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Saturday, November 9, 2013

1420. Considering the Surface 2


I remember seeing commercials on TV for Microsoft’s Surface tablet, and now I hear that the Surface 2 has been released. What’s up? I assume the Surface 2 is bigger/better/shinier, but what’s the scoop? Is this model worth the money? Should I consider this as a Windows 8 upgrade computer?
You could say it’s definitely bigger, better, and faster than the original Surface. OK, maybe not bigger—it’s exactly the same size—but it is significantly faster and better. First of all, what is the Surface? Think back to Apple’s introduction of the iPad in 2010. This enormously successful tablet computer changed the way people interact with computers, and since 2010, Microsoft has been struggling to keep up. With the release of Windows 8, Microsoft added significant support for touch computing, and the Surface tablet was Microsoft’s entry into the huge array of Windows 8 tablet computers.
Microsoft created two versions of the Surface tablet: The Surface tablet runs Windows 8 RT, which runs only Microsoft’s “Modern UI” applications (the full-screen touch-centric applications that you see in their commercials). The Surface Pro runs these applications, plus any application written for the Windows desktop (including most, if not all, applications that ran under Windows 7)—in other words, it’s a full-featured, portable computer that also works as a tablet in touch mode.
The Surface 2 is a faster, more powerful version of the Surface. Again, it’s available in two versions (RT and Pro), and if you’re considering using it as your only computer, you should only investigate the Surface 2 Pro (because the Surface 2 won’t run legacy Windows applications).
Doug purchased a Surface 2 Pro and is quite happy with it, as his only day-to-day computer. He admits that the screen real estate can be somewhat cramped, but if he needs more room, it’s easy to add an external monitor and expand the size of the screen. That doesn’t work when traveling, of course, and the screen is just fine for most casual users, as is. (Note that using the Surface 2 Pro as a tablet, touching the screen, really only works well when running Modern UI applications—standard Windows desktop applications, like Microsoft Word, really require a keyboard. Luckily, Microsoft will be happy to sell you an excellently engineered keyboard that attaches to the Surface 2—Doug likes his a lot.)

The bottom line? If you’re considering getting a Windows 8 tablet-based computer, the Surface 2 Pro is an excellent choice. We strongly recommend against purchasing a previous version at this point, as the newer one is so much more powerful (and faster)!

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