Hands On: Surface Pro 2

As predicted, Microsoft will be releasing the Surface Pro 2 on October 22nd, with pre-orders to beginning Tuesday morning. At today's Microsoft press event in New York City, we got some quick hands-on impressions of the new tablet.

Overall, the design of the Surface Pro 2 case isn't that much different than the Surface Pro on the outside, but inside that's another story. Microsoft will put in Wi-Fi antennas that support double the bus speed of the original. Microsoft seems confident that these improvements, along with the Intel Haswell processor and more, will make the Surface Pro 2 a much more powerful tablet for professional use.

We asked why Microsoft is adding a 512 GB option for the Surface Pro 2 and we were told by Microsoft reps at the event that feedback from customers requested the additional storage space option. The 256 GB version, for example, can only hold 40 minutes of compressed video from a high end professional video camera, so doubling the storage space could help the Surface Pro 2 be used more by businesses and users that require lots of storage space.

We also asked about the new kickstand which will have two positions this time. Microsoft reps told us that the kickstand is highly durable and will last longer than the hardware inside the Surface Pro 2 (in terms of the hardware going obsolete). The new version does seem to help with the viewing angles on the Surface Pro 2's display. Users should have an easier time viewing content with the choice of two angles.

Microsoft is clearly pushing for the Surface Pro 2 to be used more by businesses. The fact that they were able to launch a second generation product less than a year after the Surface Pro came out in February is impressive. It's way to early to offer a detailed opinion on the Surface Pro 2 but based on the few minutes we were able to play with it, the Pro 2 may turn out to be a welcome laptop replacement for many people and businesses. We will have a full review of the Surface Pro 2 in the coming weeks.

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38 Comments

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You know the most disappointing thing about this event was the 3 coolest new products aren't available until 2014:

- docking station
- Power Cover
- Music Cover

if only it had LTE. yes I know, you can add it, but MSFT is missing the boat here and this is the world's most powerful highest spec tablet on earth. it should have it.

neonspark said,
if only it had LTE. yes I know, you can add it, but MSFT is missing the boat here and this is the world's most powerful highest spec tablet on earth. it should have it.

You said it "this is the world's most powerful highest spec tablet on earth".

But less than 1% of the world on earth has LTE. So why should the rest of us who live in the 99% of the world on earth pay for something we can't use? Moreover, I already have LTE in my Nokia phone which is simple to tether. Why would I need or want to pay for two phone numbers?

I still think Intel could do better in terms of performance without cooling. Do we have to wait for Broadwell to have a Surface Pro as thin as the ARM-powered, with no cooling fans and battery that lasts all day?

you're never going to get this kind of performance from an ARM chip, so it kind of misses the point. but I agree, they should do it as soon as they can. but this is the "pro". it's all about performance.

Charles Keledjian said,
I still think Intel could do better in terms of performance without cooling. Do we have to wait for Broadwell to have a Surface Pro as thin as the ARM-powered, with no cooling fans and battery that lasts all day?

I agree 100%. So why don't you go around to Intel, knock on their door, give them a right bollocking and show them how to do it?

I was hoping the Pro would be passively cooled.

I guess Intel can't keep the heat down.

Keep trying. Until then, I will suffer the limitations of RT.

I find the cooling channel across the circumference of the device to be a design turn off.

deadonthefloor said,
I was hoping the Pro would be passively cooled.

I guess Intel can't keep the heat down.

Keep trying. Until then, I will suffer the limitations of RT.

I find the cooling channel across the circumference of the device to be a design turn off.

This wont happen for a long time, the chips are to complex to have a ultra low TDP, ARM can pull that off because of the reduced complexity, but at the cost of processing power... you want processing power, it's going to make heat by todays tech abilities

deadonthefloor said,
I was hoping the Pro would be passively cooled.

I guess Intel can't keep the heat down.

Keep trying. Until then, I will suffer the limitations of RT.

I find the cooling channel across the circumference of the device to be a design turn off.

I'm grateful for the cooling vent. The Surface Pro would probably FRY when I played FF XIV and Battlefield 3 on it without the vent.

deadonthefloor said,
I was hoping the Pro would be passively cooled.

I guess Intel can't keep the heat down.

Keep trying. Until then, I will suffer the limitations of RT.

I find the cooling channel across the circumference of the device to be a design turn off.


This is the first genuine complaint in these comments. But it's all about horses for courses. Personally, I'll live with the heat if it lets me use a stylus.

we have wanted to get a few of them here where i work however, our hold back is windows 8 as well as the price point, we can get a more fully featured laptop (just higher specs really) for the same price and the only real reason we would want the tablet is because they are lighter and easier for some of our sales/ tech folks to carry around with them.

Why is your hold back Windows 8? Have you tried Windows 8.1 yet? We use it at our enterprise workplace (included the original Surface RTs), and have had nothing but great feedback and increased productivity. :-)

Can't wait to get my hands on these Surface 2 / Surface Pro 2 devices!

littleneutrino said,
more fully featured laptop (just higher specs really) for the same price

you can NOT.
stop it already.

Yes you can get an ultrabook with some pretty hefty specs but what is cut out..... Touch/Stylus.

That alone is a deal breaker for those of us who have been writing on our screens since XP.

deadonthefloor said,

you can NOT.
stop it already.

Yes you can get an ultrabook with some pretty hefty specs but what is cut out..... Touch/Stylus.

That alone is a deal breaker for those of us who have been writing on our screens since XP.

Hell yeah, active digitiser brother!

deadonthefloor said,

you can NOT.
stop it already.

