When it comes to sheer flexibility, power and equipment options, Microsoft is throwing everything it has at the Surface 2 Pro. With up to 256GB of internal storage, up to 8GB of RAM, the latest Haswell i5-4200 processor, multiple covers and an optional dock, Microsoft has made it clear that it aims to dominate the tablet market.
Microsoft claims that the new Haswell processor in the device offers improved battery life over the original by 75%. Combine this with the new Power Cover, a keyboard with embedded battery, and all-day use on a single charge is possible. All of this with performance that rivals many desktop PCs. PCWorld says “the Surface Pro 2 is definitely a gaming machine of some sort. Microsoft showed off World of Warcraft and Portal 2 running smoothly—yes, these games are several years old, but they do run, and well.” With a full version of Windows 8.1 included, you can run any of your favorite Windows applications or games as well.
Another major change is the docking station. Sliding the device into the docking station provides a mini DisplayPort, 3 additional USB 2.0 ports, an ethernet port and one USB 3.0 port. Matt Safford of Digital Trends says the dock “will do-doubt be an important accessory for those looking to use the Surface Pro 2 as their main PC. And its ports are at the back, with the exception of the 3.0 port on the left side, which should help keep your setup looking clean.” Many other reviews agree that, with the docking station, the new device could be an ideal hybrid workstation for all but the most power hungry of users.
That is not to say that there are not any concerns. The first thing that many reviewers noted was the weight. At nearly two pounds, it’s heavier than some ultrabooks, nevermind tablets. While the dock offers additional ports, it’s not adjustable. This means that you’re forced to a single viewing angle.
Then there is the price. Each cover adds to the total, as well as the docking station. Digital Trends notes “even if cloud storage lets you live with the $900 base model plus keyboard, the Pro 2 is a $1,000+ device. And beyond business users, we wonder how many consumers are still willing to even consider spending that much on a computing device. For those who like the form factor of the Surface, who need to run regular or ‘legacy’ Windows software, we’d like to see Microsoft ship a lower-priced option of the Surface Pro 2.”
Overall, this tablet offers cutting-edge technology but with the trade-off of cutting-edge prices.
The Good: Unrivaled tablet performance, docking station support, good battery life and plenty of configuration options.
The Bad: Bulky design, high price.