Review Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Tablet

Tobias Winkler (translated by A Kammel), 11/19/2013

Cautious evolution. Microsoft's second iteration of the Surface Pro aims at eradicating its predecessor's biggest flaws while at the same time staying true to its original concept. We have done some extensive testing to find out whether this powerful tablet PC with its high-resolution display does now indeed come closer to the idea of a perfect working device.

For the original German review, see here.

Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 comes with powerful Haswell-generation innards, full Windows 8.1 and thus compatibility with all software and hardware available for Windows. Technically, this is a tablet-shaped ultrabook which happens to ship without a real keyboard. Then again, a digitizer pen is included which makes for a great addition to the virtual keyboard and just using one's fingers.

The Surface Pro 2 has been on sale since October in a number of countries around the world. While some variants come with a somewhat later shipping date - there will be models with 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB and 512 GB, the latter two shipping with 8 GB of RAM instead of 4 GB - a Surface Pro 2 with an integrated WWAN module will not be available until (at least) next Spring. Every Surface Pro 2 ships with 200 GB of SkyDrive cloud storage for 2 years and unlimited Skype minutes for 1 year. In addition, the predecessor (Microsoft Surface Pro) is still available in the Microsoft Store for 699 Euros (~$945, 64 GB) and 799 Euros (~$1080, 128 GB) respectively.

Our test device is a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 with 128 GB of SSD storage, priced at 979 Euros (~$1324). It comes equipped with 4 GB of RAM, a Full HD IPS display, an Intel Core i5 CPU, a digitizer pen, two 720p webcams and Windows 8.1 Pro.

Case

How we test - Case

The VaporMg case has not changed a bit when compared to its predecessor. The weight, the dimensions, the materials - all has remained the same. The kickstand, however, now comes with a second, less steep position as well. As had been an issue with the first generation, the rather high weight of 915 grams becomes a problem when holding the device in tablet mode for prolonged periods of time. Even Sony's full-fledged Ultrabook Vaio Pro 11 ultrabook is lighter (when the keyboard is added to the Surface Pro 2, it actually weighs even more than the Sony Vaio Pro 13). Current high-end tablets such as the iPad Air, the Google Nexus 10 or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 play in another league, weight wise. However, the Surface Pro 2 is extremely well built, leaving nothing to be desired. Clearances are miniscule and even, the materials feel and look premium and all buttons have been included with a very high degree of precision.

A new, less steep kickstand position has been added ...
A new, less steep kickstand position has been added ...
...to the old one.
...to the old one.

Connectivity

How we test - Connectivity

A full-sized USB 3.0 port and a Mini DisplayPort are the highlights found around the sides of the Microsoft Surface Pro 2. Apart from these, the usual volume rocker, an audio jack, the power button, a micro SDXC card reader and a magnetic docking connector are included, the latter being capable of connecting to one of many optional (and pricy) accessories ranging from two different keyboards to a docking stations with a number of additional ports such as USB, Ethernet, audio, Mini DisplayPort and a power connector. The docking station will supposedly be available soon, costing 199 Euros (~$269). Nice: The power adapter of the Surface Pro 2 comes with an additional USB port for charging external devices such as a smartphone or a digicam.

Left: Combined Line In/Out port, volume rocker, USB 3.0
Left: Combined Line In/Out port, volume rocker, USB 3.0
Top: Power button, Kensington lock connector
Top: Power button, Kensington lock connector
Right: Mini DisplayPort, magnetic power connector plus pen holder, micro SDXC card reader
Right: Mini DisplayPort, magnetic power connector plus pen holder, micro SDXC card reader
Bottom: Docking connector
Bottom: Docking connector

Communication

The Surface Pro 2 actually ships with worse cameras than the Windows RT slate, the Surface 2. The image quality of its two 720p webcams may be enough for video calls, but it leaves quite a bit to be desired when it comes to actually taking some images. Also quite disappointing: Microsoft hasn't managed to equip the Surface Pro 2 with the most recent Wi-Fi 802.11 ac standard, opting for the much slower 802.11 n protocol instead. However, the Marvell module is capable of using both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz bands as well as supporting MIMO thanks to its two antennas. The connection quality is every bit as good as it was with its predecessor, neither suffering from signal strength issues nor from actual disconnections. The Surface also ships with Bluetooth 4.0, while an optional USB-to-Ethernet adapter can be had for around 40 Euros (~$54). A variant with a WWAN module appears to be in the works for 2014, but it has not been made official at the time of writing.

