Being in the market for a Windows based laptop and having some potential WinRT projects in the pipeline, purchasing a Surface Pro 2 seemed like a great way to kill two birds with one stone and I happy to report that it was. Like just about any device on the market there are of course flaws but overall the experience of using the Pro 2 is pretty good. Before we begin, the model we are talking about here is the 256GB SSD / 8GB RAM one. Please do keep that in mind when reading the rest of this review, as your mileage could easily vary if you are use lower specced model.
The Good: Right of the bat the screen is beautiful. In fact, it is probably one of the best screens (in terms of resolution and color representation) that I have seen on a touch-enabled Windows device. I tend to not be a huge fan of using a stylus with my touch devices, but the one packaged in with the Pro 2 is a joy to use and more useful than I thought it would be. One of the main uses I have for the Pro 2 is of course to run Visual Studio, which it does flawlessly; the sad truth is that it has better specs than my normal development machine, my Macbook Air. Typing on the Type Keyboard feels as natural as typing on a full desktop keyboard or a good laptop keyboard. All in all, the Pro 2 is definitely the tablet to buy if you don’t mind spending a little more money and want to be productive.
The Bad: Thought the battery life is sufficient for most users, I’d like to see a little more than what I am currently getting in my day to day usage. On average, I am getting about five hours to a charge. Of course the Achille’s Heel of Windows 8 is that the app selection in the Windows Store leaves a lot to be desired. One would hope that this problem would be solved by time, but it really hasn’t. Thankfully, this issue is somewhat mitigated by the Pro 2 to being able to run traditional Windows software
The Ugly: To me, the value proposition of the Surface Pro 2 is that it is a production device rather than just another consumption device. However, this falls down pretty quickly when you realize that the tablet does not come with either keyboard option. Additionally, the Touch Cover is pretty much worthless for me and in my very unscientific study it seems to be problematic for a lot of people. The Type Cover is a must have for the Pro and frankly should be in the box.
Conclusion: The Pro 2 is the device Microsoft should have made as their first tablet. In a lot of ways, this reminds me of the original iMac’s release — Apple was down on their luck and industry pundits were predicting their imminent demise, but they pulled something special off with the iMac. Is that what we are talking about with the Pro 2? Maybe. Maybe not. The ball is in their court. Questions? Comments? Please feel free to reach out to me Google+ or Twitter.