Microsoft hasn’t been particularly happy with the performance of its Surface tablets so far. It’s been a short lifespan, but its onslaught of negative attack commercials haven’t been able to help the computing giant make its presence felt in the tablet market. To breathe some new life into its offerings, Microsoft gave the Surface tablet family a refresh. The Surface Pro 2 is the clear follow-up to the original Surface Pro, while the Surface 2 takes over the role the Surface RT originally played. These two devices bring a lot of computing power into the tablet arena, but how do you know which is right for you? We take a look at both in a spec showdown to help answer that question.
Surface Pro 2
|Size||274.5 x 173 x 13.5 (mm)||274 x 171 x 8.9 (mm)|
|Screen||10.6-inch ClearType HD||10.6-inch ClearType Full HD|
|Resolution||1920×1080 pixels||1920×1080 pixels|
|OS||Windows 8.1 Pro||Windows RT 8.1|
|Storage||64, 128, 256, or 512GB||32 or 64GB|
|SD Card Slot||Yes||Yes|
|Other Ports||USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort||USB 3.0, HD video out|
|Processor||Intel Core i5 (Haswell)||Quad-core Nvidia Tegra 4|
|RAM||4 or 8GB||2GB|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)||Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)|
|Camera||Front 1.2MP, Rear 1.2MP||Front 3.5MP, Rear 5MP|
|Bluetooth||Yes, version 4.0||Yes, version 4.0|
|Battery||7-8 hours of use||10 hours of use|
|Charger||Micro USB||Micro USB|
|Marketplace||Windows Store||Windows Store|
The Surface 2 is really the sweet spot in Microsoft’s tablet offerings. Since the company is keeping the Surface RT around at a cheaper price point, the Surface 2 should become the go-to for students or people who may do some work from home and want a tablet capable of providing a little computing power without a huge investment. With a $450 starting point, Surface 2 owners will get a device built with the impressive Quad-core Nvidia Tegra 4 processor and a full HD, 1080p display. They will also get added goodies like 200GB of SkyDrive storage for two years, Office 2013 RT apps from the jump, and free Wi-Fi and international Skype calls for a year.
The Surface Pro 2 is all business. It’s a full blown computer shoved into the casing of a laptop. Its RAM offerings start at 4GB and go up to 8GB and its hard drive ranges from 64-512GB. Add the new Intel Core i5 Haswell processor to that and you’ve got a device with internals that can handle anything you decide to throw at it. This is one of the rare tablets that could absolutely become a laptop replacement. Of course it’s priced as one as well, starting at $900. The top-tier unit costs $1800. The Surface Pro 2 also has the distinction of running Windows 8.1 Pro rather than the 8.1 RT OS on the Surface 2. This means the Pro can run Windows desktop applications, while the standard Surface 2 cannot.
The Surface 2 appears to be a capable tablet and with the lengthly list of incentives that Microsoft is throwing in, it could generate some interest. Then again, it is a lot like the original Surface and virtually no one is buying that. The Surface Pro 2 might be enough to make you leave your laptop behind on trips and not miss a beat. We suggest you get your hands on the devices and figure out which one will meet your needs best. You’ll be able to do just that starting October 22, 2013.