Maintenance

The case cannot be opened by the user. Both the battery and all other system components cannot be replaced, except by authorized service partners.

Warranty

Next to legal requirements, Microsoft offers two years of warranty. We have not, however, been able to find any warranty extension programs, neither at the Microsoft Store nor with any well-known resellers.

Input Devices

How we test - Input Devices

Multitouch display & Digitizer

The high-resolution allows users to increase the area of relative screen real estate by reducing the size of all icons and text. While this is a trick which no iPad is capable of performing, it may easily become too much, leading to decreasing input reliability when it becomes harder to actually touch the smallish icons within the traditional desktop UI.

This is where the digitizer pen comes in handy. Thanks to its great precision it becomes easy to activate even tiny icons or buttons, speeding up the workflow when using native scaling. But while next to no difference can be noticed between the tip of the pen and the virtual crosshairs when looking at the top of the screen, a gap of around 1 millimeter occurs next to its bottom border. Still, this shouldn't be too problematic, especially since all visual elements can be scaled to 125 or 150% of their native size. Most programs do support this adjustment, leading to decently sized UI elements, but the interpolation is not quite as sharp as it is on the iPad. The digitizer pen not only can be used to better navigate the system, but also to create handwritten notes, facilitate drawings or to handle some image editing tasks. The pen comes with a magnetic holder which attaches to the magnetic power connector. Other than that, the touchscreen is great in its own right, reacting precisely and quickly to all inputs, offering a smooth gliding experience and supporting the usual multitouch gestures such as zooming or rotating.

The digitizer pen only weighs a little ...
The digitizer pen only weighs a little ...
...is comfortable to hold ...
...is comfortable to hold ...
...works with great precision ...
...works with great precision ...
...and just feels like a very useful addition.
...and just feels like a very useful addition.

Virtual keyboard & Type/ Touch Cover 2

The virtual keyboard can be had in a number of different variants and positions. All of them come with a sensible keyboard layout and large enough keys - at least when used in landscape mode. Due to the Surface Pro 2's aspect ratio of 16:9, the keys are far smaller in portrait mode than on a 4:3 device, leading to a more cramped typing experience. Those who plan on using their Surface Pro 2 as an emergency ultrabook can attach both keyboards of the predecessor as well as the new Type Cover 2 (130 Euros, ~$175) and Touch Cover 2 (120 Euros, ~$162) keyboards via the magnetic docking port at the bottom of the tablet. Both revamped keyboard models now ship with integrated backlighting.

Surface Pro with Touch Cover
Surface Pro with Touch Cover
The keyboards of its predecessor can be used with the Surface Pro 2
The keyboards of its predecessor can be used with the Surface Pro 2
Portrait mode
Portrait mode
Landscape mode
Landscape mode

Display

How we test - Display

The Surface Pro 2 uses the exact same Samsung-made panel as the original Surface Pro. Accordingly, our measurements yield pretty much the same results (within our error margins). The Full HD IPS panel comes with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, creating a lot of screen real estate in its native scaling while sacrificing some usability. The size of all fonts, icons and buttons can be increased via the control panel to a scaling factor of 125% or 150%, losing some sharpness, but making everything more readable. Unfortunately, not all programs work well with such a scaling, becoming obvious when some off-sized fonts or windows appear.

Native scaling
Native scaling
125% scaling
125% scaling
150% scaling
150% scaling

The average maximum brightness of 357 cd/m² (which remains at the same level even when running on battery) as well as the brightness homogeneity of 91% are as great as ever, but the highly reflective glass surface still makes it a bit tough to use in direct sunlight (a problem it shares with almost every other touchscreen) - even such a high maximum brightness is not always enough to drown all major reflections.

