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Why you should consider getting a Surface 2 this week

This week, the Surface 2 is getting its price chopped by $100 officially, and even more if you opt for an official refurbished one. With Microsoft's sale, it brings the 32 GB version down to $349, and the refurbed at a very affordable $279 (while supplies last). Even the LTE-enabled style is discounted by $100, and it comes with 64 GB of internal storage.

So, with all the focus and hype on the Surface Pro 3, why should you even consider getting a Surface 2? Glad you asked because I have a few reasons.

As some of you may know, I tend to have a rather larger collection of Windows and Windows Phone devices. Let us call it a fortunate side effect of my job title. As such, I am perhaps in a good position to tell you the pros and cons of the Surface 2, especially compared to other options. First, let me share with you my top tablet/hybrid devices, in no particular order:

  • Surface 2 with LTE (64 GB)
  • Surface Pro 3 Core i7 (256 GB)
  • Lenovo ThinkPad 8 (64 GB)
  • Dell XPS 15 Touchscreen Laptop (512 GB)

I use all of these devices partially because I can, but mostly because I like them a lot. The question you may be wondering is why I would even bother with the Surface 2 with all of those other 'Pro' devices. So here is why yesterday, when I spent the day in Boston, I grabbed by Surface 2 over all the others.

Size

At 10.6-inches, the Surface 2 is also ideally thin at just 0.35-inches (8.9 mm). It is just 1.5 pounds, making it even lighter than the Surface Pro 3. Even with the keyboard, you can toss this into a tiny shoulder bag, barely noticing it as you take it everywhere.

The Surface 2 is not ideal for long hours of working (although you could if you wanted to) but it is great for quick emails, surfing the internet, Twitter, watching a movie, or working on that term paper anywhere, anytime.

It is fast

This may surprise some people, especially if you had the first generation Surface RT, but the Surface 2 is remarkably speedy. Although a 1.7GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 4 chipset (with 2 GB of RAM) does not sound mind-blowing, when it comes to running Modern apps and the 8.1 operating system, the Surface 2 is fantastic. Games like Total Defense 3D run smooth on the Surface 2 with no stutter or lag.

I say all of that as someone who runs a Core i7 Surface Pro 3, too.

Battery life

Rated at 10 hours, give or take, the Surface 2 is one of those devices that lasts you all day. I wish it had better standby time, akin to how a Surface Pro 3 goes into a deep sleep after a few hours, but as long as you remember to toss it on the wall charger when you get home at night, the Surface 2 is a fun all day tablet.

Optional 4G LTE connectivity

As someone who owns an AT&T 4G LTE hotspot (Unite Pro), I understand the benefits of having one over LTE being built in to the tablet. Nevertheless, as someone who also owns a Surface 2 with LTE, I enjoy even more having it "always on" without having to remember a second device and its battery.

Look, options are good, and given the choice to have LTE built in or not, I will take the LTE route any day. You can read my earlier thoughts on the LTE version in this article for more details.

Great display

In 2014, 1920 x 1080 is hardly ground breaking. On the Surface 2, it is ideal at 10.6-inches. The Surface 2's display is certainly an improvement over the original Surface RT, as this screen has colors that are more vibrant and Modern apps appear sharp. Since the hardware is not overwhelmed by an HD+ display, apps and games remain fluid.

Odds and ends

Other items we can check off for the Surface 2 include

  • Built in Office for students or business folks
  • Type Cover to make it a laptop-like device (additional purchase required)
  • A better kickstand with two angles
  • Better than average stereo speakers
  • USB 3.0 port

Who the Surface 2 is for

Students are obviously whom Microsoft is aiming for with this sale, and I do not think that audience is off the mark. Taking a Surface 2 to class for notes, writing papers and having it all the time is certainly enticing if you are spending the day campus. Throw in Skype and Office, and you have a neat little productivity tool.

I would also say this is great for people who do not plan to get a Surface Pro 3. Whether it is price, the lack of justification for Microsoft's latest hardware or wanting to wait for the Surface Pro 4, the Surface Pro 3 has numerous dings against it for many people who would like it. More so, if you already have a solid home PC and a workhorse laptop, which makes the Surface Pro 3 difficult to defend for some people.

Here is how I use the Surface 2:

  • My couch device – We all love to surf and look up things on the internet during TV or down time. The Surface 2 and its smaller size is ideal for this task
  • Day trips – If it is a weekday and I know I have work to do, I grab my Surface Pro 3. If it is the weekend, and I do not expect to be writing but want a connected tablet, the Surface 2 is more fun due its size and weight. Most people do not have that luxury, but then again, many people do not have my job and its requirements either.
  • Gaming – No, you cannot play PC games on the Surface 2, but for those who like casual gaming and the Modern versions found in the Windows Store, the Surface 2 is a ton of fun
  • Writing – The Surface 2 is a fantastic word processor, and great for the coffee shop

Why you should NOT buy the Surface 2

Okay, with all my fawning over the Surface 2, should everyone get one? Not necessarily. For one, the Surface 2 cannot run desktop apps like a PC. You are strictly limited to the Windows Store for apps and games, or using Internet Explorer. Depending on what you plan to use this device for, that may or may not be a deal breaker.