Yes you can get an ultrabook with some pretty hefty specs but what is cut out..... Touch/Stylus.

That alone is a deal breaker for those of us who have been writing on our screens since XP.

Totally agree. Here in China my company has been using XP Tablet Edition for 10 years. Using a Roman character keyboard to enter Chinese characters is stupid. Handwriting is simple. And 1.3 billion potential customers in this country will agree.

I've never understood this argument, why not use a USB modem or tether off your phone? Many corps who supply phones also allow them to be turned into hotspots, so no need for the WWAN chip which would be an added expense.

I could really see this taking off if MS partnered with 1 or more phone companies and offered the Pro for $199 -$299 on a 2 year contract with adding it as a device on your data plan. Then it would be reasonable.

Drewidian said,
I could really see this taking off if MS partnered with 1 or more phone companies and offered the Pro for $199 -$299 on a 2 year contract with adding it as a device on your data plan. Then it would be reasonable.

It would first need LTE capabilities, which I'm honestly surprised they didn't include. If they wanted to be heavily used in businesses, they absolutely need to have an LTE option.

bdsams said,
I've never understood this argument, why not use a USB modem or tether off your phone? Many corps who supply phones also allow them to be turned into hotspots, so no need for the WWAN chip which would be an added expense.

Because if you want this device to be disperse through out a business, it must go through someone from above the food chain first. If you know anything about supporting executives, they don't want to be bothered by tethering or carrying additional equipment with them when they travel. All they want is to access their email and response to if a decision must be made.

RommelS said,

..... If you know anything about supporting executives....

Agree whole heartedly.

THIS is why the executive team at my company uses iPad with VPN to Windows boxes for real work.

It's a compromise MS has done to keep OEM happy, so that they can differentiate themselves.
Don't expect to see such hardware from MS in the next 12+ months.

Screw the OEMs! That is the biggest problem MS faces. If MS dumped the OEMS and did their thing, they could become the best. Until then, Nope.

bdsams said,
I've never understood this argument, why not use a USB modem or tether off your phone? Many corps who supply phones also allow them to be turned into hotspots, so no need for the WWAN chip which would be an added expense.

you've never dealt with corporate end users have you? Anything "extra" takes up time and space in their minds and therefore they don't want it....

dopydope said,
It's a compromise MS has done to keep OEM happy, so that they can differentiate themselves.
Don't expect to see such hardware from MS in the next 12+ months.

Oh well my "sources" were wrong then. See the AMA on reddit. That's good news !

neufuse said,
but still no WWAN chipset?... kind of one of those big enterprise features

The oems are doing a fine job of differentiating themselves or copying Microsoft, look at the Sony Tap 11..the asus mce400 from last gen etc.

HI. I'm a "corporate executive". You guys are nutters. People don't get to start and run multi-billion dollar companies by being luddites. The best executives can easily understand the cost/benefit ratio of any gadget. If they can't you should dump the shares of their company.

Major_Plonquer said,
HI. I'm a "corporate executive". You guys are nutters. People don't get to start and run multi-billion dollar companies by being luddites. The best executives can easily understand the cost/benefit ratio of any gadget. If they can't you should dump the shares of their company.

No one here is denying that corporate executives don't understand the cost/benefit ratio of any gadget, however that only works in small to medium size business. Try doing that on a world wide multi-billion company like the place that I work for.

RommelS said,

No one here is denying that corporate executives don't understand the cost/benefit ratio of any gadget, however that only works in small to medium size business. Try doing that on a world wide multi-billion company like the place that I work for.


And why would MS make Surface specifically for those people (not like there's millions of them)?

x.iso said,

And why would MS make Surface specifically for those people (not like there's millions of them)?

Let me respond to your question with an question. Do you have experience working in a enterprise environment, and do you have experience working with high level executives? Because if you don't, I will not waste my time explaining it to you.

RommelS said,

Let me respond to your question with an question. Do you have experience working in a enterprise environment, and do you have experience working with high level executives? Because if you don't, I will not waste my time explaining it to you.


Not too much experience, but I did work with high level executives here in Russia. Maybe you meant that if MS made it simpler for enterprise executives, they would jump right in with massive Surface Pro adoption across the enterprise employees? That might work, but in Russia it's just really about how much company is willing to pay cash rollback (not sure if I'm using correct term) and certainly not about actual convenience and value.

x.iso said,

Not too much experience, but I did work with high level executives here in Russia. Maybe you meant that if MS made it simpler for enterprise executives, they would jump right in with massive Surface Pro adoption across the enterprise employees? That might work, but in Russia it's just really about how much company is willing to pay cash rollback (not sure if I'm using correct term) and certainly not about actual convenience and value.

I wish that is the case, but it is not.

It is hard for MS because they're late in the game, and by the time they got started, Apple has penetrated the enterprise environment with their consumer consumption devices.

Since the iPad / iPhone was on an up swing for years, executives of large companies also got into the popularity of the products. When those executives start telling their IT "Find a solution for this device to connect to email, sharepoint, and such", you don't answer them "Why would you want to do that, it is a consumer device?" If an exec or execs wants something done, IT must deliver a solution. Of course, once the infrastructure is complete, it will trickle down to the employees for their use.

Another thing, and I've said this before, MS must contend with perception. To a lot of executives, anything other than an iPad / iPhone is not good enough for them. It must be an Apple product that they must carry when they travel. I hate to say that, but it is the truth.

I know that this explanation might not be to your liking, but that just how it is. In fact, Apple is taking notes with the company I am working for because we are one of the largest enterprise out there worked with Apple for their products to work with our infrastructure.