Surface 2 tablets are too hot for retail, still (mostly) sold out

The 512 GB Surface Pro 2 is the only one of Microsoft's new tablets you can buy from their own site at the moment.

While the Microsoft Store website is once again selling the Xbox One after weeks of showing the console as "out of stock", the same is not true for most of the company's Surface 2 tablets. In December, one week before Christmas, the site showed that all of the Surface 2 models were "out ot stock" but today, three weeks after Christmas, the $1,799 Surface Pro 2, with its 512 GB of storage, is the only one that consumer can actually purchase via the site.

While the site itself is lacking any way to buy most of the new tablets, the situation isn't any better if you try to call a local Microsoft Store retail location. Neowin attempted to do so and got a message stating that the company could not guarantee availability of any of the new Surface tablets at their retail stores over the phone. In other words, if you want to see if your local Microsoft Store has Surface tablets in stock, you have to drive over to the store to see for yourself.

Neowin contacted Microsoft to see if they could give us an update on Surface 2 shipments to the Microsoft Store website and why it is still nearly sold out well after the busy holiday shopping season. Unfortunately, the company didn't offer us a solid explanation. Instead, it sent over the same comment that the company offered Neowin when we asked about the same situation a month ago:

The public response to Surface has been exciting to see. It is our primary goal to get Surface 2, Surface Pro 2 and new Surface accessories into the hands of all people who want the most productive tablets on the planet. We’re actively working with our manufacturing teams and retail partners to get Surface in customers’ hands as soon as possible.

The situation isn't much better at Staples.com, which currently only has the 32 GB Surface 2 and the 128 GB Surface Pro 2 available for shipment. BestBuy.com seems to be the best bet for online ordering at the moment; only the 256 GB Surface Pro 2 is shown as out of stock but that could change quickly.

Unlike the Xbox One, which Microsoft recently said has sold over 3 million units worldwide from launch until the end of 2013, the company has never offered any shipment or sales figures for its Surface tablets. However, the lack of availability of the new models could turn into a liability for Microsoft as it tries to compete with Apple, Samsung, Google, Amazon and others in the already crowded tablet space.

Microsoft is supposed to reveal its fourth quarter 2014 financial results on Thursday, January 23rd and we hope the company will offer some color on the sales of the Surface 2 tablet family at that time.

Image via Microsoft

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The ONLY thing holding me back from selling my iPad and buying a Surface 2 Pro is the lack of LTE connectivity. My iPad will be on Craigslist the moment MS fixes that oversight.

According to rumours, it'll be out by the end of the year alongside the Surface 3. A bit odd, if you ask me. For now, the Nokia 2520 supports LTE but it runs Windows RT 8.1.

Yup, I just don't get it. Apple has had LTE in the iPad 3 for a few years now. I believe there are Android tablets that have had LTE for longer. Yet MS doesn't even offer 3G. I kinda understood it in the 1st gen Surface Pro because the processor was already a battery hog but it just doesn't make sense with the Haswell's. The RT makes even less sense.

Instead I upgraded my old iPad 3 (which did its job like a champ) and bought an iPad Air. I also got a Zagg Folio keyboard case. It too runs like a champ but frankly I want Office. However I NEED mobile connectivity much more so I continue to pass on a product that I actually think is pretty good.

When I bought my RT 2 in early November at Best Buy, I had to wait in line in order to look at the surface. All other computers had nobody looking at them but the Surface 2 area had a line.

I traded in my iPad Mini for it and it's much better than the mini, IMO. I had to do some work over Christmas vacation and Office came in handy.. couldn't do that on the mini without a 3rd party app.

It's amazing how many people are not bothered to read the article and still compare it to the iPad, just makes them look like fools. Let me know where you can find an iPad with a 512 GB SSD and 8 GB of RAM.

Let me know where you can find an iPad with a 512 GB SSD and 8 GB of RAM.

And can run x86 programs, and maybe have an actual USB port...

Didn't we go through all this last year? News sites constantly writing about how the Surface was sold out everywhere, when in reality it was just that there weren't many devices being produced.