Speaking of, you had better enjoy Internet Explorer 11 as you cannot install Chrome or Firefox (but hey, enabling that ad blocking and IE11 blazes for page loads).

If you do not like using a 10.6-inch display, the Surface 2 can be tough to work on for hours at time. In an ideal world, 15.6-inch displays on a laptop are perfect. The Surface 2's 10.6-inch may be too small for some.

If you are waiting for the next version, you may want to pass. There are rumors of a Surface 3 for the fall, although there is nothing substantial at this point to back up this claim. Presumably, the Surface 3 would be a 12-inch variant of the Pro version but without the Core processor or full Windows. Counter argument: if you are always waiting for the next generation because it is better, you will either always be waiting or broke.

There is no stylus or smart pen. If you want to draw, doodle, or take notes, you are limited to your finger or a Touch cover.

There is also a real question about what Windows 9 aka 'Threshold' means for RT devices. Is RT going away? Is it merging with Windows Phone? What does that mean for current hardware, as flashing a new OS is not exactly an 'update' in the traditional sense. It is hard to believe Microsoft would screw over Surface 2 owners by cutting support for the Windows RT, but stranger things have happened.

Take away

My Surface 2 with LTE is one of my favorite devices. Not just in my current collection, but my favorite hardware in the last few years.

Whether it is the new silver color, its thin profile or all the improvements over the first generation, the Surface 2 is a fun device. Justifying the cost is always difficult, but if you $279 to spare, dipping your toe in the Surface 2 world is well worth it. Microsoft's subsequent firmware and OS updates have only made this hardware better over the last few months, and even with my Surface Pro 3 right next to it, I still grab my Surface 2 more often than you would think.

What is your take? Share your reasons why someone should (or should not) grab a Surface 2 this week. Go!

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Reader comments

Why you should consider getting a Surface 2 this week

197 Comments

He Daniel, You can't do much with 32GB, and I'm getting it next month with 64 instead. Great info!

Good point, although with microSD expansion, that helps.

Having said that, I have heard mixed things with using a micro SD card e.g. it needs to be a high-speed data transfer and best not to put frequently used apps or games on it.

For people who are a little more tech savvy you can go and mount a128gb microSD and virtually mount it as a physical hard drive. I have that on my Lumia 2520 and Surface RT and never need extra storage. Or OneDrive. OneDrive is also cool.

 

All that stuff was for Windows 8. In 8.1, this is a built in feature. Just go to Devices in PC Settings, scroll down to the SD Card section, and enable default media storage to the card. Media folders will be created on the card and these locations will automatically be added to you Libraries. Move any existing media files into these folders and they will show up in Metro apps.

@SilverSee - thats a good tip for anyone who doesn't know, but I wanted to mount a 128gb mcro sd so that apps and data are stored on the card, not the internal memory......

Absolutely loving my Surface 2. I have talked my cousin and girl friend into buying one and they are loving theirs. Using a 64GB SD on mine but correct me if I'm wrong.. You can't install apps or games on it. Right?

Those are not the same people I hope. :)

Seriously though, I still love my Surface RT. I have two main uses for it. I use it on the plane and it lasts a full flight across country with plenty of juice to spare on the other side. I also use it on my nightstand to watch videos to fall asleep. I never turn on my bedroom tv anymore. I'll wait for a Surface 3 but I do like the look and feel of the Surface 2.

@Wael Hasno - you're correct the SD cards don't natively mount as a primary HDD so you're not using it to install apps or games to the card.  You CAN use media files like MP3s, XVID, even ROMS for emulators on it on top of documents like .PDF, .WORD, .PPT, etc. without a hitch.  I had a 32GB Surface RT from when I worked at Microsoft and it was a nice setup.  My gripe was the stuttering that occured too frequently when loading apps.  The Surface 2 was a noticeable step up.  If you're looking for near PC-like capabilities in a low-cost, long-lasting product, the Surface 2 is definitely a product you should be looking at.  The Bay-Trail (mobile Intel chipsets) 2-in-1s and Windows 8 tablets are also good for a look, but none offer the native, and excellent, laptop-like form factor with the keyboard and kickstand without using accessories that will probably set you back $80-$100 easily (more if you get a GOOD bluetooth keyboard at retail pricing).

I hope MS will release touch-optimized Office for Modern GUI, so that Windows RT users can basically forget about desktop and use tablet exclusively in Modern GUI, as it should be used, IMHO. Having desktop that can run only included Office is wrong, potentially confusing for number of users. The whole point (and excuse) for x86 Windows 8 and 8.1 is to provide compatibility with classic apps, but RT cannot run them anyway - so it feels a bit like overdone to have desktop exclusively for Office, and desktop Office itself feels a bit cramped on 10" screen (at least that is my conclusion with my ThinkPad Tablet 2).

I really hope that, after releasing Touch Office for iOS, Microsoft will hurry with Windows version. I know that iOS, with number of devices in wild, is much more lucrative market (and so is Android), but it never feels right when company doesn't prioritize their own products and platforms.

Depends on the user's needs and uses, really.

I have the 32gb version and still have 90% of the free space available after using since launch.  I do use OneDrive extensively, but even without some type of cloud storage, I'd still be fine. 

