Let’s start with the good, because in the Surface Pro 2, Microsoft has made sure there’s a lot of that.
First there’s the performance, and this is something that can be seen in processor choice Microsoft has made for the Surface Pro 2, with a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 used here, still a quad-core, but not quite the extent of power that is a Core i7. That said, an i5 is easily fast enough, and this one is clocked at 1.6GHz, and paired with 4GB RAM.
With a pairing like this, the Surface Pro 2 moves quite nicely, with virtually no lag as you jump between apps, and even enough power to let you play with some decent games on Steam, and with the proper version of Windows 8 (8.1 in fact), that can actually happen.
In fact, any app that is made for use on a regular Windows computer can be used here, including Google’s Chrome, Valve’s Steam, Adobe’s Photoshop, and just about anything else. Not being restricted to the Windows Marketplace is certainly a feature in our eyes, especially when the Surface 2 handicaps you in that very way.
The CPU choice has no doubt had an effect on the battery too, as this generation of processors has been engineered with stronger battery life in mind.
Our battery tester reported that a maximum of 20 hours was conceivably possible if you didn’t plan on doing anything or have the WiFi running, but the actual runtime seemed to be closer to 6 to 10 hours, which isn’t bad altogether for a computer with this set of specs inside.
Microsoft’s choice of screen is also quite nice, with a Full HD 1080p display with some solid touch support. The update to Windows 8.1 now means you can make apps support more than just a quarter or three-quarters of the display, with half-size two apps at once. No more than two apps can be run on the Surface Pro 2 at once, though, thanks to the 10 inch screen size.
That said, the 10 inch screen still makes for some decent writing and web browsing. Windows 8 apps don’t always render in it perfectly, mind you, looking a little blurry, but the made-for-Windows 8 apps are perfect on this screen.
It has to be acknowledged, though, that Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 does not come with an included keyboard, so factor that into the cost. The Microsoft TouchCover and TypeCover keyboards from the Surface 2 are compatible with the Pro 2, and with a price of around $120 each, add to the total dollar figure you’re paying.
That being said, when used together with one of these, typing is far, far better than the on-screen virtual keyboard of Windows 8, which isn’t bad, but is nowhere near as speedy or efficient as either the touch or flat physical keyboard cases that Microsoft makes.
We used the same purple flat keyboard cover from the Surface 2, and wrote this review with it, and while it’s thin and doesn’t offer much travel, the keyboard still offers a very comfortable typing experience, so much that we forgot all about the lack of depth and focused merely on what we were typing.
One other thing that is quite good on the Pro 2 is the build quality, hardly surprising since it continues from where the Surface Pro left off.