back to article 'Daddy, can I use the BLACK iPAD?': Life with the Surface Pro 2

“Daddy, can I use the black iPad?” my four-year-old daughter asks as she spots the Surface Pro 2 I'm reviewing for The Reg. She has, without knowing it, encapsulated Microsoft's problem on Surface in a nutshell. I’d been passing the Surface Pro 2 around to friends and family at a weekend gathering to garner their feedback. …

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  1. Bill the Sys Admin

    Really good article enjoyed it. I tend to agree with the last guy that had a go on it. Unless im docking it into another monitor then its just to small to get my work done on it (not sure if i can dock it?). Its like the 11 inch mac air, too small again.

    13 inch is as small as i would go tbh, I sometimes find my 15 inch laptop to small if I don’t have access to another monitor.

    1. Paul Shirley

      "13 inch is as small as i would go"

      Interesting. Intel research suggested 13" was a serious sales inhibitor on Ultrabooks and pushed for 14-15" devices back in 2012 (which didn't cause a magical sales increase in any case). There really does seem to be a minimum screen size expected for a work device.

      Microsoft have ignored that and put a PC in a toy tablet form factor without considering whether that makes any sense. They really shouldn't have tried so hard to blur the difference between RT and Pro devices or the niches they're expected to occupy and the correct form factors for each of those niches. MS weren't wrong to spend all those years deriding 10" iPad as a 'toy' so why package a supposed working tool in a similar form?

      [After being spoiled by a 15" 4:3 1400x1050 laptop I find even 15" WS ones restricting. Even my main 2048x1152 display is beginning to feel small...]

      1. Doug 3

        Re: "13 inch is as small as i would go"

        Microsoft had to make a big 'to do' about the pro versions over the RT versions since the 'pro' versions are Intel based and will load and run apps already on the market( x86 based ). They could have disallowed all existing apps on any MS tablet but then they don't have many so they'd surely lose there. And all this stems from being so late to market with viable mobile OS( remember WinCE based Windows Mobile and Phone 7 ). They even massively harmed Nokia by selling them on Windows Phone 7 and then pulling the rug out with Windows Phone 8 a year or so later.

        they are just too late to the party and marketing is reaching for any straw they can find. Their only possible way back is to spend 10s of billions and subsidize them to the point of shipping them in magazines.

        1. mscalora

          Re: "13 inch is as small as i would go"

          You forgot "it also runs all the popular malware and monthly security updates for the endless bugs pre-installed by Microsoft"

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "13 inch is as small as i would go"

        An 11" screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio for any serious work is laughable.

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Docking it

      There is a mini displayport socket that can be used with the appropriate adapter to connect it to a monitor. The adapters will presumably be the same ones that work with all recent Macs.

      There is also a USB port that can be used to attach a keyboard and mouse, or bluetooth if you want to use wireless versions of them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I just saw my very first Surface in the wild yesterday. Some poor sod was trying to use it on his lap at the mall. The kickstand was perched precariously on his knee and he was hunched way over trying to see the tiny screen. He was sitting very, very still, presumably because the device would have fallen over otherwise. It looked EXTREMELY awkward. He obviously would have been 10 times better off with an actual laptop. I was annoyed that Microsoft had inflicted such a poor product on this man, but I guess it's partially his fault for buying it, too.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        I use one and it's not "extremely awkward" at all. It's top heavy, sure, and you need to be a little more careful, but it doesn't warm your legs like a laptop may do.

      2. Nick Thompson

        I have a surface pro and it's pretty stable 'perched' on my legs. Nor do I need to hunch over it to use it.

        I don't just use it for 'basic consumption' either, I've done about 60 hours worth of software development using visual studio on it.

        1. El_Fev

          Your lying! I use visual studio every day for my job and there is no way to use it with a mouse, and a serious amount of ram to do serious work. So you are just plain lying

  2. anatak

    we will get some

    because we have a software that runs only on windows and are looking for something as light as possible.

    After reading this I doubt if the people who have to use this will like it.

    I am about the only one who does not need that piece of software and I run a mix of debian (laptop) and mint (ultra portable vaio) and everyone who I have put in front of my laptops are mad about how fast everything goes compared to the windows version (same vaio hardware).

    I am really thinking about making everything dual boot (linux for if you need to do some work) Windows if you are using the windows only software with clients.

    1. Steve Todd

      Re: we will get some

      Windows Terminal Services? Install the Windows app that they MUST run on a Windows server and share it out. You need an RDP client on whatever environment you chose, but the clients don't need to be Windows any more and can be as small and light as you want (Microsoft do an official client for the iPad for example).

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: we will get some

        Terminal Services means you need to be always connected (beyond the cost of licenses), and need hardware powerful enough to support all concurrent users. If you need to work disconnected and on your local machine Terminal Server can't help you. And some apps may be a pain to use remotely.

        1. Steve Todd

          Re: we will get some

          If you're restricted to an office then who cares about needing to be permanently connected. If you're out and about then you'll want a cellular modem anyway (and can get one built into tablets).

          Unless the software is some kind of monster CPU/RAM hog then you don't need to be very far up the modern hardware scale to support multiple users on one server these days (you can even manage on a desktop box with Windows Server installed).

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: we will get some

            Give a look to data roaming costs... And you can't work while flying...

      2. Doug 3

        Re: we will get some

        that would mean a whole lot of hardware reqs and software licenses and then all the support for those. With all that, why not just VirtualBox or VMware to run the version of Windows already on the hardware just to run those few apps. No extra hardware to pay for or support, minimal costs and might be able to save a wad on virus protection licenses given GNU/Linux would be the main OS on the systems. And doesn't VMWare have some kind of windowing mode so the Windows apps run on the desktop and not inside of a Windows Desktop VM(ie boot to the Windows desktop and then start the app)?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft is late on tablets

    Microsoft is late on tablets that may be of interest to people

    There, fixed it for you.

    I had a boss who thought he was the bee's knees with his HP Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Primitive, but a long time before the iPad.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: Microsoft is late on tablets

      Right there in the product name is the mistake they keep making: "Tablet PC"

      People are happily buying tablets. Less of them are still buying PCs. But almost no-one is trying to buy a 'Tablet PC', they didn't in the past and don't seem interested in the present.

      How many times do Microsoft have to repeat the same mistake before learning?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Microsoft is late on tablets

        They had an ebook reader they were working on too, it didn't use Windows as the OS. Bill Gates reviewed it and said he wanted the Windows GUI on it as people won't know how to use it otherwise.

        He's never been much of a visionary has he?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Microsoft is late on tablets

          "Having the old familiar Windows UI translates as lack of vision"

          "Having a completely new UI (Win 8) gets poor reviews/sales 'cause the interface is not what people are used to"

          Make up your mind, AC 19:05 and other Linux advocates! Oh well, haters gonna hate.

          1. Captain DaFt

            Re: Microsoft is late on tablets

            Two different use cases.

            One works for laptops/PCs, the other works for tablets, phones, and Ebook readers.

            Trying to make PCs and laptops act like tablets and phones, or vice versa, just doesn't work.

            The good people at Microsoft are unable to Grok that point.

          2. Piro

            Re: Microsoft is late on tablets

            No, the point the guy made totally stands.