 

You must not be a big app user then, or very much interested in games. I have around 12-15 apps/games installed including a few big ones like Asphalt 8, FIFA 14... and wham, barely enough free space left on the 32GB version once all the Windows Updates are installed as well. All my files are either on OneDrive or on the MicroSD card but the 32GB version really is next to useless given the space the OS requires. I wouldn't recommend anything less than the 64GB one (that too with a 64/128GB MicroSD) to a new user.

You guessed it. :)

I'm not a gamer and regularly use only 5-10 apps outside of the ones preinstalled. And, I know I'm not the only one with usage patterns like that. As I said, it depends on the user.

So, I take issue with describing 32GB as useless. It's far from it.

yeah.. when I add files around 5GB on my surface 2, my drive would turn to red (almost full). app data folder takes so much space even if I only have few apps. the back of both my 1st and 2nd gen surface are also now peeling off. i'm now hunting for some good stickers to hide it. and the browser.....wow.... worst ever. you should have a lot of coffee beside you to make you awake while waiting for it to load. and the speakers....my Q10 is a lot louder than this tablet. it also can't power a usb 3.0 external hard drive. but still i like it. onedrive, file management, torrex and media player. good entertainment device when travelling. 

Nonsense, 32GB works absolutely fine if you aren't a big gamer. Sure, as only makes sense, if you want to download GBs of games and not have to swap them out you should definitely go for 64GB... but we have two 32GB Surfaces in the house and have never come close to using all the storage. That's with probably 10 games installed on each... puzzle type... and not supporting much local music or video. For apps and browsing 32GB will do just fine.

Before I say anything else, I completely agree that 32GB is absolutely enough space for most users. I just wanted to take a second and laugh at how the trend has changed -- I can remember 6 or 7 years ago now where we were always pushing for more and more. I know I was always excited when they slapped another TB on a hard drive I was looking at or when I was able to fit another few gigs of RAM into my system at a lower cost and without upgrading the board. Now everyone is perfectly happy to settle for >100GB of drive space and we consider anything that can't run on 2GB of RAM (outside of games, etc..) to be overly bloated.

 

It's just funny to me how my perspective has changed!

I've had a 32 GB Surface RT since launch and haven't ran into an issue with space. I keep mostly everything on OneDrive & use a 64GB microSD card for local backup & recovery. Even with less than 20GB of usuable storage space, it's more than enough for a tablet.

Your breakdown is precisely how I view things.  It is a great device to have even if you have the others.  I do because I don't want my family (read kids) to use the Pro 3 as there is no need for them to use it and its a lot more expensive.  It's just a great bargain on a great device.

I've actually been mulling over this. Quick question though (and forgive my ignorance), you mentioned Office is built in (Presumably Office RT or 'Student' or however you'd classify it). Does one NEED an Office 365 subscription? Or is it built in like a Windows Phone, ready to use?

Thanks!

I don't think it comes with Office 365. Instead, Office is just built in with a lifelong non-commercial license, akin to buying an Office installation disk in the days of yore.

So it's built in an free, but you have to pay extra for Office 365 still.

However, if you save everything into you're OneDrive, then any changes you make will automatically sync across all your devices, effectively emulating what Office 365 offers (minus that 1TB of OneDrive storage).

It's a pretty solid deal, actually, especially once Gemini goes live.

Daniel, the RT version has a kind of Office 2013 Home and Student built-in, but with the additional Office Outlook 2013. It has nothing to do with Office 365. You have this Office RT for the whole life :)

I still own my first rt that I bought on the day of release (February 2012 I believe) and office still works without subscription (same goes for the 10 I bought for my office) once you buy an rt it's included and that also makes it a well worth buy

Well, for the reasons I outlined above. I mean, I have 32-bit Windows on my ThinkPad 8. I have no idea why.

It's the same reason why people buy iPads. Sometimes you want a fun, light device. It also depends on what you want to do with it.

I can see your points, but use that same money toward a full 8.1 device and you have a real computer that can do double duty.

I specifically chose my Surface 2 over any other options. When there is a 10" 1080p device, at the same price range and with similar battery life as my Surface 2, running BayTrail, I will consider switcing. But until then, I prefer it over any 8.1 device because for the stuff I do is sufficient. I very rarely wished for x86 support (have both a laptop and a desktop), but I get the benefit of the 1080p display every second I watch a video or browse the web, or even use a modern app (more workspace).

iOS is a no go. Who wants neutered.. Oh, see, it's a tablet! There is no need to have a fully functional OS on the iPad, for example! So why complain about RT???

The thing about iPads though is it has more apps, whether you like that or not, so people have tablet versions of their casual desktop apps.

Only matters (The number of apps) if the Microsoft store doesn't have something one deems critical. Otherwise the Surface runs circles around the iPad - and cost $150 less. 

Erm, not all apps are just the website in an app. Some are programs, just watered down. Like PhotoShop for iPad (different than PhotoShop express).

I guess this is a great time to say "Your mileage may vary". Windows RT works for people because they only need it as as consumption device. They don't need apps or the added functionality of x86 software. I spend 85% of my time in modern Internet Explorer. The rest is in OneDrive, Hyper for YouTube (even though the website works fine), Flipboard, ESPN, Skype & Bing Finance!

