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483 of 492 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly excellent tablet
I heard a lot of lackluster reviews about the original Surface tablet but I heard that Microsoft fixed a lot of issues in the Surface 2 so I checked it out. I liked what I saw in the store demo so I bought it. After using it for 2 days solid, I can say that this is an excellent tablet and entirely underrated. I give it 4 1/2 stars overall.

The good:
1)...
Published 10 months ago by JL

versus
82 of 92 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Do your homework
If having Microsoft Office included with the Surface 2 is one of the factors you are considering in deciding to buy a Surface 2 then do your homework. This is not a full version of Microsoft Office. The version of Excel (RT) that come with the Surface tablet does not support macros. This truncated version of Microsoft Office is missing a lot of key features from the...
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer


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483 of 492 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly excellent tablet, October 26, 2013
This review is from: Surface 2 - 32GB Desktop Tablet, by Microsoft 10.6" (Personal Computers)
I heard a lot of lackluster reviews about the original Surface tablet but I heard that Microsoft fixed a lot of issues in the Surface 2 so I checked it out. I liked what I saw in the store demo so I bought it. After using it for 2 days solid, I can say that this is an excellent tablet and entirely underrated. I give it 4 1/2 stars overall.

The good:
1) Excellent look and feel. The frame is made of a beautiful alloy and it feels both strong and light. Unlike all the other tablets I've seen, this one is widescreen. This is great for media viewing, and provides a substantial and useful difference in viewing between portrait and landscape mode. The screen is full 1080p and everything looks super clear. Comparing it with the ipad, the ipad is sharper but not quite as clear. It kind of feels like with the ipad you are looking through thicker glass so it seems "cloudier" than the Surface 2, even though the iPad has higher resolution.

2) Microsoft Office comes bundled FOR FREE. This is awesome. No other tablet has anything comparable. Fully functional versions of Excel, Word, Outlook, Powerpoint, and Onenote.

3) A micro SD slot for expansion of primary storage. Up to 64gb additional storage. Ipads don't have this, and with androids some do and some don't. Very useful and welcome.

4) A mini HD port, so you can output the display directly to a tv or monitor. You might need a mini HD to HDMI adapter, depending what you have on your bigger screen. This is awesome because you can play movies, show photos, etc directly to your tv from the tablet. Apple has airplay, which only works over wireless IF you have a $100 apple tv box, but the direct cable is better in my opinion because you never have network lag or loading issues, which I sometimes get on my apple tv. I think this also can do wireless streaming to a tv via an xbox but I don't have an xbox.

This is also great because you can attach a type cover or keyboard and mouse, and connect this to a monitor, and use it like a full pc dual monitor system.

5) Bluetooth support for keyboards and mice and other devices.

6) The Surface has a built-in kickstand with 2 angles that makes viewing and using very convenient, especially when used with the touch or type covers or a usb keyboard.

7) A fully functional USB 3.0 port. This is another HUGE advantage. If you need more storage you can connect a full hard drive and have all the storage you want (I connected a 1.5 Terabayte media drive to mine and transferred files using windows explorer). Also this makes it easy to transfer files to and from the device. I was always emailing or texting stuff to myself on my ipad because the ipad doesn't have a better way to do this.

8) You can have 2 apps open on the screen at the same time, split with a vertical bar between them. You can change the size of the split to anywhere you want by dragging the divider left and right for 50/50, 80/20, 29/71, whatever breakdown you want.

9) There are front and rear cameras. I think the front is 3.5 megapixels and the rear is 5.0. You can record video as well.

10) Live tiles. This means that tiles are large enough to show useful information without opening the app. The weather app shows the current weather, the email app shows the latest email subject, the NFL app shows recent scores. These update in the background automatically.

11) Gestures. Open by tapping, close by swiping down, go back to the main page by swiping in from the right, switch between open apps by swiping in from the left, and open split screen by swiping down and then to either side. I find them second nature after a couple hours.

12) Battery life is fine. Over two days I used it about 10 hours before charging it at 12%, including about 4 hours of video streamed to the device. The charger is a cool magnetic clip.

