1. kristalsoldier's Avatar
    Hi all,

    I thought I'd put up a short mid-term assessment of my impressions of the Surface 2. What do I mean by mid-term? Well, firstly, considered in terms of when the Surface 2 was released, its not really mid-term - more like the first quarter of the release cycle. But if you think of the release of the Surface line, then now is about mid-term. Whatever be the case, my assessment is based on (1) my experience of the Surface 2 thus far and with specific reference to my use scenario; (2) what I think I would have liked the Surface 2 to have; and, (3) speculating on whether I would opt for the Surface 3.

    Let me begin by saying that I use the Surface 2 for about 6-8 hours a day. Primary function? Replace my laptop. Thus, it is very seldom that I use it purely as a tablet. Come to think of it, even though I have three tablets (Surface 2, iPad 4 and Nexus 10), I don't really use any of them as tablets! I use the Nexus for watching movies. I use the iPad as a dedicated e-reader. And, I use the Surface 2 as a laptop!!! Conceivably, I could use the Surface 2 to watch movies, but aside from some YouTube videos, I haven't.

    Battery life: Not bad. 6-8 hours of working on Word, a couple of tabs on the browser open, email app open and syncing 3 mail accounts, wifi on, and brightness at around 40%, I end my day with about 40% of the battery remaining. So, this means I charge it all night. Like many of you, I have found that surfing costs battery life and this is one place that I think the Surface 2 can be improved - by means of a firmware/ software update.

    BSOD: I did not think I had this problem till I recently tried to refresh the device. You can read all about the problem that Surface 2 devices are having on this issue on the Tegra4 thread stickied above. This is apparently a driver issue and while a fix is possible, apparently, it is up to MS and Nvidia to issue it, which they have not till date.

    Form Factor: Excellent. Could not have asked for it better.

    Type Cover: I have the Type Cover 2. It works well. Love the backlighting - hate the touchpad. Seriously! MS needs to work on this ASAP and make some dramatic improvements.

    Connectivity: Wifi and BT have worked well for me and I have been able to connect to a variety of WIFI spots without problems. I can also effortlessly tether the device to my phone (which also runs Win 8) and get online, which means I don't really experience the lack of a 3G or LTE capability.

    Apps: It is what it is. The mainstay is Office, which I use a lot. I use some other apps too, but minimally. As for the desktop environment - aside from hosting Office, its pretty much useless, which is also why getting the Modern UI version of Office is so important for the Surface 2.

    That being said, recently, I have been running into some issues with apps (especially when I compare it with the iPad). Basically, my story runs something like this: I work in academia. This means I am always working on research papers, writing monographs etc. One key tool for me is a reference software (like EndNote, Zotero, etc.). Now, if I had the Surface Pro 2, I would not be writing this, but since I don't, I have to say that not having apps like these makes my life quite difficult. Sure, there are some workarounds, but they are cumbersome. Personally, I think the Surface 2 is an excellent device for the academic environment. But it lacks certain things - a reference software is one of them. The other is an inking capability. While I can live without the latter, the lack of the former is a big issue.

    I think there are two ways by which this problem can be solved - (1) either the developers of such software develop a version that can go into the Windows Store, which can thus be installed on ARM devices, and/ or (2) MS allows browsers like Firefox to be installed on Win RT machines. Why Firefox? Because, if we remain with the example of the reference software (Zotero by way of an example), there is a plugin for Zotero which works with Firefox. Either that, or MS should allow developers to make and allow for the installation of similar plugins for the resident IE version. I say this with specific reference to reference software, but I am sure a lot of other such example do exist for other kinds of applications.

    If there is something that I wish the Surface 2 had, it would be this.

    Which brings me to the last question: Would I buy a Surface 3? Well, it will depend. Will a Surface 3 be able to address the issue(s) I mentioned above? If yes, then absolutely, I would consider buying the Surface 3. There is a lot to like about the ARM version - its light, got good battery life, does not get warm, does not get filled with junk and thus is relatively secure. Conversely, the Surface Pro 2 may see much more significant updates in the near future - for example, I think the battery life will be better than what is now (avg. about 6 hours currently with a similar workload as I described above), it should also be a bit lighter (at least I hope so), and, hopefully, future devices may also run a bit cooler than what they run now.

    If I do get a Surface Pro 2, then I would probably use it in a very similar manner in which I currently use the Surface 2 - minimal apps from the Store and aside from an additional browser and 2 or 3 programs (max), no other x86 programs at all.

    Well, that's it really!

