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  • sri_tech - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    What Google services you think are better than Microsoft services? I don't understand the fascination towards these chromebooks.

    1. Google docs are wannabe MS Office which does not have the most of the functionality and not compatible with many peripherals.

    2. Outlook.com is very good email client and in addition Outlook for work related things.
    Can't you access the gmail from browser? If you need app for everything what is the point of all the browser tests that you guys do in every review.
    You can pin the gmail.com to the start screen and with just a tap, you will be in gmail. That is how everyone using them on laptops right?

    3. Skydrive is very good and has all the features and more cross platform than Google drive.

    4. Skype is integrated into the OS which is more widely used than any Google equivalent.

    5. Can you use chromebooks as tablets? Does chromebooks have touchscreens?

    6. All the bing apps like news, finance, travel, weather are not useful?

    I expect better from you guys.
    Reply
  • noeldillabough - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    I have a huge problem with skydrive; although this might not apply to these tablets, but if you want to use it you must log in with your Microsoft account. If you're on a domain and login with your domain credentials and click on skydrive in 8.1, it prompts you to switch to a connected account.

    Unfortunately this renders Skydrive completely useless. I'd be fine if I could add my Microsoft account in and still log in with the domain account but you can't anymore. Maybe an oversight.
    Reply
  • sri_tech - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    A Microsoft service needs Microsoft account. So does all other services from all companies.

    I don't understand your second point.
    Reply
  • noeldillabough - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    The issue is in windows 8 you could enter your Microsoft account information for SkyDrive without having to switch your login account to a connected account. Now its forced and if you have a corporate device logging in with your Microsoft account won't be allowed. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Yep. Microsoft has ironically killed support for Skydrive on Windows 8.1. Reply
  • dustwalker13 - Friday, November 22, 2013 - link

    yes it is a bit annoying that you can not change the account, since it has been integrated so deeply with the system now. but actually i do not mind all that much. what it means in the end is that my own devices are synced with my account, and should i need data from another account i can:

    1. share them and access them this way
    2. login to the other account via the browser

    so actually that is a nonexistant problem once you think about it and a logical solution for microsoft as they save all the important settings on skydrive for your devices and thererfor of course want you to be connected to your account at least on that level.
    Reply
  • althaz - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    His issue (mine as well) is that when you are at work, your domain account should automatically count as a Microsoft account. I don't want to login with my home MS account to do work stuff, that would a) jumble my shit together and b) not make sense. Currently I get around it by having a second microsoft account, but that's a super-long way away from ideal. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    If you're on a domain it means business and the business should ALSO provide you with the Outlook.com account. At no point should you realistically be using YOUR OWN personal account on the business machine. Reply
  • cjb110 - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Yea, at most you should be able to share (given your security guys allows you) your business data with external untrusted accounts (which your personal one is). Reply
  • FredyHandanovic - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    My Uncle Andrew just got a nearly new red Mazda MAZDA6 Sedan by work part-time using a lap-top. look at here now http://goo.gl/dXg26D Reply
  • purerice - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Now that you put it that way, you're right. Workers need to separate their private lives and their work lives. That would not only improve their performance at work but also their performance at home. Reply
  • Mopar63 - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    I am not sure what issue you are having. I log into Skydrive software just fine and do not have to keep logging in, the same applies to my other services through Explorer. The issue you seem to be facing is one of setup. If the domain account is not set for internet access then you can use your MS web based account just fine unless your domain is designed to block it. This is not a limitation of Windows but of domain setup. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Windows 8 allowed you to log in to Skydrive, and it was even integrated in Explorer. Windows 8.1 doesn't. Skydrive is unusable. The only way to use it would be to use a Microsoft account on your local machine, instead of your own account, which of course isn't something anyone should do. Reply
  • RannXeroxx - Sunday, November 24, 2013 - link

    A domain has not connection with Microsoft unless you connect the two via federated services such as Office 365. Also SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro as separate things as the Pro version is for corporate usage. You system administrator can disable the ability for you to connect your company own device to the consumer version of SkyDrive while linking your computer to the corporate version. Also in the corporate world, AD identity management is handled with another backend system.

    It just sounds like your company simply has no policies or processes to manage Windows 8(.1) devices in their environment which is not surprising since most have not even fully integrated Windows 7 with all of its corporate connectivity into their environment and treat it like its XP.
    Reply
  • Theard - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Ethan. I can see what your saying... Joe`s c0mment is unimaginable... last monday I got a great new Saab 99 Turbo sincee geting a check for $7753 this-last/month and-just over, 10/k last munth. without a doubt its the most rewarding I have ever done. I started this three months/ago and pretty much immediately was bringing in at least $74, per hour. Learn More ... j­­o­bs­2­3.c­o­m Reply
  • OoklaTheMok - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    You do not have to switch to logging into the computer using a Microsoft Account, that would be ridiculous. You can do one of the following, you can connect a Microsoft Account to your local login or if you don't want to connect a Microsoft Account, you can use a Microsoft Account only with SkyDrive. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    No, you can't do either of those things. The wording SOUNDS like it's going to let you associate a Microsoft account with your Windows account, but at the last minute wants to switch you over.

    And you USED to be able to log in independently in Windows 8, but that's now gone in 8.1. They broke Skydrive support with 8.1
    Reply
  • Braumin - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    You don't have to switch you can connect your domain account to your MS account in the settings page. Reply
  • noeldillabough - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    I haven't figured out how to do that yet; in Windows 8 you simply clicked on skydrive and entered your account info and it worked. In 8.1 it only has the "switch" option. Which settings page? I must have missed it. Reply
  • noeldillabough - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Just checked on the "Account" part of the Win8.1 settings, and it only has "Connect to a Microsoft Account" available. I tried it to see if it would keep the local account settings but no I actually have to log in to the computer using the Microsoft account. This of course won't fly in the corporate world so I put it back (that was painful too since the Microsoft account and the domain account had the same name) Reply
  • Braumin - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-CA/windows-8/conne...

    Does that not still work? It worked in 8 I haven't tried in 8.1 but not sure why they would remove it.
    Reply
  • Memristor - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Of course it works. I have set up several Win8.1 systems and it works the same, actually much better integrated now. My only problem is that you can't see what skydrive is doing in the background. In 8.0 you had a status message that showed the progress of file sync, in 8.1 is only a visual marker in folder view that shows a file sync is in process, but not how much is completed. Reply
  • noeldillabough - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    So I gave it a try from home, logged in as local account and sure enough it says this: "You're almost done. Your existing account will now be changed to a Microsoft account. All of your files on this PC will remain in place.