13) Handwriting recognition. This works with a stylus or your finger, and reads both block and cursive. I love this because I like to write out my onenote notes. Some people may not care about this but this is one of the Galaxy Note's key points and the Surface 2 can also do it.

14) There is a desktop app that looks like the windows 7 desktop with a few basic things like control panel, windows explorer, ms office, etc.

15) The type and touch covers are awesome, they are like 3mm thick and provide both a protective cover and a full keyboard and mousepad. The connector is a cool magnetic thing that can be pulled right off.

Now for the not so good:

1) This is not a full version of windows 8, so you can't install standard windows software on it. To do that, you need a Surface Pro. A lot of reviewers in the media made a big deal out of this, but it's not like you can install Photoshop on an ipad, or any other mac os software on the ipad. Android doesn't even have a desktop OS that I know of. So this to me isn't a big deal but be warned that you need to have Surface Pro to install standard windows software, and the pro costs about twice as much.

2) The app selection is fairly limited. It's much better than it was 6 months ago when I first looked at the older surface but it still is noticeably behind Android and IOS. The difference is enough that it may be a dealbreaker for some people. I found most of the major apps I cared about but I don't use a whole lot of apps in general. Check out the app store online to see if you will be missing anything you use a lot, because that is super important. This alone may outweigh everything else if your favorite apps are missing.

3) The type covers ($120), micro SD cards (up to $50 for 64gb), hdmi adapter ($10), stylus, and other add-ons are not free.

4) If you hold the surface in portrait mode, it is possible to have your thumb bump the start button, which returns you to the tiles screen. After this happened twice, I got around the issue by rotating it 180degrees so the button was on the opposite side of my hand.

5) The version with LTE connectivity (i.e. cell phone data) is slated to be available in Spring 2014. This doesn't bother me because that's not how I use this, but if you need a data connection everywhere, you might want to wait for the LTE version.

EDIT:
6) The operating system takes up more space than I originally realized, so you don't get the full 32 GB of built in storage. It's more like 20 GB. I looked up the iPad and IOS uses about 2.5 GB of space. I take off half a star, but a) you still get more than 16 on the base model and B) the micro SD slot mitigates this somewhat. Still, it feels a little deceptive since the OS is big.

Check if the apps you want are available or coming soon, and if you need cell data wait for the LTE version, but in every other way this is an excellent tablet with a lot of advantages.
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592 of 610 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why I love my Surface 2, November 3, 2013
This review is from: Surface 2 - 32GB Desktop Tablet, by Microsoft 10.6" (Personal Computers)
Length:: 9:53 Mins

In this video, I show off some of my favorite features of the Surface 2! Enjoy.
Note: my voice is a little high pitched because I needed to compress the video to get it to fit in Amazon's 10 minute limit!
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254 of 270 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A formidable tablet and a major improvement, October 29, 2013
By 
Thomas B. Talbot (New Market, MD USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Surface 2 - 32GB Desktop Tablet, by Microsoft 10.6" (Personal Computers)
I've just upgraded from the Surface RT to the Surface 2 and it was well worth it for me. Previously I upgraded to the Surface from an iPad2. So here is what I've found:

The Surface 2 has been an excellent performer. Besides common tablet tasks like Skype, web browsing, email, kindle books, ebay and a few other things, I've got a complete Microsoft office system that lets me do serious work - not just viewing files but actually creating content and editing documents. The thing runs all day on battery and I'm finding that I can get away from using a computer on trips and go for a full week with my surface 2 without carrying my laptop.

General: Great battery life, its snappy and has a nice screen. I use the original type cover from my old surface which works great and use a Bluetooth mouse when doing a lot of production work. The touch gestures are awesome as is the multitasking where I can have a couple tablet apps up at the same time. A negative thing is that some apps are lacking, but this is compensated by the fact that you can do the full website version of just about everything.

