Microsoft is well known for their software, but manufacturing tablet computers is a new venture for the tech giant. It’s been almost a year since Microsoft’s signature tablet the Surface Pro was released, and now the second generation of Surface, the Surface Pro 2, is available. Here’s an overview on how the new tablet stacks up.The biggest appeal of the Surface Pro (compared to the non-Pro model) is that it runs a full operating system, instead of the stripped down Windows RT, making the tablet a fully functional mPC. Microsoft has timed the release of the Surface Pro 2 to correspond with the release of mobile Windows 8.1, which means the differences between Windows 8 and 8.1 will translate with the two generations of Surface Pros. Of course, upgrading an original Surface Pro to Windows 8.1 is also an option.
Just like Windows 8.1 was not a dramatic upgrade from Windows 8, so too is The Surface Pro 2 not a game-changer compared to the original Surface Pro. The new model still has the same look as the old Surface, and it even has the same hefty bulletproof-vest feel that has come to distinguish the Surface from other tablets (both versions of the Surface Pro weigh in at two pounds). The most notable differences between the two generations of the Surface Pro are seen in increased battery life, power efficiency, and performance, all thanks to new fourth-generation Core i-series CPUs from Intel.
Before we get into how the Surface Pro 2 performs, let’s go over the product specifications:
- Display Size/Resolution: 10.6-inch, 1,920×1,080 touch screen
- PC CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U
- PC Memory: 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz
- Graphics: 1,792MB Intel HD 4400
- Storage: 64GB SSD hard drive
- Networking: 802.11b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
- OS: Windows 8.1 (64-bit)
- Ports: 1 USB 3.0, microSD card reader
Kickstand with Alternate Angles
One upgrade that compliments the laptop functionality of the Surface Pro 2 is the addition of a second angle with the kickstand when sitting horizontally. Having a second angle to work with may not be a big incentive to upgrade, but it’s a nice feature allowing you to choose between two angles that are most comfortable on your eyes.
One of the most distinguishable features of the Surface Pro 2 is its magnetic snap-on keyboard which doubles as a protective cover. The downside to the keyboard is that it’s sold separately which adds another $100+ to an already pricey tablet, but the advantage to the Touch Cover 2 keyboard is that it’s lightweight and durable enough for serious typing. Touch Cover 2 keyboard has also been updated with more sensors to better pick up partial keystrokes and support gestures. For just a little extra money, you can get the thinner Type Cover 2 keyboard. Both the Touch Cover 2 and the Type Cover 2 are backlit, allowing you to use your Surface Pro 2 in a dark environment.
Additional Features Coming Soon
Microsoft has in the works a second version of a Type Cover Surface keyboard that’s slightly thicker and includes a battery to act as a secondary power source for when the tablet runs out of energy. Another cool feature that Microsoft is developing is a docking station that will essentially turn the Surface Pro 2 into a desktop. The new docking station will give you additional USB ports, audio ports, an Ethernet port, and a Mini DisplayPort that will allow you to add an extra monitor. The docking station can act as a great device hub by allowing you to connect all of your compatible gadgets for quick syncing, charging, and file sharing.
The Biggest Improvement
The biggest improvement with the Surface Pro 2 is with the upgrade to Intel’s fourth-generation Core i-series CPUs. With this new chip you will notice an increase in system performance and an extended battery life. The increased battery life is a serious selling point because the original Surface Pro gave you enough power to last you half a work day, while the Surface Pro 2 has enough energy to playback seven hours of video on a full charge.
Are these improvements to the Surface Pro enough to motivate you to upgrade? Having a full PC in the form of a tablet is a convenient way to break free from your desk and go mobile, and having Windows 8.1 on a tablet will give you the latest solutions at your fingertips. What are your thoughts on the new Surface Pro 2? Share your opinions with us in the comments!