Originally published October 20, 2013 at 9:04 PM | Page modified October 21, 2013 at 7:49 AM
Microsoft’s modern Surface 2 pill looks great with its vivid show along with a silvery magnesium case which will be right at house found on the bridge of the spaceship.
Unfortunately, the entry-level, $449 model doesn’t do and also it looks.
After 2 days of testing the Surface 2 at the job plus house, I was reminded of the aged adage regarding Microsoft products: Wait for the 3rd variation before we take the plunge.
But it remains to be enjoyed whether there is a 3rd adaptation, because the Surface 2 is based about Windows RT, a forlorn working program that’s been mostly abandoned by the rest of the PC industry.
The Surface 2 goes about sale Tuesday alongside a new variation of the more effective plus capable Surface Pro. The latter bills twice because much — $900 — nevertheless it runs a general variation of Windows plus is suitable with more programs.
With all kinds of unique pills going about sale this getaway season, including new iPads expected to be unveiled Tuesday, it may be smart to wait before taking the plunge about a Surface 2.
I wouldn’t be amazed when Microsoft lowers the Surface 2’s cost very shortly, or begins throwing inside accessories including its smart “Touch” covers with integrated keyboards, to keep it competitive.
I desired to like the Surface 2. It’s very impressive for what’s just the 2nd generation of the computer yielded by Microsoft, plus it comes with a suite of worthwhile software.
But following experiencing many hiccups throughout a two-day trial — including a frozen keyboard, casual application hang-ups along with a some abruptly closing browser windows — I decided it’s not yet a pill which I'd purchase for function or house utilize.
If it cost $300 or less, I’d be more forgiving, however, the Surface is a second-generation, business-class device which costs because much because a computer as well as the more seasoned iPad.
There are certain points to like. The cool slab is only a 3rd of a inch thick plus weighs 1.5 pounds. Its 10.6-inch touch screen has been upgraded to full 1080p resolution, as well as its power is stated to last 10 hours, 2 hours longer than the authentic Surface, that Microsoft started marketing a year ago.
The Surface 2 does several cool tips plus comes with Microsoft Office, thus it may be selected for function and browsing, viewing videos, playing games plus many different aspects persons do with pills. With its split-screen capability, that you can do many at when.
During Thursday’s Seahawks game, the Surface 2 had been a well fine replace for the iPad I usually utilize for e-mail plus browsing found on the sofa.
Later which evening I watched piece of the TV show through the Surface Netflix application, that is superior to the Netflix application found on the iPad.
But the upcoming morning, whenever I propped up the Surface found on the kitchen countertop to squeeze inside several function over breakfast, its $120 backlit, snap-in “Touch” keyboard stopped functioning. Nor might I enter text utilizing the on-screen touch keyboard till I shut all open apps plus reopened them.
I tried 3 different Surface keyboards plus none worked. Finally I went into the program controls plus did a “refresh” — a 15-minute task — as well as the keyboards began functioning again.
As for wireless connections, the Surface sadly doesn’t yet have built-in mobile service accessible. It was simple to tether to my telephone plus connect when riding the bus.
Unlike the overly restrictive iPad, the Surface 2 lets consumers load files straight plus connect accessories, from the USB 3.0 port along with a memory-card slot.
The Surface 2 wakes up virtually immediately, has an improved camera, plus speakers with a lot of oomph to play music.
Microsoft additionally improved the Surface’s signature built-in kickstand, providing it a 2nd position which leans the device farther back. It moreover added fast access to the built-in cameras, that you could begin utilizing with a downward flick of the finger, without unleashing the device.
Then there’s the working program.
Windows RT was crafted to run “big Windows” found on the tiny, power-efficient mobile processors employed inside phones plus pills including the iPad. The objective was largely achieved; RT functions about these chips, however it’s incompatible with programs created for elder versions of Windows.
You possibly weren’t going to employ an enterprise application about RT equipment, that are aimed more at customers plus pupils. However pupils that like to employ, state, Microsoft’s Worldwide Telescope astronomy atlas are furthermore from chance about RT.
RT filled a gap between Windows 8 plus Windows Phone. It was moreover expected to address Microsoft’s glaring absence inside the flourishing marketplace for Internet pills, that are today owned by 35 % of U.S. citizens over age of 16, according to Pew analysis.
But the requirement for RT has become less apparent. Windows Phone is scaling about run about little pills utilizing mobile chips. At the same time, Intel’s new chips are finally little plus effective enough which PC machines may use those to build good pills running standard versions of Windows 8.
Dell, Lenovo plus Acer announced 8-inch Windows pills last week inside the $300 range. Instead of RT, they all employ normal Windows about Intel chips.
New Intel chips equally led to dramatic improvements inside the Surface Pro 2, that Microsoft claims has 75 % longer power existence. It’s a more interesting way for those wanting a PC-like pill.
Both Surface models come with all the 8.1 variation of Windows which was introduced last week.
Sadly, Windows 8.1 no longer utilizes the rendering of the Space Needle that has been the standard house screen about Windows 8. However 8.1 does provide consumers more choices to configure the program, a token “start” switch along with a wash list of upgrades plus fixes.
The app store’s tile found on the begin screen today shows the logo of featured apps, whether or not we absolutely own those apps. Some consumers is confused whenever they tap found on the Netflix logo, for example, plus are taken to the shop plus not the Netflix application.
I’d place up with which kind of thing when Microsoft might change the design of Internet Explorer or enable contending browsers to run about Windows RT.
IE’s controls fade away to maximize the show window, forcing we to tap the screen or click a mouse to have them surface. Users could have the possibility of keeping tabs plus controls noticeable always.
The Surface browser might give certain Internet pages just when I toggled to conventional “desktop” mode. This choice wasn’t created obvious, though; inside Windows 8 mode the browser presented a empty screen whenever pointed at these pages.
Microsoft has completely woven services including Skype as well as the SkyDrive storage service into Windows 8.1.
SkyDrive is very handy. It functions merely like another hard-drive found on the program, that begins with 32 gigabytes of localized storage. Files are automatically saved about SkyDrive plus are accessible from alternative equipment whenever we log inside with a Microsoft account.
It’s simpler to select that files or pictures you need to download from SkyDrive onto the neighborhood device, plus Microsoft provides Surface customers 210 gigs of online storage for 2 years, inside addition to the 7 gigs it offers free to everyone.
The catch, naturally, is the fact that following this trial provide you’ll possibly end up paying monthly fees to access all of the stuff you’ve stored about SkyDrive.
At which point Microsoft should begin offering folks Windows RT pills for free, when they signal up for a two- or three-year bundle of online services.Brier Dudley’s column appears Mondays. Reach him at 206-515-5687 or firstname.lastname@example.org