Improvements over iPad: My iPad was a good consumption device for web and apps, but it was really bad at several things like writing anything, office type apps, email (doesn't hook up to exchange), getting files on or off it without going through iTunes, playing non-apple video files, expanding storage, connecting with USB peripherals, etc. The surface 2 is quick, it lets me do office, I can sync all my documents with skydrive and selectively choose what stays on the machine, I can play all kinds of videos (but not some MKVs - awaiting VLC player), etc. I can copy files on it at will, print to printers, connect thumb drives and other peripherals, etc. It lets me do things so I can get things done. I also like that the included email program (much improved) hooks up with business exchange accounts. I don't really use the outlook app, now included, though. The SD slot is really nice and I keep a 32GB card full of videos and music for flights. Although I was worried about not being able to install legacy X86 windows programs, I feel so much freer than I did with iPad because the iPad felt like a prison to me. I do prefer the iPad 4:3 screen to the more awkward 16:9 on surface. (I don't hate iPads and my wife/kids love theirs).

Improvements over Surface RT: Higher screen resolution and much faster speed. The old surface actually wasn't too bad at running office and tablet apps, but the web browser was sometimes much too slow on complicated pages. I like that the surface 2 is much snappier and the Windows 8.1 improvements are significant as well, especially the improved skydrive (it is enough better to finally get me to switch from dropbox - by the way the RT dropbox for surface RT and surface 2 is pretty bad - the web browser version is even better because you can drag and drop with it).

Overall, if you want a tablet that can do productive things and isn't locked down as far as files/expandability, I think it is worth trying out for a few days. I'm very happy with mine.
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161 of 175 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surface 2 is truly something else, October 29, 2013
I was struggling between Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 and finally pulled the trigger on Surface 2. My initial reason for choosing the Surface 2 was price. I knew I wanted a Windows device but paying north of $1,200 for Surface 2 Pro with 128GB and keyboard was too risky. What if didn't like it? What if it ended up collecting dust?

For my needs, Surface 2 is perfect. This device comes preinstalled with a "touch enabled" Microsoft Office which includes Outlook. Basically, all I was looking for was a tablet to check my email, do some word processing, edit spreadsheets, browse the web, and pay bills online.

I've been using Kingsoft Office on my Nexus 7 and Galaxy Note 8.0 but the experience is nothing to write home about. With the Surface 2, I can now get some serious work done.

Referring back to the title of this review, the reasons why Surface 2 is "truly something else" are as follows:

1. The 10.6 inch screen is gorgeous. Also, one finger typing, with the onscreen keyboard in portrait mode, is rather good. This is a good thing because browsing the web just works better in portrait mode.

2. Battery life is amazing. The Surface 2 out lasts my Nexus 7 (2012) with room to spare. I guess the whole point of putting Windows on an ARM device was power consumption. Intel is closing the gap but Surface Pro 2 is not going to give you 10 hours.

3. Everyone knows Surface 2 comes with Windows RT. If you absolutely need to run x86 apps or have extra cash, you should buy the Pro. I just wanted to mention the positive for running Windows RT. You don't need to install antivirus software. The way I understand it, Windows RT works like iOS.

4. Surface 2 is not a tablet. That is to say Surface 2 is not a toy. Maybe I'm too harsh in calling tablets mere toys. But the Surface 2 just feels different from all my android devices, my desktop and laptop computers. Let's just say I have the Surface 2 right by my side while working on my HP desktop or Dell laptop.

Choosing a tablet is very much a personal taste. My wife would never buy a Surface 2 unless it has angry bird or candy crunch. I just had to write this review about the best thing since slice bread (at least for me).
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77 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally a tablet for entertainment and work., October 31, 2013
This review is from: Surface 2 - 32GB Desktop Tablet, by Microsoft 10.6" (Personal Computers)
I won't get into the technical stuff here. I will just point out some things that a normal person can relate to when comparing a tablet. If your a tech. buff, then read the other reviews.

