Microsoft has released two next-generation tablets, namely Surface Pro2 and the Windows RT toting Surface 2, which is designed to replace the original Surface RT.
2013 saw Microsoft launch the Surface RT which almost succeeded in elevating Windows to the tablet form, but not quite. It was good in the sense that it had similar dimensions to an iPad, it came with a full-size USB port and an almost full Office programme, it had a kickstand to hold it up and for an additional cost you could snap on a thin keyboard.
But the Windows 8 and Windows RT models fell short of impressing on all levels. A major complaint was that the kickstand was inefficient, failing to hold up on certain surfaces. Ultimately although there were high hopes for these models they did not translate into sales.
With the design of the Surface 2 model Microsoft has tackled a lot of the issues that were present in the previous models in terms of hardware and software, and have of course, greatly improved the spec.
So what have Microsoft done to win us around? Well the Surface 2 has a much faster processor which is a huge bonus. It includes a new and improved screen (though not Retina Display-class), a much more effective two-position kickstand, USB 3, new keyboards and all the new features of Windows 8.
Microsoft has released two versions of the Surface 2; both models have the 1.7GHz Nvidia Tegra 4 chip with 2GB of RAM, but you can opt for either the 32GB model or the 64GB model. However, with the microSD slot feature there is always the capacity for more storage. Both models also include Office, which can be seen as a distinct advantage over rival tablets on the market, as there is no need to shell out extra money for software.
Surface has retained the look of earlier models, with rounded corners, angled sides and the familiar kickstand. Although critics would be forgiven for thinking that it looks just the same as the last tablet put out by Microsoft, the technology giant has employed subtle but effective changes. This time around Microsoft has opted for a silver grey matte blasted-magnesium alloy chassis over the near black colour of its predecessor. The lighter colour makes for a far more distinctive and stylish. Another notable difference is that the Surface 2 is slimmer than previous Microsoft tablets and again this adds to the model’s sleek look.
So that’s the good, what about the bad? Well, the limitation for third-party app support on the desktop is perhaps the main drawback, which we are sure Microsoft will address. We also found that the casing is prone to marking quite easily; this may be because of the lighter colour used for this model. If scuffing is something that gets you hot under the collar, we would advise using a good case when carrying the Surface 2 around. Other than these minor issues we are just picking holes in a well-rounded, reliable tablet.