Thoughts on the Surface Pro 2 After 8 Months

Jim ShimabukuroBy Jim Shimabukuro

Updated 7/21/14, 7/26/14

(Related articles: “The Surface Pro 2 Will Be the Death of Notebooks” and “Why the Surface Pro 2 Will Be a Game Changer in the Tablet World Series.”)

Steven Brown, in a 15 July 2014 comment, asked, “Curious to hear how it went after 8 months –- any updates?” His question refers to my October 2013 article, Why the Surface Pro 2 Will Be a Game Changer in the Tablet World Series, and the follow-up in November, The Surface Pro 2 Will Be the Death of Notebooks.

Steven, thanks for the question. Microsoft’s recent offering of SP3 means that the SP2 is no longer a viable purchase option — except for those interested in picking up a bargain. Used, they’re currently going on eBay for about half the original price. However, the differences between the 2 and the 3 are small enough to justify this article update.

For me, the critical variable is weight. The quarter pound difference between the 3 and 2 is negligible. To put this in perspective, it’s the difference between my first-gen iPad and the SP2. They’re both equally heavy — or light, depending on your perspective. The SP3 screen size is touted as a breakthrough, but the 1.4″ difference isn’t that impressive considering the bulk that it adds to the overall size. By desktop and notebook standards, it’s still far too small for serious work for prolonged periods.

The 2160 x 1440 resolution seems enormous compared to the SP2’s 1080 x 1920, but it’s negligible considering the pixels per inch, which is 216 vs. 208. The SP2’s resolution is excellent. I’m using it right now, with the power cover, to write this article. I have it connected to a 32″ 1080P monitor via the SP2’s proprietary HDMI adaptor, and the clarity is equal to my desktop’s.  Continue reading

The Surface Pro 2 Will Be the Death of Notebooks

Jim ShimabukuroBy Jim Shimabukuro

Updated 11/19/13, 9/6/14

(Related articles: “Thoughts on the Surface Pro 2 After 8 Months” and “Why the Surface Pro 2 Will Be a Game Changer in the Tablet World Series.”)

About three weeks ago, when all I had to go on was reviews, I predicted that the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (SP2) would be a game changer. I had just put in my order then and was told that shipment would be in mid- or late-December. Thus, I was surprised and happy to learn, in late-October, that it had been shipped for next-day delivery. It arrived on schedule, and in the time it took to remove it from the packaging, plug it in, and turn it on, I knew that the notebook was dead.

Surface Pro 2 with type cover and digital pen.

Surface Pro 2 with detachable type cover and digital pen.

I’ve had it for about a week and haven’t had time to do more than a few things, but what I’ve seen is impressive. The look and feel reminds me of the original iPad and iPhone4 — which I’m still using. Rock solid and sleek, beautifully engineered. In contrast, the clamshell notebook with its hinged keyboard suddenly seems odd, anachronistic, looking more like yesterday’s typewriter than tomorrow’s computer.

Don’t get me wrong. The SP2, like the original iPad, is far from perfect, and better and less expensive models from Microsoft and competitors will soon be flooding the market. However, it’s more than done its job as a groundbreaker. In short, it’s the first viable full-blown Windows PC in a tablet chassis.

Form factor alone, however, wouldn’t be worth much if the tablet couldn’t perform. The big question for me was — and still is, to some extent — will it perform?

In size, it’s slightly larger than the original iPad and only a half pound heavier. But the difference in terms of sheer power is huge. The SP2 runs the 64-bit version of Windows 8.1, MS Office 2013, and everything else you can run on a notebook or desktop. It has a high-resolution 1080p display and an HDMI port. Plug in a 26″ 1920 x 1080 monitor and you have all the size you’ll need. It has a standard USB 3.0 port and a micro-SD card slot. Plug in an external two-terabyte drive, a CD/DVD player-recorder, a thumb drive, or an SD card for more onground storage.  Continue reading