356
cd/m²
363
cd/m²
354
cd/m²
354
cd/m²
375
cd/m²
367
cd/m²
340
cd/m²
351
cd/m²
360
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 375 cd/m²
Average: 357.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Center on Battery: 372 cd/m²
Black: 0.55 cd/m²
Contrast: 682:1

A contrast ratio of 700:1 is quite decent, leading to vivid colors and rather blackish blacks. However, the supported color space is still far away from covering all of the sRGB color space.

Outdoors
Outdoors
Outdoors
Outdoors
Outdoors
Outdoors
Surface Pro 2 vs. AdobeRGB
Surface Pro 2 vs. AdobeRGB
Surface Pro 2 vs. sRGB
Surface Pro 2 vs. sRGB

The display is already pretty well calibrated, offering average DeltaE2000 values of approx. 3.5 (mixed colors) and 5.3 (grayscale). Still, another calibration reveals the Microsoft Surface Pro 2's true potential, yielding optimal mixed colors and grayscale rendition. Only the basic colors and the color saturation are not quite there, especially for magenta and blue. This cannot be rectified due to the insufficient color space coverage.

Grayscale rendition
Grayscale rendition
Color accuracy
Color accuracy
Color saturation
Color saturation
ColorChecker
ColorChecker
Grayscale rendition (calibrated)
Grayscale rendition (calibrated)
Color accuracy (calibrated)
Color accuracy (calibrated)
Color saturation (calibrated)
Color saturation (calibrated)
ColorChecker (calibrated)
ColorChecker (calibrated)

Thanks to the use of IPS technology, the Surface Pro 2 offers great viewing angles, making it easy to discern all screen contents even from an unfavorable angle. No inversions or bleaching of colors (which are typical for TN displays) occur, with just a minor decrease in brightness and vividness of colors being noticeable.

Viewing angles Microsoft Surface Pro 2
Viewing angles Microsoft Surface Pro 2

Performance

How we test - Performance

The Surface Pro 2 offers pretty much the same specs in all of its variants, with the only differentiators being the size of the SSD and the amount of RAM included. All models ship with Intel's Core i5-4200U CPU and the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400 (GT2) GPU. The sizes of the SSDs range from 64 to 512 GB, with the two smaller-sized devices shipping with 4 GB of RAM and the two high-end models being equipped with 8 GB of RAM. The most recent version of Windows, Windows 8.1, comes preinstalled on all devices. Prices start at 879 Euros (~$1189), going up all the way to 1779 Euros (~$2407).

System information Microsoft Surface Pro 2

Processor

The main differentiator between the two generations of Surface Pro is the Haswell-generation CPU being used in the newer variant. Not only does it ship with a lower thermal design power of 15 watts (2 watts less than the 17 watts of its predecessor), it also sports a new chipset architecture. On paper one might expect a reduction in terms of performance, as Intel's Core i5-4200U is clocked at 1.6 to 2.6 GHz (the i5-3317U managed to yield 1.7 to 2.6 GHz). The benchmark results prove this expectation wrong: No matter whether one is looking at single-threading or multi-threading benchmarks, the new CPU always manages to take the lead, and noticeably so, yielding 5038 points in Cinebench R10 64-bit single (i5-3317U: 4544 points) and 10011 points in Cinebench R10 64-bit multi (i5-3317U: 7899 points). Depending on the benchmark being used, the newer generation surpasses its predecessor by 5 to 25%.

As had happened to its predecessor, the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 experiences some reduction in terms of clock speed after around 10 minutes of stress tests, down to 1.9 to 2.3 GHz. This is still far higher than its base clock speed, probably being one of the main reasons why the older CPU doesn't stand a chance.

No further reduction occurs while running on battery. Unsurprisingly, this also means that the Cinebench R10 results remain pretty much exactly the same.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
3782
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
7755
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6373
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
5038 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
10011 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
6728 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.14 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.51 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
22.38 fps
Help

System Performance

In terms of system performance, both the Haswell-based CPU and the faster SSD make quite the difference. Read speeds have been doubled according to some tests, and write speeds have even been tripled. This leads to much shorter loading times when opening programs, to quicker saving of large files and an overall increase in perceived system responsiveness. While these improvements in comparison to the Surface Pro 1 aren't visible in PCMark 7 (yielding 4808 points instead of 4813 points), the differences in Geekbench 2 are of the order of 15 to 20% (with 100% being reached during the streaming test). While we cannot find any true weaknesses, we actually expect the better-equipped models with 8 GB of RAM and a 256 / 512 GB SSD to yield even more astonishing results.

