I came away from my first look at the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 feeling wowed.
The build, the internal specs, and the software were all spot on. That was a general take though and I still had to wonder; Is this thing an awesome toy or a powerful tool? This article will look a little closer at the Surface Pro 2 as a standalone business powerhouse!
Main advantage: All-in-one (no more packing accessories), slides into any bag or briefcase with ease, goes from desktop to conference room meeting without any fuss.
Main concern: Small screen hurts productivity (especially in excel spreadsheets), Type cover is regularly buggy which can distract from work.
Unique features: Pairs with Surface docking station to be an almost flawless business machine for the most part.
"Think of the device as the mobile brain to your anywhere office."
If you work in an office, you spend more time there physically and mentally than anywhere else in your life. It’s not ideal, but it’s a reality - The modern workforce is ever-connected and business/email extends far past 9-5. Luckily, we live in an age where more and more resources are spent on making work a more comfortable experience.
Workplace planners are seeing the long view and realizing that money spent today equals an efficient, productive employee tomorrow. Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablets have the potential to be the center of the worker’s business-facing life. Think of the device as the mobile brain to your anywhere office. At my desk, I dock the Surface Pro 2 in the optional Surface Docking station and my screen is mirrored on my 27” widescreen monitor. The docking station holds the wireless receiver to my keyboard and mouse, connection to my speakers, and a mini display port out to my supplemental monitor. I now have a full computing experience and more than enough space to research in one window and write an article in the other. When the time comes for a meeting, I undock and head out to a conference room with just the lightweight tablet and keyboard cover in hand. I have everything I need to take quick notes, but I also have my entire filesystem with me if the need arises. The built-in kickstand is especially impressive at a table full of people that haven’t seen the Surface up close. As nice as it looks and functions though, it’s limited to two fixed angles.
The other reality of modern business is travel, and a lot of it. Sometimes it can feel like I’m living on the road and just visiting my home from time to time. Though they are frequent, most individual trips are short enough that I can just pack a single duffel bag or backpack and bypass the typical air travel hassles associated with luggage. Speaking of, the Surface Pro 2 is technically a tablet which means the TSA won’t make you take it out of your luggage during security check! One less hassle is important when you’ve been on the road for weeks on end and tensions are high. When I need to spend the day wandering through New York having meetings, it’s nice to be able to throw the Surface Pro 2 in my backpack and not feel weighted down, but still have the confidence that I’m ready for any and all business when the need surfaces... see what I did there?
To sum things up, The Surface Pro 2 is a nearly perfect main device for home and business. It’s a laptop/tablet replacement and it really does feel like this form is the future of mobile computing. The remaining problems in the current design are few, but they are not insignificant. The Surface Pro 2 needs a larger screen to be the true replacement device that it can be. The keyboard cover also needs some bugs addressed and a way to shift it’s resting angle similar to a normal keyboard. Finally, a fuller range of motion for the included kickstand would be very welcome to increase typing speed and comfort on the screen itself.
UPDATE: As it turns out, the device that I described in my summary paragraph above is basically the recently announced Surface Pro 3! I said in my original article that if Microsoft kept the momentum that they were building with Surface, this could be something huge and it looks as if they've delivered. Stay tuned for a potential followup review of the newest Surface Pro soon.
Thank you again to Microsoft for supplying their product for review.
Surface Pro 2 - 128GB by Microsoft
Is it worth buying: My initial look at the best piece of hardware that Microsoft has ever produced was appropriately enthusiastic. My experience with the Surface Pro 2 translated into a bit of a love letter for what I can confidently call the future of the personal computer. It isn’t without it’s faults though. They do exist, but the misses here are few and the Surface line should only get better with time. I’m excited to see what that future will look like. If you do buy the device, the Surface docking station is an ESSENTIAL accessory. BUY WITH CONFIDENCE.
ENJOY YOUR GADGETS!