    Gonna cancel and create another account and "convert" it and see what happens.
    Reply
  • mooshuc - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    appears that you can see sync status by launching the skydrive modern app. Reply
  • althaz - Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - link

    I just agreed with you on this...but I just realised no matter what cloud storage solution you use you need to login to an external service. Reply
  • skiboysteve - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Agreed. Why buy a MS product and then talk about google service integration? That's like buying a nexus and expecting to log in with your Microsoft account. It makes no sense.

    just use the MS services when you use an MS device. You will find them in many ways second to none.
    Reply
  • Ancillas - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    That's like saying I shouldn't use Google services over iCloud if I own an iOS device. I don't like tying my data to my hardware because it limits my ability to change platforms. Hardware that limits my ability to interact with third-party cloud providers is a deal-breaker. Reply
  • Silellak - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Exactly. I use Google's services because it's the best cross-platform choice for my daily use cases. I don't intend to change ecosystems just so I can use a single device better. Reply
  • Braumin - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    It's a fair point, but cross-platform and Google are not the same thing. Google is the one that refuses to make any apps for Windows 8 or Windows Phone.

    Arguably Microsoft now how the most cross platform cloud services now.

    But if you are going to use the Surface and review it, really it should be with all of the MS Services so you can get the full experience. The new SkyDrive integration is really quite excellent and seamless, and it's nice how everything will sync across devices like your background, installed apps, layout, etc.
    Reply
  • paulbram - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    But is Google's ecosystem really the best cross-platform choice? The way I see it is everything that MS has is available on Windows/iOS/Android. EAS just works everywhere. SkyDrive is everywhere. There are Outlook apps as well if you don't want to use the built in stuff. Sure, the full Office is only on Windows but Office web access is available everywhere and that is in my opinion as good if not better than Google Docs. Reply
  • Silellak - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    "But is Google's ecosystem really the best cross-platform choice? The way I see it is everything that MS has is available on Windows/iOS/Android."

    Everything except their browser, which is the thing I used the most every day on OSX, Windows 7, and Ubuntu. Kind of a gaping hole for me.
    Reply
  • Klimax - Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - link

    Talk to Google, because IIRC browsers are exempt from certain restrictions on API. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Skydrive no longer works with Windows, so I wouldn't say it works everywhere. Reply
  • Check101 - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Only reason I take Google Drive over SkyDrive is being able to work with group members on a document simultaneously and have a chatbox and edit in real time. SkyDrive's collaboration and sharing options are much fewer. Otherwise, I just use Gmail and Google Calendar, and even those aren't that good. :P Reply
  • A5 - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Because MS sells the group stuff as Sharepoint, which is part of Office. Reply
  • RannXeroxx - Sunday, November 24, 2013 - link

    You can live edit with Office Web App and it even allows users of full Office to join in the editing. Just login to a SkyDrive account and have at it. And using your Outlook.com account you can message via skype, facebook, or MS messager. Reply
  • trane - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Completely agreed. I was a Google user myself, but after switching to Microsoft, their ecosystem for the basic stuff is simply far suprior. Office, Outlook, Skype, Skydrive, Bing apps, Xbox Music simply fulfill my needs far better than anything from Google or Apple.

    The only thing that Google does better is Maps - and that has apps like Gmaps, and of course, Google Maps website works fine in IE11. If you are a Gmail user, the Windows 8.1 Mail app is pretty good too, but of course, works best with an Outlook account. And arguably, photos with Google+, but who uses Google+ anyway?
    Reply
  • EnzoFX - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Interesting. I've found every service I use of theirs is subpar. Reply
  • Papaspud - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    You will find what you seek........... Reply
  • RannXeroxx - Friday, November 29, 2013 - link

    In what way is either Outlook.com or MS Office Web Apps "sub-par" to Gmail or Google Docs? I do love me some Google Voice, that service just rules but not sure how much longer Google will offer that for free. Reply
  • Da W - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    1- I use both MS and Google services on my surface (pro) and android phone (and dropbox). I do prefer MS bundle overall. I find also that its a generation thing, most aged 30-40Y tend to prefer MS while the younger generation tend to hate MS (and choose Google).

    2- Every google services, facebook, twiter, most "apps" are accessible in their internet version via ie11 and pinable on the start screen. In fact i think the lack of apps on the Windows store is a non-issue. On my android phone, i use mostly apps and almost never use the chrome browser. On my surface it's the opposite, i use almost no apps and do everything i need in the browser. (working in the browser is also the point of google chrome, so it's not a bas thing).
    I think the # of app issue is overrated.

    3- Agreed you can put Windows RT in the same class as google chrome, functionnality wise. That is: a limited OS that can't do what other mature OSes can.
    Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    It is kind of Microsoft's version of a Chromebook, BUT it still does more. It still has local programs (even if you can only get them through the store). It still has much more of a real file system and has printer (and I think even scanner now?) support, etc. Reply
  • RannXeroxx - Friday, November 29, 2013 - link

    Actually I think you have it wrong. Its people in their late 20s or mid 30s that seem to hate MS but younger people, just like they don't connect to the cold war or the fear of the USSR, they don't connect with the Microsoft Monopoly of the 90's and think of MS as XBox and WP8. Reply
  • prophet001 - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Good post sri_tech. Reply
  • hoboville - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Sorry, but that's an apples and oranges comparison. Chrome vs. Windows isn't the issue. It's Windows RT vs. Windows x86. With RT you get a gimped version of Windows that relies on the M$ Store for apps if you go with RT. If you go with Pro, you pay out the face for a device that is simply a super light, small touch-screened laptop. The great thing about Windows was that it could run a bajillion different x86 programs...not with RT though.

    Ok, so I'll pay $800 for a Pro? For $700, you can get a Haswell laptop with full x86 features (not gimped ARM derpness) on the Windows platform. You'll get the same battery life, a bigger screen, more storage space, the ability to upgrade, and more RAM. Don't forget the fact it has a real keyboard.

    As Anand said: "When we first posted about ASUS’ T100, common feedback was that users would be willing to pay more for an even better device. A Bay Trail Surface 2 could’ve been that device." That's exactly my point, the RT could have waited 3-4 months ditched Tegra and gone to Bay Trail, which is extremely efficient, more powerful, and is x86. For $500 a full x86 tablet with Windows 8 would be a bombshell. It would have most of the features of a laptop while being a tablet. However, M$ is more concerned about roping people in to the M$ Store where they can cash out on apps BECAUSE the RT is a closed platform. They want you to get RT because it means they can milk you for most cash. If you want x86 they will charge you out the wazoo because they know once there, you can use any program you want.
    Reply
  • trip1ex - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    I don't think people want Windows x86 tablets. I think people want to ditch Windows. :) Reply
  • kyuu - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    You're confusing "people" with "you".