I wanted something portable so my wife can produce Word documents and Excel spread sheets and for my kids to create Power Point presentations for school. I wanted to get the Pro 2, but it was more than I wanted to spend and the Surface 2 had all the Office software that we needed and I had a Netbook that has the full Windows 7 installed that is still portable enough that one can still take with them if they needed a full computer. I figure for the price difference between the Surface 2 and Pro 2, I can use that towards another newer portable Netbook. Still got to have a full featured computer. A two for one if you will. In case you didn't know. You cannot install software on the Surface 2. The Pro 2 you can if you want a computer replacement. Although the Surface 2 should have the software that most average people would need. But a good old fashioned computer is still better than any tablet for major work because they are still more powerful and a lot of ports for different plug ins. Get a fully loaded 11 inch laptop if you want portability. So know what you are looking for.

Don't believe all the reviews out there saying the ipad Air is the better tablet. Those reviews are biased and only bring up the minor upgrades from the old ipad and base the comparisons off of those few things. And the only two really bad things they had to say about the ipad Air was that it didn't have a fingerprint scanner and it didn't come in gold. The 80's called and they want their gaudy flashy gold bling back.

Most of these reviews will only focus on those points and will not mention all the other advantages the Surface 2 has. And for the few reviews that do mention the other features the Surface 2 has, they still favor the ipad because the camera was nicer or more apps. Really?

I am using the ipad Air as comparison as it seems to be the standard.

What the reviews usually leave out or down play.

Surface 2

1. Full office software. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote.
2. Wide screen optimized for wide screen movies. When held in portrait when you are surfing the web for example, you get a a longer list so you don't scroll as much.
3. Micro Sd slot. Easy to download or upload data on the fly.
4. 3.0 USB so you can easily backup files to a hard drive and not have all your eggs in one basket. Or transfer files with anything that has a USB plug and also charge your phone. Ipad? No, unless you have the adapter and you can't charge your phone.
5. Can print to almost every printer.
6. Hdmi port
7. Flash support so you are not limited browsing the web.
8. Built in two position kickstand.
9. Thin keyboards that double as covers. Can get them background lit, flat, with real keys, and a new one coming out with
built in battery to recharge your Surface at the same time on a charge. Battery in tablet is good already though. Some say that you need to buy a keyboard to make full use of the Surface and adds to the cost. Ridiculous. You do not. It will make life more easier though if you are working on a spreadsheet or word document. With an ipad you don't need one because what use would it be for? Sure there are apps. but they are limited to what you can create or edit. You have to do major creating and editing on a computer first and then hook up the ipad and transfer it.
10. Hook up to your t.v. or another monitor and drag an open window to the second screen.
11. Do a split screen on the tablet.
12. Run multiple tasks at the same time in the background like listening to music, watching a video and doing something
else like typing an email or working on an a office document in split screen mode.
13. Wirelessly sync with your xbox and play games on your t.v, stream videos, pictures, etc.
14. Drag and drop files.
15. Can set up individual separate users on the tablet and have parental monitoring updates and deciding what child can do on the tablet. Unlike the iPad I can be in the middle of something and then let others use the Surface with their own logins and not interrupt my session when I come back to it later. Everyone can be working on their own word document for example and don't have to have the other person log out of an app so someone else can use it. And each person has their own private log in to protect their work.

Now these are not all the Surface 2 offers. I am finding new things still.

The ipad Air is basically the same ipad as before with minor tweaks. It's faster and lighter. Still does the same thing as before, nothing new.

