Why I consider buying a Surface Pro 2 when it comes out - gHacks Tech News

Why I consider buying a Surface Pro 2 when it comes out

Microsoft has announced a refresh of the company's Surface series today. The Surface 2 is the successor of the Surface RT device running Windows RT, and the Surface Pro 2 the successor of the Surface Pro.

I do not want to talk a lot about the Surface 2, but some things need to be addressed. It features a faster processor, longer battery life, a better camera, an updated screen and the new kickstand that all Surface 2 devices ship with. It starts at $449 and is of no interest to me, as it is running Windows RT.

Windows RT, for those of you who have not come in contact with Windows 8 yet, is that crippled version of the operating system that runs only apps and no legacy desktop software. So, if you want desktop software to run, you cannot really use it at all.

It may have its appeal for an audience that likes to get a tablet device that they can also do light Office editing and such with. The Surface 2 may be ideal for them as it ships with Microsoft Office RT included.

The Surface Pro 2

surface 2 pro

All major changes are under the hood or come in form of accessories. I liked the original Surface Pro but decided against it in the end because of the device's battery life. It was just too weak and would not take you through a whole work day without recharging.

The Surface Pro 2 comes with Intel's new Haswell chip that is less power hungry than the Surface Pro's processor. The new chip, and improvements to drivers and firmware have improved battery life of the device significantly. Sources suggest it can be anywhere from 60% to 75% more than what the original Surface Pro offered, but we have to wait until first independent benchmarks are posted before we know exactly how much better the battery life is.

There is one accessory that Microsoft introduced today that makes the Surface Pro 2 a great choice: The Docking Station for Surface Pro - it works with the old and new generation - provides you with better options to work with the device on a desk. Just dock it in and you can use keyboard and mouse that you connect via the docking station. It features a Mini DisplayPort video output, three USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 port, an Ethernet port, and 3.5mm audio in and out.

surface pro docking station

It will come out in early 2014 unfortunately and not earlier than that.

Power Cover is the second new accessory for Surface.  It offers the same typing experience as the Type Cover but includes an extra battery to get the most out of the device when you are using it in a mobile environment.

Surface accessory compatibility list

  1. Type Cover: all Surface devices.
  2. Touch Cover: all Surface devices.
  3. Type Cover 2: all Surface devices.
  4. Touch Cover 2: all Surface devices.
  5. Power Cover: compatible with Surface 2, Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2.
  6. Wireless Adapter for Type Cover: all Surface devices.
  7. Docking station: compatible with Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2.
  8. Car Charger: with all devices.

Surface pricing

  1. Surface 2 starts at $449
  2. Surface Pro 2 starts at $899
  3. Wireless Adapter: $59.99
  4. Touch Cover 2: $119.99
  5. Type Cover 2: $129.99
  6. Power Cover: unknown
  7. Docking Station: unknown

The pricing appears to have not been changed at all. Both Surface 2 devices start at the same price their successors were offered for, and the updated covers are also sold for the same price. It is interesting to note that the Surface Pro and the Touch Cover are currently on sale on the official website. You save $100 when you buy the Surface Pro, and another $40 when you buy the Touch Cover.

The new Surface video

Closing Words

Surface Pro 2 is not a cheap device. It starts at $899 and while you do get a great piece of hardware, it is not really that great in terms of internal storage. It starts at 64 Gigabyte which is not suitable for anything but light work on the system. If you consider that 20 or so Gigabytes are used for Windows 8 Pro, you end up with about 40 Gigabyte of storage for your programs and files. That's two cutting edge games, considering that you should leave 10% of the Solid State Drive free at all times.

Hard drive upgrades are available, up to 512 Gigabyte of space. This comes at a cost though, and it will likely not be cheap to upgrade. If the old Surface Pro is anything to go buy, the upgrade to 128 Gigabyte will cost another $100, and doubling that again may cost another $100. Add to that the Type Cover that you desperately need and you are quickly reaching the $1500 mark.

Is it worth that much money? I will definitely wait for benchmarks and first reviews to pop up on the Internet before I make a buying decision.

What about you? Are you interested in the Surface refresh at all?

