In 30 years of reviewing technology, I’ve never encountered a product that “knocked my socks off.”
To my surprise, Surface Pro 2 does. It nicely combines the light weight of a tablet with the power of a laptop.
Built for running (almost) all Windows apps
Microsoft’s professional tablet isn’t perfect, but given the limitations of current technologies, it comes close. And though some criticize the Surface Pro for living in that limbo zone between tablet and laptop, I think that’s a perfect place to be. Sure, I’d like a larger keyboard and screen — but I’m tired of carrying around heavy laptops. And it’s so nice to dispense with the keyboard and mouse when all I want to do is read an article or take notes while sitting on my couch or in an airplane.
Microsoft touts the Surface Pro 2 as “the one device for everything in your life.” By itself? I don’t think so. But add in the optional docking station and hook up a full-sized keyboard and big monitor, and you’ve got yourself a real workstation.
(Let’s be perfectly clear, here. This is not the Surface 2, Microsoft’s less capable tablet, which uses Windows 8.1 RT and supports only Metro/Modern UI applications. The Surface Pro 2 (see Figure 1) runs the full version of Windows 8.1. Any application that runs on a Windows 8.1 desktop also runs on the Surface Pro 2. For more on the two operating systems, see the Oct. 25, 2012, Top Story, “Win8 vs. Windows RT: What to know before you buy.”)
The Surface Pro 2 is equipped with a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (more info) and supports up to 8GB of system memory and 512GB of on-board storage. (See Microsoft’s product page for full specifications.) That’s sufficient power for most multitasking endeavors — but not those that require intensive use of graphics, such as professional video editing or working with extremely large images. This isn’t the machine for hardcore gamers, either.
Along with laptop-like power, the Surface Pro 2 has connectivity not found on a typical tablet. For example, unlike Apple’s iPad, Microsoft’s machine includes a USB 3.0 port and a MicroSD slot, which lets you add another 64GB of storage.