ipad Air

1. Powerful processor. For doing nothing new. Future fingerprint scanner? Tablet will still only run apps. as before.
2. Lighter and thinner is negated by the cases to protect the ipad and without a keyboard.
3. Upgraded camera. Put it down, your annoying the people behind your trying to see the wedding or play. Use a real camera.
4. No USB or sd slot. Need adapters for just about everything. And with the Surface 2 you can plug the unit in when it is dead and keep on using it and still do things via the sd card or usb cables. On an ipad you can't do both. You either charge it or plug in an adapter to the only port the ipad has do to something. And if it is dead, you have to wait until you charge it first. Also you need to bring all the adapters and keyboard with you vs the Surface 2 of which all you need is the power cable. And the cover/keyboard is so thin it is negligible in bulk and weight. And justifying that the ipad has third party keyboards is not valid. It is a separate bulky keyboard and the ipad does not support mouse functions. You are stuck with third party hardware that is Apple specific whereas with the Surface you can use anything that supports micro SD or USB. And having to buy all these accessories tofor the ipad.will not be cheap. People gripe about the Suface cover/keyboard costs too much. Well to buy a seperate cover for an ipad will cost $40.00 and it will flop around and a non intergrated keypad will cost $100.00 that you have to carry seperatley.
5. Having to convert simple files with Apple software a hassle.
5. Tons of apps. Android not far behind. And Microsoft growing. How much apps. does one need?
6. What good is the Reina display if it isn't widescreen? Picture is actually smaller than 9.7 with the black bars.
7. Only compatible with Apple products i.e. cant print unless it is an AirPrint printer or stream to t.v. unless Apple t.v.
8. Slightly upgraded camera. Put it away! Your blocking my view! And people with a 4.8 inch phone look ridiculous? At least they are not carrying around the perfect sized iphone for one handed operation along with a 9.6 tablet that takes two hands. Kind of contradicting.

The ipad Air has more negatives than positives, so how can it be better? Android tablets have more features even than the ipads. I guess if you want one just for games and apps, then an ipad or a higher end Android tablet might suit your needs. People are not weighing in that the Surface 2 can do more than just play games.

Now back to the Surface 2. There was a slight learning curve to understand what all the gestures do. It didn't take long though. Look it up on youtube and you will pick it up real quick along with a lot of tips and tricks of what it is capable of. There different ways to open, close, move, split screen, multitask, etc.

The tablet feels a little heavy in the hand if you had to hold it I admit. But the two position kickstand works pretty good on the lap as I didn't think it would. I don't have to have a cover to add to the bulk to double as a kickstand also. And even if I put on one of the super thin keyboards they would add very little weight or bulk and they snap on and off without any hassle. Also keep in mind which keyboard would work better for you. The keyboard without the real keys requires a little harder tap on them than with the one with real keys. So if you do a lot of typing or use it on your lap, you may want the one with real keys.

The boot up time takes a little while when completely off, but remember it is opening real office programs. When in sleep mode it opens up quickly.

I went several days at a time of casual use and in sleep mode without charging and it still had a charge.

The tiles are nice because it is real time data so I can glance at them without opening up an app. for email, weather, etc. On Apple you have a bunch of icons and you have open it up, Android you can use widgets.

With a real browser and Flash I can use full websites rather than a mobile version. And also it is a lot easier to open multiple tabs when surfing the internet unlike some tablets where it is a pain to pop back and forth between tabs.

As I mentioned above it is nice to have the split screen because my kids can research on the web on one side and write their paper on the other side while listening to music of which they shouldn't be.

Three cons I find on the Surface 2 so far is that the power cord is only about 58 inches long. You have to be really close to an outlet of some sort. The second con was that the software and backup takes up about 16 gigs so you don't have the full gigs of memory stated. So might have to get an sd card. Yes other tablets you only lose about 2 gigs, but remember they are pretty much entertainment tablets only and can't do what the Surface 2 can do. And the third con was it gets hung up once in a while surfing the web. The last two cons are why I deducted a star.

If you are waiting for a ipad Air Pro to come out. Don't be surprised if it doesn't come with a Retina display, finger print scanner, nice camera, etc. You will have to wait for the Pro S, Pro S1, etc. to get one feature at a time and not several at once. I mean come on, cant even throw in a simple camera flash. The ipads shouldn't even be placed in the categories of tablets that can run Office software. There should be a category for Dumb Tablets that only run apps, a category for Smart Tablets for those that can run fully functioning office software and not just limited mobile versions, and Extreme Tablets for ones that can run full blown Office suites.
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84 of 93 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great tablet all around!, October 28, 2013
This review is from: Surface 2 - 32GB Desktop Tablet, by Microsoft 10.6" (Personal Computers)
After having owned all versions of the iPad (except, obviously the iPad Air which is about to come out, and the original Surface, I have to say that the Surface 2 is probably the best tablet I've owned.

