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Misleading Surface Pro 2 Reviews and Comments


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After reading several reviews and comments about the Surface Pro 2, I wonder if many of these people have ever used it. It was reviews and comments like these that almost led me to dismiss this great device. Hopefully my experience will help others to make an informed decision on whether to buy the SP2.

My journey began when I decided to upgrade my iPad2 and purchase an iPad Air. The Air was extremely light, fast and smooth. I wasn’t, however, crazy about the 4:3 aspect ratio, absence of split screen and lack of an external storage slot or a USB port. I found the iPad to be more of a toy than a play and work device. As a result I returned it and decided to try the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Wifi only Edition.

I really liked the Note 10.1. It was light and portable, had a phenomenal screen, excellent pen input, split screen functionality, external storage slot and micro USB. It was a good combination of a work and play device. Unfortunately its performance was not as smooth as the iPad as it frequently suffered from lag. Having owned the excellent Galaxy Note 3 phone with SnapDragon 800 processing and virtually no lag, I decided to return the Note 10.1 Exynos version and wait for the SnapDragon 800 version to arrive in North America. After waiting awhile with no imminent release date, I decided to try the Surface 2.

I originally dismissed the Surface 2 as a result of reading negative reviews and comments. Having played around with it for a bit at the store, I decided to give it a try. What a great tablet. It is as smooth as the iPad Air, has a comparable screen, although others may disagree, and, although not as light as the Air, it is still easily portable. Unlike the air, it has a full 3.0 USB port, an external storage slot, split screen functionality, 16:9 aspect ratio and built-in stand. As far as apps go, there was nothing I used on the iPad or the Note that I couldn’t find in the Microsoft app store, with the exception of a Harmony remote app I use to control my theater. As an added bonus, it includes Microsoft Office 2013, with Outlook. At $549.00 for the 64gb version it is a great value especially when you add 200gb free cloud storage for 2 years and Skype Wifi and free landline calling for a year. I would have been very happy with the Surface 2 but for the performance issue I experienced. In single screen mode everything ran fast and fluid. When I started using Evernote Touch in a split screen with any browser window or book app I experienced stuttering and the occasional freeze. Oddly enough this problem did not occur when I used Word instead of Evernote in the same screen configuration. I initially thought that the Evernote Touch app for Microsoft was not on par with its Android version as I did not have this issue in split screen on the Note 10.1. A friend owned the SP2 so I decided to try the Evernote combination on his machine. No issues. Unfortunately for my pocketbook this got me thinking that maybe I could justify the higher price of the SP2 as a replacement for my aging Windows desktop.

3 weeks later I am the extremely happy owner of an SP2 256. it is truly a trybrid device. It serves well as a tablet, a laptop and a desktop computer. As a tablet, it may be considered too heavy if it were not for the excellent built-in stand. I find it ideal in any location including on a table, lap or bed even in portrait mode. The SP2 has no problem standing on its own in this orientation, even on the bed. In landscape mode the stand works flawlessly. As a result, I do not find it heavy for everyday tablet use. In fact, I found the iPad Air to be more awkward when used with a third party stand. As far as carrying it from place to place in a bag, I personally do not find the extra pound to be an issue. I find the touchscreen to be very accurate and easy to navigate with the added benefit of having the ability to use the excellent Waacom pen. After spending a bit of time learning Windows 8.1, I prefer it to IOS7 and Android. It is much more powerful, highly customizable, has more keyboard options and I like the various swipe features. As mentioned above the lack of Microsoft apps is not an issue for me. IMO the SP2 has better app selection than the iPad or Note because it allows me to use any Windows program such as LIghtroom 5, something neither Android or IOS7 is capable of doing. The printer support is also much better with the SP2 than with the iPad.
Add the Type or Touch Cover 2 and you now have a highly portable laptop. I personally prefer the Type Cover over the Touch. I don’t find the added size an issue. Admittedly it is not as easy to use as most laptop keyboards but the portability factor for me greatly outweighs any functional differences. The backlighting is nice and after a little practice it types well on a lap or table. The one major issue with it is the trackpad. It is too small and overly sensitive. I find using the touchscreen instead of the trackpad preferable. I turned it off to avoid unwanted input.

Add an external monitor, USB 3.0 hub, wireless mouse and keyboard and external USB 3.0 drives and you have a fully functional desktop computer. Obviously you won’t get equal performance to the latest and greatest desktops but for me the performance is more than adequate. I use a 27” IPS display at 2560 x 1440 resolution, with extremely fast Buffalo DDR MegaCache drives. I run programs such as Photoshop and Corel Video Studio Pro X6 without issue. Yes there are faster desktops but none as versatile as the SP2.

In conclusion, I may now be categorized by some as a Surface Fanboy but only as a result of extensive comparison and use. I was quite the opposite at the beginning of this journey and am fortunate not to have relied solely on the uninformed comments and reviews of individuals who have either not used the device or have ulterior motives.
Welcome to the forum and thanks for such a detailed post. In defense of some of the negative reviews you are one of the lucky Surface owners who purchased your device AFTER Microsoft had already pulled their faulty firmware update from the servers. That firmware update has caused quite a bit of major issues for lots of Surface owners in varying degrees.
Thanks for the welcome MickeyLittle. No doubt I was lucky to buy this when I did. I feel for you guys who went through the nightmare of the December firmware update. I didn't mean to criticize all negative reviews of the SP2 as it it's certainly not perfect. I only criticize those who have not spent enough time with it to draw fair conclusions or those who have ulterior motives. I hope you figured out a workaround and hopefully Microsoft will resolve this soon.
Thanks for the great review. I wish I had the same results. My story closely matches yours initially except mine takes a turn for the worse. It involves 3 returns to Best Buy to get a functional device which then got bombed by the December update. This all happened in a one week period. It ended with the local Bestbuy manager questioning my sanity and telling me not to buy another SP2.

I absolutely loved the SP2 when it was working correctly, but that wasn't for very long with the firmware updates wreaking havoc on my system. So now I wait, patiently, for MS to release a firmware update that doesn't cause (as many) problems before I give MS any more money. Unfortunately, I won't be buying it from Best Buy (I'm an Elite Plus member if that means anything to you), because I've been flagged for too many returns in a short period of time. From my experience to date it would be a bit risky to purchase a SP2 without the option to exchange it. Thanks Microsoft for making me use an iPad for the interim. :(
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