            A desktop GUI is pretty bad for a touch only device.

            A touch interface is pretty bad for a desktop interface (mouse + keyboard).

  4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Wrong comparison

    When comparing weight and portability it has to be compared with the MacBook Air, not the Pro.

    1. Julian Taylor Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Wrong comparison

      Quite, and the weight for the 11" is a fraction over 1kg, with 1.35kg for the 13".

      I also note a glossing over of third-party application availability for the Surface - I would expect to see a review encompass testing with a minimum of applications such as Evernote and Skype as well as functional applications such as email, an eBook reader, music (how DO you play music on a Surface?) and photos.

      I am somewhat surprised in that I actually did enjoy this review. Well researched and well written - definitely a departure from the normal El Reg 'Jasper' style of Bawl n' Scrawl.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wrong comparison

        @Julian A surface pro 2 (which this is a review of) runs all the same software as any other windows 8 computer - because that's what it is. A computer. If it was a review of the Surface Pro (and this is another problem with Microsoft's marketing - the confusion between RT and Pro) then your argument around glossing over third party apps would be valid.

        Pretty sure there are tens of millions of third party apps for windows.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: Wrong comparison

          > If it was a review of the Surface Pro (and this is another problem with Microsoft's marketing - the confusion between RT and Pro)

          A confusion that you seem to have added to.

          > Pretty sure there are tens of millions of third party apps for windows.

          Almost none of which as usable on a touch tablet*.

          * They may be almost usable with stylus and keyboard, but then you would be much better off with a proper laptop for those applications (not 'apps') rather than something that is not usable on one's lap, nor usable in pure touch tablet form for those.

      2. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: Wrong comparison

        For the Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2, anything that works on Windows 8.1 works on it. Maybe there are a few things that need more memory, a bigger hard drive or a better graphics card, but other than that, you have an Intel i5 PC with 4 or 8GB of RAM, intel graphics, and whatever sized SSD hard drive you choose. Anything that works on that spec PC will work on it.

    2. Rebajas

      Re: Wrong comparison

      If you're going to make a comparison that is remotely like-for-like then I don't think many people would really compare a Windows tablet any Mac OS X laptop. As such I don't see too many Mac owners suddenly deciding to swap out for a Windows tablet regardless of how powerful it is.

      On the other hand I can see people swapping a Windows laptop for a fully featured Windows tablet in droves! It just makes sense to have that additional flexibility. The problem with that is it cannibalises Microsoft's own market and that of its partners...

    3. Pat 4

      Re: Wrong comparison

      Maybe. But you're not going to get a Mac person to switch to Pc... Ever. Especially if they already have one.

      You're also not going to get a business person to be interested if your only selling point is "it's as good as a Macbook air". Because business folks don't give a sh1te about Macs. A Mac is what their kids use, not them.

      These devices are wrong on so many levels it's not even worth arguing over.

  5. BigAndos

    My main use case for getting a surface 2 would be playing Windows games! No way in hell I'd use it for work, rather have an ultrabook or ideally a fullsize keyboard and dual monitors. As android and ios games gradually get better the use case for buying one of these is rapidly diminishing for me.. and at £719 it was never going to happen anyway!

    1. LDS Silver badge

      This is not a machine for gaming - it wasn't designed as such. You can attach an external monitor and a full sized keyboard to a Surface Pro (there's also a docking station available soon, if you need it).

      I still prefer a desktop PC and external monitors when I'm at my desk - but a Surface is really small yet useful while on the road.

    2. BigAndos

      It would never be my primary gaming system, I was thinking more of this scenario:

      http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2013/07/10

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    unhelpful review

    The first page of the article seems a bit mixed up about Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 (e.g. the linked comparison compares the Surface 2 to iPad Air.).

    No mention about the low resolution rear facing camera on the Pro (unusable for most imaging applications and far worse than cheap tablets), a useful review should cover features like this.

    For most users, the entry level 64GB model will have insufficient space once a few applications are installed would have been nice to read something about this rather than the overall tone of negativity with few facts.

    Does 'Alex' own a tablet?

    I'd be more interested in 8" or 13" models so its unfortunate Microsoft are taking so long to flesh out the Surface product line.

    1. The Original Steve

      Re: unhelpful review

      Completely agree.

      Surface 2 = iPad competitor

      Surface Pro 2 = MacBook Air competitor

      Different markets, different prices

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: unhelpful review

        "Surface 2 = failed iPad competitor

        Surface Pro 2 = failed MacBook Air competitor"

        Fixed that for you.

        Not that Apple are unassailable - far from it, with the likes of Samsung, Lenovo, Google, Amazon, and others all putting up real alternatives, depending on your budget and spec needs.

        But this is silly money for what is basically an Office machine. And anyone who wants Office - still - is going to want real a bigger screen and likely a better keyboard.

        MS haven't realised the most likely response to 'But it does Office!' isn't rapturous orgasmic spurting joy, but 'And...?'

        Hide it under WinClown 8.x and you have a sure loser. (See also > $1 billion lost already, etc.)

        1. billynomates

          Re: unhelpful review

          Can we ban the "There, fixed it for you?" please. It;s the forum equivalant of 'No, YOUR Mum smells'

          If you've got something to say, say it don't arse around changing one word at a time. Its not big and it's not clever.

          OR

          "It is Big and it is clever" There fixed it for you. See what I mean?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: unhelpful review

          "But this is silly money for what is basically an Office machine...MS haven't realised the most likely response to 'But it does Office!' isn't rapturous orgasmic spurting joy, but 'And...?'"

          OOOOh ok no need to mention that you can use Photoshop, Visual Studio, CAD, FTP, sync you ipod or iphone and not to mention use stuff like Tradestation. With all that dullhead name calling i bet you have a pc at your house what you fail to realize is the sruface pro is that pc in your bag and that there are plenty of people that do not want to carry a behemoth laptop with a 13+ inch screen in their bag that needs to be unfolded on lap in order to do anything.

          "anyone who wants Office - still - is going to want real a bigger screen and likely a better keyboard."

          umm keyboard it has is more then fine for on the go, you can use any keyboard at home or the office. Bigger screen is nice but again not on the road, plug it in when you are at a desk and use any screen you want. In a few years the black boarders will go away and you have your self a 13inch screen on the surface. But i bet you will still be saying is "it is basically an Office machine", its not your fault i get it office is the only thing you use on the pc, in your case just stick with the ipad exclusively.

          1. Chad H.

            Re: unhelpful review

            >>>OOOOh ok no need to mention that you can use Photoshop, Visual Studio, CAD, FTP, sync you ipod or iphone and not to mention use stuff like Tradestation. With all that dullhead name calling i bet you have a pc at your house what you fail to realize is the sruface pro is that pc in your bag

            Like an 11in laptop, not to many wanted those either. Instead you've got an expensive cloth as a keyboard... wow, progress.,

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: unhelpful review

      "No mention about the low resolution rear facing camera on the Pro (unusable for most imaging applications")

      Who in their right mind would use something as heavy and unwieldy as a large book for doing things such as taking pictures, or in imitation of a flatbed scanner?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: unhelpful review

        "Who in their right mind would use something as heavy and unwieldy as a large book for doing things such as taking pictures, or in imitation of a flatbed scanner?"