Until we see some numbers, these "sold out" articles don't mean anything.

it's pretty much the opposite of saying, 'hey guys, these things turned out to be waay to expensive, so after an initial sales period, we reduced stock, claimed we cannot order fast enough, and then do a media statement saying that 'we are sad that we cannot give everyone a S2, we are tying our hardest'. Sales numbers in hard cold spreadsheets is believing. MS does this twisted PR numbers game all the time, i'm getting sick of it. Stop fuelling speculation based on faulty trends

Kaa-Ching said,
Sales numbers in hard cold spreadsheets is believing.
Why? How would you know those numbers are true and not just pulled from someone's a**? Why should we blindly believe any company just because they state a specific number?

64GB, 128GB & 256GB are out of stock! 512GB is in stock!

Best Buy asst. mgr told my friends in Cangoa Park, CA that Suurface 2 (all) & Surface Pro 2 (all) are n/a on sale. You can order online only. He claimed it was shortage of supply. (really?)

Not true, you can get them in store, but the supply for the Surface 2 (both versions) has really sucked ass, even from the get go. We've had more Surface Pro 2 128GB than anything. Microsoft is apparently loaded on inventory of Surface RT 64GBs though, as they seem to be in stock everywhere. Makes sense why BBY has had both the 32 and 64 at such a good price ($299 for 64gb right now).

It's just the 256 and 512 that are mostly online only. At least, I've never even seen one of those in store, and more likely than anything, most of your every day consumers will be looking at the 128GB.

I think the general consensus that they over corrected Surface 2 production numbers a bit too low is probably most accurate, although on the Surface 2 Pro could have an additional factor of low yield on the Intel side.

Suffice to say, you can find them if you look for them, but you have to really WANT one to find one. Really does put a damper on the impulse buys though.

$1800 bucks!!? I could get a nice Gaming Rig, and still remain with some cash to get an iPad Air. I haven't seen any Surface tablets outside of retail yet.

I know I need a 30000$ commercial truck for my business, but f*** it, I'm going to get a 25000$ sedan and buy a bike with the rest. Now that's what I call smart. /s

They've been selling like hot cakes here in Canada... I spoke to a rep at Future Shop the other day and they said they're having trouble keeping in stock because they keep running out and they have high demand every day. I've been seeing them around Starbucks too lately haha.

The new "Windows Stores" within Future Shop and Best Buys are definitely helping, they're always packed and make the tiny Apple isle look deserted. :-)

I don't think that the Surface tablets are hot at all. The Surface tablets are not even registering on many pie charts when it comes to market share. For the average non-tech user, there is not much of a difference between Surface RT vs Surface 2. I think this is a case where Microsoft purposely manufactured less Surface devices to give the impression that their product is in high demand. Like I said, if it were doing well, it would be in every tech analysts' pie charts of all the tablets in the market.

Too much time spent typing. Your standard choices are

(1) TOTAL FAILURE, no units available clearly indicates an artificial shortage.
(2) TOTAL FAILURE, units available clearly indicates that no one is buying them.

From here on, you can simply post (1) or (2), and everyone will understand your point.

We have had a few S2's on order for months no and a shipping date of February. I would think MS could up production by now.

Why is Microsoft not revealing any actual sales figures? That is one excellent measure of an item's success, or lack thereof.

They've said before they will be doing it at the same time they do the quarterly stuff for all of MS. They specifically said they were going to give exact figures for surface from now on.

I don't know much they have sold, but I am selling Surface cases on amazon.com ("mysurface"). My sales doubled the day surface 2/pro 2 on sale (oct.22), and stayed there. More than doubled again during the holidays. And surprisingly, sales didn't drop much after the holidays. Doesn't that give you some hints on Surface sales?

$1799 is outrageous for a tablet (Surface Pro). I have the Surface 2 and iPad Air. Prefer the Surface 2, except for one thing, FaceTime. My kids all have iPhones so FaceTime is a big plus for the iPad Air.

People willing to buy the $1800 tablet mostly aren't looking to FaceTime their kids with it as a major app they want to use.

Me I'm looking forward to getting one of those soon and using it for CNC design and simulation. Tired of using a stylus on a mat instead of on my screen.

