The Microsoft Surface Pro kickstarted the hybrid tablet/PC market we have come to see from all OEM partners and while the Surface Pro was not the most successful candidate, it is one of the first hardware projects from Microsoft and showed off their design flair, something we have come to love.
The Surface Pro 2 comes with the same sort of idea, but on a grander scale, the performance has been vamped up and Microsoft has started designing new keyboards for different types of users, making boards for musicians and technical boards.
There is no notable change on the design front, Microsoft has kept the same look and feel to the Surface Pro 2 as it did with the original. The only change on the external front is the redesigned kick-stand, now allowing too angles to fit more comfortably on a lap.
Other than that, it will be hard to tell the Surface Pro 2 apart from its predecessor. This is a good thing, instead of making it thin and not improving the specs, or changing the design, they have stuck with what is good and made sure to improve where improvements need to be made.
We do like the weight on the Surface Pro 2, it is not slimline like the iPad or Android tablets, but it is not heavy enough to be immobile. To reference, it feels like the Lumia 1020, large, thick, but packed full of performance with a premium outer-body.
The Surface Pro 2 display is still the great 1920 x 1080 resolution gem that was on the previous one, although Microsoft details minor changes made to make colors look more accurate and text to not have any pixelation.
Essentially the Surface Pro wants to take over your whole online life, meaning it wants to be the tablet, laptop and PC all at the same time, instead of having one of each. This does make it a questionable choice, since the performance is great against tablets but average against other laptops of this price.
Since this is the Surface Pro 2, it doesn’t come with the half-baked mobile performance, but a fully loaded Intel Core i5 Haswell chip, this is not top of the line, but is better than most processors available today and will work perfectly on any laptop and most mid-range desktops.
When it comes to testing the Surface Pro 2 out, the hybrid was capable of running games and applications without much of a problem. Obviously this isn’t the game to play MMO’s on or try out Battlefield 4, but it will do the job of being an office solution.
The Surface Pro 2 comes with configurations from 64GB to 512GB and all is SSD based, meaning really fast loading times for apps and anything sorted on the hard-drive. It is a nice touch to have 512GB of SSD, making it less of a tablet and more of a real PC that can be used to store all your online life.
Windows 8.1 is the newest update to the tablet/PC interface and it makes some moves to bridge the divide between hardcore PC users and tablet-friendly fans who want a bit more than the basic applications.
The problem with Windows 8 is it was such a stark change on the Start menu compared to anything Microsoft had released before and made it feel like Redmond was going down the tablet path, to try and catch up to Apple and Google.
Windows 8.1 adds performance enhancements and an overall back-end revamp, while changing some of the front end features to cater for all users running the OS. Many will still disagree with Microsoft’s decisions, but we find the update to be one for the best.
The Surface Pro 2 sits at a crossroads, unable to step into the full PC fantasy with the flimsy detachable keyboard and small screen, but incapable of being a cheap tablet because of the internals.
We cannot really recommend the Surface Pro 2 to anyone and we aren’t sure Microsoft can either – it is an expensive solution to the problem of tablets not being able to run games and heavy apps, but it does not make sense to have a half-baked solution.