Geekbench 2 - 32 Bit
Total Score (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
5678 Points ∼46%
Microsoft Surface Pro
4753 Points ∼38% -16%
Apple iPad 4
1768 Points ∼14% -69%
Google Nexus 10
2591 Points ∼21% -54%
Integer (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
4917 Points ∼37%
Microsoft Surface Pro
4659 Points ∼35% -5%
Apple iPad 4
1330 Points ∼10% -73%
Google Nexus 10
1794 Points ∼14% -64%
Floating Point (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
5487 Points ∼33%
Microsoft Surface Pro
4926 Points ∼30% -10%
Apple iPad 4
2262 Points ∼14% -59%
Google Nexus 10
3916 Points ∼24% -29%
Memory (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
6496 Points ∼78%
Microsoft Surface Pro
5196 Points ∼63% -20%
Apple iPad 4
2053 Points ∼25% -68%
Google Nexus 10
2480 Points ∼30% -62%
Stream (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
7382 Points ∼81%
Microsoft Surface Pro
3594 Points ∼40% -51%
Apple iPad 4
1012 Points ∼11% -86%
Google Nexus 10
968 Points ∼11% -87%

Legend

 
Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
 
Microsoft Surface Pro Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Micron RealSSD C400 MTFDDAT064M
 
Apple iPad 4 Apple A6x, PowerVR SGX554MP4, 32 GB SSD
 
Google Nexus 10 Samsung Exynos 5250 Dual, ARM Mali-T604 MP4, 32 GB SSD
PC Mark
PCMark 74808 points
PCMark 8 Home3012 points
Help

Storage Solution

The 128 GB (gross) SSD made by Hynix (Hyundai) offers great performance levels, reaching sequential read speeds of more than 500 MB/s and sequential writing speeds of more than 300 MB/s. The access times are very short, and the various file copying tests (AS SSD) yield pretty fine results for a tablet (around 150 MB/s). While the internal storage cannot be expanded, a micro SDXC card can be inserted into the tablet. We measured a data transfer rate of 20.3 MB/s with a Transcend 32 GB micro SDHC card, but faster models are likely to offer better results.

Hynix HFS128G3MNM
Transfer Rate Minimum: 392.6 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 408.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 403.6 MB/s
Access Time: 0.1 ms
Burst Rate: 64.4 MB/s
CPU Usage: 2.5 %

Graphics Card

BasemarkCL
BasemarkCL

The integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400 packs a lot more punch than the Intel HD Graphics 4000, yielding 4194 points during the 3DMark Vantage benchmark instead of 2935 points and 6728 points during the OpenGL Shading test of Cinebench R10 64-bit (HD 4000: 5537 points). Still, even this kind of bonus performance is not enough to really make a difference in most actual usage scenarios, as it is still too weak for most demanding 3D applications (such as high-end 3D games in native resolution).

Luckily, OpenCL tasks - which might be a relevant application scenario for such a professional-use tablet - work rather well on the integrated GPU of the Surface Pro 2, leading to performance increases in Adobe Photoshop or Sony Vegas Pro where filtering processes can be outsourced to the GPU. Still, it remains to be seen whether this is a strength of the Intel HD Graphics 4400 or just a weakness of Nvidia's Quadro GPUs - we should find out more once the first benchmarks with AMD's FirePro GPUs arrive.

Like it was with the Surface Pro 1, the Surface Pro 2 loses a lot of GPU prowess when running on battery, leading to a decline of around 60%. During the Cinebench R10 OpenGL Shading test, for example, the resulting value went down to 2900 points.