The advantage of RT is the support for Office and USB to go - it is more an office device for work and writing. On the ipad you can not use any HDD or plug in a mouse for comfortable working. And you can not conmect it with 2 displays and whatch a film on the first one and work in PowerPoint on the second one.

I'm a lawyer, and I've been using my surface Rt for about 9 months and I'm tempted to buy a surface 2. During this time I didn't have to use another device to write or print my documents. I'm not into a lot of software or games. And if I want to play something a just look into the store.

Tbh it doesn't make that much sense anymore with so many atom powered quality tablets out now. You can get a great experience with full windows at around the same price. But imo until they get the surface pro up to at least 9 hours battery life, it's not realistic for most people either. I'd rather have a convertible ultrabook with decent battery life.

Remember to get the COMPLETE BUNDLE: 2 years accidental warranty, type keyboard, screen protector, and sleeve. Only $199!

Ok now you guys are just being sales people. Baytrail devices are priced similar and do way more. These are old tech at this time!

It's not just about the hardware. Baytrail and full Windows is nice, but it's the hardware design I prefer with the Surface 2, including the kickstand. I haven't found many others that compete in terms of design and quality, imo.

This is always the problem with PCs. They can kick butt in raw specs, but it's the designs that are always 'meh'.

My SP3 is my everywhere device, work, home, standing, lying down. The kickstand means you dont always have to have it in your hand and the larger screen makes everything so much easier to work with. It thin and light enough to be an everyday device and the only real negative is the price but when you consider its basically running a full PC's guts its even more compelling. Personally wouldnt buy this or any RT device but it may work for those who have no money and are casual users.

Solid article as always, Daniel. I really want to use this offer, but I'm saving money for a Pro 3. Still, a solid device! I definitely want to pick one up one day when the price is low enough. :)

I'm in the same boat, man. I do wish they had done the price cut before my father sent his busted old PC back for repair a few weeks ago. I would have recommended this for him, and I think he actually would have saved $ over the repairs he had done!

But for me, I'm saving for the SP3!

Dont forget the student discount is on now... And if you go to a store that price matches then you can say either you or your kid is in school and they wont ask for proof. I know because I just got the i3 sp3 at staples for my daughter (who is actually going to college) and they never asked.

I considered the rt version but went for the venue pro11 instead a great device (for me at least) if money was not in the equation...surface pro 3.
Personally a tablet running full 8.1 is excellent and id recommend giving it some serious thought as an option.

I love the 4G option of the Surface 2. This price cut really is appealing to me. And if anyone is worried about getting an official refurb, you don't need to worry. I bought an official refurb original Surface, and it came to me in pristine shape.

I'm not even concerned about paying extra for the device, I *am* concerned about another monthly fee. No way am I doing that, when I can tether off my phone that has 6GB/month. Plus there's free WiFi virtually everywhere in my town anyway.

honestly I still don't understand tablets, especially if you already regularly use a laptop. I have the yoga 2 pro, and could never find a use for anything else.. not a tablet or a desktop. I mean, does a desktop do some things better, yea it does, but it's not worth a $1k investment. does a tablet do some things better, sure, but not enough to spend $300 on and actually own another device. I just think these new ultrabooks are so thin, light, and powerful that they're all that's needed for probably about 95% of the population. my yoga 2 pro and my lumia icon are a great combo together, and i'm really hoping Threshold makes them "talk to each other" better

I use my Surface for the university. Write my senior thesis, lecture content and simply play around with it if it will be especially boring at the seminar :D And it is really perfect for creating and showing PowerPoint presentations.

I won a used 1st generation Surface Rt tablet a few months ago and while I was put off by the comparatively slow speed, it quickly became my favorite tablet device. The touch keyboard is so worth it.
Really wish I could afford a Surface 2.

I'm tempted but I'll keep waiting for the S3 release this fall. Worst case scenario, S3 isn't released and I'll get an even better discount on the S2 on Black Friday. Win-win.

Well there haven't really been any rumors that S3 may be 12". In fact, the only rumor about S3 we've had is that Digitimes (not very reliable on its own) reported MS was gearing up in August preparing all the pieces with full production to start in September for a possible release in October. Digitimes gets its info from piece and part manufacturers so who knows what's true, it could go either way, but they did say MS's orders were for another 10.6" tablet:

http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20140728PD205.html

Now, if S3 gets released in 12" form... I wouldn't be crazy about it honestly. That would probably drive price up (or it wouldn't and then for the same price it would finally be financially rational) and it would require that I buy a new type cover when the one I have is only a few months old and works perfectly fine, but it wouldn't cover the whole tablet. If S3 is 12" I guess I'd look for a good offer on Black Friday and get a S2 which can last me for a couple years, just enough so both tablet and keyboard wear out and after that I would be ready to buy a whole new setup (Surface and type keyboard). What's certain is that my RT is going to my parenst this xmas. I need a faster Surface (I've also been considering getting a refurb SP2, but it's heavy...).

I believe your right. If it is a 12". Then the price might go up. It would also cause the type cover just purchased to not fit. I guess we will see in a few months.