    Edit: Not that short of an assessment, I'd say. Sorry! :)
    Last edited by kristalsoldier; 01-31-2014 at 10:29 AM.
    sahib lopez, vraev, rav16 and 3 others like this.
    01-30-2014 09:17 PM
  2. vraev's Avatar
    Totally agree..a.especially about the reference software... especially endnote. I am a grad student as well and endnote is the only reason I still use my MacBook as my primary machine.
    01-31-2014 01:00 AM
  3. SeeVuPlay's Avatar
    I have been using my Surface 2 pretty much for everything. I use it for entertainment at home and at work. i have a work laptop but i take my surface into meetings and take notes, do meeting minutes etc. there is no better device right now. Having said that, when S3 comes out i will likely get one
    Laura Knotek and rav16 like this.
    02-01-2014 11:46 PM
  4. taymur's Avatar
    I will most probably get my surface 2 within 2 weeks, planning to assign two profiles, one for work, other for home. that way ill get a cleaner start screen for work, rather than all my friends pictures laying everywhere. but i don't know, i didn't use a surface before :D so this might be a very dumb idea.

    "As for the desktop environment - aside from hosting Office, its pretty much useless, which is also why getting the Modern UI version of Office is so important for the Surface 2."
    in regards to this, i totally agree.
    02-02-2014 12:56 AM
  5. WillysJeepMan's Avatar
    thanks for that write up kristalsoldier! My experiences with the RT mirror yours with the 2. The touchpad on the TypeCover2 have me pulling out what remains of my hair.
    02-03-2014 10:55 AM
  6. kristalsoldier's Avatar
    Well, I just wanted to follow up on my initial post and see where matters stand. A lot has happened in the meantime. MS has released the Surface Pro 3, no updates on any kind of a third iteration of the Surface RT. Rumours say that a Surface Mini was scheduled to be released with the SP3, but it wasn't and then, of course, there is the latent controversy surrounding the release of the SP3 and the allegedly imminent release of the Broadwell chip, which promises some significant benefits.

    I had ended my "assessment" by posing the following question: Will I buy a Surface 3? Subject to some improvements, I said that I would. I had clarified early that I did like RT platform and what I perceived to be its promise. But I had also flagged the issues with some select desktop programs which I desperately need to have but could not because there were/ are no RT-specific alternatives.

    Then came the SP3. And, I bought one - uncharacteristic of me, but on release day!

    Why did I buy the SP3?

    Three primary reasons:

    First, I wanted the inking capability. The SP3 - like its predecessors - allows this.
    Second, I wanted to have some specific programs - no RT versions available.
    Third, the new avatar of the Surface Pro line - I like the design of the Surface 2 and conversely, I found the Pro lines (till Pro 2) boxy and heavy. I had always wondered what if the design of the Surface 2 could house the capabilities of the Pro lines. The SP3 is just that machine - for me.

    So, have I given up on the RT line? Difficult to say at the moment. But I am now sure that apps rivalling the spread of desktop programs as they are available for Windows are not going to show up in the RT app marketplace any time soon - if at all, that is. A smaller Surface device - say, a Surface Mini - may entice me, but I would prefer to have such a device use a merged/ blended Win Phone and Win RT OS. A few more well designed and highly functional productivity apps like those the iPad boasts of would enhance the prospects. At that point, I would be ready to ditch my iPad Air and downsize my phone into a cheap but robust entry-level Windows phone.
    Cobb and exkerZ like this.
    06-28-2014 03:25 PM
  7. Cobb's Avatar
    Nice to know you liked it and went on to the better version. Kind of leads to my question. How frequently do people purchase tablets? My surface replaced an old notebook I had purchased 12 years ago. Assuming it can read cds if a cdrom is attached I hope to wait another 12 years. If not Ill just pick up a refurbished laptop on ebay.

    I know people who have an ipad, but keep putting it off for the next model is coming soon.
    06-28-2014 06:12 PM
  8. kristalsoldier's Avatar
    Nice to know you liked it and went on to the better version. Kind of leads to my question. How frequently do people purchase tablets? My surface replaced an old notebook I had purchased 12 years ago. Assuming it can read cds if a cdrom is attached I hope to wait another 12 years. If not Ill just pick up a refurbished laptop on ebay.

    I know people who have an ipad, but keep putting it off for the next model is coming soon.
    Well, to put it simply: quite often! Take a look at this: Gartner Says Worldwide Media Tablets Sales to Reach 119 Million Units in 2012
    These figures I would think include both repeat buyers and new buyers. And, while I have no empirical proof to back up my claim, I think that there are two kinds of repeat buyers - one that co-constitutes the upper segment of the market (Apple, now MS, and other OEMs) and the other who crowd the entry-levels of the market together with the new buyers, and who, in terms of sheer numbers, are by far the biggest drivers behind the growth of Android. As an aside, this is also the reason that MS recently declared that they were either heavily discounting or even perhaps giving away to its OEMs a free version of the Windows OS for use in devices smaller than 8 or 9 inches.