3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
6253 points
3DMark Vantage4194 points
3DMark 11991 points
3DMark Ice Storm41415 points
3DMark Cloud Gate4514 points
3DMark Fire Strike648 points
Help

Gaming Performance

While the increase in GPU performance may indeed not be enough for modern games such as Tomb Raider, Metro Last Light or Battlefield 4, less demanding ones such as World of Warcraft, Diablo III or F1 2012 allow the Surface Pro 2 to shine a bit more, becoming somewhat gaming-friendly. Slightly higher settings are possible when compared to the Surface Pro 1, but again, only as long as the power adapter is connected. While running on battery, all frame rates drop considerably, sufficing only for World of Warcraft. Naturally, tablet-optimized casual games from the Microsoft Store such as Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja remain playable at all times.

low med.high ultra
World of Warcraft (2005) 1761282711fps
Diablo III (2012) 68433221fps
F1 2012 (2012) 53362816fps
F1 2012 - 1024x768 Ultra Low Preset (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
53 fps ∼29%
Microsoft Surface Pro
31 fps ∼17% -42%
Diablo III - 1024x768 Low / off (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
68 fps ∼20%
Microsoft Surface Pro
46 fps ∼13% -32%
World of Warcraft
800x600 low AA:0x AF:0x (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
176 fps ∼44%
Microsoft Surface Pro
117 fps ∼29% -34%
1024x768 med (sort by value)
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
128 fps ∼38%
Microsoft Surface Pro
62 fps ∼18% -52%

Legend

 
Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
 
Microsoft Surface Pro Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Micron RealSSD C400 MTFDDAT064M

Emissions

How we test - Emissions

System Noise

The Microsoft Surface Pro 2 is a very silent tablet PC, remaining completely inaudible or at least pretty quiet during less strenuous tasks. Even the 32.5 dB(A) which we measured under full load is a far cry from the sometimes disturbing 40.9 dB(A) of its direct predecessor, and a great achievement in its own right.

Noise Level

Idle 27 / 27 / 27 dB(A)
Load 32.5 / 32.5 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    PCE-322A (15 cm distance)

Temperature

The very low power consumption rate of just 3.1 to 7.2 watts - while the device is idle or handling simple tasks - leads only to a slight warming of the case, even though the fan remains mostly silent. Only in the lower third of the front have we measured somewhat more than 30 °C. Apart from that instance, all temperatures remained below 30 °C, leading to a lukewarm tablet at most, a far better result than anything its predecessor was capable of achieving.

Things look different under full load - the quiet operation of the fans now becomes a liability, leading to surface temperatures of up to 44.5 °C at the right hand side of the rear part of the device. Such a temperature can become uncomfortable when the Surface Pro 2 is used as a tablet, but at least it doesn't occur unless a continuous stress test is performed for more than one hour.

Max. Load
 40.9 °C41.7 °C36.7 °C 
 37.5 °C39.1 °C35.2 °C 
 36.9 °C38.3 °C36.1 °C 
Maximum: 41.7 °C
Average: 38 °C
43.3 °C36.5 °C35.1 °C
44.5 °C41.4 °C40.2 °C
35.3 °C34.1 °C38.1 °C
Maximum: 44.5 °C
Average: 38.7 °C
Power Supply (max.)  42.9 °C | Room Temperature 20 °C | Fennel Firt 550

Speakers

The audio output is approximately on par with most other tablets, meaning it should suffice for basic usage scenarios. Highs are dominant when compared to mids or bass, making them good enough for short video clips or some background music. But even cheap headphones offer much better audio quality. Generally speaking, external devices can be connected via Bluetooth, audio jack or USB.

Energy Management

How we test - Battery Life

Power Consumption

We have measured a power consumption of 3.1 to 43.5 watts. This maximum value can only be reached for a short amount of time since the maximum clock speed is automatically reduced after some time, leading to a subsequent reduction in terms of power consumption. A final plateau of approximately 32.7 watts is reached when put under full load for a long stretch of time. When compared to the Surface Pro, the Surface Pro 2 is a lot less power-hungry, resulting in greater battery runtimes (the battery size remains the same at 42 Wh).