$1799 is outrageous for a tablet (Surface Pro). I have the Surface 2 and iPad Air. Prefer the Surface 2, except for one thing, FaceTime. My kids all have iPhones so FaceTime is a big plus for the iPad Air.

The 1799$ configuration is shown here as an example of one configuration that remains in stock for purchase. It is also the most expensive. Other configurations don't cost as much, and Surface (first generation) tablets can be had for significantly less.

annotate said,
$1799 is outrageous for a tablet (Surface Pro). I have the Surface 2 and iPad Air. Prefer the Surface 2, except for one thing, FaceTime. My kids all have iPhones so FaceTime is a big plus for the iPad Air.

The $1800 Surface Pro isn't so much a tablet as an ultraportable computer with detachable keyboard accessory. For the RT version, or for an iPad, it is outrageous, but for a full computer in that small a package? Not too bad, if you can afford it.

Kaa-Ching said,
skype spies on their users, and collects data unknowingly. Skype is a massive security risk. Wouldn't trust MS either.

Except they don't.

All the 'breeches' and security related issues with Skype are with older P2P clients that didn't have the newer security features and occurred long before they were purchased by Microsoft.

Now if you want to talk about 'monitoring' conversations, we can talk about GVoice, where all voice conversations are recorded by Google themselves and used to data collection.


annotate said,
$1799 is outrageous for a tablet (Surface Pro). I have the Surface 2 and iPad Air. Prefer the Surface 2, except for one thing, FaceTime. My kids all have iPhones so FaceTime is a big plus for the iPad Air.

Then wait and buy a 64gb version that is around the price the an iPad Air.

Notice the storage size listed, which is where the main expense comes from. In fast flash storage, the price jumps considerably when you go over 128gb. For example, just to buy a fast USB Flash stick that is 1TB runs around $1000.

(With the Surface you can expand storage space via the SDCard and/or the USB Ports, you aren't locked to the original storage configuration.)

i'm pretty sure they do, and since we all know how easy it is and still is with Skype, i'm guessing Skype provides MS with some nice data collection, otherwise they'd be stupid to buy Skype, if not for the costumers and their data..... Skype is an insecure app, end of story, gov. and hackers infiltrate it all the time, common knowledge.

Kaa-Ching said,
i'm pretty sure they do, and since we all know how easy it is and still is with Skype, i'm guessing Skype provides MS with some nice data collection, otherwise they'd be stupid to buy Skype, if not for the costumers and their data..... Skype is an insecure app, end of story, gov. and hackers infiltrate it all the time, common knowledge.

Microsoft DOES NOT use Skype content for data collection. If you want to pretend the sky is full of unicorns, that doesn't make it real.

Microsoft bought Skype to gain access to existing customers and contracts tied to non Microsoft products. This gave them instant agreements with telcos and other companies they were unable to gain access by offering messenger or lynx.

annotate said,
$1799 is outrageous for a tablet (Surface Pro). I have the Surface 2 and iPad Air. Prefer the Surface 2, except for one thing, FaceTime. My kids all have iPhones so FaceTime is a big plus for the iPad Air.

Well aware of Skype and use it occasionally with my Surface 2. But Facetime (and iPhones and iPads) are wayyyy more ubiquitous than Surface. That's what makes it wayyy more convenient than Skype.

I am dying to find out what the deal is here, what a let down it would be to find out they had supply issues and that it really didn't sell that well, and what a nice surprise it would be to find out they sold many more than they anticipated. And what if there is something more sinister like they will be doing a spring refresh with new processors. I gave my Apple loving niece my old Surface RT expecting to not get a great reception, and she insists she is not just saying she loves it to please me . She spends a LOT of time with it and loves it. I have been trying to get her the purple or pink keyboard since Xmas, and those are no where to be found at the MS Stores, or Best Buy etc.

It is pretty much a given that surface 2/pro 2 are selling better than the original versions, but on the other hand, it's also quite possible that MS played this round safe, not to repeat the same mistake as before; too many RTs and not enough buyers, 900$ million down the drain.

