The Microsoft Surface Pro 2 was sold on the same day as Apple's new iPad Air and Mini 2 launch event and it was quite overlooked that it's packed with more power than any tablet and may even be matched against ultrabooks.
Microsoft continues its endeavor to fill as much power as it can into a portable gadget, thanks to upgrades such as inclusion of Intel Haswell processor, improved display, deeper cloud integration and more SSD storage choices.
This year's update is about incremental improvements. There are no major hardware redesigns and most of the upgrades are under the hood such as more configuration options, a Haswell processor, an enhanced display and a smart kickstand that engages in two stages for a more reclined monitor angle when used on a low surface or lap.
Can the Surface Pro 2 replace an iPad or Android tablet and a PC or Mac notebook for work?
It is a significant improvement that the Surface Pro 2 has Intel's fourth gen processor. It is equipped with a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor clocked in at 1.6 GHz and Intel HD 4400 graphics. It is a speedy and thin machine that has the Haswell processor, allowing it to go untethered from a power perspective for up to 6 to 8 hours at a time. The original Surface Pro lasted for only 3 hours on a single charge. This provides all day productivity that allows professionals to lug the device in between meeting without having to recharge. Another battery saver is the fan tuned not to frequently turn on. It only turns on when the processor or intense programs are running. Though it gets warm, it doesn't get uncomfortably hot.
The Surface Pro 2 is fast and can handle many tasks but can't really run intense graphic multiplayer games. It can handle video editing on Adobe Premiere Elements, several Photoshop corrections, and Microsoft Office but more concentrated applications activated the fan. It doesn't come with Microsoft Office so that's an additional fee for a license. It runs on Windows 8.1 Pro and with Intel's processor so it has access to legacy programs designed for Windows 7 and earlier.
The Surface Pro 2 has an improved 1080p full HD display. It is ClearType-enabled and gives beautiful and vivid viewing angles and better color accuracy. Wacom pens work well with this device as it allows over 1,000 levels of pressure sensitivity and accurate drawing control with no perceptible delays or lags. The thick bezels give users an area to grip the tablet but in laptop mode, it looks quite out of place.
It comes with front and rear cameras and covers with physical tactile keys that offer an accurate typing experience. With a powerful processor and storage options, it is more than a tablet for reading e-books and streaming Netflix, it is a full-fledged PC. Windows 8.1 is very compatible with this device. A downside though is it doesn't support the faster 802.11ac WiFi protocol for faster data speeds. It is still fast unless you have a super fast modem and an 802.11ac router or base station. Another one is you cannot upgrade the SSD and can only increase storage with a USB drive, micro SDXC card or rely on the cloud.
The Surface Pro 2 still has room for improvement such as mobile broadband or 4G LTE support, better resolution like the iPad mini Retina Display or Galaxy Note's 10.1 2014 Edition.