I bought a Surface 2 as an impulse purchase last week, knowing fully well that I might regret not buying the more beefier Surface 2 Pro. Lighter than the Pro, and only allowing apps to be installed from the windows store, the RT version of Surface just seemed limited. However, here is how I justified the Surface 2 RT over the Surface 2 Pro -
- Its lighter (680 gm)
- Longer Battery Life (around 10 hours)
- I already have a laptop for the beefier work.
- Cheaper (AU$ 527 for 32 GB version vs. AU $1016 for the Pro 2 64 GB). In addition, there was a discount on the tablet at the conference I was attending.
In addition, I could do the following easily -
- Connect to Azure Virtual Machines
- Use full version of Microsoft Office (actually almost full, as it doesn't support VBA, but that wasn’t important for me).
One week later, I am not regretting getting the Surface 2 at all. In fact, I have been pleasantly surprised multiple times. It started with the two freebies
- One year of Skype Unlimited World subscription : Living in Australia, and making a lot of calls to US, I always bought this anyway. I used to pay $45 every quarter for unlimited calls to US – so that was immediately a saving of $180 for me.
- 2 years of 200 GB free with SkyDrive : This means $200 of free storage for two years. After that I will have to either pay or download and dump it else where. I currently have a Dropbox subscription, but its $199.20 per year. Skydrive is almost half the cost, so there is a big chance I’ll probably just end up using Skydrive storage.
I almost missed these two – till Sharepoint MVP Sezai Komur pointed them out to me.
Multiple Windows Stacking -
I was meanwhile, already loving the ability to stack multiple windows side by side so easily. So I could have skype open for instant messages and read my email at the same time. If two windows were not enough – Scott Hanselman by changing the resolution, showed how you could stack 3 windows. Its 1080p, so this does work pretty well.
This was again extremely easy out of the box, and with the great support of running GP on Azure – I am really looking forward to this. Again Scott Hanselman has a great set of tips on making this experience optimal - Using a Surface 2 (RT/ARM) to get actual work done + Remote Desktop + Visual Studio + Azure.
This app was the reason I bought my first tablet a few years back. It’s been updated quite a few times and I think with the lightweight surface – I’ll be using this even more.
One of the big issues I had with the first version of the surface was the inability to keep it on my lap and work. Microsoft’s listened and added a Dual-position Kickstand. This really helps keep it stable when you can’t grab a table.
I think with the second refresh of the Surface, Microsoft really has a strong competitor to the iPads and the android tablets. The iOS app store still has a much greater selection of apps, but for a majority of my work which is in Microsoft Office, Surface is now my go-to device. The native Remote Desktop support helps as well. I’ll still be gifting my grandma an iPad, but for most working people – Surface is going to be my recommendation.
UPDATE : Leon Tribe also has a great review on the Surface 2 - Review: Surface 2 32G (Why I Am Shocked How Good It Is)