First off, I had the iPad 3, and then the Surface RT came out. I bought the RT and wanted to love it so much, but it had a few too many things against it. Windows RT was new and fresh at that point, so the app selection was still pretty bare and some of the core apps didn't have the refinements they needed to be as functionally useful as they needed to be (Xbox Music, for instance). I loved the feel and look of the device and it was quite durable, but one big issue that I found was that the speakers were simply too quiet. They had been subsequently enhanced through updates, but I'm speaking from owning the device for the first 2-3 months of it's life. And the biggest problem of them all was that it was simply too slow. The Tegra 3 made running some of the Windows RT apps simply not enjoyable and it took a bit too long to do simple things like opening up the apps, navigating through them, and even composing word documents and such on the desktop side of things.

Well, a year later and the Surface 2 addresses all of this.

It comes with a 2-stage kickstand that definitely helps with it's stability in resting in your lap, or visibility when looking at the device form different viewing angles. The device now has a Tegra 4, which Windows RT just flies on. I've seen some intensive apps such as Six Guns (a game) have a little sluggishness to them, but for the most part, any app that you run will run and run well. It nows runs Windows 8.1 RT which has a number of enhancements over the previous version that make it much more feature complete and usable. The device itself, is lighter and slimmer and although I thought I wouldn't particularly care for the change from the black finish to the silver finish on the back of the device, it looks good (especially with the cyan type cover).

The screen is better on the device and is now the same as the Surface Pro (2), which makes reading and watching media as crisp and clear as ever. It really is fantastic quality.

The new touch and type covers have been improved in many ways over their original incarnations, with the most noticeable of them being that both the new keyboards are now backlit. It's a great addition, although if you have either of the original covers, they will work just fine with the device. Personally, I went with a Type Cover 2 as it has the tactile feedback from the keys that I need to really be effective at typing. The touch cover didn't really give me that, but they have increased the number of sensors on the touch cover, so I'd advice going to a Microsoft Store or getting your hands on one through other means to try them both and see what suits you best.

The few issues that I have with the device revolve around the fact that I still believe that the speakers could have a bit more volume and a bit more bass, but they do seem to be a tad louder than what I remember the Surface RT (or Surface 1, as they now call it) to be. The app selection has gotten a whole lot better, but there are still a few that I'd like to have that aren't available, and I wish there were more big name game developers that would port their apps over to the Windows Store (I'm specifically thinking about developers such as Telltale, who made the Walking Dead Game).

When it comes down to it, why do I believe that its better than an iPad? Well, Internet Explorer is great and it is flash compatible, which helps on some websites that I need to be able to access and use (for instance, when using Wolfram applications on the web to do my homework). It is compact and the keyboard covers are great at being able to get light work done whether in Word, Powerpoint, or Excel. But by far, the ability to "snap" two apps to your screen (have two apps running at once, while being able to adjust how much of the screen they take up if one is more necessary than another) is the greatest advantage of them all. While you can have apps running in the background on your iPad, which is fine, the ability to use two apps at once, to have two webpages going at once, to be growing the web on one side of things, but on the other side have another app running, such as a video player, the music app, or anything else you want, is simply efficient and immensely useful in getting stuff done.

The iPad to me is a great consumption device, but an okay productivity device. I will give it that app makers have built around it's deficiencies to make it a lot more productive than it inherently is by just having a screen. With a Surface 2 and either one of the keyboards, which simply cannot exist without one another (figuratively speaking), though, it cannot be understated that the widescreen display, though it can be an adjustment to make if you've had an iPad, makes it great for viewing media, and the keyboard/ability to use two apps at once on the screen make productivity much more inherent to the device.

