Pro­duc­tiv­ity Trans­formed

Mi­crosoft sur­face 2

HWM (Malaysia) - - TELEPORT - TEXT // MICHAEL LOW

Back in April last year, Mi­crosoft un­veiled the Sur­face RT, which ar­rived in a stylish, sturdy form fac­tor, along­side an ARM-pow­ered Win­dows RT OS that placed greater im­por­tance on the touch­driven Mod­ern in­ter­face than the tra­di­tional desk­top en­vi­ron­ment. Now, six months af­ter mak­ing its U.S. de­but in Septem­ber 2013, the Sur­face 2 was fi­nally launched on our side of the pond. Want to know what’s new and what’s changed other than the dropped ‘RT’ moniker?

On the out­set, the Sur­face 2 ap­pears rel­a­tively un­changed, with Mi­crosoft opt­ing for the same wide black bezel, ta­pered edges and rounded cor­ners, save for the matte sil­ver-gray Va­porMg chas­sis that adorned the rear sur­face (pun in­tended). Not only is it pleas­ing to the eye, but it is also highly re­sis­tant to prints and smudges. The built-in kick­stand, which folds out from the back while the key­board cover lies flat, now in­clines down to a low 55-de­gree an­gle (in ad­di­tion to the orig­i­nal 22-de­gree), which works great on a ta­ble and just as well on your lap.

De­spite be­ing 0.5mm thin­ner at 8.9mm and weigh­ing 4g less than its pre­de­ces­sor, the Sur­face 2 is still a tad heav­ier than other tablets in its class, but it makes up for it in terms of a more bal­anced weight dis­tri­bu­tion. Nes­tled un­der­neath the kick­stand is the mi­croSDXC reader, while the much-wel­comed USB 3.0 port, mini-HDMI port, vol­ume rocker, power but­ton and the cover port share near-iden­ti­cal lay­out to the Sur­face RT.

Per­for­mance-wise, the Sur­face 2 ben­e­fits from the im­prove­ments in pro­cess­ing power and bat­tery ef­fi­ciency of the NVIDIA Te­gra 4 pro­ces­sor. While the mem­ory re­mains un­changed at 2GB RAM, the dis­play re­ceived a much­needed Full HD up­grade, re­sult­ing in sharper, crisper text, ex­cel­lent con­trast and brighter, vivid col­ors. The im­proved view­ing an­gles also make watch­ing HD videos a treat, while the built-in stereo speak­ers pro­duce clean, de­cent sound for its size, but at the ex­pense of bass qual­ity. It’s al­ways good to have a pair of head­phones with you when you’re out and about. Run­ning on Win­dows RT 8.1, the Start but­ton re­turns, bring­ing with it new tile sizes, im­proved search, OneDrive in­te­gra­tion and more. Mul­ti­task­ing feels snappier than ever, and it’s in­cred­i­bly nat­u­ral to slide re­cently opened apps into view with your fin­ger.

Speak­ing of fin­ger, both the Type Cover 2 and Touch Cover 2 are now armed with back­lit keys, along with other sig­nif­i­cant up­grades over the orig­i­nal key­boards. Typ­ing feels com­pletely nat­u­ral and is, in fact, qui­eter on the Type Cover 2, though we weren’t ex­actly thrilled with the re­moval of the phys­i­cal track­pad. On the other hand, the 2.75mm-thin Touch Cover 2 feels a lot more sen­si­tive, given that it’s im­bued with 1,100 sen­sors, which al­lows for two-fin­ger and space­bar ges­tures, but it’s just not as tac­tile as the Type Cover 2.

All in all, the Sur­face 2 sur­passes the orig­i­nal Sur­face RT in al­most ev­ery way. We were able to squeeze close to nine hours out of the tablet, while the cam­eras are markedly im­proved over the pre­vi­ous 1.2MP of­fer­ings. Plus, you also get Of­fice 2013 RT and Out­look 2013 RT right out of the box. That’s value right there.

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TIONS PRO­CES­SOR NVIDIA Te­gra 4 (T40) 1.7GHz Quad Core // CON­NEC­TIV­ITy 3.5mm stereo au­dio, USB 3.0, mi­croSDXC card reader, Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n), Blue­tooth 4.0 LE, HD video out, cover port // MEM­ORy 2GB RAM, 32GB or 64GB in­ter­nal stor­age // COL­ORS Mag­ne­sium (Sil­ver) // DI­MEN­SIONS 275 x 173 x 8.9 mm //

WEIGHT 676g // BAT­TERy 4,200mAh Li-Ion (non­re­mov­able) // WAR­RANTy 1-year // CON­TACT Mi­crosoft (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd // TELE­PHONE (03) 2179 6838 // URL www.mi­crosoft.com/en-my

In ad­di­tion to the USB 3.0 port, the Sur­face 2’s built-in kick­stand can be tilted to a lower 55-de­gree an­gle.

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