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Comments

  1. Ben said on September 23, 2013 at 6:32 pm
    Reply

    I could write the same article but title it “Why I won’t be buying a Surface 2”. :P

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 23, 2013 at 6:37 pm
      Reply

      I just read about the pricing for additional RAM and storage, and it is getting really pricey. The 64 to 128 GB upgrade adds $100 as suggested, but the next upgrade, to 8 GB RAM (from 4 GB) and to 256 GB of storage adds another $300 to the price, and the high end version with 8 GB of RAM and 512 SSD costs another $500 extra.

      That is way too expensive in my opinion.

      1. JustAGuy said on December 17, 2013 at 9:47 pm
        Reply

        I totally agree that Microsoft has super expensive pricing and not that great of a deal for students. 10% only on the tablet itself and not on accessories. Also they wont let you buy a bundle deal and get your student discount of 10% on the tablet. The ThinkPad Yoga on Costco’s website looks like a great deal right now. 8 GB Ram, 256 SSD, 4th gen i7 for $1199. with 3 yr accidental coverage, and 1-2 day express shipping, it comes up to $1443 out the door. when I priced the Surface Pro 2 with only the tablet and 3 yr accidental warranty, without the type cover 2, it comes out to $1422 I believe it was. I really like both, but the Thinkpad at Costco doesn’t come with digitizer pen but someone said it works with rubber tip stylus.

  2. KK said on September 23, 2013 at 6:55 pm
    Reply

    Well, the accessories are the pure profit part of the deal for them. Just like Apple.

    I do like the idea of full Windows on a small tablet. I think that will be a successful idea.
    Computers are getting more power efficient all the time.

    Think about it. Sitting in the space station orbiting Earth waiting for your connecting flight, do you want to be using Android junk? I’d rather have a slim full power machine identical to my unit back at home.

    Android will take 20 years to catch up at this point.
    It’s all because Google wanted their own version of the wheel.
    Apple and Microsoft already have theirs.

    Competition is good. But why bother when Windows works so good?
    Especially when Android has so much spyware built in by Google
    I could go to a undeveloped country with a solar panel and battery pack and be doing hardcore CAD work in the field with a Surface Pro 2. With software of my CHOICE.

    Try that on IOS or Android junk.

    1. ilev said on September 23, 2013 at 8:29 pm
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      “Especially when Android has so much spyware built in by Google” .. Is that a joke ?

      The NSA has free, no court order needed, access to the Surface/Pro via backdors in Windows, just as it has free access,pre-encryption, to all of Skype data, Outlook.com mail, Skydrive, Azur, Office 365… anything Microsoft hardware and software. So, Google’s Android spyware should be the least of your worries.

    2. SubgeniusD said on September 26, 2013 at 9:15 am
      Reply

      “Android will take 20 years to catch up at this point.”

      That statement is completely absurd . To begin with comparing a mobile OS to a fully featured desktop OS is illogical. Android has already raced ahead of Windows mobile OS offerings in every area important to most users. “Hardcore CAD work” – LOL

  3. mma173 said on September 23, 2013 at 7:19 pm
    Reply

    I got an Asus VivoTab TF810C and it has got a great battery life that can easily stay up upto 12 hours . However, its a bit slow. I think it would be a good idea to wait for the updated version from Asus.

  4. ilev said on September 23, 2013 at 7:22 pm
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    $2000 for a 10″ tablet ? No way :-) (Surface Pro 2 512GB SSD + Power Cover + Wireless Adapter + Docking Station)

  5. Dante said on September 23, 2013 at 7:31 pm
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    Spending $2,000 for a notebook or ultrabook is not a problem with me. In fact, I bought a few Asus Zenbooks when the original Surface disappointed. I was going to get the Surface. But than Microbrains decided to make it incompatible with existing Windows software and it’s highly intrusive when it’s flaky wi-fi is working. And now that I’m familiar with the Android UI, I have no problem dumping Windows in total in the future when all my existing Windows software no longer works on Windows.

  6. Nerdebeu said on September 23, 2013 at 7:39 pm
    Reply

    “That’s two cutting edge games, considering that you should leave 10% of the Solid State Drive free at all times.”

    10% is the drastic fall and very fast wear of the SSD with or without overprovisionning, everyone agrees that it takes 25% to keep a SSD to the best of his form.

  7. minimal said on September 23, 2013 at 7:40 pm
    Reply

    Without an HDMI port on the Surface 2 how can I get video with 5.1 audio on my TV (through my receiver)? Something I can already do with HDMI out on my laptop.