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

I will admit I caved in to the S2 offer though... I purchased one yesterday. I still wanted to wait for that potential S3, but my parents are coming today from overseas for a few days and I won't see them again until December 2015, so I figured I could give them my RT as an early xmas gift. At least having a S2, the performance will be more than enough to keep going for another year or two. Who knows, maybe by next year MS will finally see the light and realize the lower end Surface will only explode in the market if they use an Atom CPU an remove the main complaint and perception issue most consumers have: not running x86 apps (unnecessary I know, but the consumer reality is what it is).

Worst comes to worst, I can always sell the S2 later in the year regain most of the money I spent (actually I spent zero because thanks to bing search I had $500 in amazon gift card balance :D) and get whatever new Surface comes next.

I also think 2520 is better deal considering SD 800 chip. If I could have it work with TMobile sim, I would buy it immidiately.

I guess I should have used the term "Refurbished" this I their seller notes. " This Item comes fully refurbished and in excellent cosmetic condition. It will function like a new machine."

Another bonus: No fan.
I use Teamviewer or RDP and can access Desktop programs that way when necessary.
I can also connect it to a monitor for more screen space when necessary.
Love my Surface 2

The deal is not that great. My refurbished laptop is a lot better with i3 CPU, 4GB ram, 500 GB hard drive with Win 8 - 64 bit at the price of 270 $. 

After getting tired of the poor Kindle metro app, I've switched over to Bookvisor Reader.  It's a lovely ebook reader with versions for both Windows Metro and Windows Phone.  With a little fixing, Kindle content can be opened by Bookvisor.  I'm much happier than I was with the Kindle app.

I am considering getting the Surface 2 for my kid sister as it comes with free office, it should be more than adequate to last her beyond secondary school and when she starts her A levels. Can't be bothered recycling old netbooks, pcs and laptops anymore - to much aggro lol. I have 5 left gathering dust, need to source parts (hinges and what not).

Edit: If the price cut is permanent does that mean after this week, students get a further 10% off?

If true, the surface 2 could turn out to be THE bargain of the year.

I got the best deal on my Surface 2... I WON it free and clear! :D Thanks to Microsoft and their #remixproject on Twitter/Vine a while back.

Anyway, for someone who already has PCs everywhere, the Surface 2 with Windows RT is a fantastic companion device! I use mine every day for watching movies, browsing the web, controlling my other PCs via Remote Desktop, or playing games... all from the comfort of my couch or bed! (They actually have some cool games starting to come out for ARM like Modern Combat 5: Blackout - a FPS that runs great on the Surface 2!)

I love my Surface 2 and would highly recommended one. Windows RT does everything that I need a tablet OS to do.. (Here's hoping that future versions KEEP the desktop btw!)

Is this price cut temporary? If not, I'd love to pick one up in a few weeks as this what I need for after work on the couch.

My Dell XPS 15 touchscreen (512gb) is my "go to" computer, but for its portability, the one I travel with is the Lumia 2520 (with 128gb micro SD) with battery keyboard case, it does everything I need it to do, is light, portable, great for web, email, FB, films etc

Here's a dumb question, Daniel, but maybe you or someone else will answer anyway: How well do all your various windows 8/rt devices talk to each other and share settings, apps, preferences, notifications and whatnot?

Sign in to each device using the same Microsoft account and enable the 'synch' option. When I first got my XPS, it synced with the settings etc on my 2520 with no effort

That's a good question. Personally, it's not that great for me. So, I keep the syncing off. I have tried to use it, but it messes up my Icons. I'd imagine it has to do with my Tablet having less real estate than my PC and maybe one being a 32bit processor vs 64bit. Don't know. Maybe someone with the same number of icons per column on both their PC and Tablet has a better experience.

I'd like to get my hands on a 2520 but would I really use it as cool as it looks maybe when this windows 9 with wp8 combine it might be worth a look more so

I don't like articles with these kinds of titles. There is absolutely no reason why I should consider a Surface 2. There is no reason I should consider anything with RT becuase I want RT to die a quick death, due to lack of usefulness for me. I have no desire to own a second non-x86 device because Steam games don't run on the ARM devices, and even VLC is lagging behind.

 

A Surface 2 would be a $300 Internet browser to me. There's no reason to purchase a $300 mobile Internet browser when my 920 does that just fine. So, that is why I'll NEVER consider an ARM tablet.

#truth, lol, all those who will consider the device at this point in time will do what was outlined in the article, simply weigh the pros and cons and see if it's a best fit for you and what you plan to use it for

Wow center of the universe much? I don't say the word "troll" very much but I hope this is either that or a very satirical post.

Windows RT? No thanks. With an App store that dead you've just got an expensive paperweight.

Everyone I know who's bought one had regretted it.

The App store hasn't died. In fact, it's getting more quality apps and games every day! For an example, check out Modern Combat 5: Blackout - a "desktop quality" FPS that runs great on my Surface 2 with Windows RT. (I do wish they'd clean up all the junk apps though!)

