TechRadar Reacts: Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2

23rd Sep 2013 | 17:12

TechRadar Reacts: Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2

Microsoft's tablet line gets a refresh, but is that a good thing?

As expected, Microsoft announced the Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 tablets today during an event in New York City.

The media gathered, the world watched, but do the follow-ups to the Surface Pro and Surface RT have what it takes to win over consumers, not the mention the discerning TechRadar team?

We're not looking at much different on the outside, though the Softies have crafted a few new covers and a nifty sounding docking station that might catch a few eyeballs.

More than anything, we're treated to rebooted internals, with a drive towards professional-grade performance. Do the new-fangled tabs hit all the right notes, or fall flat? The TechRadar team gives its reactions below, including a knee-jerk score on a scale of one through five.

Michelle - News Editor (US)

I have to say I'm impressed with what Microsoft put forth. It didn't go for a complete makeover of the struggling Surface line, but rather focused on revving up internals. The Surface still isn't sexy, but from a performance standpoint, the Surface Pro 2 could be the mobile workhorse people have been waiting for. The price is far too high but including Haswell, comparatively soaring battery life and jumpy graphics might take away some purchasing sting. As for the Surface 2, everything looks good on paper, but I struggle to see what has become an almost defiant purpose. It's better, but still pretty pointless.

Surface 2 knee-jerk score: 2

Surface Pro 2 knee-jerk score: 3.5

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Dan - Associate Editor (UK)

Surface 2 is much more powerful and a really good buy on the surface (!) of it, but there are two massive problems. The first is that Windows RT is still a screwdriver short of a toolbox. It is impossible to be consistently productive with it without employing workarounds. And that's because of the second thing: Windows apps are still so substandard compared to iOS or Android equivalents. And that's still a deal-breaker. I think Surface Pro 2 is by far the better of the two devices. It's the ultimate do-anything machine now the battery life is more decent thanks to Intel Haswell. But it remains expensive.

Surface 2 knee-jerk score: 2

Surface Pro 2 knee-jerk score: 4

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Lily - Assistant Editor (US)

The Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 don't look very different from their earlier versions but as the old saying goes, it's what's on the inside that matters. And man, these tablets really have what it takes on the inside. With the Surface 2 rocking a new screen and Tegra 4 brain plus the Pro 2 upgrading its memory, hard drive and CPU, each machine seems to be a whole new powerful (and expensive) beast. If only Microsoft had included some fun, memorable extra features…

Surface 2 knee-jerk score: 4

Surface Pro 2 knee-jerk score: 4

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Kane - Staff Writer (UK)

The Surface Pro 2 is the pick of the pair thanks to Haswell's extended battery life, but it's disappointing that Microsoft only managed to shave off 1mm thickness (thanks to a redesigned Type Cover). The dock is a very promising addition that brings the Surface Pro 2 closer to a complete portable PC replacement, which very much appears the future of computing.

How the Surface 2 improves over its predecessor will very much boil to Windows 8.1 RT. Though welcome, a 1080p display, improved CPU and free SkyDrive storage will once again only go so far if the Windows Store fails to attract developer support. Microsoft should be commended for further slimming down the device to make it more portable, but it loses half a star for not being compatible with the dock.

Surface 2 knee-jerk score: 3

Surface Pro 2 knee-jerk score: 4

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Alex - Reviews Editor (US)

Finally! The Surface we should have had all along is here. Long lasting battery life plus even more juice in the Power Cover, and a kickstand that will (hopefully) let you use it on the couch or in bed.

Hardware-wise, the Surface line seems to be living up to Microsoft's promise of tablets that can actually get work done, but I still think there are some trip ups as far as presentation goes. First off, having both a Surface 2 and a Surface Pro 2 is a bit head scratcher, and while Microsoft bundled some of its best services with the machine, like international Skyping and 200GB of Skydrive for two years, all I really want is Office.

Why is Office still just included with RT? For that matter, why is there still an RT? Stepping back from that can of worms I'll say that I'm optimistic overall and happy with the big M here, but had it bundled Office with the Pro and the 2 (and made it Metro optimized) I really would have been smiling.

Surface 2 knee-jerk:4

Surface Pro 2 knee-jerk: 4

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Total Surface 2 knee-jerk score: 3

Total Surface Pro 2 knee-jerk score: 3.9

If there's a new product, you can bet the TechRadar team a reaction to it. Find out what else is firing through our synopsis:
Surface Pro 2 Surface 2 Surface Pro Surface RT Windows 8.1 Windows 8 tablets Microsoft docking station TechRadar Reacts TRBC tabletscarousel-en-us computingcarousel-en-gb computingcarousel-en-us computingcarousel-en-au
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