As far as the surface pro 2 goes, could it be an Intel issue with CPU yields? Remember that people have started to get Surface Pro 2s with the i5-4300U compared to the original i5-4200U on replacement units. That and the lack of fresh new supply could point to Intel not being able to meet demand for the 4200U.

As far as the surface 2 goes, we know that a updated version with LTE is coming soon so maybe they're not doing any more of the WiFi only models and will replace stock with the newer LTE versions later?

Mordkanin said,
The 4200 and 4300 are likely the same silicon. The 4300 would be a higher performing/binned chip off the same wafer.

Possible, but the instruction sets are different, making it less likely, as the 4200 would also have to purposely have these differences disabled.

I got 2 32gb SurfaceRT's and a 32gb Surface 2 but really would like a 8" Surface with a 4:3 aspect ratio, it's the nicest thing about my iPad mini, which is otherwise pretty useless, maybe they are limiting stock due to impending release of 8" Surface mini

VeganPowers said,
I got 2 32gb SurfaceRT's and a 32gb Surface 2 but really would like a 8" Surface with a 4:3 aspect ratio, it's the nicest thing about my iPad mini, which is otherwise pretty useless, maybe they are limiting stock due to impending release of 8" Surface mini
I keep seeing people say they prefer 4:3 but can't understand why? My main use of my tablet is as a media consumption device and 16:9 is much better for that. The only time I could see 4:3 being better is when reading but I would rather do that on an e-reader anyway.

4:3 was the aspect ratio the majority of American shows were created to be framed in pre-2004 or so. If you are into watching older shows on Netflix, watching them on 4:3 is a far better experience than 16:9.

Also the original aspect ratio for 35mm film, which means classic movies also look better on 4:3

(QFT .. I LOVE 4:3 Tablets... but err why is your iPad mini other wise pretty useless?) Because the wireless is so weak I can't use it in my bedroom but the Surface has no trouble, also it can't run my emulators and my Surface runs MS Office from the factory. Don't get me wrong I like my iPad, but it just isn't as useful to me

NastySasquatch said,
4:3 was the aspect ratio the majority of American shows were created to be framed in pre-2004 or so. If you are into watching older shows on Netflix, watching them on 4:3 is a far better experience than 16:9.

Also the original aspect ratio for 35mm film, which means classic movies also look better on 4:3

4:3 is a nice aspect ratio for eReading magazine subscriptions with no letterboxing

4:3 is terrible for modern video and games, not to mention multitasking.

Apple is the only company that does 4:3 and I doubt that will continue forever considering iPhone and iPod have switched to widescreen.

None of the 8" Windows tablets use 16:9 though. Like Android tablets the 8" Windows tablets are all 16:10 which works better in portrait.

VeganPowers said,
I got 2 32gb SurfaceRT's and a 32gb Surface 2 but really would like a 8" Surface with a 4:3 aspect ratio, it's the nicest thing about my iPad mini, which is otherwise pretty useless, maybe they are limiting stock due to impending release of 8" Surface mini
You may like 4:3. But 16:9 at 8 inch is amazing. Dell Venue Pro 8 has proven that. There is no reason for 4:3 at that form factor. 16:9 is only odd when holding portrait in the Surface sized lines, but even then, as you get used to it, it's nice.

VeganPowers said,
4:3 is a nice aspect ratio for eReading magazine subscriptions with no letterboxing

Yes, but for Books, Movies, Websites, and 99% of all other content, the 16:9 ratio works better.

I really don't get the 'confusion' over 4:3 and why people think it gains them anything.

The only times 4:3 is preferred is with a few things like A4/Letter documents and Magazines. However, as soon as Apple kills off the 4:3 tablets, DIGITAL Magazines will stop using the outdated format.

The world is moving away from 'printed' content layout, especially as tablets help to make printed materials irrelevant. The only area that printed content is holding strong is Legal size documents, which displays better on 16:9 devices.


(Why do users love the 16:9 and 16:10 aspect ratio of their phones, but have a problem with a 16:9 tablet, when they often use it to display the same content? Cognitive disconnect?)