You don't need an app store, you have got a fully featured desktop flash browser on it for God's sake..... It's not a crappy apple tablet where you need to install an "app" to use instagram

I still use the Surface 1 (lol, the RT) at work, and I know the S2 is a decent upgrade, I would recommend it to anyone for all the reasons mentioned in this article

Honestly if the pricing was around $200 or $300 or even $400 with a keyboard all the time they would have sold better in the first place. Setting up an discount for students and businesses would have been good too

I wonder what I can get this for four years from now. $50 maybe? I will pull the trigger at that time.

Microsoft, whatever your international strategy is, it sucks and it doesn't make any sense whatsoever. The French get the LTE version and a €100 cut, the Dutch have to settle for a €60 cut without LTE and Germany and Belgium (i.e., me) get nothing, WTH? I knew that Microsoft likes to be a jerk to small countries, but now the Germans as well? Does Microsoft even have a global strategy?

Can you really blame them for being US centrist jerks ? Google  is ( Google now doesn't work in my country, I know it's a small one but releasing google now every where in the world BUT Tunisia is a like giving 10 m people the finger , and the worst part , location services work with google maps but not ith google now ! :p  )  , Apple is ( don't even get m started on the prices ..) , so it's only natural that MS follows ... Still there is a glimpse of hope as bing has ( finally) started concentratnig on the international market and IMO MS has improved enormeously with customer feedback .

Still not sure there's a really compelling case for a 64GB Surface 2 over a 64GB Dell Venue Pro 11. Full Windows and pen input vs. better battery life and less complexity.

Will IE11 on the surface 2 (RT) view Flash sites/apps?  The folks have an old notebook which they hook up to the TV using long hdmi cables.  I was considering purchasing a Surface 2 and a miracast device to replace that setup. They access a number of sites which use flash and unless the Surface 2 can view flash sites/apps it would not be of benifit to them. 

While it does have full IE11 with Flash, you have to wait for MS to update your Flash, so sometimes things won't load, but that has only rarely happened to me.

It all comes down to apps for me. With windows rt, an OS I really like, you can't run full windows apps on it, only rt apps. Like my issues with windows phone,like the 1520 I'm adding comment on, its all about apps and good quality ones at that. Case in point, please grab an android or ios device and look at twitter app. Now look at WP twitter app. It looks as though its made by a two year old . why Microsoft isn't throwing money at this major problem by the buckets is beyond me.
this is why I wouldn't by an rt. Same thing. Apps aren't there and the ones that are or poor or forgotten apps. Love ❤ wp/rt but Microsoft needs to do whatever it takes to fix this.

I had a RT and replaced it with a Surface 2. The S2 is an awesome companion device to a desktop or laptop. I'm seriously thinking about getting a 64GB S2 because I'm using my 32GB a lot more than I thought I would. With the Power Cover, it becomes an all-day beast.

I got it since launch date, simply love the Surface 2

I had the 1 before that and it was a bit slow, the tegra chip in the surface 2 is doing the job pefectly...

Windows RT 8.1 help a lot, the OS is very fast and the best table OS right now, the touch mechanics in windows are the best of all OS and the surface hardware push it...

the 16:9 aspect ratio is perfect, I use it most of the time to watch TV sahow and movie, I realy like to have them in fullscreen, I'm not geting a surface pro 3 beacose of that.

I'm using Yxplayer Pro to watch MKV files, it's pretty good but is there better option?

I just can't wait to see the Surface 3 with the K1 chip, it will just be insane...

The best option is the VLC player, when it finally comes out. Which in all honesty shouldn't be too much longer.

"It is hard to believe Microsoft would screw over Surface 2 owners by cutting support for the Windows RT"

 

Sorry Daniel but there's nothing EASIER to believe in. Microsoft has done that often in their history. Windows Phone 7.8 being its latest strike.

 

And for that alone, I think no one should buy the Surface 2 if they intend to keep it in the long run. The lack of support from Microsoft and the impending death of RT at the hands of WP, along with the more than likely ditching of old hardware by Microsoft is the reason I skipped the Nokia L2520. And the reason everyone should not buy the Surface 2 at this stage of things.

Keep those 300 dollars to put towards whatever Microsoft shows AFTER Windows 9 is out.

Great article, thanks.

I will absolutely get one, now that they're a more reasonable price. I bought my last laptop at ~$800.00 quite a few years ago, but it lasted until about last week (XP killed it). It was great for those long trips for running my daughter up north to her mother's (4 hour trip), and to keep my her entertained when on a rainy-vacation-day.

We'll need to get something pretty soon. She's starting school next week and remembering how many times she needed to use my desktop last year, it will probably double this year.

Thank you Daniel so much for this. I am getting the MBP as my computer, and the Surface as my tablet for school. I think I'm going to wait for the Surface 3 though, as it's only a few months. But because of you, I'm getting the Surface 3. I have an iPad 3 for school and I hate it. iPads are SO hard to be productive on. And the Bluetooth keyboard accessories SUCK!

The refurb is awfully tempting at that price.

I just don't like the width in landscape mode, we have a surface 1 and my wife loves it.  I like it too, but i type alot more than her with the virtual keyboard (you know for browsing) and i just find that the tablet itself is too wide.  Don't love the split keyboard either, i find that you have to look left and right to hit the correct keys.

Believe it or not, after trying out the nokia 2520 in the MS store, i liked how that felt in my hand much better.

