Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Microsoft Surface Pro 2

Credit : The Verge
Microsoft has launched the second version of the Surface Pro. The Surface Pro 2 is a device designed to be a laptop and tablet in one.

As with the original Pro hybrid, the Surface Pro 2 resembles a plain old tablet until you unfurl the integrated kickstand and attach a keyboard cover to the base, transforming the device into a small, funky-looking laptop. Many other details are unchanged. The tablet alone weighs 2 pounds and measures 0.53 inch thick, and boasts a 10.6-inch, 1920-by-1080 display. You’ll find a full-size USB port and a headphone jack on one side, and a MicroSD card slot and a Mini DisplayPort output on the other.

Enter the Surface Pro 2, which comes with one of Intel's latest fourth generation processors and runs the full 64-bit version of Windows 8.1 Pro. It's available with 64GB, 128GB 256GB and 512GB of storage, but you'll need some very deep pockets for the 512GB version, as Microsoft has started pre-order prices at £1,439 – and that's not including a touch or type keyboard cover. Fortunately, the 64GB version reviewed here costs a lot less, but at £719, we reckon the £799 128GB version is the best option when it comes to good value storage.

On the outside, the Surface Pro 2 is virtually identical to its predecessor. It's a little lighter, weighing 900g instead of 916g, but the tablet's sleek gunmetal grey magnesium chassis is still a slim 13.5mm thick and has the same soft-touch texture on the back panel. The ports haven't changed either, as you still get a single USB3 port, a micro SDXC card reader, a mini DisplayPort for connecting the Surface Pro 2 to an external display and a combined headphone and microphone jack.

Over to the right a micro-SD card slot allows memory to be boosted up to 64GB. It sits alongside a power connector that's still a bit more fiddly than we would like it to be, and alongside that is a MiniDisplay port that supports daisy chaining of two external monitors of resolutions up to 2,560 x 1,440 pixels.

On the left-hand side of the Surface Pro 2 is a single USB 3.0 port, a volume rocker and headphone jack, alongside a groove to help you flip the kickstand into its open position.

Luckily, the Pro 2 also comes with a Surface Pen to make interacting with the screen that bit easier. It works much like other drawing tablet pens and the screen will sense it even when it’s 2cm away. We found it a little difficult to use with the original Surface Pro unless it was lying flat on our work surface, but the Pro 2’s wider kickstand angle now makes it much more comfortable to use when the tablet’s propped up in laptop mode.

The pen is much more precise than using your fingers, but the accuracy of its sensor still isn’t completely perfect. Like the Surface Pen that came with the Surface Pro, we experienced a few tracking issues when we held the pen at an angle near the top corners of the screen. Unless we held the pen perpendicular to the display, the sensor would run away from our pen into the corners of the screen, making closing and minimising windows a little tricky. We didn’t experience this problem anywhere else on the screen, but it was a little disappointing to see this hasn’t been fixed yet.

Surface Pro 2 ships with Windows 8.1 Pro x64. Since there's no connected standby 64-bit version of Windows 8/8.1 yet, Surface Pro 2 ships without the feature. It also continues to behave more notebook like in the sleep/wake sense as a result. There's a delay between when you press the power/lock button and when you'll see the tablet respond as the system comes out of its sleep state. Ironically Surface Pro 2 comes with nothing more than a link to try Office 2013, while Surface 2 comes with a free copy of the Home & Student edition.