First look: Microsoft Surface 2 with Type Cover 2

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
While Apple unveiled its newest iPads on Tuesday, rival Microsoft attempted to steal some of its thunder in releasing its competing Surface 2 tablet, along with the new Type Cover 2 accessory. AppleInsider provides a first look at the tablet that will go head to head with Apple's iPad Air this holiday season.

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Microsoft provided a 32-gigabyte Surface 2 ($449) and black Type Cover 2 keyboard ($129.99) for review on the product's launch day -- the same day Apple unveiled the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display. The Surface 2 was sent in a Surface-branded tote bag, and came with a protective zip-up case from Targus, as well as one year of 100 gigabytes of cloud storage from Microsoft's SkyDrive service.

The Surface 2 and its more powerful counterpart, the Surface Pro 2, were unveiled by Microsoft last month. The low-end Surface 2 is most directly an iPad competitor, while the Surface Pro 2 runs a traditional Intel processor, making it more of a competitor to Apple's MacBook Air.

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The Surface 2 runs the same ARM architecture as many of today's tablets and smartphones, which, along with an Nvidia Tegra 4 graphics processor, drives the 1080p high-definition display in a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Because it features an ARM CPU, the Surface 2 still runs a stripped down version of Windows 8 that can't run traditional Windows apps. Despite this, Surface 2 running the newly released Windows 8.1 still offers a classic desktop mode, which is primarily used to access the included Microsoft Office apps.

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Microsoft's pitch with the Surface 2 is that it's a device that allows users to be more productive than Apple's iPad. Accordingly, the device has a number of ports: USB 3.0, micro HDMI, 3.5mm audio, and a micro SD slot for memory expansion hidden under the rear kickstand.

When using the Surface 2 in landscape mode, which is the most comfortable way to access the device, stereo speakers output from the left and right sides of the display. A magnetic power connector, not unlike Apple's MagSafe, exists on the right side of the display.

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The rear kickstand has also been revised to allow two different viewing angles when propping up the device. And the Surface 2 has a 3.5-megapixel forward-facing camera, and 5-megapixel rear camera.

The Surface 2 is just about exactly as thick as Apple's third- and fourth-generation iPads, which means it will be thicker than the iPad Air, which arrives next week. The Surface 2 with Type Cover 2 is considerably thicker than an iPad with Smart Cover, though the latter option obviously lacks a dedicated physical keyboard.

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The new Type Cover 2 allows for 1.5-millimeters of key travel, which Microsoft says should allow for faster typing than its predecessor. The updated accessory also sports a backlight to make it easier to find your way around.

Like its predecessor, the Type Cover 2 also includes a trackpad on the cloth surface. Touching it will bring up a traditional mouse cursor on the display, allowing users to interact with the device through either touching the screen or touching the trackpad.

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From our initial impressions, Surface 2 is an interesting device that seems more like a netbook successor than an iPad alternative. It's clear that the Surface 2 with kickstand and keyboard is meant to be used mostly in laptop-style mode on a desk, which is a stark contrast from how most people use Apple's iPad.

The 16:9 aspect ratio of the device's large 10-inch screen makes using the device in tablet-style portrait mode, as we typically use our iPads, rather cumbersome. But the design of the Surface makes it apparent that the device is intended to mostly be used in landscape mode anyhow.

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The touchscreen is responsive, and the display offers adequate viewing angles, along with what Microsoft claims is less glare than the iPad. And the keyboard accessory works well for a smaller, thin keyboard, allowing us to type quickly.

We'll have more on Surface 2, including how it performs as a productivity tool, in the coming days. Additional pictures of the device are included below.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    Surface

     

     

    What the terrible hardware specs and horrible software don’t say, this image does.

  • Reply 2 of 54
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,529member
    Gotta admit the surface 2 commercials are better than the surface 1 commercials. No more dancers and they show what you can do with it. Still not my cup of tea, though.
  • Reply 3 of 54
    It runs Windows RTarded
  • Reply 4 of 54
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,169member
    Oh dear ... tech porn, I must have accidentally gone to the wrong web site ... I don't know how that happened?
  • Reply 5 of 54
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,735member
    This was DOA months ago, yet MS just keeps pouring money into *the same thing that's not working*.
  • Reply 6 of 54
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,169member
    quadra 610 wrote: »
    This was DOA months ago, yet MS just keeps pouring money into *the same thing that's not working*.

    It's called the XBox theory of marketing. :D
  • Reply 7 of 54

    Glad competition is going strong! 

     

    Quote:


     Microsoft's pitch with the Surface 2 is that it's a device that allows users to be more productive than Apple's iPad


     

    Huh! Never thought of an iPad as needing to be 'productive'. Just thought it was awesome to carry the content I consume! 

