CPU Performance

While multitasking on Surface 2 can struggle, the same really can’t be said for Surface Pro 2. The tablet is effectively a Haswell Ultrabook, capable of delivering the exact same performance as a 2013 MacBook Air – but in the form factor of a thick tablet. The performance of Intel’s Core i5-4200U is a fairly known quantity at this point, but to put Surface Pro 2’s tablet performance in perspective here are some comparisons to the best of the best in the ARM tablet space.

I ran tests using both Chrome and IE11, the latter is really only optimized for SunSpider and horribly unoptimized for everything else. In general you're multiple times better performance than what you can get from a quad-core Cortex A15 based device. If we look at Kraken, Surface Pro 2 running IE11 completes the test in 1/4 the time as Surface 2 running the same browser.

SunSpider 0.9.1 Benchmark

SunSpider 1.0 Benchmark

Mozilla Kraken Benchmark (Stock Browser)

Google Octane v1

Browsermark 2.0

WebXPRT - Overall Score

GPU Performance

Intel’s HD 4400 is good enough for light gaming and is a huge step above what you can find in a traditional ARM based tablet. Microsoft only gave us a few days to review both devices so I didn’t have a ton of time to re-characterize the performance of Intel’s HD 4400, but I’ve done that elsewhere already.

GLBenchmark 2.7 - T-Rex HD (Onscreen)

GLBenchmark 2.7 - T-Rex HD (Offscreen)

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Egypt HD (Onscreen)

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Egypt HD (Offscreen)

3DMark Unlimited - Ice Storm

Storage Performance

My review sample appears to have a SK Hynix based SSD. I ran it through the same modified IO tests I did on the ASUS T100:

Our Android IO tests rely on Androbench with a relatively limited LBA span. I increased the difficulty of the test a bit under Windows 8.1 but still kept it reasonable since we are dealing with eMMC solutions. I’m testing across a 1GB LBA span and testing for a period of 1 minute, which is an ok balance between difficulty of workload and sensitivity to the fact that we’re evaluating low-class SSDs here.

Surface Pro 2 is a completely different league of IO performance. The number to pay attention here is the tremendous increase in random write performance compared to the eMMC solutions we’ve tested. I suspect the gap increases if we were to look at worst case sustained random write performance. Killer sequential performance definitely helps Surface Pro 2 feel quick.

Storage Performance - 256KB Sequential Reads

Storage Performance - 256KB Sequential Writes

Storage Performance - 4KB Random Reads

Storage Performance - 4KB Random Writes

Display Battery Life
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  • Mondozai - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Reading this it seems like Microsoft played it safe, or maybe it's just the lack of execution we've become used to seeing with the WP8 platform(although the updates on that area is picking up). Hopefully the much-lauded "re-org" can change things to become much better for the third generation.

    The Surface Pro is still too expensive considering that the batterylife isn't up to par.
    Reading the review, it still feels more like a jumbled 2-in-1 laptop rather than a tablet with a keyboard cover.

    The whole point of the Google Nexus series is to show the other OEMs what is possible to do. It's priced quite cheap - in relative terms - and you get good hardware for the money. If we compare the Surface series, can anyone say it is driving the ecosystem to the right place?
  • inighthawki - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Is that a joke? The surface pro is widely regarded as very good for it's price compared to other ultrabooks in the same tier, as well as versus the MBA. Good perf, good display, and while the battery isn't great, it's not horrible either for the form factor and the power it pumps out.
  • augustofretes - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    The Air has longer battery life, a proper (better) keyboard, Intel HD5000, a much better trackpad and is cheaper. The Surface Pro has a stylus support, a touchscreen a better screen.

    The thing is that as a laptop replacement it's not good at all, simply the experience of typing is too inferior and so is only having to angles for that hinge.

    To be honest with you, with regular ultrabook hitting 8-10 hours battery life in very small 11.6" sizes, the Surface Pro and tablets in general (unless you don't want to spend as much money as you need to to get an Ultrabook) are pretty much useless, especially if you own a smartphone.
  • augustofretes - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    So many typos.
  • FredyHandanovic - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Love my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online(Click on menu Home)
  • pppdns - Thursday, December 12, 2013 - link

    ↑ spam ad, please delete!
  • doobydoo - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Excellent post.
  • santiagoanders - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Now list the Surface pro 2 advantages.
    And please explain how the MBA is cheaper when it starts at $1000.
  • Scannall - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    MBA starts at $999

    Surface 2 starts at $899 + 129 for the keyboard. = $1028.
  • santiagoanders - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    So I guess we should add in the cost of a Wacom pad to the MBA, huh?

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