    Why should I (or people) want to ditch Windows? What does iOS or Android offer that Windows doesn't? As far as I can tell it's nothing but a regression in features either way. OSX? I've used it and had the option for years. Still not interested. Linux? I can see the appeal, but again, I've used it and had the option for years. Nothing has changed that makes it more appealing than Windows for me or your average user.

    ChromeOS? Don't make me laugh.

    You want to avoid the malware situation that ignorant users get into on their Windows machines? Windows RT works for that. People who need more out of their OS than WinRT gives them should know enough to avoid malware in the first place.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Friday, October 25, 2013 - link

    He didn't say google apps were better, he said it depends on which apps you prefer. Reply
  • theduckofdeath - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Chrome OS does support touch screens. The Pixel has a touch ditto.
    And just because Microsoft has services, it is not unanimous with them being of equal quality. Personally, I find Google Docs to be more accessible despite the obvious lack of many features. There's no point in having an advanced online Office service, if it's not as simple to use.
    Reply
  • thebeastie - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Looks pretty decent, I would feel good about recommending this to my clueless relatives who click and install every single web ad that pops up saying its going to "Improve system performance by %300" and installs garbage and maybe even something that attempts to rob them blind.

    With RT OS I feel assured that won't happen and they can sit and doodle in Office all day and be safe.
    Reply
  • Braumin - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    I'd say this is almost the perfect device then. The app situation is not as good as iOS obviously, but most people want email, facebook, twitter, and a browser. Maybe a couple others. This will do all of that well without any of the virus worries, and it'll do other stuff really well too. Reply
  • paulbram - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    EXACTLY! It seems like everyone who reviews these types of devices assumes it was built for the techiest of techies. In reality, this is the "PC" that could probably serve 99% of the people out there. You can't mess it up, and really offers you exactly what you are already doing on your old PC. This is an argument that no other ecosystem can offer, including full Win8/IOS or Android. RT is not a weakness people! It's exactly what I want to give to every one of my relatives! Reply
  • savagemike - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Actually I'm pretty sure you could do those things with an iPad quite easily and also have not much to worry about in the way of virus issues or maintenance.
    You could also do all of it with a Chromebook if you aren't actually looking for a tablet interface and just want to do e-mail, facebook, twitter, and browser. And again - have few worries about virus issues or maintenance.
    Reply
  • eanazag - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    You can't do real Office on Chromebook or iOS. I am not a fan of google docs. iOS still sucks when it comes to Office. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    Yep, can't do real office, no file system on iOS, and iOS doesn't support external monitors and mice (and only kinda-sorta supports key boards). Reply
  • Daniel Egger - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    No, not being able to install any regular software is a huge problem for 99% of mankind. In essence Windows RT reduces the capabilities of the device to Office and Web and media consumption. Android and IOS do not suffer from the same problem because they both have a decent store where good applications can be found for a decent price while the Windows store really is a buzzkill. Reply
  • ESC2000 - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    For one thing the app selection is drastically improved now compared to a year ago but also web and media consumption are the primary uses of tablets so I'm not so sure being limited to that is so terrible, especially considering the advantages that surface 2 brings: it can actually replace the laptop and tablet of a casual user since it offers the desktop and office (fir free no less). The apps, 99.99% of which are probably downloaded by less than 10 people, will come. If you're a specialty user or a power user, surface 2 is not for you but the vast majority of people are not, and this is a cheap (rather than buying a laptop) aesthetically-pleasing device that can serve all their needs.

    Now that I'm thinking about it the price on this thing is pretty good. .. you can get it for less than an ipad which has very limited functionality in comparison (basically = large ipod touch). Granted you probably want the 64 GB - although it accommodates external storage - and the keyboard, which makes it less reasonable.
    Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    iOS and Android are still terrible compared with real Windows, and no amount of "apps" replaces Office and a real file system and the ability to use an external mouse, keyboard, and monitor. Reply
  • Daniel Egger - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    I feel you. My grandpa grandpa manages to install that crap faster than you can say "don't do that!" over and over again... Not even the usual anti-crapware software helps. However Win RT is not a cure since it doesn't allow him to install his MUST HAVE 1000+ best card games... and since the store is *really* slim on cardgames. Reply
  • kyuu - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    What the heck kind of esoteric card games is he playing that you can't find an app on the Windows Store? Reply
  • Daniel Egger - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Have you actually looked around in the Store? Half a dozen Solitaire clones and a few Poker games but that's about it. He prefers playing more exotic Solitaire versions, Skat, Schafkopf, Doppelkopf, Bridge -- in a nutshell anything that's not Klondike or Poker and you wouldn't believe how many CDs and DVDs with Windows games he has that actually contain hundreds to thousands *unique* card games. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    I'm SERIOUSLY considering buying Surface 2 for exactly this reason, BUT I'm still paranoid she's going to be able to break it, install malware from the Windows store or SOMETHING... Reply
  • chizow - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Really wish there was a Bay Trail-T in this Surface 2 chassis, I'd pay $500 for that in a heartbeat for the full x86 Win8.1 support. I still feel Surface Pro 2 is too expensive for what it is, but Windows RT just isn't flexible enough with app support to drop to the ARM-based Surface 2.

    Instead I'll probably look at the Asus Transformer T100 instead.
    Reply
  • Braumin - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    On the last go around, I would have agreed with you. The Surface RT should have come with Clovertrail - it was faster than Tegra 3, and the app store was pretty much empty on day 1.

    Now though, I have an use a Surface RT (just upgraded to 8.1) and honestly I don't think x86 is really needed in this kind of device. The desktop is not great with touch, nor with something this small. The app store is way better than it was now. The graphics performance of Tegra 4 is way better than Bay Trail too. CPU performance is still lower of course.

    Also, this go around there seems to be some excellent choices on the OEM side which are all using Bay Trail, so if a guy wants x86, there's plenty of choice! The Dell Venue Pro 11 looks excellent, and I'm interested in seeing how the 8" tablets do. The price is certainly right from both Dell and Lenovo. Last year, the OEMs didn't know what to make so everything they made did flips and twists, and no one really made a good tablet.
    Reply
  • stanwood - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Braumin, you touch on exactly the issue I'm facing in choosing an inexpensive tablet for my mother. Like most people, she is not shopping cross-platform. It's going to run Windows. But should it be a Surface 2 with Tegra 4 or maybe a Venue Pro 11 with Bay Trail? While I appreciate the performance comparison with ARM tablets here I hope we see a Bay Trail table review with comparisons to Surface 2. Reply
  • Braumin - Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - link

    It's a tough call I would wait and see what the Venue Pro 11 looks like. The RT side though is perfect for people who don't need to run x86 apps. It's going to get no viruses, it won't get bloated over time. They won't be able to install junk in the browser or system tray that slows the machine down and kills the battery.

