Microsoft Surface 2 – The New Old With A Vengeance?

Microsoft Surface 2

When Microsoft introduce the first Surface tablet in June last year, we recalled a lot of folks were actually pretty excited to find out what the biggest name in software could come up with. Microsoft was one of the few tech pioneers that brought us touch screen OS to our everyday devices back then i.e. Windows CE and Pocket PC, and it was good for a while until Apple came into the game with iOS and with the introduction of Apple’s iPad, it change the way people utilize mobile devices. At some point we were skeptical that tablets would eventually replace laptops. It didn’t really, but it did create a whole new ecosystem and now Microsoft decided they wanted a slice of that pie.

The Surface looks great at first when it came with a sleek keyboard, a feature we can really relate to but we quickly realize the OS (RT) that came with it is a stripped down variant of Windows 8 with limited software compatibility. That brings concerns – it wasn’t an entirely new mobile platform and whether it would all make sense since one could run a full-fledge Windows 8 OS on other similar devices. The other problem the Surface had was its maturity, and while its true there are quality apps in the Windows 8 app store it simply can’t match up to Apple’s App Store or Google Play huge community of users and developers. We couldn’t find someone that would give up their existing tablet for a Surface and clearly the main reasons were the hassle of losing the apps they already owned and also the bigger problem of not being able to find them in Windows 8 App store.

Microsoft Surface 2

So the question begging on everyone’s mind: What exactly is new on the Surface 2? On the hardware side, things aren’t looking very exciting. At almost the same weight as the iPad, a decent 1920 x 1080 resolution on the Surface 2 falls short of iPad’s retina display, a new Tegra 4 CPU and 32GB of storage. We should mention that one distinct feature and advantage of using Microsoft tablet is the ability to connect external USB peripherals but even for that Windows RT has its compatibility issues. In the Pro version you get the same display with a beefier Intel Core i5, 64GB of storage and a full fledge Windows 8.1 Pro. Nothing has changed drastically on the looks and feel and that’s great if already owned and love the form factor of the first Surface. Microsoft claims better battery performance of up to 9 hours and if you need that extra juice you can purchase their Power Cover which provides up to 20 hours of battery life.

The new tablets are currently available for pre-order at Microsoft USA store and we should be expecting them to land here in Singapore shortly. Starting at US$449.00 and US$899.99 for the Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro, the new tablets cost US$100 more than its predecessors. How will Microsoft justify and market the price hike is beyond our imagination. We tried to come up with reasons to embrace Microsoft’s tablet but with what they have offered at this point of time, we find it hard to come up with many. The only reason we could think of why you will ever want a Microsoft tablet is so you can use a Windows 8 laptop that looks like a tablet.

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