    So, I'd say that yes, the tablet market will continue to grow. And, the way we use tablets/ hybrids and why we use them will also continue to evolve.
    exkerZ likes this.
    06-28-2014 10:25 PM
  9. Cobb's Avatar
    Ive know people to own an ipad 2 then go and buy an ipad3, but I never understood why?
    06-29-2014 02:36 PM
  10. kristalsoldier's Avatar
    Ive know people to own an ipad 2 then go and buy an ipad3, but I never understood why?
    (1) Either they have too much money and don't know what to do with it.
    (2) They want to keep up with the Jones - keeping up the appearances.
    (3) They actually need some capability that a previous model does not have.
    (4) They just want to be on the cutting-edge of technologies.

    Though I am sure how #3 and 4 apply to the iPad example that you referenced.
    06-29-2014 02:51 PM
  11. WillysJeepMan's Avatar
    (1) Either they have too much money and don't know what to do with it.
    (2) They want to keep up with the Jones - keeping up the appearances.
    (3) They actually need some capability that a previous model does not have.
    (4) They just want to be on the cutting-edge of technologies.

    Though I am sure how #3 and 4 apply to the iPad example that you referenced.
    yeah... a little something like the retina display of the iPad 3 that the 2 didn't have.
    06-29-2014 10:34 PM
  12. Cobb's Avatar
    Just wondering.... I had a neighbor who purchased the next model mercedes the following year because the previous one didnt have a turbo. Ironically and like the tablet owner, he kept both cars. I must be in the wrong line of work?
    kristalsoldier likes this.
    06-30-2014 05:49 PM
  13. kristalsoldier's Avatar
    Just wondering.... I had a neighbor who purchased the next model mercedes the following year because the previous one didnt have a turbo. Ironically and like the tablet owner, he kept both cars. I must be in the wrong line of work?
    Yeah! Me too!
    06-30-2014 08:55 PM
  14. WillysJeepMan's Avatar
    Just wondering.... I had a neighbor who purchased the next model mercedes the following year because the previous one didnt have a turbo. Ironically and like the tablet owner, he kept both cars. I must be in the wrong line of work?
    Before trading my Surface 2 in for a MacBook Air, I had 4 tablets that I use on occasion. I live a very modest lifestyle, go on a vacation once a year, a few weekend getaways, and am very careful with our finances. To spend $200 or so on a device that gives me enjoyment as I explore and find ways to exploit it is far cheaper than going to the local pub every week after work.
    07-01-2014 12:25 AM
  15. Cobb's Avatar
    You traded your surface 2 for a mac air?!?!?!?!? I had considered sellingmy ipod touch 1 and 4 and put that towards a ipad mini.

    Technology isnt a priority for me. Im working on paying down my home with all spare money I have or to my 401k.
    07-01-2014 09:09 PM
  16. WillysJeepMan's Avatar
    You traded your surface 2 for a mac air?!?!?!?!? I had considered sellingmy ipod touch 1 and 4 and put that towards a ipad mini.
    Yes, I did. After spending 9 months trying to get my Surface RT (and then Surface 2) to function as a netbook and tablet for my purposes, I decided enough was enough... went to Best Buy, Surface 2 + $450 = 11.6" Macbook Air

    Technology isnt a priority for me. Im working on paying down my home with all spare money I have or to my 401k.
    Technology is a medium priority for me (because of what I do), but with prudent choices I am able to keep the main thing the main thing (mortgage, vehicles, retirement, savings, etc.) and still have some left over for technology. I'm always looking for deals and working the angles. For example, while most of my friends and family were locked into $70/month iPhone contracts, I was spending $25/month on a prepaid iPhone. THAT adds up.
    07-02-2014 09:18 AM
  17. badMojo69's Avatar
    I just got a S2 for 64gb for $340 to hold me over for the S3 later this year.
    I have a custom desktop for gaming and x86 apps and use a laptop at work. The S2 is media consumption enjoyment.

    I tried doing the android thing again and honestly for me it sucked and I'm sick of my Ipad.
    Last edited by badMojo69; 07-03-2014 at 01:05 AM. Reason: S2 not SP2
    07-02-2014 10:46 PM
  18. kcaneiro's Avatar
    How did you get that price?
    07-02-2014 10:54 PM
  19. badMojo69's Avatar
    Ebay
    07-03-2014 01:04 AM

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