Really hoping microsoft gives us a good 8 inch table for a reasonable price (1080 is a must for me) or something the size of my hptouch (which i find to be sized perfect).

Are you kidding? Look how cheap a baytrail 10 inch is? At under 400 how can this compare.Pick Toshiba or Asus or even Acer. And if we are not talking money then the 10 ThinkPad with 4gb ram 128gb on board and late just makes this look like a palm pilot.

It is more than just specs; I have used a few other 10 inch tablets/hybrids, and the quality, imo, just is not there. Some of them put the speakers on the sides so you can block them when holding it, they don't have kickstands, etc.

I mean, it all depends on what you are using it for. Even if this was full Windows, I am not sure what I'd be doing differently with it in actual use. My ThinkPad 8 has full Windows, I really have no idea why.

Mostly a couch device. I love the size, the display and it's powerful (okay, I do occasionally torrent something on it with Qbittorrent, but I could use a Modern app).

What limits my usage of the ThinkPad 8 is lack of any keyboard addon, at least one as convenient as the Surface 2.

The real problem is that we have no idea what the future will bring.  This device would be perfect for my mother (and me not needing to provide tech support) in that it's bulletproof.  Except she needs desktop Office, and current rumors are that all ARM devices will have the desktop removed.  With such uncertainty, it's impossible to recommend at the moment.

Of course.  The problem is, in order to keep getting updates, you have to take Windows 9 / Threshold into consideration.  Current rumor is that ARM devices will not have the desktop in the next version of Windows.

True, but the thinking has always been this: The only reason desktop is included in the first place is because Touch Office (Gemini) was not ready.

Threshold ditches desktop, finally, because the new Modern Office suite will finally ship alongside it and desktop will not be needed.

Honestly, this is the way it should have been from the beginning, but you know, Microsoft ;)

I know that's the general agreement elsewhere, but I personally disagree with it.  First, we don't know how feature-complete Modern Office might be.  If it's anything like Modern OneNote, that's a problem.  Secondly, the windowing paradigm is useful even just for Office and IE (and plus, my mother's company uses RDP / RemoteApp, which it's helpful to have a windowed environment for).

Mostly though, I would hate to recommend a purchase to my parents, only to have exactly the functionality they bought the device for be removed in a future update.  Hopefully, by the end of September, Microsoft should reveal enough to clarify the platform's future.

Of course though, I'm all for the desktop being locked down so that nobody ACCIDENTALLY ends up in it, but I would disagree entirely that it should've been desktop-less from the start.

Mine is on its way, I can't wait for UPS to get here on Wednesday. I've wanted a tablet for quite some time but had a Windows 7 laptop that still worked and a high end desktop PC and couldn't really justify it. At this price I couldn't pass it up.

Why won't Microsoft release a fanless Surface 3 with an Atom Baytrail processor? This way it would be cheaper, have longer battery life, and be a somewhat slower little brother to the Surface Pro 3, but without the frustration RT gives to people who like Metro but still need to use a few bits of legacy software. And I want a pen and hi-res screen too, but not a high high end energy hungry CPU.

Anyone who buys a RT device is retarded including me as I foolishly bought a Surface RT. It's a dead OS nobody wants and nobody is using except MS.

Sweeping generalizations about technology and users. Applies personal experience to a general conclusion implies a narrow worldview without the ability to perceive alternate viewpoints, or those on a budget who want a Surface. Denigrates users whose preference differs from his own.

Not a very good analysis. D+

I had thought about an xps 10 but couldn't justify the import costs & as with the surface 2 lte(run the risk of its modem being locked). So I may hold out for a surface 3 if my country doesn't get a 2520(with correct frequencies)

3/4 through the article before it's established that we're talking about the RT version. Why not just state this in the headline and spare us a few minutes of reading...?

I was looking at the promo for the 2520 at at&t for 100$ with the two year contract. Since I would be paying data anyways why wouldn't I get that instead? Is the kickstand that awesome?

hope this means surface 3 is around the corner.  Ready to upgrade from my first gen RT.

 

10 inch surface 3 with pro 3 form factor and i'm sold

I noticed the Surface RT is laggy for my wife's facebook games. Is that normal for it? Would the Surface 2 be remarkably better?

AND, I just checked on Amazon and you can get a $131.05 amazon gift card on a trade-in on your old RT and touch cover.  That's fairly impressive.  There are a few Surface 2's on amazon as well, but if you typically make purchases on amazon, then you can use this for those purchases and use the cash you would have spent on the Ebay version linked in this article bringing the price down to $147.95!  That's enough to pick up a nice new Type Cover 2, upgrade to the 64GB version, or both!

 

Microsoft Surface (32GB with Black Touch Cover)

1
Good
$131.05

I totally agree with you Daniel. I got me a 64 GB Surface 2 before holidays because I wanted a RT tablet (for the shipped Office and didn't want a laptop) for 450 € (prices were already cut in France).

I use it for :

a) transfer these JPG/DNG from the 1020 when it's full and I'm abroad (so no Onedrive and anyway, DNG won't sync). I filled 3 times the 1020 to the max this summer thanks to the Surface 2

b) Office (word, excel and outlook mainly). I check my work account on the surface 2, no need to get the work laptop at home or even switch on my PC. I also used Word to finish my novel when on holidays. Typecover is a key asset here

c) Games and Internet.

