jack, volume control, USB 3.0 port, magnetic power connection port, microHDMI out port, and a magnetic connection port that allows us to attach the optional Touch and Type 2 covers.
Call it a kind gesture, but Microsoft is nice enough to upgrade the cameras on this, as it now features a higher count 5-megapixel rear camera, and a front-facing 3.5-megapixel one.
A rarity amongst tablets, the Surface 2 once again packs along a kickstand, but this new model has an additional wider angle that allows us to better use it in our lap. There’s also a microSD card slot in the underside of the tablet that’s accessible only when the kickstand is lifted.
One of the most disappointing things with the original Surface was its low resolution display, which was significantly under matched when compared to the higher-res panels employed by its rivals at the time of its release. Fortunately, Microsoft remedied the issue this time, seeing that the Surface 2 is packing along a 10.6-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS LCD panel, giving it a higher pixel density count of 208 ppi. All told, it’s significantly more detailed and sharper than its predecessor!
Other aspects of the display also shine, since it features wide viewing angles, punchy colors, and handles outdoor usage quite well. Overall, we’re extremely glad that Microsoft has given the Surface 2 something more rewarding!