My review of Surface Pro 2

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 2' started by kevinlevrone, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. kevinlevrone

    kevinlevrone Active Member

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    Hello,

    I got my Surface Pro 2 about 3 days ago. I know there are some people still looking for reviews of the SP2 (like I did until 2 weeks ago), so I thought I would write my own real-world use review. I would like to mention that so far very few tech reviewers really understood what this device is about and what to compare it to. This device can't be appreciated if you are using it for review purposes only. You can't just say "this is quite heavy at 2lbs compared to the iPad Air" without looking foolish (in my view, of course).

    I am a programmer, I live in the Windows world (though I do own some Android and iOS devices), and I hated the fact that when I picked up one of my tablets I did not have my productivity tools with me (namely Visual Studio, SQL Server and some other stuff). Often times I want to stay in bed or on the couch and do some quick work, but it's just too cumbersome to bring my big laptop. So I thought, how about replacing all my tablets and laptops with only one device so my current device would also allow me to work when I feel I have the mood to do this even in my spare time ? So I had a good pretext to study available options and spend the money.

    From all of these I felt that the Microsoft Surface is the most balanced for my needs. I have eliminated the Lenovo Yoga 11s (low resolution, underpowered processor, no backlit keyboard which is crucial when working in bed), Dell Venue 11 Pro (Y-series underpowered processor, no backlit keyboard), Sony Vaio Duo (stupid slider design wasting tons of space before other problems), Dell XPS 12 (this is actually very interesting but a bit too big and it seems that every unit has a screen image retention/ghosting problem - it's a pity, it looks like an ideal design for a laptop-first convertible) and Dell XPS 11 (Dell really blew this up, it was the perfectly sized and specced convertible until they decided to use a touch-only keyboard... incredible mistake).

    So as strange as it seems, the Surface Pro 2 has the least amount of compromises.

    I got a 256GB/8GB/4300U unit and I am incredibly happy with it after 3 days. I didn't have any hardware or software problems mentioned on this forum. It has taken over my laptop work brilliantly, the screen is big enough (I feared this) and I can use it instead of my tablets. I do realize now that in certain uses of the tablet mode it does feel a bit strange not necessarily because of the weight but because of the screen size and form factor. A 3:2 or 16:10 form factor would have been better than the 16:9, even in laptop mode.

    The Type Cover 2 keyboard really is no different than a laptop keyboard. Keys are bigger than on my 14" laptop (!) and I can type significantly *faster*. Even the trackpad is great, is so small but somehow it is incredibly precise (I did get a Bluetooth mouse which does make a positive difference). The keyboard to surface locking mechanism is brilliant too. You just throw it at the tablet and it just finds the right spot to connect without me fiddling with it.

    The screen exceeds my expectations. Text is very easy to read and the ClearType works surprisingly well. Also very bright and well calibrated, lacking the yellow tint of some other tablets (like the Nexus 7 and Dell Venue 8 Pro that I have).

    Battery life is worlds apart from what I used until now. It seems to be lasting about 8 hours of work, not much less than my Dell Venue 8 Pro or Nexus 7.

    The speakers are one area that really blew me away. I don't use the speakers much, but these sound extremely good. Not necessarily the bass or volume, but the stereo spatiality and clarity is astonishing. YouTube music sounds great. That "Dolby" thing is not just a marketing gimmick.

    I got a MoKo Slim case for the Surface and I can say it's about the perfect case albeit a little bulky. It is perfectly thought out, no complains at all. I had some similar ones on a previous Nexus 7 and an iPad Retina and the cases that only cover the corners of the tablet are best for me.

    About the price: the price is definitely much higher than it should be and it took me some time to accept spending all this money. But it is higher because no other manufacturer managed to really match the Surface Pro 2 in all the key areas, I don't have a truly viable alternative right now.

    All in all I am extremely happy with the Surface Pro 2 and it accomplishes my goals of extending my working time by replacing the (pretty useless) tablets and bringing my productivity tools wherever I go.

    My wishes for a future Surface Pro 3:

    - Thinner bezels but the same size (or even smaller !)
    - Thinner tablet by 1-2mm (if possible given the state of technology at that time)
    - 16:10 or 3:2 form factor
    - Full-size sd card reader.

    That's it, thanks for reading :)
     
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  2. Sir Face

    Sir Face New Member

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    Good review. I think you got it right for the most part. 'Just wanted to ask you one thing. I've often wondered, is there any real advantage in using, say a 64GB SD card over a 64GB Micro SD other that the SD is easier to handle, tougher and harder to lose? I know that bigger capacity SD cards are cheaper than Micro SD's of the same size. But in the case of the SP2, if you're just going to leave the card in place within the machine, is a physically larger card of any real advantage?
     
  3. kevinlevrone

    kevinlevrone Active Member

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    Yes, the advantage of a full size SD card reader is that all photo cameras use full-size SD cards. You can use some adapters but it's cumbersome and contacts are not reliable when used often.

    Other minor reasons are that the micro SD cards are quite failure prone probably because of the current state of miniaturization, they will not last you more than a few months, even the best brands.
     
  4. benjitek

    benjitek Active Member

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    Really? Hadn't heard that one before -- guess I'm lucky as the 2 year old MicroSD card I put in my SP2, that previously went between my phone and laptop, has had no issues at all.
     
  5. kevinlevrone

    kevinlevrone Active Member

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    Just head over to Amazon and look for the best MicroSD card of your choice (with reasonably large capacity like 32+ GB) and read the reviews.
     
  6. benjitek

    benjitek Active Member

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    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
  7. kevinlevrone

    kevinlevrone Active Member

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  8. benjitek

    benjitek Active Member

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    Huh... not sure what special math you're using -- but it sounds like you'd lose sleep over potential data loss, you're better off just leaving that slot empty =)
     
  9. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    I've used the same 32GB Micro-SD cards since 2011 without issue, used a 32GB in my Libretto now reformatted is residing in my Lumia 1520. I've been using the same 64GB in my Surface RT and now Surface 2 for 18 months....
     
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  10. CreativeLemming

    CreativeLemming Active Member

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    Like others, also been using uSD cards quite happily for a long time without issues, not sure where you get your information from. True, 3-MLC NAND technology does have lower reliability than previous iterations (full size SD cards now likely use exactly the same technology as USD, makes financial sense to converge to a single process), but larger capacity and improved wear levelling and error correction compensates for this. Unless you're constantly filling/emptying your card daily then there's no need to spread misinformation about data only surviving for a couple of months!
     
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  11. jackh

    jackh Member

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    Holy smokes the Op did a very nice review and now he's being torn up over Micro SD cards--Let it Die--

    Jack
     
  12. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    I have no issue with his review, and no one has torn him up, we expressed our experience using Micro-SD Cards.
     

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