    Personally I'd get a Surface 2, or possibly a Lumia 2520. They cost a bit more but the quality of the Surface is really at the top end.
    Reply
  • heelo - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    "I’d love to see Surface 2 with type cover retail for $399, I feel like at that price point it’d be at least a competitive sell."

    Part of me thinks that MS needs to stay the course here with the "premium tablet as budget laptop" approach that they've adopted with the Surface RT models. I feel like the "one device instead of two" marketing pitch requires a premium angle, and I think that's the build quality and fit and finish. With this approach, MS doesn't have the same luxury the Android competitors had in being able to undercut the iPad by actually selling less device (not to mention the fact that MS needs to run the program with legitimate P&L considerations, rather than zero-margin strategic market initiatives like the Nexus and Kindle programs).

    Yet another part of me agrees with Anand, and believes that "Surface + cover for $399" should be a design requirement for Surface 3.

    Perhaps the answer is for MS to create a Nexus-like program where they partner with certain OEMs and have them produce $299-level 10" RT devices that have their own (presumably less robust) kickstands and incorporate the Surface keyboard cover connectors? It may not be possible to produce something viable at that price point today, but maybe next summer?
    Reply
  • flyingpants1 - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Well price competition is pretty important. At $399 it would compete price wise with the Nexus 10, and $100 cheaper than an iPad, maybe then some people would actually buy it. Reply
  • savagemike - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    With a type cover then probably closer to $200 cheaper and I think that is where they'd need to be. Reply
  • savagemike - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    The problem is that the Surface with keyboard cover is pretty much the same money as an iPad with any number of keyboard covers which are available for it. It might come in $30 less or so but that is not enough to drive decisions. And chances are more than high that in a week Apple is going to launch a new ipad which will surely have something new.
    The only reason to recommend a surface to anyone over an iPad is Office and honestly I think MS overestimates the value of Office to most consumers. Unless you need it for work or it is required for school then it really is not needed. If you do need Office for work then there is a decent chance you will be sporting a laptop or Surface Pro. If for school then maybe. But I think you've found a pretty small market there.
    End of the day the only thing which will help them with this round of Surface and RT is that they are probably clever enough not to build so many up front. So the write-down will not be as big at the end of this cycle.
    MS has deep pockets though and if this segment is important to them then they'll be back.
    Reply
  • zepi - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    I don't really see desktop as "being a side" in Windows 8.x. I see it actually existing solely because MS has not have enough time to create an adequate Office replacement for Modern UI. I wouldn't be surprised if it was removed completely once they have that sorted out.

    MS tried for more than a decade to bring touch to desktop. It has failed miserably, because it actually seems to be impossible while maintaining backwards compatibility with WIN32 GUI-components. They've come to a conclusion (that I share), that the only way to really bring touch to Windows is to bring it in separate to the desktop and start from a clean slate.

    None of the successful modern touch-centric operating systems builds on top of WIMP paradigm or on top of legacy software developed for it. Mostly because WIMP just fundamentally seems to be incompatible with touchscreen (no pointer, no pixel-perfect clicks etc.) and I don't see MS being able to circumvent that. And they've seen it by themselves, so they created something new from scratch to actually make touch feasible. I see WinRT being out there because MS wants to enforce developers to create new versions of their UI's for Windows.

    If developers won't create ModernUI version of Windows apps, Windows will die a slow death in consumer space within a decade or so. Only way to keep private people using Windows in this touch-screen (post-pc) era is to make using it as convenient and fun as with competing platforms. And for most people Windows desktop with desktop-apps is almost the exact opposite of fun and easy. It's all work and tedious managing of files, updates & anti-virus applications.

    People seem to really enjoy using their touchscreen devices compared to regular computers. I guess it's mostly because interface to applications and data just seems so much more intuitive. In private life most of us just don't want to use computing devices. We just want to buy concert tickets, communicate with our friends, share our experiences of the every-day life and consume some entertainment. Some of us also enjoy creating stuff, but even then we just want the device to melt away between our vision and the end result. And allow for easy sharing of the end results.
    Reply
  • G Davidson - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Very good post. The whole trouble with x86 windows is all the hassle of maintaining it. Half the time when I'm shutting down my laptop it takes 30 minutes to install various 'updates' that bring no benefit to me as a user other than protection from security flaws or hidden functionality for things I'll never be doing with it. That and the endless fiddling has no place on a tablet.

    The stark choice Windows faces in the consumer space is innovate to a usable paradigm or slowly die. Being the second or even third choice is equivalent to such a death for a company like Microsoft that produces little hardware.

    Really a 'better' windows x86 tablet with new Atom processors is an attempt to resurrect the Netbook. Sure, many would love one to supplement their main PC, but it won't be much fun and will require lots of user maintenance, while still being too slow for heavy software designed for a 'real PC'. Hearing the graphics are low-powered makes it poor for gaming, too. Certainly, it would make for a great productivity device, except for photo and video editing that would be much slower on it.

    Microsoft really need to make something like Windows RT that has specialized apps that work well on the low-powered base, stripping away the cobwebs of background processes and backwards compatibility with things their users don't need. If these same apps can work on mainstream Windows 8.1 etc, then all the better.
    Reply
  • ESC2000 - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    So I assume you foresee such a bleak future for OSX as well?

    Really though all you're saying is that dealing with the interface and upkeep of a more powerful and capable OS is more complicated and effortful, which is not surprising....windows 8 and OSX are not as simple to handle as ios or Android but they also do a whole lot more. For some people the limited functionality of ARM tablet OSes may be sufficient, but for most I'd wager it's not if only because currently you can't even view more than one window at a time on ios/android devices (other than notes and surface RT). Even people who are not power users need to be able to view two things simultaneously.

    Anyway I think it is way too early to predict the demise of microsoft. They see that the future is in one or maybe two devices that combine the functions of desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, gaming consoles, and possibly wearables. Windows 8 is their first stab at an OS that could work on such devices, and it will get better. Also tens of millions (hundreds of millions?) of consumers own devices with windows 8 and are growing accustomed to it despite its shortcomings. Most of them will continue to choose Windows machines bc of familiarity and cost. That's not to mention the MS's enterprise stronghold that is definitely not going anywhere (W8 is not so great on that front but the complete lack of alternatives makes Windows the only choice). They are also increasingly making hardware. What I'm saying is they are innovating by shifting away from the purely desktop paradigm and for a first attempt I think they've done a good job and exposed a lot of the market.