        Once you have PC or tablet software that can do interesting things with camera input, its a whole new world compared with older fixed function scanners and cameras where we are forced to rely on what image processing the vendor has been gracious enough to give us in firmware etc.

        If you lack the imagination to see what possibilities are opened up or the knowledge about what is being done already, little I can say here beyond saying in a few years time the photography/imaging landscape will look far different to what it is now.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: unhelpful review

          I would suggest that instead of trying to hold a half-kilo of tablet up to the target one should use your mobile phone's camera and your cloud provider of choice to put the image on the tablet.

          (Though Microsoft would probably rather you use a Nokia and Skydrive by preference)

          1. M Gale

            Re: unhelpful review

            and your cloud provider of choice to put the image on the tablet.

            Bluetooth not working any more? This isn't an Apple device, you know.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: unhelpful review

            "use your mobile phone's camera and your cloud provider of choice to put the image on the tablet."

            Or you could set up a personal wifi hotspot with your mobile phone and then upload the pictures from your wifi enabled DSLR camera... just saying, you don't need to be limited to the camera on a phone if you're serious about your photography!

        2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: unhelpful review

          > Once you have PC or tablet software that can do interesting things with camera input

          I have a Panasonic camera with WiFi and can link to it with my tablet or phone and drive the zoom, set focus point, and take pictures remotely. It can download to the tablet for post processing or upload to web sites. For taking movies the tablet can be used to follow focus.

          It doesn't work with Windows, RT or WP though.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: unhelpful review

        "Who in their right mind would use something as heavy and unwieldy as a large book for doing things such as taking pictures, or in imitation of a flatbed scanner?"

        I kid you not: I was at a GIG a few weeks ago, stood near the back as it was damn loud and my tinnitus is bad enough already thank you, and there was a woman there who kept taking an iPad out of her shoulder bag and recording bits of the show. As I was stood a few feet behind her it was quite distracting to see this little TV screen of what I was trying to watch for real.

        1. BigAndos

          Re: unhelpful review

          Not to mention all the tourists I see around london using iPads to take pictures of London Eye, Tower Bridge etc

          1. graeme leggett

            Re: unhelpful review

            "Not to mention all the tourists..."

            Does that prove the point or disprove it? The quality of the camera is naught if the next thing is to process the photo and make it look like it was taken on a Polaroid camera in 1976.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          Re: unhelpful review

          Silly people's mother is always pregnant... never found anything more uncomfortable to take pictures than a tablet. It has all the disadvantages of old large format handheld cameras, and none of the advantages.

      3. MD Rackham

        Re: unhelpful review

        I can't comment on the "right mind" part, but I see people all the time using their iPads as cameras.

        I suppose for video it gives more stability than a phone, but they don't usually seem the sort that would understand that.

    3. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: unhelpful review

      People looking at it think it looks like an iPad, and expect it to work like one. That is the point the article was making.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: unhelpful review

      I had been looking at the Surface Pro 2 recently but decided against it for the Lenovo Yoga pro 2. while it is larger than the surface if functions as a laptop or tablet, has a great screen and a very good keyboard. Makes a much better device for a "Road Warrior" than the surface. Still learning the nuances of Win 8.1. Had also looked at the mac book Pro retina 13" but would have to install Windows so why the bother & I really lke the touch screen and multiple positions you can use the Yoga in.

  7. Stephen Channell
    Windows

    When's the review of Suface Pro 3?

    I really like my Lenovo Yoga because it adds another screen to my work environment for web, email and office while I do real work on a full-fat mobile workstation.. It's like a Surface (even runs RT), but was cheaper. For a Surface Pro to be a replacement for the full-fat laptop, it needs to have a proper docking station that allows you to plug-in multiple monitors, keyboard, mouse and secure network... the Surface dock fails in this department (no multi-monitor support). The docking station should also allow you to fold near flat (in desktop mode) so the screen becomes a glorified touch-pad and provide DVI/VGA ports to use that stack of old screens every firm seems to have.. and PCI-Express-3 is the port to make it happen.

    So, Surface Pro 3 could well be a really good rig; Surface 2 will be good once they get the pricing right (that means waking-up to "free touch cover")

  8. Zot

    It doesn't just compete with Apple.

    This competes against ALL laptop makers, but clearly the author is an iFan to start with.

    It does seem like a nice piece of kit, and if I was in the market for a new laptop, I might have a look at it, as I don't want to buy an stupidly expensive, under powered MacBook.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Devil

      Re: It doesn't just compete with Apple, and this seems a little biased.

      "It doesn't just compete with Apple, and this seems a little biased.

      This competes against ALL laptop makers, but clearly the author is an iFan to start with."

      Hardly unsurprising from El Reg Hacks tho?

      Apple gives them a good seeing to and they lay a take it, they are so unbiased and objective!

      Just laugh, everyone else ('cept those fanbois) do exactly that. After all, they can't be taken seriously.

    2. Steve Todd
      Stop

      Re: It doesn't just compete with Apple.

      Underpowered? You know that MacBooks use the same Haswell generation of Intel i processors as the Surface Pro? They even manage a pretty fair stab at running Windows code, either by dual boot or inside of a virtual machine. The Pro also ends up costing about the same (or more) than a MacBook Air.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: It doesn't just compete with Apple.

        Well, any Windows machine would easily run OSX if it wasn't forbidden by the Apple obsession for total control of their stack. After all it was Apple that had to move to Intel hardware already running Windows...

    3. Chad H.

      Re: It doesn't just compete with Apple.

      >>>It doesn't just compete with Apple.

      >>>This competes against ALL laptop makers, but clearly the author is an iFan to start with.

      Wasn't he responding to a company hack who claimed the target for this product was to replace the MBP?

      Thats not biased, thats challenging their assertion. The opposite of biased.

  9. Lloyd

    I didn't read the entire article

    All I want to know is... does it support any decent 3rd party VPN connections? The original Surface Pro only supported MS VPN connections, no 3rd party support at all (from what I read anyway) and most VPN providers wouldn't touch it with a bargepole. Give me a product I can connect to home and work machines from with the added benefit of playing video plus web surfing and I'll buy it.

    1. The Original Steve

      Re: I didn't read the entire article

      Um, it will support anything a normal WinTel box will run...

      If you have your favorite VPN client on a Win8 box then it will run fine on a Surface. It's just a Windows 8.1 tablet, runs all x86 apps as it would if you shoved Win8.1 onto a desktop or laptop.

    2. dogged

      Re: I didn't read the entire article

      > " The original Surface Pro only supported MS VPN connections, no 3rd party support at all (from what I read anyway)"

      What were you reading, CultOfMac or a Gavin "I don't know how to long-press" Clarke article?

      The original Surface Pro ran anything that would run on x86 or AMD64 Windows. You were lied to.

  10. Fihart

    That elusive prosumer*

    "Surface Pro 2 is for road warriors and desktop masters. So Microsoft would have us believe."

    * See also hopeful Blackberry pronouncements.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "“Daddy, can I use the black iPad?” my four-year-old daughter asks as she spots the Surface Pro 2 I'm reviewing for The Reg. She has, without knowing it, encapsulated Microsoft's problem on Surface in a nutshell."