  • Reply 8 of 54
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post



    This was DOA months ago, yet MS just keeps pouring money into *the same thing that's not working*.

     

    Microsoft made billions doing that in the 80s and 90s.

  • Reply 9 of 54
    I really like the concept of the surface pro2. The ability to have photoshop cc and illustrator cc with a wacom pen is appealing to me. I'm looking forward to the generation of intel chips that run fanless. I'm not sure if that will be Broadwell or the gen after.
  • Reply 10 of 54
    Wow! I am deeply impressed. Where the hell has microsoft the boldness to present such a clunky device to nowadays people?

    Wait. May be ... is it the surface of the Microsoft grave?
  • Reply 11 of 54

    The only things I find attractive about the Surface devices is the Wacom pressure-sensitive tech built-in, along with the ability to run programs like Corel Painter. If there was one thing I would change about the iPad, it would be giving it pressure-sensitive ability. But, I know that's not something that the target audience for the iPad wants or needs; it's merely something that the cartoonist in me craves :)

     

    That being said, I can't wait to try out the new iPad Air & Mini 2 - I love my current iPad 4 and my wife has absconded with my iPad 1. Love the idea of the same gorgeous screen in a lighter and thinner design!

  • Reply 12 of 54
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 1,946member
    I don't have a use for this. I do have a use for my new Macbook Air.

    I did hold one of these surface machines. It just seemed...odd.
  • Reply 13 of 54
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dave MacLachlan View Post

    ... and my wife has absconded with my iPad 1.

    Hope you mean the iPad 1 and not the wife? ;)?

  • Reply 14 of 54
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dave MacLachlan View Post

     

    The only things I find attractive about the Surface devices is the Wacom pressure-sensitive tech built-in, along with the ability to run programs like Corel Painter. If there was one thing I would change about the iPad, it would be giving it pressure-sensitive ability. But, I know that's not something that the target audience for the iPad wants or needs; it's merely something that the cartoonist in me craves :)

     

    That being said, I can't wait to try out the new iPad Air & Mini 2 - I love my current iPad 4 and my wife has absconded with my iPad 1. Love the idea of the same gorgeous screen in a lighter and thinner design!


    Fortunately there are aftermarket pens that do just that.  http://adonit.net/jot/touch/

  • Reply 15 of 54
    The RT version is essentially useless as you won't be able to find even half the apps you are used to from the more mature google or apple ecosystems, and the Pro version is too expensive when compared to alternatives. You'd get a Macbook Air instead of the Surface Pro. Or you'd get a Samsung Series 7, or a Yoga, or a refurb Macbook Pro 13, or a Zenbook. You would not get the Surface. If the Pro was 699, you'd consider it.

    And the main reason is because we want tablets to be tablets, and laptops to be laptops. Tablets aren't for doing serious work. They are for doing light work, and playing games. The Surface products exist for a market that doesn't.
  • Reply 16 of 54
    dacloodacloo Posts: 890member
    I actually applaud AI for posting an article about surface. Gets things in perspective. And finally it doesn't look very biased. They actually point out stuff they liked.
  • Reply 17 of 54

    I have to say that visually, the Surface looks like the screen from a netbook or small form factor laptop, while in landscape mode.  In portrait mode, it just plain looks wrong in your hands.  It's far too skinny to be representative of a book or magazine.  It's clear MS did not think through its use as a tablet - they're simply saying it could be used like a tablet, but the real use is as a small form laptop / netbook replacement.

     

    The tapered edges look cheap to me, for some reason.  It doesn't have the solid look that the iPad, in either 3/4th gen or the iPad Air / mini,  has.  MS should just let their hardware partners manage the hardware side and let MS keep doing what they do best - screwing up the software side of things.

  • Reply 18 of 54
    If you worked on the Surface 2, and had spent months figuring out how to make it no thicker than the iPad so it could compete, it must be soul destroying to see Apple leapfrog you yet again.
  • Reply 19 of 54
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post



    If you worked on the Surface 2, and had spent months figuring out how to make it no thicker than the iPad so it could compete, it must be soul destroying to see Apple leapfrog you yet again.

    I bet MS thought that just as Apple does mild refreshes where they use the existing design and simply improve certain specs, that they could get away with doing the same thing with the Surface.  Like it was perfectly designed to begin with...why change something that's perfect already?

     

    I feel bad for those people who feel like they have to support MS's efforts (while bashing Apple's).  MS is certainly not doing themselves or anyone any favors with respect to both their OS and hardware like this.

  • Reply 20 of 54
    larryalarrya Posts: 485member
    Hope you mean the iPad 1 and not the wife? ;) ?

    Huh?
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