Surface 2 - the good, the bad and the not-obvious.
So... I had my first (and only) 30 minutes with Surface 2 at the store in UK. My general impression is mostly positive. I collected my thoughts and will break it down in three segments:
The (as expected) GOOD:
- Beautiful FHD screen with great colors and little reflectivity. Perfect for videos, browsing, reading... These additional pixels really help, especially in portrait (fonts are smaller when browsing in portrait).
- It feels significantly thinner and lighter - I don't know why - it's only 0,5 mm and few grams but it just feels better.
- Backlit covers while thinner. Perfect.
- It's waaay faster. I own RT for 6 months and it's like day and night. Especially when browsing with many tabs open and dead-starting apps.
- Better for lap use and for lower desks / tall people. 2-position kickstand really makes the difference.
- Snap view is now much more useful with a lot of different positions in Windows 8.1.
- Much better cameras. Especially front camera and its low-light capabilities. Rear camera is still behind smartphone-class cameras (but sane people don't take photos with 11.6'' devices).
- It can easly replace tablet and laptop (I use remote desktop extensively) in 95% of my use cases.
- Absolutely best built Windows tablet/hybrid on the market.
- Thinckness and weight. Yep, as I said it feels better than RT but now we have Sony Xperia Z tablet (6.9 mm) and iPad Air (7.5 mm) both below 500 g. Surface's weight is not an issue for me, but I realize that a lot of people can complain. On the other hand, I understand that the compromises are unevitable when you have a integrated kickstand, full USB, microSD port and thicker, more durable glass on the screen.
- Still no LTE version (hello, Lumia 2520).
- Some app start time is still too long (few seconds). Twitter is a great example. But IMO it's more about proper coding the app - MS apps start much quicker.
- Desktop mode without mouse can be painful for prolonged work with files, Outlook or Office.
- Cover prices. I know than dumb-cover from Apple cost as much as 40$ while old Smart Covers start at 80$, but if you want a backlit new cover you have to pay additional 120-130$. That's a lot (type cover price is almost 30% of Surface 2 32GB price), especially when keyboard cover for Surface is rather a must, not only an accesory IMHO.
- Some big apps and tools still aren't there. Especially no good file manager for Metro and no Photoshop Touch.
- New color, unibody design. Now it's one piece of magnesium with nicer "feel" (at least for me). Subjective, I know. Plus the new finish doesn't pick up grease/fingerprints that easly. No stickers, no dumb port descriptions, almost no branding (just Win button and Surface logo).
- Touch Cover 2 accuracy. The new touch cover is waaay more accurate and faster. I'm suprised David didn't noticed it when reviewing.
- Windows 8.1 SkyDrive integration with smart files. Customization and flexibility of this solution is phenomenal.
- Ability to use three apps with snap view. On original Surface, 1+1 is the only option even with 8.1.
- Magnetic power connector works better this time - it's easier to plug at first attempt. It is still a "problem" with original Surface.
- Touchpad. With precision touchpad technology and all Windows gestures it's easier to navigate the desktop.
What are yours non-obvious impressions and use cases of new Surface?