    Us Brits always say "hoover" for vacuum cleaner. Even if your vacuum is a VAX (* other cleaners exist), you'll still call it a hoover. Even your Dyson (the Rolls Royce of vacuum cleaners) gets called a hoover.

    We all know it’s not a "hoover" but a vacuum cleaner.

    This colloquium is what all tablets will face, not just the surface.

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Good point,

      Xerox used to spend a small fortune reminding the public to talk about photocopying rather than Xeroxing a document - not to much avail.

      If the word iPad becomes genericised to the extent that even crappy tablets are called iPads then it is Apple that has the real problem disassociating its product from the junk.

      1. John 110
        Trollface

        Mine are all...

        I have a variety of tablets (what?. I like gadgets!) and they are all PADDs. I was a Star Trek fan before I'd even heard of an iPad, and believe that the Roddenberry family should sue Apple for trademark infringement.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Exactly. This is *Apple's* problem, not Microsoft's. Any tablet that does the job is good enough. It doesn't need to have a fruity logo on the back. If it doesn't, we'll still call it an iPad.

      Back when an MP3 player was a separate thing (rather than a feature of your phone), the young things called *any* MP3 player an iPod. Tablets will be no different.

      1. Chad H.

        Yet, who refers to their graphics card as a 3Dfx card anymore?

  12. Zane

    How typical of you

    Really nice article.

    And it mentions certain things not specific to the Win 8 or Surface Pro, but that have been around with Microsoft software since always: complicated to install, and inconsistent in design. Seems most people only notice now that they see that others can do better.

    Zane

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: How typical of you

      The realm of complicated installs and inconsistent design is Linux.... not Windows.

  13. Busby

    Still haven't seen a review yet adressing the key questions. Will it run full versions of Football Manager and Civ? Thats about the only productivity I'm interested in.

    1. MattEvansC3

      Rock Paper Shotgun said it was good for playing XCOM on the toilet using just the stylus as a mouse replacement and Civ5 does have a touchscreen mode if that helps.

    2. Anon the mouse

      Surface Pro 1 owner here, Civ works fine and has a touchscreen mode too. Not tried FM but I'd expect it to take a bit of time between turns.

  14. Darren B 1

    Was this a Harware review?

    I 'm confused was this a review of the hardware or a how to use windows 8.1 with office 365 and related web apps.

    At least half this "review" could have been done on any touchscreen PC/Laptop/Ultrabook with Windows 8.1 installed.

  15. Avatar of They Silver badge
    FAIL

    Too much of a reliance on MS to do basic tasks for my liking.

    It phones home and / or needs to phone home. Too much "creepy lizard" for my liking. That and the Author's problems just navigating to a download, suggests MS want you to never stop using their servers and that isn't what portability or working while travelling is all about.

    This bit says it all for me.

    "The first hurdle is getting started and I need a Microsoft account before I can even use this machine. Each time it shuts down or suspends, I must enter a password to use it, and that password links back to the Microsoft account online. I need also accounts to use the really useful Microsoft icons on the Start screen - Skydrive and OneNote. Also, I need to subscribe to Office 365 to use the web versions of Office productivity apps even though the tablet comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote 2013.

    I’m stuck in an exercise in backwards and forwards, of setting up accounts, of converting my Hotmail account, getting bounced between sign up and log in windows, of being told I don’t have the correct permissions to use Office 365 despite having just entered my credit card details""

    1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Re: Too much of a reliance on MS to do basic tasks for my liking.

      And this is becoming a common trend, even beyond Microsoft. Look at OSX and its increasingly tight integration with iCloud. The crown benchmark of this has got to be The Great Ad-Monger's Chromebook - it hinges on Google's cloud services by design.

      If you don't like it, stick to Windows 7 or something else like Linux.

  16. Jim Hague

    Most Productive Tablet Ever!

    (Funny how the author of a review which explicitly states he does not own an iPad can be dismissed as an iFan.)

    I have a gen-1 iPad inherited from the boss. I am puzzled by the notion of being productive on a tablet. Odd email, yes. YouTube gawking, certainly. Bit of web browsing, of course. If I twatted, I sure I would use if for that too.

    But productive? It's the laptop or the desktop when I actually want to get anything done. Tablets are consumption devices, not generation devices. Man Of Spreadsheets is on the money.

  17. DrXym Silver badge

    I want a decent Windows tablet

    I just don't want to pay the stupid amounts of cash that Microsoft and other manufacturers are demanding for them.

  18. Mr. Peterson

    Really nice indeed, but will people ever care?

    No.

  19. BigBananaFeet

    Stop stating patently wrong facts as truth!

    Microsoft ARE NOT late to tablets. They were YEARS ahead of Apple.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra-mobile_PC

    Please try and do some research before stating $%^ like that.

    1. MD Rackham

      Re: Stop stating patently wrong facts as truth!

      Late to tablets that anyone cared to use then.

      Did you actually try to use the first gen tablets? We did a trial deployment with our app into a hospital. Leaving hardware reliability aside, doctors were literally (and I do mean literally) throwing them back at us because they were so frustrating to use. Hardware and UI were both a disaster. (I'm long gone, but as I understand it, the descendent of that medical software is now quite successful as an iPad app.)

      If you want to do MS a favor, don't remind people about those early systems. Apple's real talent is knowing when to enter a market, which is after all the pioneers have died of arrows in their backs, and it's much clearer what the market wants. (I can mix that metaphor a bit more if you wish, sir.)

    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Stop stating patently wrong facts as truth!

      > Microsoft ARE NOT late to tablets. They were YEARS ahead of Apple.

      """Apple's first tablet computer was the Newton MessagePad 100,[16][17] introduced in 1993, which led to the creation of the ARM6 processor core with Acorn Computers."""

      > Please try and do some research before stating $%^ like that.

      Likewise.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Stop stating patently wrong facts as truth!

        "Apple's first tablet computer was the Newton MessagePad "

        The Apple's talent of knowing when to enter a market... LOL!

  20. Chorotega

    The Surface pro is way too much money. I got an Asus Vivotab Smart running full fat windows 8.1 for £300, £25 for a Medion Bluetooth keyboard and £25 for a Bluetooth mouse and I have all the tablet/computer I need. Why shell out so much for a Surface 2?

    1. MattEvansC3

      If you are only in the market for an atom processor, low RAM and a middling 720p screen then yes a i5 Haswell CPU, 4GB RAM and a high quality full HD screen is too much.

      The Surface Pro is an attempt to give you a desktop experience on a tablet and that's what you are paying for.

      1. J 3

        "an attempt to give you a desktop experience on a tablet and that's what you are paying for"

        ...and not getting, if the reviews are to be believed.

  21. mobilejunkie

    Power user for the Surface Pro 2

    I look at the Surface Pro 2 differently from just another tablet. I don't want to be like batman, carrying a bunch of different devices (phone, tablet, laptop) as I travel and do my job. I work from home occasionally, from my local office and from other offices in the US and abroad. I want one device that does it all. The surface pro 2 with the keyboard and docking station and ability to drive 2 monitors solves my office/power user needs. The Surface Pro 2 with it's tiny form factor solves my travel needs (lighter than a laptop, more powerful than an Android or iPad). Add in LTE and Skype or another phone/VoIP app and we almost have 1 device that replaces the original 3. Add a BlueTooth headset and give the Surface Pro 2 the ability to wake when the phone app detects a call and I could consider this my ultimate machine. It's not quite there with the phone ability but certainly merges the tablet and PC together into a very nice form factor that is very powerful to boot. Combine this with the docking station and you have quite a converged device.