    I am bullish about the future of MS and about the future of Google and Apple as well. I don't have some inscrutable hatred toward any of them the way many people on tech sites do against MS.
    Reply
  • Braumin - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    This looks like a great improvement over the Surface RT.

    I thought it was a good review, but Anand, you need to drop it with the Google stuff. You're comment "but in the case of a Chromebook you arguably have better integration of Google services" is of course true, but the Surface obviously has perfect integration with the Microsoft services, which, other than maps, are at least as good if not better.

    And Google is the one to blame here they simply refuse to support any MS platforms anymore, which is too bad because I used to like and use Google services a lot. Now I just avoid them. Luckily I don't miss them.

    And the Chromebook is WAY more limited in the applications it can run. Windows RT 8.1 is still a real OS unlike Chrome.

    Anyway this looks great I'm happy to see the better display and better performance, plus the kickstand. I'd say MS fixed everything that they really needed to with regards to what they can achieve - obviously the substandard apps are something that hopefully will be fixed over time. It's a whole lot better than what it was a year ago that's for sure, but certainly not where I expected it to be. The Bing apps are amazing though which is a good start.
    Reply
  • OoklaTheMok - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Yeah, I'm growing quite tired of the Chromebook talk. It's more restrictive than iOS, fewer apps than WebOS and most apps are just glorified web browser shortcuts. It doesn't even support multitasking... seriously? And some people want to talk it up like it's the bee's knees. Reply
  • AnandTechUser99 - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    "There is an alternative solution to this entire problem however. I can’t help but feel like if Microsoft threw Intel’s Bay Trail in the Surface 2 chassis that a number of users might come to a completely different conclusion about the device. When we first posted about ASUS’ T100, common feedback was that users would be willing to pay more for an even better device. A Bay Trail Surface 2 could’ve been that device. "

    I couldn't agree more!
    Reply
  • snajk138 - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    They could do a Surface RT 2 with ARM, a Surface 2 with Atom and a Surface Pro 2 with Haswell. Reply
  • teiglin - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    I'd love to see MSM8974 in the tablet performance charts--its absence is quite notable, and while the selection of 8974-toting Android tablets is pretty small now, it will only grow. If you think it'd be too weird to include Note 3/G2 results (I wouldn't mind), didn't you test Qualcomm's MDT? Not to mention, Bench doesn't even seem capable of doing the sort of comparisons I'd really like to see there. Reply
  • AmdInside - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    I am going to buy this when I find a coupon that gets the Surface2 closer to $399. I think its a great iPad replacement for productivity. I actually wish it had Amazon services, not Google. Only Google service I would want is Google Chrome. I just am not a fan of IE11 as a desktop or tablet browser. Reply
  • flyingpants1 - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    My single question for Anand: is there a single reason to get this over the Asus T100 for $349? Reply
  • teiglin - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    1080p screen, less-cramped keyboard, kickstand, higher-quality chassis. I mean, I'm not personally going to buy either one, but there are certainly reasons. Reply
  • WaltFrench - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    I definitely like all the color on the home screen and the background in the photo. Definitely not your drab gray from the Microsoft of yore. Reply
  • OneOfTheseDays - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    I played with the Surface 2 at the MSFT store for quite a bit and fell in love with it.

    It's truly a beautiful amazingly engineered piece of hardware. There are no downsides to it other than the app selection, which is getting better every day. As MSFT begins to unify their store and APIs across their platforms I expect to see more developers hop onboard.

    Going back to the iPad after using the Surface 2 is a let down. You are immediately aware how much of a toy OS iOS really is.
    Reply
  • macutmore - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Lighter than a Laptop, as good as or better performance than an Ultrabook, decent battery life with power cover. Why should I compromise by having to work, use, update & maintain three devices? It's not worth it. I'm going to spend less money & upgrade my old Desktop PC, Laptop & Tablet with a new Surface Pro. It's a no brainer, even though it really seems like a brain is required to realise it! No/ not enough Apps yet? Where are the apps in Windows 7? RT has no x86? Neither does iPad. At least it has explorer & you can navigate for file transfers from USB. If we were all using these today & Microsoft designed a hinged laptop as a new type of form factor, the screen would be annoyingly fixed, cumbersome with squeaky hinges & too bulky. We have been marketed & brand conditioned into feeling we can’t have it all in one device, when it’s becoming more & more obvious now that we can, & it could happen sooner than we think. It is advanced technology that likely makes successful brands, or the vendors of the high performance pieces, such as the thin high resolution touch screens & getting things small enough & making them thinner. Thats all advanced tech that wasnt available before. Reply
  • gnr219 - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Can you explain why specifically, other than office, you feel iOS is toylike compared to RT ? Reply
  • kyuu - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    No multitasking. Gimped web browser. No file browser. No USB support (accessories, external storage). Lack of configuration options for power users. Need I go on?

    The aesthetics of the iOS7 update certainly doesn't help it feel less toy-like.
    Reply
  • Laxaa - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    I kind of want one, but I guess I/O performance leaves a lot to be desired. And the fact that it only has 2GB of RAM. Reply
  • SetiroN - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    the surface 2 REALLY needed bay trail. Reply
  • mporter - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    The problem with Surface is that it is not really good at anything. It fails as a tablet because it's too big, heavy and unwieldy. And it fails as a laptop because it's underpowered with a substandard keyboard and no trackpad..

    Anyone considering this should just go with the undisputed king of tablets, the iPad (http://versus.com/en/microsoft-surface-2-vs-apple-... It's loads better and actually has a decent ecosystem in place!
    Reply
  • mporter - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Argh, my link didn't work because of the bracket. It's to a comparison.. Here it is again - http://versus.com/en/microsoft-surface-2-vs-apple-... Reply
  • ancientarcher - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    This is a great improvement over the original Surface. The huge increase on the GPU front obviously made it possible for MS to offer the higher resolution screen and along with a better CPU made it a lot smoother to use.

    The king of tablets - yes. But then, no one talks about how ios is incompatible with OSX! It's only with MS that people expect 100/100 every time. Only if Windows RT had been compatible with the Windows Phone ecosystem. Then there would not be so much noise about the app ecosystem.

