Yesterday Microsoft unveiled the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2, two new tablets the company hopes to help boost the adoption of Windows 8 along with kicking its device and services mantra into full gear. Looking at what Microsoft brought to the table, we have to say that we’re both disappointed and excited at the same time. So let’s take a look.
Okay, first up we have the Surface 2. This is the newer version of the failed Surface RT tablet that cost Microsoft a mighty $900 million. Evidently, the company learned from some its previous mistakes by making the Surface 2 faster, along with adjusting the kickstand to rest comfortably in the lap. Too bad they still want an arm and a leg for it.
When it comes down to the specs, the Surface 2 packs a Tegra 4 ARM processor from NVIDIA and a 10.1-inch 1080p display. Moreover, Microsoft promises a cool 10 hours of battery life, which is pretty much standard for ARM based tablets. What’s the price? Well, you’ll be required to fork out $449 for the privilege of owning the Surface 2. While the price is more than a bit steep for what is an Android and iOS challenger, do bear in mind that you’re also getting 200GB SkyDrive storage for a year and free Skype calls.
Now, let’s touch on the Surface Pro 2. (See what I did there?)
Microsoft has done a great job in improving the Surface Pro 2. Honestly, it probably wasn’t that difficult because the original Surface Pro had lots of room for improvement. The main problem with the original Surface Pro was battery life, and Microsoft fixed that by introducing an Intel i5 Haswell processor to the Surface Pro 2. Instead of 4 hours of battery life, you’ll get a whopping 75 percent more now, which is around 7 hours after doing the mathematics. Of course, this is still short of leading iOS and Android tablets but keep in mind you are getting the full Windows experience wit the Surface Pro 2 — it comes with Windows 8 (8.1) Pro, not Windows RT. So, in perspective, how many Windows laptops do you know that get 7 hours of battery life? Yeah, not many.
Apart from the Intel Haswell core i5 processor, the Surface Pro 2 will come packed with 4 to 8GB of RAM, and 64GB to 512GB of SSD storage; screen size for the Surface 2 10.1-inches with support for 1080p; and Microsoft claims a 46 percent improvement in color accuracy. Prices start from $899 for the Surface Pro 2, so, depending on who you are, you might just have to save up.
Both Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 have optional attachable keyboards you can purchase separately, just like the original Surfaces.
After analyzing the whole thing, we have to say Microsoft came out gunning… and will probably flop again. $449 for a Windows RT tablet? Really? At less than that price you can get an awesome Android tablet, and Android is more widely adopted — and just has more apps — than Windows RT. $899 for 64GB Surface Pro 2? Seriously, Microsoft? When was the last time anyone used a Windows computer with 64GB? Surface Pro 2 provides you the full Windows experience, true, but unless you shell out for the more expensive models, you won’t have any space to put that experience. And don’t tell me the cloud.
On top of that, why in the world is Microsoft still charging people for the attachable keyboards? Microsoft, you are forgetting that you are the latecomer to this tablet game. You need to offer people some incentives to adopt your platform and products. Nickel-and-diming people isn’t going to help your cause. If Microsoft sold Surface 2 with attachable keyboard around $350, it would be a really attractive device. If Microsoft sold Surface Pro 2 with attachable keyboard for around $700, it would be a killer. However, Microsoft prefers profit margins over common sense. You would think they learned after having to write off $900 million worth of Surface RT tablets.
In any case, pre-orders begin tomorrow. Keep that in mind if you plan on drinking Microsoft’s kool-aid.