  22. carmen_c

    Why I love the Surface

    This video is actually very helpful for anyone considering, or who already owns a Surface. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wG1b0yBJHLM

    1. Hellcat

      Re: Why I love the Surface

      Thanks for the link, a few more toys to play with there. Voice control works ok on the Surface RT but might need a headset to overcome external noise. Don't think the gfx on the RT will quite be up to the HD video and Halo challenge though, will leave that to the Surface 2. Would like to try the play-to DLNA functionality but my Bravia is as old as the hills. Perhaps a DLNA HDMI dongle could help there?

  23. The New Turtle
    Coat

    Interesting review.

    Although the iPad isn't really more than a consumer device, people liked them so much they tried to find ways of bringing them to work, thereby fooling Microsoft into believing in a market that doesn't really exist. And the other area of fail is that screen - working professionals do not like 16:9 as a screen ratio, as laptop reviews here have shown over and over again. The right size for a business laptop is about 14" with a 16:10 ratio. Giving this a 10" screen that's long and narrow is automatic failure for this market.

    It's a shame that Microsoft's marketing dept has completely overlooked market research basics (or someone higher up the slippery pole refused to be told) and the result is a product that's potentially good, failing. By approaching marketing differently and fixing the screen ratio, even if they couldn't make it larger, this could have seen much more success. By making the new user experience as pleasant as that with a new Apple device they could have seen more still.

    Microsoft has always been like this - I wonder if they'll change or disappear? Labcoat because they're still looking for the answer.

  24. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    WTF?

    You have to have a MS account to use it.

    F**k right off.

    OTOH probably quite OK when you dump Windows and load a Linux distro.

    1. dogged

      Re: You have to have a MS account to use it.

      That's actually not true.

      You have to have an MS account to use the MS services - just like you need a Google account to use their services - but you don't need one just to run the damn thing as a win8 tablet (which is what it is).

      I presume Gavin didn't know this. It doesn't surprise me. As the Reg's "software guy", there's a lot he leaves out or just doesn't know.

      This leads to outright falsehoods like this one propagated in his reviews.

      1. JC_

        Re: You have to have a MS account to use it.

        You have to have an MS account to use the MS services - just like you need a Google account to use their services - but you don't need one just to run the damn thing as a win8 tablet (which is what it is).

        Technically true, but MS made it unnecessarily hard to find the option to create a local account rather than a MS account.

  25. majorursa
    Thumb Down

    Nauseated

    With all this licking up to the Apple playground I'm almost feeling a sympathy for M$.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Needs Microsoft account to use

    Are you serious about this ? That's an immediate lost sale.

    1. Doug Bostrom

      Re: Needs Microsoft account to use

      Yup. The multiple hassles around satisfying the elaborate artificial-scarcity engineering requirements make it a non-starter.

      From all the captivity efforts built into the machine and OS, this sounds like MS is trying to reboot the '90s, via a slightly different path. No thanks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Needs Microsoft account to use

        Seems like no one here has ever used a Surface Pro 2 exept for the writer of the article, since no one mension wrong things in article. And why compare something like iPad vs Surface 2 or Macbook vs Surface Pro 2, if you havnt tried them both? Why write something that we other have to read that is nothing more than… what? All this "This sucks/this is the best"….

        To me it's a tablet and a desktop. Not a laptop. Of course you cannot use it all the time with the small screen. But the purpose is - plug it in, use as a desktop, then take it with you and use it as a tablet, or a full-"size" computer with a small screen.

        The best part of it to me, is the hand writing part with pen. Cmon, its from Wacom (leading on drawing tablets for animators/drawers).

        Cameras on Surface is to me for taking picture on something I want to remember or "scan in", like a document I want to read, or a poster with dates I want to use. Not as taking awsume pictures :P

        Apple vs Surface? I know quit some moving from OS X and Mac for Surface Pro 1/2.

        And, the big wrong thing exept for somtimes saying Surface Pro 2, sometimes Surface, sometimes Surface 2, and Surface Pro, is that you absolutly dont need a Microsoft account to use it nor enter the password when screen gets black. If you have a password you only have to type it when it has been shut down (fix in settings).

        I really like Apple's laptops (not Googles thougt), but can't say much about Windows during 10 years only being reduced from ~95 % share of computer OS to ~90 %. I think people ignoring, dispite alternatives Windows went up 17 % last quarter in profit. Apperently they are not doing so bad as people (this author) says, hopes, thinks. Microsoft is the black sheap everybody saying "it's so bad", apparently Microsoft is not doing that bad (anymore?).

        And except from I-N-S-I-D-E specs - ffs it's not a Macbook Air 11". Can't handwrite "perfect", can't touch (screen). SP2 can't be as stable as a 11" laptop.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Because you can use an Android without a Google account?

      Or an Apple without an Apple one?

      Anyway you *can* use a Surface without a MS account (especially if you join it to a domain), just features needing it won't be available. Skydrive, Store, ecc. of course won't work. But it wasn't MS to start this crazy. It was Google and Apple.

      1. M Gale

        Re: Because you can use an Android without a Google account?

        Not Google and Apple. Just Apple.

        Granted, you won't get the Play Store without a Google account. You can however, dump whatever APK you like on the device, including things like the Amazon app store (or anybody else's app store).

        It's amusing in a way. Apple wish they were Microsoft, and Microsoft wish they were Apple.

  27. toraji

    What is this here in the comment section?? Apple's yard???

    @author....

    And you call this a "real" review?

    You don't understand what a Surface is and your friend Alex is an Idiot for not understanding what the pro 2 can do.

    It is my daily driver and let's me do everything ANYWHERE

    1. vonRat

      Alex probably doesn't realise you can dock the Pro 2 to a full size screen, keyboard and mouse and use it like a laptop. His perception was that the Pro 2 is similar to an iPad and the blurry distinction between the Surface & Surface Pro adds to the confusion. These are tragic marketing failures by Microsoft who are too busy trying to get down with the kids.

  28. Doug Bostrom

    Quick question: what's the difference between extended battery life during standby, and extended battery life during "off?"

    Presumably it's down to boot versus no boot?

    Point is, touting how long the battery lasts when not using a device seems a bit of a desperate reach for exciting features to tout.

  29. Uncle Siggy

    Competition is good

    It looks like Microsoft are chasing the niche, but without a nice solution. Adapt Windows for phone, fail. Adapt tablet for Windows, fail. Try try again. I hope they come up with something truly innovative, because a disruption in the marketplace is always welcomed. iPhone in my pocket and Macbook Pro tethered, gives me access to the computing power I need, and the 6.5 mbit connection I like. That includes my trusty and venerable Windows XP virtual image (the absolute pinnacle of usefulness and stability for a Microsoft product). Linux is everywhere I work. I regret not having had the time to have a Linux phone experience. Anyone can avoid vendor lockout by having private resources for the data most adored by people, but it seems many of us to choose to give up our privacy. This intrusion into privacy by phone, tablet and desktop appear to be the LCD. Surface is just another device for owning you.