    1. SuilAmhain said on September 23, 2013 at 11:14 pm
      Reply

      Hi,

      There is no good reason for the Surface 2 not to be able to support audio. The Display Port 1.2 spec can send, I think, four independant audio and video signals to four devices. With the right HDMI adapter there is no good reason for a seamless audio/video experience. The surface 1 did not support Display Port 1.2 and could not even drive multiple monitors.

      Personally, If I can be on the road with a surface two then come in to the office and power two monitors using the same device then un plug and go on the road again I will be absolutely interested in the Pro version. That said, if MS are going to take the p!ss with the pricing I will buy the comparable 3rd party vendor device. I have avoided an upgrade for a while now and I would really like my next device to be a Surface 2. I will be awaiting further reviews and feedback before buying.

      Cheers,
      SuilAmhain

  8. KK said on September 23, 2013 at 11:19 pm
    Reply

    Yes Microsoft may have unspecified backdoors (give us all information on this BTW).
    But, Google had a choice. Follow down the path of total information capture…or not.

    Well, that is if Google is not a partially government owned company.
    It would seem that they have been from the beginning.

    The difference is…you have a wider choice of anti backdoor and monitoring software on Windows.
    Almost none on Android devices in their stock configuration.
    Beginner Android users are totally open to anything Google wants from them.
    Total slaves/zombie users/machines.

    You need to root your Android device to even run Droid Wall.
    Why *cant* you put Droid Wall on out of the box?
    Answer: Because then you can block Googles phone home antics in seconds.

    This is all deliberate policy. They claim its so you dont get hacked.
    You *can* have privacy and security. At the same time.
    This eats into Googles dual mandate of spying and advertising though.

    Maybe it needs to be called “spyvertizing” or something.
    The act of giving up privacy and liberty to allow invasive marketing in your online communications.
    Make no mistake, its actively invasive.

    1. Steven Foxley said on September 24, 2013 at 9:01 pm
      Reply

      And windows isn’t ?

  9. XenoSilvano said on September 24, 2013 at 12:46 am
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    Gentlewomen and gentlemen ‘this’ is what the PC of the future will most likely look like.

    Imagine having everything you normally access through your computer stored on some
    distant server in Hawaii where your data is then stream directly to your device via a super high
    bandwidth network connection. With a set-up like that you could do almost anything, you would never need a graphics card seeing as everything is streamed directly to your device (at low ping rates), you could play games, audio, video, process documents and so much more through your tablet device.

    The truth behind the following excerpt would break any of my interests in considering any Surface device for purchase:

    ‘Windows RT, for those of you who have not come in contact with Windows 8 yet, is a crippled version of the operating system that runs only apps and no legacy desktop software.’

    Furthermore, the fact that the pre-installed OS (RT) can not be replace with another OS
    compounds my conviction even further.

    When Microsoft decides to offer their devices with the capacity to install a regular version Windows 8 over the pre-installed OS, then we’ll talk.

    1. Jim said on September 24, 2013 at 4:35 pm
      Reply

      Sorry Xeno, but if this is the PC of the future, there won’t be very many. This is too expensive by a factor of 10. The average person cannot afford such luxuries. MS might drop the price in the future, but it’s obvious that will not be anytime soon. Without competition, they have no motivation to do so.

      As for the cloud and everyone storing everything out there, I think the recent NSA revelations have done serious damage to that. I certainly wouldn’t store anything on anyone’s cloud but my own where I can control the encryption.

      All in all, I predict another round of poor sales. There might be another “sellout” due to artificially low availability at release, but I don’t think anyone will be fooled by that. It’s the sales pace 3 months after launch that matters.

  10. Genisis said on September 24, 2013 at 3:42 am
    Reply

    …..just say NO! No way is a tablet worth that. Considering in 6 months time it will be HALF that price as it will be OLD tech by then. Tech moves to fast today to make a large investment like that. Back in the day when you spent 2G’s on a box it was due to not much of a choice and you had to keep it 3 or more years before the next big thing came out. Worst of all….WINDOWS?? Really?

  11. Gonzo said on September 24, 2013 at 5:20 am
    Reply

    No LTE = no sale.

  12. GK said on September 24, 2013 at 5:33 pm
    Reply

    Doesn’t it have microSD? One could buy a 128 GB or 256 GB version and put a 64 GB microSDXC card, keep those Apps only on the external storage in fact.

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