My needs were defined before buying the Surface 2 and I knew the answer was an ARM windows rather than a x86. Not disappointed. And I got the Surface 2 over the 2520 because of the full scale USB + kickstand, should I add.

I'm a fan of my first gen RT too, but I'm upgrading to SP3 this week. That said, I'm not exactly a fan of the "new" silver color and list it as a con rather than a pro. When it comes to LTE and SIM slot, I rather take a tablet without that since it adds quite a bit of price and would require me to get another contract just to get a connection to the tablet too. I still rather just use a hotspot from my Lumia when wifi isnt available.

I had surface 2 for a week and despite its feel and texture it did not give me what I wanted like using it as a full laptop so I went for a surface pro and can say am proud with its performance. The drawback with surface 2 is that it works on apps nor programmes so if your intention is just to use it for playing social networking fine but if you want more out of your surface then any pro version is good. Even though you can use Microsoft products on surface 2 its not good for college students/professionals who wants to do data analysis as this feature is not available in surface 2. Any pro version provides the freedom to install independent any programmes you want to use including your favorite antivirus. So Microsoft Surface 2's price tag is not worth it and needs to come down

Personally, I have no desire to own a RT based device, as I use too many 3rd party applications for Windows on my tablet, even Steam Streaming (works over wifi and can play full games streaming via my Xbox controller)

Now, We have a W7 dual core laptop in the home as a general everyone PC, my wife uses it all the time for the most part, this will be office work (Excel, Word, Outlook, etc), and web browsing (facebook, twitter, amazon, etc), very heavy at that. This laptop has seen better days and it's very slugish now, I was thinking about dumpping a SSD in it to prolong it's life for another year or 2... The kids use it for some kid based websites that are based 90% off flash.

As the price has come down on the RT 2....Does IE 11 support flash, java and every other little plugin that normal web browsing does ? Will it support ActiveX controls in IE (a lot of these use Windows Installers, will these still work to install these controls ?) ?

IE has to support everything the desktop versions do, from youtube videos to all content on facebook and twitter, any problems or limitations with IE on RT ?

Can a RT device be added to a domain for shared network resources ?

This might be a good option instead of going to a SSD if it's true that the Surface RT 2 is very fast and performs really well... I know it's a slick looking device and would look sweet where this old laptop is with a keboard with KEYS, not the touch one...

Thanks if you can help here, never really thought about a RT device, till this point.

"As the price has come down on the RT 2....Does IE 11 support flash, java and every other little plugin that normal web browsing does ? Will it support ActiveX controls in IE (a lot of these use Windows Installers, will these still work to install these controls ?) ?

"IE has to support everything the desktop versions do, from youtube videos to all content on facebook and twitter, any problems or limitations with IE on RT ?"

It has desktop IE11 in addition to Modern IE11, so whatever desktop supports, it supports.

I want a surface 2 but I can't seem to get myself to buy a tablet that doesn't have full windows 8.x on it!! :(.
Any good tablets under $300 that are worth it? Please someone answer me thank you :)

Picked up a surface 2 LTE from ebay should be here this week.  This is kind of an experiment, if i can tolerate remoting in to get 'real' work done(.NET Developer) it's a keeper.  It certainly checks all the boxes i wanted in a tablet; proper ports, split screen multitasking, mouse support, fantastic battery, LTE and a good price.  

Excellent article. Very useful as I am considering getting a second device, something a bit smaller than my main laptop that takes up less space when I'm traveling. I think I'm going to skip Surface 2 but I will keep it in mind as an option and now I know the best uses for it. The Surface 3 Pro is definitely what I want but that price definitely stops me from jumping on it. I'll wait to see what the Surface 3 offers and really hope the price is much better. The naming though makes me think I'll be going with one of the more reasonably priced hybrids.

Like my surface 2 - actually surprised sales aren't better. I think the average consumer just has a disdain for microsoft/windows.

For what I use, it is much better than my android tablets.  My one complaint is that I find the 16:9 form factor a bit weird for a device that is a tablet.  In portrait mode reading graphic novels, magazines...it just feels a bit awkward to hold.  I like the 3:2 format in the new Surface Pro 3 and would buy another RT device if a 3:2 form factor was available and just a bit smaller than the SP3.  In landscape mode it's great for videos or putting on a table and doing some work.  Microsofts RDP works flawlessly with this device so I can access programs on my main computer if needed.  Occassionaly I'll hook it up to my 27 inch monitor and full keyboard/mouse to use edit powerpoint/excel spreadsheets.  Hopefully microsoft doesn't throw out the baby with the bathwater - Windows RT is the best mobile platform from my point of view.  

Greg

Meh, I own a Surface 2, and I feel like you're overstating the speed of this thing. It's decent when working on it after a fresh reboot, but it seems to need a reboot once or twice a day if I'm on it for any length of time. I noticed modern IE seems to be a big performance drain, and it wakes up faster and more consistently if I'm sure to close IE before I allow it to go to sleep for a while. My Surface Pro 1 and 3 always cold boot faster than the Surface 2...