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Microsoft Surface 2 Review

Interface and Functionality

We have the updated Windows RT 8.1 experience on the Surface 2, which finds many of the same updates and enhancements found with the full-blown Windows 8.1 experience – like improved organization with the Start screen, the return of the Start button in desktop mode, and better “snapping” between apps that are simultaneously on screen.

We can’t complain about the dynamic look of the platform, of course, but the biggest difference between this and the full blown Windows 8.1 experience, is the lack of being able to run legacy software in the desktop mode. No surprise there, right? Therefore, Windows RT 8.1 is merely nothing more than a “lite” version of Microsoft’s desktop OS.

We were baffled why simple organizer apps like the Alarm or Calculator were blatantly omitted with the Surface last year, but this time, Microsoft includes several of them from the get-go. On top of the usual People and Calendar apps, Windows RT 8.1 adds in Alarm, Calculator, and Sound Recorder apps.

Even though you can churn out some additional money to pick up the optional Touch or Type 2 covers, the on-screen landscape keyboard proves to be especially usable thanks to its responsiveness, spacious layout, and fantastic auto-correct feature. Alternatively, the Surface 2 also boasts a split style keyboard, which is especially useful with portrait usage, and a hand writing recognition one that doesn’t seem as practical when compared to the other options.

Processor and Memory

In the last year alone, it seems as though Qualcomm’s chips have been the preferred choice amongst most flagship devices in the space. So it’s safe to say that everyone was taken by surprise when Microsoft made it known that the Surface 2 is powered by the quad-core 1.7GHz NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor coupled with 2GB of RAM. It’s been a while since we’ve checked out something with NVIDIA’s silicone, but we’re glad to see that it gives the Surface 2 a solid performance. As expected, it’s fast, responsive, and barely stutters, so we’re pleased with the results.

Yet again, the Surface 2 is available in 32GB and 64GB capacities – with ability of its being supplemented thanks to its microSD card slot. Pricing stands at $450 and $550 respectively, which are pretty competitive when you think about it.

Internet and Connectivity

Whether it’s the touch friendly or desktop mode version of Internet Explorer, the web browsing experience is what we expected all along with the Surface 2 – fantastic! Boasting speedy page loads, fast page rendering, and buttery smooth navigational controls, it’s everything we’d want with the experience, so there are no complaints from us whatsoever.

Considering sales weren’t too great with the original Surface, it doesn’t surprise us that there are no plans for cellular enabled versions of the Surface 2. As for what it’s packing along, it features Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, USB 3.0, and a microHDMI port for video-out.

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