    I am beginning to think how good a device this will be in a year or so, particularly if MS manages to merge the Windows Phone ecosystem with this (after all both run on ARM so should be theoretically possible). And yes, slightly lighter with better battery life needed. With a few more apps, this will be the perfect device.
    Reply
  • kyuu - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Hmm, let's see:

    iPad 4 - 9.51" H, 7.31" W, .37" D
    Surface 2 - 10.81" H, 6.79" W, .35" D

    Surface 2 is thinner. It's longer but less wide due to the larger screen and 16:9 aspect ratio, which is better for pretty much everything except using it as an ereader. I don't see how it's "big and unwieldly" yet the iPad is magical. And then...

    iPad 4 - 1.44 lbs.
    Surafce 2 - 1.45 lbs.

    I guess that extra .01 lbs. is all you need to make the difference between magical and heavy? Also I suppose you missed the part where Anand noted that, due to the weight distribution, the Surface 2 actually feels lighter in-hand.

    Add in the fit & finish, the kickstand, and the facts that you have an actual honest-to-god USB port (3.0 no less!), a mini-HDMI out, and a much more fully featured OS with WinRT 8.1 than iOS will ever be, and I really can't see how the Surface 2 loses a value or specs comparison unless you're married to the iOS ecosystem.
    Reply
  • cheshirster - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Another half-assed review of MS product.
    What about multitasking, storage options, external displays, browser capabilities (flash for example, on-site video playback), speakers, skyping comparison?
    Why are those google services are so special so that one must care about them?
    Reply
  • Steinegal - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Agree, you can still access Google services in your browser if you need it. You also get so many possibilities to connect any device you want through the USB port, like printers, scanners, mouse, keyboard, game controllers cameras etc. You also have a powerful multiuser environment something every android tablet that has a half assed implementation of gets a big plus for. For me it's the multitasking that seals the deal, my iPad is mostly used for Facebook, browsing and YouTube/Netflix, and the surface can do all of those at the same time. No more swapping app to reply to a message in Facebook, no more stopping the video to do a quick search for information. I might miss out on a few great apps, but mostly it's just games and I'm quite tired of all those pay2win games that seems to populate the appstores now. Reply
  • Gigaplex - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Multitasking? The software doesn't really do a good job of supporting that. Reply
  • Daniel Egger - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    I have to disagree. While I don't give a rats ass about multitasking in a tablet (or phone) because the screen only allows modal operation anyway it works reasonably well even on the old RT. Almost too well because you'll only notice two Flash videos playing at the same time when the audio clashes. Reply
  • kyuu - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    I have to agree. There's too much focusing on comparing it 1-to-1 to an iPad or Google tab and Anand seems to miss or gloss over a lot of the the functionality.

    1) Mentions the multitasking only in passing.
    2) No mention of connecting accessories through the USB port, including external storage.
    3) No mention of external display support, where you can actually EXTEND the display rather than simply mirroring it.
    4) No mention of how the browser handles flash or works to bring up websites for Twitter or all those Google services that he complains are missing in the app store.
    5) Not Surface 2 specific, but the quality of the speakers should be noted.
    Reply
  • cheshirster - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    What are the strong points of bringing in Bay Trail and "full" windows? Why we should even care? What exactly that "full" means in 10.6 inch tablet ? Reply
  • Qwertilot - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Its a good question actually :) Even if MS did put an atom into these, they may well backport RT rather than full 8.1.

    They rather badly need to drive the touch based eco system before these devices can make proper sense.
    Reply
  • Gigaplex - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    3rd party desktop applications, so you can actually use the device while you wait for useful Store apps to become available. Reply
  • Daniel Egger - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    That's actually a big sucker. While some managed to compile desktop applications that can be used after a jailbreak I'd absolutely second the notion that this is something that needs proper Microsoft support, even if just in the form of proper compilation support with a hard signing requirement to prevent abuse. Reply
  • kyuu - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    What exactly are you unable to do versus an Android or iOS tab? Keep in mind WinRT has a fully featured web browser that can actually run flash, and any missing app probably has a fully functional website alternative. Reply
  • IUU - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    "Why we should even care?" We shouldn't actually, if current solutions were better than full windows, but they are not.
    It may be hard for a lot to swallow, but full windows is in reality orders of magnitude more useful and sophisticated than the pathetic and overestimated apps of these "ecosystems". Even an ugly x86 virus is much more of a program than the overhyped android or peaches and oranges apps, that you may have to pay for as well, while in x86 you are freely and painlessly infected.
    Mobile is useful but not the most important in home computing. Trying to give it false significance, you get carried away by vain analyses about the mechanics of the kickstand, the premium feeling and the aesthetics of the user interface; this is a regress because you get excited by things that were difficult to do 10 years ago. Instead of getting excited for the next REALLY BIG APP, that would require 10s of gigabytes and several teraflops to run, you get excited by things so basic they ve been inforporated in oses long ago. So, sorry that I can't share your fascination. Surface is a good tablet, as the ipad and the droids are, very good for basic functions, nothing more nothing less.
    I would suggest Microsoft come out of the hypnosis about the post pc era and concentrate on really interesting things, like how we could use more powerful devices than today's desktops.
    Reply
  • Gambit2K - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    I missed parts like if miracast is available for surface 2, if it is how does it work, how much battery does it drain etc.

    And didn't I read that twitter has launched an official app for RT about 1-2 months ago.
    Reply
  • Steinegal - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Surface 2 does support Miracast, but I haven't seen any tests of it yet.
    And twitter is available in the store :)
    Reply
  • UsernameAlreadyExists - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    "Google’s Octane test is obviously best optimized for Chrome, and here we see solid performance although clearly behind the latest from Apple and Intel." Something wrong with the graph / this sentence, or am I reading the graph incorrectly? Reply
  • UsernameAlreadyExists - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Ah, the new stuff is missing from the graph. Reply
  • kyuu - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    There's something wrong with the conclusion, since the Surface 2 clearly beats the iPad 4 in the Google Octane benchmark. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    er fixed, thanks! Reply
  • JB_Gator - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    I agree that the app situation is lacking but this isn't a huge issue for me anymore. Maybe I'm an atypical user, but I prefer light gaming in the phone context, along with to-do lists and other light/quick tasks. Also, most of the apps I'd be looking for are usually necessary due to lack of flash support in the browser.

    For example: Would a Spotify app look a little cleaner? Sure. But I can listen to playlists through the website but not the app anyway (mobile apps require premium). I can't do this on my Nexus or iPad. A lot of video sites would require apps to if it weren't for this (ESPN, HBO, etc.), but not only can I watch them on the Surface, but if I wanted to, I can stream them to my TV (through xbox) out of the box with a few clicks.

    I was with you until you suggested it should be $399 with a type cover. That would be ludicrously cheap. The iPad, which is it's closest competitor (for better or for worse) is $499 with no cover. Also, Apple doesn't offer keyboards on its smart covers (yet?).