    Disruption, disruption disruption. Instead of devices, we should disrupt services.

  30. Bullseyed

    Perspective

    "If you believe Microsoft, then the Surface 2 isn’t even a competitor to the iPad at all – the MacBook Pro is the target."

    Why would it be competing with the MacBook Pro? It has infinitesimally small market share. It would be competing with a Lenovo Thinkpad or an HP Pavillion.

  31. LDS Silver badge

    Disclaimer: I'm writing this on a Surface 2 Pro (8GB/256GB)

    I've been using a Surface 2 Pro since its launch day, and I didn't find this review good enough - it looks more like a "first impression" by someone used to something else.

    I bought a Surface Pro exactly because I was looking for a small PC which could also work like a tablet, and run almost any Windows software. Is it thick? Yes, a bit - but beyond style, does it really matter if it is a little thicker? It's heavy? Yes, a bit, but still a reasonable weight. After all my Canon DOS 5D MKIII and its L lenses are big and heavy too. And powerful. And the camera and Surface plays well together, because I can connect the camera thanks to the USB port, and run both Canon software and Lightroom for on the field checks and first editing. And I have no problem to carry both in my Lowepro bag for the whole day.

    They Touch Cover is not really the keyboard you're going to get if you need to type a lot. The Touch Cover 2 works well - I have no problem to type as fast as on a standard one, its backlighting is really useful, and it turns on as you move your hands over the keyboard. It's slim enough it doesn't add much to the thickness and weight. The touchpad could have been better, though, although it also supports gestures too.

    The screen is very good, and thanks to Windows full support I can also color-balance it with standard tools. It is true the 16:9 format is not always the best one, and I would have preferred a more "squared" one. Applications should be designed to work well with this, as many Bing applications (news, sport, finance, weather, etc.) do.

    Touch is very responsive, the on-screen keyboards never lags while writing. The Surface has not a "stylus" it has a pressure-sensitive digitizer, and it adds a lot in terms of usability. I can take hand notes as easily as I could do on paper.

    What is missing is mobile connectivity - you can buy a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot or use your phone, but that's less practical. Microsoft should have added it in both models. The cameras have low resolutions, but they're enough for Skype calls or the like, and to get an image of a document or the like. After all, I'm using it to drive a full-frame DSLR often, thereby I really don't care about the built in cameras. After all taking photos with a tablet makes you really look a nerd.

    SDXC support let you add a lot of storage for less critical files, and because the standard allows for 2TB cards, there is plenty of space for some time. High capacity cards are still expensive, though.

    That author didn't understand how "Metro" apps work on Windows 8. Sliding from right brings in a standard menu where apps can add their own entries (and be part of the standard ones), usually settings/search/share ones, while system wide entries are also accessible in the lower pane (that's where PC settings are).

    Sliding from left allows for switching to other applications. Sliding from top closes the current application, and sliding from the bottom brings in applications contextual commands.

    It is also not true IE works in "vertical" and not "horizontal". Of course most sites are design for vertical scrolling, and horizontal swipes are meant for page back/forward actions. But click the "book" icon to the right of the URL, and IE will change the current page into a "reading layout" mode which works with horizontal scrolling.

    Metro applications availability is a sore point - there are few (most are games), and only a handful are really useful. The built in applications are good enough to be used, but there is a lot of space for improvements. It's a pity MS made development with third party tools an issue, because coming late it would have been better to open it to as many as developers as possible.

    I found very little issues using standard Windows application, mostly because the Arc mouse was not yet available in Italy, and the USB port is on the left side, making my old laptop mouse uncomfortable to use.

    The small screen size coupled to the 1920x1080 resolution requires a decent sight, yet the screen is clear and very easy to read. No problem to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint while on the road, or connecting via SSH to perform some remote administration. Performing presentations via a network projector works very well, and with a Surface you can also move easily in the room.

    I don't play games - but FSX, but I have a dedicated PC with all the needed hardware for it. The built in stand is good, and allows for easy use both on desk and on legs while travelling. I used it on trains, on planes, and waiting both, and typing was comfortable enough, although being heavy on the other side compared to a laptop requires to be a little more careful.

    Sure Windows 8.1 still suffers from some "split brain" issues, and some settings are too scattered around, and you may need a little time to get at them quickly.

    I find the Surface a surprisingly good device, and very good for what I need to do with a device like such. If Microsoft can improve the software quickly, it has a very interesting device. Not for everybody, sure, because of price and maybe weight, but a powerful one that can shine when what you need is exactly power and versatility.

    1. SS-Kent

      Question about Surface 2 Pro (8GB/256GB)

      Dear LDS

      I have read the The Register Guidelines and u/stand I am allowed to ask questions of its members. Many of the posts on the Surface Pro 2 are so knowledgeable I email you to ask if you can help me with any of my queries.

      I have never used a tablet and have waited for the MS Surface Pro 2 as it has a full size USB port; also I believe this model allows .exe files to be downloaded – is this correct?

      I ask because specific things I would like to be able to do are: download Acrobat to enable me to look at .pdf files; download my VPN of choice (mine is My Private Network which connects me to a UK server so that I can watch BBC iPlayer whilst overseas).

      I also have a very useful booster aerial that I currently use with my little netbook – as it vastly increases its speed and range of picking up wifi. I would like to use it with the Surface Pro 2, might you know if the Pro would accept an aerial?

      Have you attempted to connect a USB hub to add extra USB ports ? This would enable me to connect the aerial, a keyboard and a mouse and, if I really pushed my luck, a memory stick!! But maybe that is too ambitious for tablets, I have no idea as I have never used one.

      Thank you for taking the time to read this, if you have time to help me – thank you very much.

      Kind regards

      Sophie.

  32. Bullseyed

    Lack of Industry Knowledge

    "The Surface Pro comes with two things I thought went out with PDAs from the early 2000s: a kickstand – to prop up the screen into one of two viewing positions (on the first machine there was just one position) – and a stylus."

    I guess the author hasn't gone outside in a really long time then. Typical conference swag these days includes phone stands, some of which include dock functions, speakers, etc.

    There is also a booming stylus market and they come standard on basically any touch device bigger than 5 inches these days.

  33. DxH

    I like it!!!

    Some of the complaints seem odd to me. I hear a lot of complaints about screen size. I LOVE the surface 2. I can "dock" it at the office to a 30 inch monitor. I connect a full size keyboard and mouse. I feel it turns into a full blown PC. When I am on the road, I can access all of the stuff from a small form factor that is easy to carry. I can vpn to my networks, remote desktop to virtual machines and servers. I mean, out of the box this thing works great for me. Try doing this with any other tablet out of the box, no apps added. I mean, this is actually a great device for road warriors or tech users IMO. When I am not working, I can play games on it, or watch Netflix or Hulu. I have an android tablet as well, and I manage a number of Ipads for clients, but for me the surface 2 is a winner.

  34. Herby Silver badge

    Problem: Kickstand!

    The kickstand is an encapsulation of the problem with the Surface thingy. A nice traditional laptop has its screen attached nicely to the base where the keyboard is located, and it hinges nicely all by itself. This works out fine for a device sitting on your lap (thus the name!). The kickstand on the Surface thingy implies that it should rest on a desk of some sort, not up at a nice angle like a laptop screen. Even with the nice detachable keyboard, it doesn't balance well.