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.1 / 0.2 Watt
Idle 3.1 / 6.3 / 7.2 Watt
Load 28.4 / 43.5 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

Battery Eater Classic Test
Battery Eater Classic Test

The Battery Eater Reader's Test (minimum display brightness, airplane mode, energy saving profile) leads to a battery runtime of a little more than 12 hours, more than 5 hours more than its predecessor. During our Wi-Fi test - with the display being set to 167 cd/m², which is 62% of its maximum average brightness and with all radio modems being activated - 6.5 hours is reached. Under full load, as simulated by the Battery Eater Classic Test (maximum display brightness, all radio modems activated, maximum performance profile) 1:42 hours remain, almost on par with the Surface Pro 1.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
12h 04min
WiFi Surfing
6h 27min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 42min

Verdict

Microsoft Surface Pro 2
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
Microsoft Surface Pro
Microsoft Surface Pro

Microsoft's tablet-shaped ultrabook remains an attractive alternative to the established device categories, finding its place somewhere in between. Its still-unique combination of full-fledged Windows 8.1, powerful hardware and a great digitizer pen might turn it into the perfect solution for many professional applications, while its rather heavy chassis, the expensive accessories and the high base price could still be deal-breakers for some.

However, the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 sports a great variety of ports, a more than decent high-resolution display, premium build quality and perfect compatibility with everything Windows.

The only truly major change when compared to its predecessor is the newer processor generation - but this comes down to a large number of improvements, ranging from increased performance levels (noticeably so) to much more commendable battery runtimes and considerably lower noise emissions. While the reduced power consumption rate helps in keeping the device cooler while idle, the overly reduced fan rotation speeds actually lead to an increase in surface temperatures under full load.

All in all, Microsoft has managed to implement the right kind of changes, making the Surface Pro 2 a more attractive package overall, albeit omitting any revolutions. Whether this will be enough to fend off the ever-growing competition remains to be seen: Both a number of ultrabooks such as the Sony's Vaio Pro 11 and Intel Atom based BayTrail tablets might become serious contestants.

Comment this article:

In Review: Microsoft Surface Pro 2: Test device provided by a private lender
In Review: Microsoft Surface Pro 2: Test device provided by a private lender

Specifications

Microsoft Surface Pro 2

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel Lynx Point-LP
:: Memory
4096 MB, DDR3 Dual-Channel
:: Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 4400, Core: 1000 MHz, shared memory, igdumdim64 10.18.10.3262 Win8 64
:: Display
10.6 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, Multitouch + Digitizer, Samsung 106HL01-001, SEC3242, IPS LED, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
Hynix HFS128G3MNM, 128 GB
:: Soundcard
Intel Lynx Point-LP - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
1 USB 3.0, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: combined Line In/Out, Card Reader: micro SDXC card reader, Sensors: Ambient brightness sensor, acceleration sensor, gyroscope, magnetometer,
:: Networking
Marvell AVASTAR 350N Wireless Network Controller (a b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 14 x 275 x 173
:: Weight
0.915 kg Power Supply: 0.25 kg
:: Battery
42 Wh Lithium-Ion
:: Price
980 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 2x 720p, Keyboard Light: no, 200 GB of SkyDrive storage (for 2 years) and unlimited minutes for Skype (VOIP, for 1 year), 24 Months Warranty, 1 x USB 2.0 with charging functionality within the power adapter, TPM

 