    At its current price of $50 cheaper than the iPad, with additional benefits (MS Office, USB, microSD, microHDMI-out for extended desktop, split-screen multitasking) and some tradeoffs (apps) it is a great deal already.

    I feel like even matching the iPad at $499 with a touch cover would be shockingly cheap, especially for new hardware of this quality. (Also, way more reasonable/likely).
    Reply
  • Qwertilot - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Closest competitor would be something like that Transformer book T100, which is seemingly 349 in its cheapest form, keyboard included. Yes S2 is nicer in a few ways so you could justify a relatively modest premium but nothing enormous.

    I don't actually think the iPad/this stuff are in direct competition. Optimised for fairly different sort of uses.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Does typing cause such load with the touch cover, or type cover too? If it's just the touch, I wonder how much that impacts battery life? Seems like regular keyboard typing shouldn't produce that much load.

    Bummer that the Sunspider browser performance doesn't bear out anywhere else, I had hoped they pulled some crazy software wizadry to beat the A7 even with a slower SoC. Also makes me question how Intel showed off BT on IE11 to prove the A7 nearing it was just a matter of browsers, if IE11 just optimizes for sunspider. It still is a very fast browser though. I don't even mind using it, if not for lack of third party extensions.
    Reply
  • Daniel Egger - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Actually I suspect that most of the performance improvements are due to Windows RT 8.1 vs. 8.0 the original Surface RT was tested with. I've updated mine and it feels a lot faster (though it also has plenty of new bugs, especially in IE with flash videos). However I wonder why the article mentions the lack of speed of the Surface RT a couple of times but the bars in the graphs are missing. Also I'd like to suggest to retest the old RT with 8.0 and 8.1 and put those 2 extra bars in. Reply
  • domboy - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    "Without opening up classic desktop APIs to developers, we won’t see alternative web browsers like Chrome or Firefox on Windows RT 8.1 either.
    ...
    I can understand Microsoft’s hesitation on this front (better control over the platform if you don’t open it up), but I can’t see a future where Windows RT is successful and Microsoft doesn’t allow developers to access both sides of the platform."

    Thank you!! This is unfortunately the real problem with Windows RT. Lots of people have said this same thing in forums, but maybe Microsoft will actually listen when Anand Lal Shimpi says it. I love my Surface RT, but the lock on the desktop APIs is going to be the doom of this OS. Why bother with it (customer or developer) when Intel tablets are going to be the same price, the same battery life, and able to do so much more? The Surface RT/2 hardware is REALLY nice, but the OS is a sad tale... and the "jailbreak" for RT 8.0 just further proves this point.
    Reply
  • isaacsou - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    PLEASE PLEASE!
    Use also the metric system in the articles/reviews!!!
    The readers outside US doesnt know (and dont want to know) what a lib or inch means!
    Just put in parenthesis on the side
    Thanks!
    Reply
  • A5 - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    2.2 lb = 1 kg
    1 inch = 2.5 cm

    They're not hard conversions, and you should memorize them if you're going to read a lot of American websites.
    Reply
  • MarcSP - Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - link

    Anadtech.com is a pretty technical website that wants to be (is) international. It is only logical to use international units besides the local ones. I don't think that it would be a drawback for anyone. In what grounds would you oppose?

    Please Anandtech, do it! :-)
    Reply
  • MarcSP - Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - link

    Even Engadget does it! (And they put international units first. See: http://www.engadget.com/2013/10/22/ipad-air-ipad-m... Reply
  • azazel1024 - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Yes, if this had a Baytrail in it, it would be a must buy for me.

    That said, the price would still be too high. $549 for 64GB PLUS having to spend money on the touch cover puts the price wayyyy too high. That is, what? around $670 for the thing plus touch cover?

    Nah ah.

    If the touch cover were included, and it had a z3770 in it and 3 or 4GB of memory (keeping in mind that Windows 8.1 32-bit is the only connected sleep supporting version of Windows right now) and the price was $549, then I'd probably buy it in a heart beat.

    Maybe I don't speak for most, but I feel like $500 is generally more or less the ceiling on what I'd ever consider spending on a tablet. Above that it is getting too close to ultrabook territory. Yes they are still vastly different devices, but looking at the Surface 2, tossing in another $200 and you can find many examples of very good 11.6-13 ultrabooks in that price range with very good hardware, screens, etc and vastly faster CPUs and GPUs in them.

    Tablets by and large are content consumption devices with some minor productivity work. A dock (T100) or type cover (Surface 2) help out with that minor productivity work a lot. However, at roughly $670 for the "kitted out" Surface 2, its too expensive to replace a low end 11.6" ultrabook (more expensive than a number of them) and it doesn't work as well for the productivity bit. If you mostly want it for content consumption...sure the screen is nice, but I don't think it beats out most of the $300-500 10" android tablets, nor does it beat out something like the T100 by much (in terms of being spiffy for content consumptioN)...and NOT by more than 50% extra cost.

    I think that is the issue that MS is going to continue having. Windows RT is just damned limited and the hardware is nice, but with the price and the limitations of RT it just isn't compelling.

    At $50 less with a free type cover included and it might be in the compelling zone for a lot of people, but it isn't.
    Reply
  • azazel1024 - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    I can't speak to skydrive, as I haven't touched in since I upgraded to 8.1 yesterday. However, in upgrading I found two things.

    Yes, it requires a Microsoft account. Stupid, but it does. Once you upgrade, you can "downgrade" the microsoft connected account, to a local account again. Its under the metro settings for user accounts. Find the user account and if you poke around in the settings there is an option to change it to a local account. It gets pissy with you trying to do it, but it WILL let you do it.

    Next, Lucid Logix Virtu MVP does not work under Windows 8.1. Or at least it doesn't work with my AMD 5670 and i5-3570. 8.1 upgraded fine, but after initial boot it cratered after 60 seconds and then boot cycled everytime it finished loading and was about to bring up the start screen. I managed to boot to safe mode fine, on a lark I tried reinstalling Virtu MVP. I then booted as normal just fine. It finished installing Virtu MVP and then proceeded to flash the BSOD for about 200ms and then boot cycled again.

    Nothing I have tried (other than uninstalling it and running with either just the dGPU or iGPU) has worked.
    Reply
  • trip1ex - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Eh I don't see people clamoring for small tablet screen with a mediocre keyboard just so they can use Office. I don't see people wanting Windows on their tablet either. They want to ditch Windows as much they want to ditch the cable company.