    On the other hand, the iPad lies flat on a surface or can be held in your hand. Rarely is it propped up and used "desktop" style as the kickstand would have you do. So, the iPad (and its Android cousins) are of a different breed. They are meant to be "held", not "propped". As a previous commenter mentioned this makes them a "Consumer of information" product.

    The "market" that Microsoft likes to sell into is the "Generator of information" segment, and a laptop is the device of choice here. It can sit on a desk, or it can be used as a lap device. The Surface goodie is a poor intimation of a laptop in this segment.

    So, all the dancers in the world can't make it any better, as there are other devices that have better functionality (and probably at a cheaper price). My wife for one is (in my estimation) a "consumer" and the iPad suits her just fine. The times she actually uses a keyboard are for entering her mailing address/credit card number to buy something. She doesn't need/want the complexities of an attached keyboard and composing documents isn't there. Why bother with stuff more complex than it needs to be.

    It seems as though Microsoft is trying to do what Microwave Oven makers are still trying to do: Add more and more useless features to a pretty basic device.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Problem: Kickstand!

      You should try to use one. The keyboard is an essential part of the Surface - and it's a pity MS didn't include it in the basic price. A Surface, especially the Pro, is designed to do more than just touching and swiping. Of course if you need Office and other Windows application, you need a keyboard, and maybe a mouse as well. The kickstand helps a lot to use the Surface on a table or in your lap. Sure, it's less comfortable than a laptop because the heavy part is on the "wrong" side, but that's something you have to pay to use it as a tablet as well. They could design an heavier keyboard with a stronger hinge to keep it upside - but it would make it also less portable.

      Anyway many iPad/Android tablet users use covers that can keep their tablet upright at a given angle, to ease touching and typing. The Surface keyboard acts as a cover also, and the built in stand means you don't need anything else.

      1. Belardi

        Re: Problem: Kickstand!

        And there lies the BIG problem regarding Surface/Windows tablets... You MUST have the keyboard?!

        A person spends $1000+ for such a device... when in the end, a $500 14" 3lb notebook would be faster, have a larger screen and keyboard... and a much lower price.

        That is WHY Microsoft is a failure today. They failed the desktop with a TOUCH-tablet UI... they failed the mobile market with over-priced devices that don't or rarely add any actual value.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Problem: Kickstand!

          You need a keyboard, especially with the Pro, if you need to use applications designed to keep advantage of the keyboard. When in a meeting, I usually take notes using the digitizer, not the keyboard, it's much faster. Of course, the longer you need to type the faster it is if you have a keyboard, How many tablet users bought a keyboard too for type-intensive applications?

          Anyway, give me a $500 notebook with 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, high-res screnn, touch screen, digitizer, and removable keyboard, and lighter than 2lb, and I'll get one. Otherwise I will spend $1000+ for such a device - unless you can't afford it, price is not the only driver when you buy something. If spending a little more makes you more productive - and in turns it means more revenues - why should you save money and get less?

  35. J 3

    Productivity?

    Who cares!? Microsoft always makes me cringe with this (sometimes misplaced) obsession on "productivity". People want to buy the cool thing, not the productive thing -- even if the typical Reg reader is not like that, most people still are, deal with it.

    Sure, a tiny few will want to run Office or some specialized Windows-only software on a tablet, and will buy the specific machine to do that. But most everyone else buys these things as glorified toys, even if they later end up finding some interesting apps that are actually useful for something productive. Typical people want to play with a tablet, not work with (or on) it. Closest they will want to get to "work" here is usually email or conference calls. Otherwise, it's mostly web, social stuff, videos, reading, games. Playing. Stupid Microsoft does not get it, and will stay niche on this until they get tired of burning money and pull the plug. Except for the XBox (apparently, I don't know, not a gamer), MS is not good at fun.

    Now, it's obvious that the iPad has by now got some cool apps and accessory ecosystem that make it be very useful in many areas (e.g. music). People buy it, but not due to that potential usefulness though. Same for other tablets -- small, works for web surfing, (sometimes) cheap.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Productivity?

      A lot of people care about productivity. Just they are not the ones who write reviews for the general press, or gadget sites, and those address a consumer market where, yes, device are adult toys.

      It's more or less like reviewing servers or storage, they are all about productivity, and there's little interesting for toy-consumers, but a lot of interesting things for power users needing something to fulfill their productive tasks. The difference is that a consumer just spend money - the "produced" will spend money to make more from that. That's, after all, one definition of "productivity".

  36. Mikel

    Battery life

    Lots in the article about standby. Did I miss the part where you can't even make it through The Hobbit if you're actually using it?

    Also... 10" tablet has the same resolution as my phone. Retro.

  37. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    and yet I got 3 down votes for saying I wouldn't touch it for the MS account.

    Let me be clear.

    I won't touch Apple or Android either.

    Had a frantic call last week from a friend.

    Had Android phone, lost Android phone. Wanted to locate it but hadn't used his Google account since he set it up, because he lives on his phone and doesn't like computers.

    Couldn't recall his password, hadn't written it down and hoped I could help him out.

    Had to tell him, no password, no help.

    It's not the sharing I mind. It's the coercion.

    Get this. You don't own those products. They own you instead.

    1. KPz

      Re: and yet I got 3 down votes for saying I wouldn't touch it for the MS account.

      You don't need an MS account to log into it, or run anything. Whilst it wants you to do so, to run the Calendar etc, you don't have to use their versions and you can happily install the Calendar of your choice - or indeed, the anything else of your choice.

      But yes, I take your point about the coercion. I got driven crazy by the Nexus for this kind of thing, and weirdly, the Surface Pro 2 is actually better at this than either Android or iOS.

  38. Rattus Rattus

    Did you try installing Windows 7 on it?

    That might have made for a more useful device overall, if you could have gotten drivers for everything.

  39. Giggitygoebbels

    TLDR,but all i am gonna say is the Surface family is bad,becauce i have the RT version and the sides of the surface is corroding,growing weird grey bumpy dots that are extremely annoying.Covered with aluminium tape for now.Not covered in warranty btw.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      It's not possible it is not covered by warranty, especially in EU, unless you exposed it to some corrosive substance.

      But maybe you name yourself 'Goebbels' because you're some kind of propagandist...

  40. Andy 70

    search on this

    best page in the universe, padhole

    sums it up nicely.

    1. M Gale

      Re: search on this

      Matey, I'd use a tablet to take photographs just to piss that guy off.

      Maddox is funny when he's pissed off. Doesn't make him always right.

      Quite right when comparing his phone to the original iPhone 1 when it came out, though.

  41. car do I have

    negativity with out even using the pro 2 for a month.

    My work college, a senior engineer purchased the pro 2 and asked me to set up he's email account from work and install full office suite. Guess what I now have bought one and can say most of you who dislike the device really should think again. I have the iPad 2 and mini which are great but no match for the pro 2 and I am typing this on my couch with the backlit keyboard and its a awesome experience.

    Let me say for the record when I first got it I was dissatisfied and some what feeling ripped off because of the price, weight and some issues like little performance hiccup's and unresponsive internet use and the windows app store missing some big names (nearly took it back). Then I decided to check for an update (Microsoft here: always needs updates), and surprise- surprise there was a patch and almost all issues went away apart from some cursor jumping every now and then when typing on some forums and app store content.

