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A weekend with Microsoft’s Surface 2: Nice improvements, but not a giant leap

A tech reporter who has been utilizing Apple’s iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S, each working iOS 7, lately talked about to me that he typically mixes the 2 up till he appears to be like intently at them. The remark displays the truth that the iPhone 5S, whereas a good step up, is finally an incremental enchancment.

I felt that means at instances this weekend as my household tried out Microsoft’s Surface 2 (the successor to the corporate’s authentic Surface RT pill) set for launch this Tuesday Oct. 22, starting at $449. The Surface 2 we used this weekend was a loaned assessment unit, but my household has used our personal private Surface RT round the home for the previous yr, and we had been trying ahead to experiencing the progress Microsoft has made in that point in its try and catch up the iPad and Android tablets

prod_surf2c_PageWe observed the array of enhancements — together with higher battery life, a sharper display, a higher sound system, and a second kickstand angle that makes it rather more lifelike to make use of the gadget as a laptop computer when mixed with one in every of Microsoft’s new, stiffer keyboard covers.

The USB port on the Surface 2 has been upgraded from USB 2.0 to three.0. The Surface 2 comes with Windows RT 8.1 pre-installed. And the Surface 2 is noticeably zippier in contrast with the Surface RT, due to an upgraded Nvidia Tegra processor.

Sure, even that notoriously bad connection between the ability twine and the ability port on the pill has been incrementally improved with the assistance of stronger magnets, though it’s nonetheless removed from fully fastened and requires near-perfect positioning to make the ability connection snap in.

But total, for fundamental duties like net shopping and watching movies, it was powerful at instances to inform the Surface RT and Surface 2 aside when utilizing them in the lounge this weekend. The burden distinction is tiny, and also you don’t discover the battery life enchancment till you get to the outer vary of utilization time. Microsoft says the Surface 2 will ship as much as 10 hours of battery life, in comparison with 8 hours for the unique Surface RT.

prod_surface2_WebIt’s a good factor that Microsoft modified the colour of the Surface 2’s rear exterior to silver for informal customers to differentiate between them.

In fact, incremental updates are regular within the tech trade, as evidenced by the iPhone 5S instance, but ideally that might are available a lot later generations.

Particularly after the underwhelming reception for the Surface RT, which pressured the corporate to take a $900 million cost in opposition to earnings, it’s too dangerous Microsoft wasn’t in a position to make extra drastic adjustments this yr and launch a gadget with a extra affordable side ratio, for instance. The display dimensions of the Surface 2 are primarily the identical because the Surface RT, which suggests it’s nonetheless ridiculous to make use of in portrait mode.

And naturally, for individuals who have to run conventional Home windows apps, this ARM-based machine is not the pill you’re in search of. Take into account the Surface Professional 2, or a new 8-inch Home windows 8.1 machine, such as the Dell Venue 8 Pro, which makes use of conventional Intel-based PC processors and runs legacy apps.

Backside line, as my household considers our pill wants of the long run, it’s tough not to contemplate buying and selling in our authentic Surface RT and placing the cash towards a kind of new 8-inch Home windows 8.1 tablets, or no matter Nokia unveils this coming week … or, sure, perhaps an iPad mini — particularly if Apple drops the worth of the present mannequin subsequent week.

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