Surface 2 Diaries: the prequel

About The Author

CNET Editor

Nic Healey can usually be found on a couch muttering about aspect ratios and 7.1 channel sound - which is helpful given that he's the home entertainment guy at CNET.

I've had a couple of months to recover from my Chromebook experiment and — glutton for punishment that I am — it's time for something new.

So welcome to the Surface 2 Diaries. Starting tomorrow morning, I'll be using Microsoft's Surface 2 as my sole work computer for a whole week.

I've got the 32GB version, which retails for AU$529, and has the following specs:

  • Windows 8.1 RT as the OS

  • 2GB of RAM

  • A quad-core Tegra 4 processor running at 1.7Ghz

  • A claimed battery life of 10 hours — and that's, apparently, of solid video playback!

  • And I'll be pairing it with the Type Cover 2

You'll note that while Microsoft have taken the RT away from the product name, they've left it on the OS. Yes, this still uses the cut-down RT version of Windows rather than the full Windows 8.1 you'll find on the Surface Pro 2.

In his review of the Surface 2, my colleague Eric Franklin noted that while the Surface 2 was a big improvement over the Surface RT there were still "software limitations" regarding the use of Windows RT. So this should be fun.

I'll just add that, from my initial set up of the Surface, this is a beautifully designed bit of hardware. It's light, but feels very solid in its build. It's also feeling nicely zippy and responsive. Let's see if this enthusiasm lasts the whole day tomorrow — especially as I'll be kicking off by working from home tomorrow morning...

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Portentous posted a comment   

If your work flow is largely MS Office, with Skydrive as cloud storage and for your desk: a micro HDMI adaptor to a second monitor, USB out to a keyboard and mouse, it is very workable. I did it with the old Surface RT, so the Surface 2 would do just as well or better.


Shannon.Roberts posted a comment   

Personally, A review of Surface Pro 2 should be performed, why get a cut windows version and more importantly the hardware specs to boot are even less favorable ?

It would be worthwhile to save the extra $$ and buy the Windows 8.1 along with the hardware thats adequate.

I wouldnt place a Desktop replacement solution on my staff's desk that is lesser than an I5 processor driven computer, you would want it to boot up with reasonable speed and fire up your common office applications as opposed to having someone make a coffee while the things loads ?

Time will tell how the performance really is for the cut down version


trebor83 posted a reply   

Except that that would essentially just be testing a laptop. A weird looking laptop with a detachable screen and a kick stand, but still just a laptop.

The question here is whether Microsoft's cut down system is actually enough for someone to get by with. Should be interesting


mholko posted a comment   

Good luck but I think you are planning to shoot yourself in the foot by using it as your sole work computer. Like any tablet it is not designed to replace your computer, just to complement it. I've had fun with My Surface 2 and while I don't use it as my sole computer it has been excellent for web browsing using apps from the Windows Store and more importantly, like no other tablets can do properly or at all is run Microsoft Office. Having Office/Outlook 2013 on this is awesome and best thing it comes included in the price.

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