I got the Dell Venue Pro 8 for my sister which is 16:10 ratio and it is a great 8" tablet,, but my Cycle World and Motor Cyclist mag looks a little nicer as of January 2014 on 4:3 ratio. I do look forward to that format eventually fading away as you say.

VeganPowers said,
I got the Dell Venue Pro 8 for my sister which is 16:10 ratio and it is a great 8" tablet,, but my Cycle World and Motor Cyclist mag looks a little nicer as of January 2014 on 4:3 ratio. I do look forward to that format eventually fading away as you say.
I'm curious, how does it look different. Would love to see some screenshots or photos on imgur etc. I'd trade black bars on every video I watch for black bars on a magazine or two.

Mobius Enigma said,

Yes, but for Books, Movies, Websites, and 99% of all other content, the 16:9 ratio works better.

I really don't get the 'confusion' over 4:3 and why people think it gains them anything.

The only times 4:3 is preferred is with a few things like A4/Letter documents and Magazines. However, as soon as Apple kills off the 4:3 tablets, DIGITAL Magazines will stop using the outdated format.

The world is moving away from 'printed' content layout, especially as tablets help to make printed materials irrelevant. The only area that printed content is holding strong is Legal size documents, which displays better on 16:9 devices.


(Why do users love the 16:9 and 16:10 aspect ratio of their phones, but have a problem with a 16:9 tablet, when they often use it to display the same content? Cognitive disconnect?)

Because you can hold a 16:10 phone on one hand and it's a good fit for a pocket. It also works for small tablets such as the Nexus 7, which can still be portrait tablets without being awkward.

16:10 on a big tablet though forces them to be naturally landscape oriented, which makes them virtually impossible to hold one-handed.

Apple got it right with the iPad. All other manufacturers are just afraid to admit it.

ParadiseLost said,

Because you can hold a 16:10 phone on one hand and it's a good fit for a pocket. It also works for small tablets such as the Nexus 7, which can still be portrait tablets without being awkward.

16:10 on a big tablet though forces them to be naturally landscape oriented, which makes them virtually impossible to hold one-handed.

Apple got it right with the iPad. All other manufacturers are just afraid to admit it.

16:9 and 16:10 DOES NOT FORCE a tablet to be landscape.

The TabletPC was designed specifically for 16:10 and specifically to be used in portrait mode.

In Portrait mode it also shows more readable content on Web Sites than 4:3 which is what a majority of users have a tablet to do, browse the web.

Apple has created quite a mythos with their 'superior' 4:3 aspect, but it is truly just a poor resolution choice that goes back to the 1990s that they got LOCKED into with the original iPad.

The reason Apple 'got it right' was it was the only screen resolution they could get for the screen at the time.

Wow...

ParadiseLost said,
Because you can hold a 16:10 phone on one hand and it's a good fit for a pocket. It also works for small tablets such as the Nexus 7, which can still be portrait tablets without being awkward.

16:10 on a big tablet though forces them to be naturally landscape oriented, which makes them virtually impossible to hold one-handed.

Apple got it right with the iPad. All other manufacturers are just afraid to admit it.

I hold my Surface RT portrait regularly for reading. It's very comfortable one handed. In fact, I often wish I could put it on its stand portrait, that is the only "force" applied to me use it landscape. Outside of reading, though, I prefer landscape for 16:10 since games/movies/etc all are created for that layout.

ParadiseLost said,
Show me one current "big" 16:10 tablet that isn't designed to be used in landscape.
This is your theory, you provide one that is designed to force the user into landscape.

ParadiseLost said,
Of course. There are so many of them that don't that you cannot name a single one.

Better luck next time.

Every TabletPC made from 2002 to 2012. There are millions of them still in use around the world.

Are you trying to make yourself look foolish?

I may be trying. Some of you succeeded long ago.

Of course when some refuse to accept the facts even if they have a horizontal kickstand staring at them in the face, for crying out loud, what can you expect.

ParadiseLost said,
I may be trying. Some of you succeeded long ago.

Of course when some refuse to accept the facts even if they have a horizontal kickstand staring at them in the face, for crying out loud, what can you expect.

3rd party docks and stands work just fine for portrait mode with the Surface and OTHER 16:10/16:9 tablets. You do realize the Surface isn't the only Windows 8 tablet, right?