    When you actual get over just comparing it to the IPAD which we all do and start using it for editing, drawing pictures, sending and replying lengthy emails, using online flash applications for games, movies, photo creation for online printing offers, checking work files at home on Saturday after noon on the kitchen table, doing your tax return on the couch using the software that you downloaded and installed and replying to forums like this one it becomes apparent that this is amazing. The screen size is not a problem as some are saying, you just increase the size by pinching the screen oh and not to mention split screen which is very handy as I do a lot of searching on here also the weight starts to not be noticeable because the kick stand is allowing you to rest it on one knee with my leg crossed off the ground on the couch and its sturdy.

    My college senior engineer uses his for plane spotting and attaches is radar box to it when he travels around the world, he absolutely loves he's and he also has an iPad, Samsung note 2 phone (awesome phone), MacBook air and windows laptop. He just emailed me from overseas on his pro 2 and states that the pro 2 has been his best computer/laptop/tablet he has every used especially the pen becoming a real powerful tool when using excel, outlook and browsing the net.

    I would even say that the surface 2 would be a better buy for children as it also allows flash playing applications on the net (free) and office comes included, its lighter, better battery life (I think), not susceptible to viruses and cheaper.

    Make no mistake its not flawless (pen holder is crap), still can get viruses like normal pcs (not the surface 2) but it really is close and when you can plug just about anything to it (external hard drive, mem card,Xbox controller, mouse, etc..) you get to feel it was the best thing you have bought to do you daily tasks play most full pc games from steam and sit on your couch and tap away on the net at night. My son and daughter 7&9 years of age play minecraft on it and asked if they can get one by saving up and not to buy them an iPad air to share for Christmas (as if). So here are my children choosing surface over the iPad and they have my iPad 2 and mini to use instead but they are more on my desktop pc writing stories with word and playing minecraft while I am using my pro2 and my wife uses the mini to play candy rush (still a great game if you haven't played bejewelled).

    I wanted to share my experience and like always with all of us we like to think we made the right decision when buying these expensive gadgets. This is really a good investment, guaranteed after a month of use and understanding of the short cuts and gestures to navigate around windows 8.1 its more than a tablet its a pleasure to have around,-- last thing My WiFi printer (non apple certified)never worked properly with iPad after hundreds of apps but first time with my pro 2.

  42. Ypewero

    Wrongs things in article, dum stuff in comments

    Seems like no one here has ever used a Surface Pro 2 exept for the writer of the article, since no one mension wrong things in article.

    And "commentateurs", why compare something like iPad vs Surface 2 or Macbook vs Surface Pro 2, if you havnt tried them both? Why write something that we other have to read that is nothing more than… what? All this "This sucks/this is the best"….!

    To me it's a tablet and a desktop. Not a laptop. Of course you cannot use it all the time with the small screen. But the purpose is - plug it in, use as a desktop, then take it with you and use it as a tablet, or a full-"size" computer with a small screen.

    The best part of it to me, is the hand writing part with pen in OneNote for exampel. Cmon, its from Wacom (leading on drawing tablets for animators/drawers).

    --

    Cameras on Surface is to me for taking picture on something I want to remember or "scan in", like a document I want to read, or a poster with dates I want to use. Not as taking awsume pictures :P

    --

    Apple vs Surface? I know quit some moving from OS X and Mac for Surface Pro 1/2.

    --

    And, the big wrong thing exept for somtimes saying Surface Pro 2, sometimes Surface, sometimes Surface 2, and Surface Pro, (what does author mean?) is that you absolutly dont need a Microsoft account to use it nor enter the password when screen gets black. If you have a password you only have to type it when it has been shut down (fix in settings).

    I really like Apple's laptops (not Googles thougt), but can't say much about Windows during 10 years only being reduced from ~95 % share of computer OS to ~90 %. I think people ignoring, dispite alternatives Windows went up 17 % last quarter in profit. Apperently they are not doing so bad as people (this author) says, hopes, thinks. Microsoft is the black sheap everybody saying "it's so bad", apparently Microsoft is not doing that bad (anymore?).

    And except from I-N-S-I-D-E specs - ffs it's not a Macbook Air 11". Can't handwrite "perfect", can't touch (screen). SP2 can't be as stable as a 11" laptop. Don't absolutly compare a Macbook Air to a SP2, it's just to hard.

  43. KPz

    Having Bought a Surface Pro 2

    I'm liking it more and more, the more I use it.

    Yes, there are challenges with the hybrid tablet/laptop format; some apps really don't like it. Yes, Win 8.1 is still a bit clunky. Yes, it's still Windows.

    But...because it's Windows I can run anything I want. I'm not tied down to the Apple or Google/Android stores. I can run proper versions of applications, not cut-down "mobile" versions; anything from Civ V to iPlayer.

    If I don't like a particular app, I've got the choice of hundreds, or even thousands. I'm not tied to whatever a huge corporation wants me to be able to run.

    As for security...it's Windows. Again, pick and choose your security vendor.

    I'm happily using it on my commute (a 40-minute train ride each way, always seated), so the form factor and weight isn't too much of an issue. And frankly, being able to run Steam apps (anything from Civ 5 through FTL to CK2, which displays acceptably), LibreOffice, proper iPlayer etc, is just great, and miles ahead of what I can do on an iPad or a Nexus. More expensive, yes, but you gets what you pays for.

    (And yes, the performance is fine, and yes, it does get a bit toasty!)

  44. Nighthawk610

    Horizontal then vertical scrolling

    I understand that some things aren't meant for everyone but I swear some people just look for things to complain about. The one person found it odd to have to scroll horizontally through the apps but then found it confusing when they opened a browser they had to scroll vertically. What??? Last time I checked EVERY browser scrolls vertically so it isn't like this was something hard to understand and get used too. In fact, it probably would have been stranger to try to scroll vertically only to find out that you needed to go horizontally. A horizontal web page would not flow well at all. It would be more like a book with pages. Not to mention, last time I checked an iPad scrolls horizontally to flip through your screens of icons but then if you open the browser you scroll vertically. Come on people.

  45. car do I have
    Thumb Up

    tried online gaming

    I was a bit lost on the app store not a whole lot but its okay then I remembered the good old internet and there is thousands actually millions of online games and most are free. I don't feel confined any more you people should stop disliking the surface pro and do your self a favour and get one. I just played bejewelled 3 on pop cap site and its awesome and the graphics are awesome. Buy the older version if you cannot afford the new it will still make you realize the potential this device has.

  46. Cyrus Lesser

    I haven't had an opportunity to try it, but judging by the amount of time I use Splashtop on my iPad so that I can use my Windows apps on my PC, I think this has real potential as my mobile PC. The forced Hotmail account integration is a pain on my Windows Phone 8 Lumia phone and would be no less of a pain on a Surface.

    With a well thought out docking setup with 22 inch screen and full size keyboard at my home/office, this could work as a grab and run without having to sync my iPad. In the meantime, CompanionLink is my saviour!

  47. ronnguyen52

    Interesting article...

    This is an interesting article however, I do disagree with the view. I guess it all comes down to personal preference.

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