Microsoft Surface 2 review: a second chance for Windows RT?
Microsoft has already proven it makes the best hardware of any Windows OEM, but the Surface would be more competitive if it ran full Windows and supported traditional desktop apps.
- Thinner and lighter, sturdier kickstand
- Well-crafted, premium design
- Long battery life
- Sharper display, great viewing angles
- Full-sized USB port
- Windows Store is growing, but still has holes
- More expensive than tablets running full Windows
We get the sense Microsoft wants to distance itself from the original Surface RT. After taking a $900 million hit on unsold inventory, the company held a press event where it saved the Surface 2 for last and billed it as a major redesign. "Surface 2 is not subtle, but a revamp," Panos Panay, Corporate Vice President of Surface, said that day. "It is not the simple changes that everybody wants, but it's the changes people need." Those changes include a thinner, lighter body; a sharper 1080p screen; a faster Tegra 4 processor; an improved webcam that fares better in low light; and a dual-stage kickstand that makes it more comfortable to use in the lap. It even looks different: The Surface now comes in silver, not black, so that you'll never mistake it for the original.
If you need even more evidence that Microsoft is embarrassed by the first Surface, consider this: The new version doesn't even have "RT" in the name. The thing is, of course, the Surface 2 does, in fact, run Windows RT, and it has many of the same software limitations as the original -- namely, that it won't run traditional desktop apps. Given that, is it possible that all these hardware tweaks are enough to reverse Microsoft's fortunes?