How well does the built in iPad stand work for Portrait? (Ya, I didn't find one either.)

holy crap, $1,799? and i thought a macbook air was expensive... this is beyond any Apple mobile computer and i love my Windows Phone 8.

macoman said,
holy crap, $1,799? and i thought a macbook air was expensive... this is beyond any Apple mobile computer and i love my Windows Phone 8.

$300 more than a comparable MBA.

But the display is way better on the SP2 (1920x1080 vs 1366x768) and it has the digitizer.

It's not really comparable to anything that Apple sells, so I guess I'm not understanding the comparison to be made here.

macoman said,
holy crap, $1,799? and i thought a macbook air was expensive... this is beyond any Apple mobile computer and i love my Windows Phone 8.

Dude Surface Pro has a Digitizer, Touchscreen and works as a tablet. No comparison to the Mac Air.

Dude Surface Pro has a Digitizer, Touchscreen and works as a tablet. No comparison to the Mac Air.

Not to mention, the price shown in the screenshot is for the most expensive version, though in all fairness, it is also the config that is most easily obtained (from a stock perspective).

macoman said,
holy crap, $1,799? and i thought a macbook air was expensive... this is beyond any Apple mobile computer and i love my Windows Phone 8.

for what the surface pro does, i'd happily put down some serious money for it.

Mordkanin said,

$300 more than a comparable MBA.

But the display is way better on the SP2 (1920x1080 vs 1366x768) and it has the digitizer.

Actually $200. And the MBA has a slower proc at that price point.

nickcruz said,

Dude Surface Pro has a Digitizer, Touchscreen and works as a tablet. No comparison to the Mac Air.

Correct but their cost is added to the base version too. From 256GB to 512GB version the only change is the larger SSD and it is a significant change compared to what Apple charges to up the SSD to the same capacity.

Enron said,
The 512GB one isn't a very good deal. The 256GB is a better buy unless you absolutely need that much storage.

It is not a good deal due to the massive price difference between 256 and 512 model. I would have ordered the 512 one if not for that massive price jump.

wrack said,

It is not a good deal due to the massive price difference between 256 and 512 model. I would have ordered the 512 one if not for that massive price jump.
Same I can't bring myself to spend on that premium. I'm looking for a 256 like a hawk. I've yet to get close to one.

macoman said,
holy crap, $1,799? and i thought a macbook air was expensive... this is beyond any Apple mobile computer and i love my Windows Phone 8.

If I'm not mistaken, the 256->512 version not only has a bigger SSD but also double the ram (4GB to 8GB).

freedonX said,

If I'm not mistaken, the 256->512 version not only has a bigger SSD but also double the ram (4GB to 8GB).

Nope, the ram increase is when you go from the 128 to 256 model.

macoman said,
holy crap, $1,799? and i thought a macbook air was expensive... this is beyond any Apple mobile computer and i love my Windows Phone 8.

this ****er has better specs compared to Macbook air, plus it has touch screen and wacom technology

uxo22 said,
but what matters is the price that comes out of your pocket, not why it went up.

Correct but I want to pay a proportional price hike when the only thing changed it the SSD size. This is just my view.

wrack said,
Correct but I want to pay a proportional price hike when the only thing changed it the SSD size. This is just my view.
You have to keep in mind you're not just paying the cost of the bigger ssd. You're paying for the risk involved in tying *all* the other components to a disk size that has lower overall demand. It's incentive for MS to produce them in the first place and have them taking up space on shelves and parts.

Alternative uses man, you pay for them.

I haven't heard anyone complaining they can't buy one (other than this article), so presumably they aren't in huge demand. Logically then, Microsoft aren't going to have huge inventories of them after their last $900m writedown of a surface.

dvb2000 said,
I haven't heard anyone complaining they can't buy one (other than this article), so presumably they aren't in huge demand. Logically then, Microsoft aren't going to have huge inventories of them after their last $900m writedown of a surface.

There you go everyone, a sure fire way to determine demand. I personally don't hear anyone complaining about anything therefore nothing is in high demand.