    I think tablets are misunderstood my most still.
    Reply
  • kyuu - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    You're right: tablets are misunderstood by most. Apple and Google have fooled people into thinking tablets should be oversized smartphones. Microsoft instead presents WinRT, which offers much more functionality than iOS or Android, and all people can focus on is the app store selection, which is the one and only point iOS and Android have over WinRT. Reply
  • DocForker - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    I love my gen 1 surface RT with 8.1 and can't wait for the Surface 2! I run apps side by side - the new Facebook is great, or I can have twitter in one panel and browse the web in the other half. OneNote that syncs between my phone, my wifes phone and my surface and my home and work desktops is amazing. Being able to edit a Word doc on my desk and then have it show up immediately in my recent list of Office Docs on the surface is awesome. Sending YouTube video (or streaming audio) from an IE browser window (using the devices charm) to my XBOX and having it play full screen high definition on my 60" plasma - all while browsing Facebook or reading the news and tracking Twitter is just something I don't think you can do anyplace else. What about playing Halo Spartan Assault on the surface and then sending it to the TV - and hooking up an XBOX controller and a Bluetooth headset. Or hooking up an external monitor with Word & Excel running on it - giving that to a person with wireless keyboard & mouse to work homework on and then having a second person playing a touch game wordament on the surface itself? Try that on an iPad or Chromebook or android tablet.

    I think the problems with most of these reviewers is that they just don't know what these devices are capable of. They are so locked in to a restrictive IOS ecosystem that they fail to see the possibilities with these Surface tablets.
    http://s188.photobucket.com/albums/z258/tlforker/?...
    http://s188.photobucket.com/albums/z258/tlforker/?...
    Reply
  • InspectHerGadget - Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - link

    You hit the nail on the head but then the restrictive iOS system does all they want so obviously they're not going out to buy an XBOX, a Windows 8 Desktop, a Windows 8 Phone then a Surface and then learn to tie it all together when they probably have AppleTV, iPad, iPhone and possibly a Mac in the house. Once you get into an ecosystem then I would say it really doesn't matter which one it is. iOS has a huge head start in this area so Microsoft have to pull out the stops to catch up and it isn't easy to get people to switch if they're happy with what they've got. Reply
  • ElBurro - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    "but there’s still no good Twitter client, no amazing IM client, and of course you don’t get good integration of Google services anywhere (outside of leveraging Mail for Gmail access)."

    I hope you realize that in Microsoft is trying to eliminate the desktop especially for ARM. There is not much chance of the Win32 API opening up. In fact for it maybe shut down completely for Windows 10 or Windows 11 even for the pro versions of the OS.
    Reply
  • ElBurro - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    oops sorry I meant to put this quote
    "but I can’t see a future where Windows RT is successful and Microsoft doesn’t allow developers to access both sides of the platform
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - link

    "It wasn’t too long ago that Microsoft was charging hundreds of dollars for new OS revisions, but with Apple and Google redefining what users come to expect from both cost and frequency of OS updates, Microsoft had to change."
    Isn't 8.1 more of a service pack than a new OS revision? And MS has never charged for those.
    Reply
  • lilmoe - Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - link

    Funny how much lower fps we're getting in the offscreen tests knowing that both are rendered at 1080p... Says a lot about the reliability of that benchmark. What's that overhead from? Reply
  • Tarrant64 - Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - link

    There were statements about a new 2nd-gen charge for the Surface 2 but I have yet to see any pictures of what those changes are. It seems everything else was covered but it was hyped briefly that it would be worth buying. I'm curious if it is, because I hate my current charger. Any chance the article(s) can be updated to show the specific changes there? Reply
  • bull2760 - Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - link

    Just purchased my Surface 2 and LOVE IT! I did previously own the 1st gen Surface RT but I sold it on Graigs list when I saw this one being released. 2nd generation is much faster at loading everying thing. Almost as fast as you click them the office suite apps open, big difference right off the bat between the 1st gen. Now that it includes Outlook you really can't beat this device for easy travel allowing you to take your work along with you. The new back lit TYPE keyboard is awesome. Way more responsive than the touch keyboard I sold with my old RT. I added a sandisk 64GB microSD and now I have 128GB of storage built in. I carry this around with me in the office as I work on employee computers so that I can answer email on the fly. Could not be happier with the purchase absolutely love the new Surface 2. Reply
  • Serr - Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - link

    "Although IE11 does a relatively good job on the touch front, I find that heavy multitasking with IE11 on Surface 2 can result in a lot of hangs and crashes within tabs or the application itself."
    There goes the truth! You don't have that even on iPad 2.
    Reply
  • Wall-Swe - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    @Serr Well that's a lie! My iPhone 4 is crashing almost everyday when using Safari.
    @Anandtech How come you only got 8hour of battery out of the Surface 2? Engadget got 14hours 22minuties, it its the best score they have had of any tablet!
    Reply
  • MarcSP - Sunday, October 27, 2013 - link

    Yes, that discrepancy makes no sense. Or Anandtech’s device had some problem, or Engadget made a big mistake in the method they used. I know that of these options seems much more likely than the other ;-), but without more testing there is no way to know for sure. Reply
  • whatsa - Friday, November 01, 2013 - link

    Theres video and video

    I can tell you I dont get the numbers stated with a BD rip....

    if its close then thats good enough for me as I have yet to see a standard for this
    testing used across the board. (I may be wrong so if you need to shoot aim for the leg)
    Reply
  • MarcSP - Sunday, October 27, 2013 - link

    It is specially weird that Surface 2 got less battery life for video than Surface 1, when MS said battry life shoudl be 25% better and that now, unlike before, they are using the companion core for that task. Reply
  • TechFan1 - Sunday, October 27, 2013 - link

    If this had bay trail inside I would already own one. Really disappointed they went with Tegra 4 :( Reply
  • melomania - Sunday, November 03, 2013 - link

    Why in the ipad air review, does this machine only score a 750 in contrast ratio and here it is over 1000? Reply
  • JBVertexx - Monday, November 11, 2013 - link

    I'm thinking of picking up one of these for my 7th grade son. He's had a Nexus 7 since that first came out. He uses that mostly for gaming. But this year, he needs a "device" for school. The Nexus 7 hasn't really been up for class note-taking, etc. Thinking this would be the perfect solution. Reply
  • Hoekie - Sunday, November 24, 2013 - link

    Great review, but fails on the search for apps.
    Like telling us that there no Twitter app, make me worry you did not get a good look at the Store and have setting set to 'easy to find local apps'
    The official Twitter app for instance in the Windows Store for quit a time now. Nice thing also is that it can be snapped to the left. A link in a tweet makes the browser open that link. All on the same screen. Killer!
    Reply

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