In terms of appearance, not much has changed between the two Surface Pro generations.
In terms of appearance, not much has changed between the two Surface Pro generations.
The chassis looks the same and it comes with the same (external) specs as that of its predecessor ...
The chassis looks the same and it comes with the same (external) specs as that of its predecessor ...
...ranging from the display panel (made by Samsung) ...
...ranging from the display panel (made by Samsung) ...
...to the variety of ports.
...to the variety of ports.
The digitizer is not only a great unique selling point, but also works very well ...
The digitizer is not only a great unique selling point, but also works very well ...
...leading to a number of additional usage scenarios ...
...leading to a number of additional usage scenarios ...
...ranging from handwritten notes and drawings to an overall improvement when handling the desktop UI.
...ranging from handwritten notes and drawings to an overall improvement when handling the desktop UI.
The docking port can be used to connect either one of the external keyboards or a docking station with additional ports.
The docking port can be used to connect either one of the external keyboards or a docking station with additional ports.
The connector is magnetic, as is the power connector.
The connector is magnetic, as is the power connector.
External displays can be connected via Mini DisplayPort.
External displays can be connected via Mini DisplayPort.
A micro SDXC card slot can be used to transfer files or to expand the internal storage.
A micro SDXC card slot can be used to transfer files or to expand the internal storage.
Both cameras are rather disappointing, offering a resolution of just 720p as well as mediocre image quality.
Both cameras are rather disappointing, offering a resolution of just 720p as well as mediocre image quality.
The Windows button serves as a shortcut back to the Modern UI.
The Windows button serves as a shortcut back to the Modern UI.
Line In and Line Out are combined into a single 3.5 mm audio jack.
Line In and Line Out are combined into a single 3.5 mm audio jack.
External storage devices can be connected via one USB 3.0 port.
External storage devices can be connected via one USB 3.0 port.
The power button can also be used to just deactivate the display.
The power button can also be used to just deactivate the display.
Slim fan vents allow for active cooling to take place ...
Slim fan vents allow for active cooling to take place ...
...but they also make the Surface 2 Pro much thicker than its Windows RT-based counterpart, the Surface 2.
...but they also make the Surface 2 Pro much thicker than its Windows RT-based counterpart, the Surface 2.
14 mm thick, more than 900 grams in weight: Quite a lot for a tablet.
14 mm thick, more than 900 grams in weight: Quite a lot for a tablet.
The rear sports the same webcam as the front.
The rear sports the same webcam as the front.
The Surface 2 Pro is noticeably cooler than its predecessor under medium loads or while idle.
The Surface 2 Pro is noticeably cooler than its predecessor under medium loads or while idle.
It is still a lot less noisy under full load than the Surface Pro 1, but it heats up a bit more.
It is still a lot less noisy under full load than the Surface Pro 1, but it heats up a bit more.
The kickstand now offers two stable positions.
The kickstand now offers two stable positions.
The hinges feel very sturdy.
The hinges feel very sturdy.
While it may be expected that a tablet won't sport an integrated DVB-T receiver, there are also no WWAN-based variants (yet).
While it may be expected that a tablet won't sport an integrated DVB-T receiver, there are also no WWAN-based variants (yet).
Our external 2.5-inch hard drive could be used without any external power supply.
Our external 2.5-inch hard drive could be used without any external power supply.

Similar Devices

Devices with the same GPU

» Acer Extensa 2510-34Z4 Notebook Review
Core i3 4030U, 15.6", 2.5 kg
» Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 2 15 Notebook Review
Core i5 4210U, 15.6", 2.608 kg
» Acer Aspire V3-371-36M2 Notebook Review
Core i3 4030U, 13.3", 1.5 kg
» Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme Notebook Review
Core i5 4300U, 14.0", 3.69 kg

Links

Price Check

Pro

+Battery Life
+Sheer Performance
+Versatility
+True digitizer pen
+Display
+Noise emissions
+Build quality
+Integrated kickstand
+Magnetic power connector
+Power adapter with integrated USB charging functionality
 

Cons

-Weight
-Camera resolution
-Heat emissions (under full load)
-Price
-Expensive accessories
-Somewhat reduced display sharpness when scaled up

Shortcut

What we like

The battery life, the noise emissions, the performance - all these have been improved considerably when compared to its predecessor.

What we'd like to see

A lower weight, a more attractive price point and better availability.

What surprises us

That exchanging just one component for a newer one can lead to so many improvements.

The competition

Direct competition is nowhere to be found at the time of writing. The other contestants are either not powerful enough, lack the digitizer functionality of the Surface Pro 2, ship without full Windows 8.1 or offer a different form factor. Still, competitors can be found among ultrabooks (e.g. the Sony Vaio Pro 11), convertibles (e.g. the HP EliteBook Revolve 810) or tablets (e.g. the Dell Latitude 10), depending on the preferred usage scenario.

Rating

Microsoft Surface Pro 2
03/24/2014 v4
Tobias Winkler

Chassis
91%
Keyboard
62 / 80 → 78%
Pointing Device
89%
Connectivity
55 / 70 → 79%
Weight
76 / 88 → 75%
Battery
86%
Display
82%
Games Performance
67 / 80 → 84%
Application Performance
81 / 70 → 100%
Temperature
80%
Noise
98%
Audio
40 / 91 → 44%
Camera
38 / 85 → 45%
Average
73%
82%
Tablet *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Tablet
Author: Tobias Winkler, 2013-11-19 (Update: 2013-11-20)