If you're able to see the device for what it is, which is a great tablet with the potential for great productivity, and believe in the ability for the Windows Store's app selection to grow, though it's pretty decent now, then this is definitely the device for you. If you need to be on the cutting edge of getting all the latest and greatest apps out right now, then although I'd like to say you should still get a Surface, the iPad simply can't be beat in terms of developer support right now.
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82 of 92 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Do your homework, November 3, 2013
This review is from: Surface 2 - 32GB Desktop Tablet, by Microsoft 10.6" (Personal Computers)
If having Microsoft Office included with the Surface 2 is one of the factors you are considering in deciding to buy a Surface 2 then do your homework. This is not a full version of Microsoft Office. The version of Excel (RT) that come with the Surface tablet does not support macros. This truncated version of Microsoft Office is missing a lot of key features from the regular office suite.
Also if you go to a store and ask customer service people you will find that most of them believe there is no difference between the regular office suite and Office RT that comes with the Surface 2 tablet.
Also note that none of this is mentioned in any of Microsoft's advertising for this product. You can learn more about this on the internet. However it is much like the legalese fine print on some products.

I like the Surface 2 and do recommend it to people who are not intermediate or advance Microsoft Office product users.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Product but Amazon's Price is Crazy Expensive, December 16, 2013
First off, what is Amazon thinking? This is $300 more than Best Buy or Windows Store. Just crazy. Is it to keep Kindle sales up? Weird. Don't buy through Amazon unless price point drops well below $600.

Now for product review. Excellent, well made device that shows marked improvement in speed and video/audio quality versus 1st generation Surface. The stereo sound is excellent. Keyboard is a must (integrates with nearly any keyboard but Surface Keyboard is amazing). I love that it already has drivers for wireless printing and every other device I own. Usb 3 is lightning fast and hdmi works wonders with tv and projectors. Also a piece of cake to plug into monitor. I can't help but think that if this had an Apple logo it would be hailed as one of the best innovative machines. I also looked seriously at purchasing the pro 2, but found this device really has all I need. Microsoft office is perfect on device. Being able to video a presentation in one pane while typing notes in another is slick and has no lag. Multiple panes for working with Powerpoint or Word and excel is also a huge plus. This thing is also an incredibly durable device. It has survived multiple drops without a scratch.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely surprised by How COOL this is, November 5, 2013
This review is from: Surface 2 - 32GB Desktop Tablet, by Microsoft 10.6" (Personal Computers)
OK.

I purchased a surface 1. When it first came out. I tried to like it. I returned it and bought a nexus 7. Glad I did too, because I love my nexus.

At work I use powerpoint. ALOT. Re-thought this Surface thing. I just bought the Surface 2 again and WHOA, it is a pleasure to use.
PLAY- the surface2 is hands down WAAYYY better than the Surface1. The screen is gorgeoous. The OS is soooo cool. Multitasking and snapping windows is just amazing. This is not a phone OS. Netflix and videos play soo smoothly and look great. This is a media monster.
Skype and all that jazz bundled, although my favorite means of videochat- Google Hangouts- is not supported. meh. I suppose more people Skype, anyway.

WORK- Office on a 10" screen is surprisingly easy to use-- no, easier to use-- than mousing around. Especially when resizing pictures in PPT. I actually had fun using powerpoint! Skydrive integration is icing on the cake.
Google apps are not native, but the screen is so nice and responsive, opening your Gmail or drive in the browser is no problem at all. Its what you do on your PC athome right? Right.

I'm super impressed so far and will be dropping jaws at work tomorrow with this thing. I'll update as the next few days go by.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars **Update** A Step Up From Previous Generation, But Jury Still Out on RT, November 4, 2013
This review is from: Surface 2 - 32GB Desktop Tablet, by Microsoft 10.6" (Personal Computers)
With the introduction of Microsoft's Surface 2, Microsoft set out to reinvigorate their own attempt at the premium hardware space in the tablet market. The first Surface RT was a disaster, at least initially. From hearsay, the latest updates and the introduction of Windows 8.1 have really addressed some of the lag issues and shortcomings of the user experience.

Be that as it may, Microsoft would like you to try Windows RT and like it. With the exodus of other hardware OEMs scrapping and abandoning their own Windows RT tablets, it left Microsoft as the sole provider of an RT experience. With their new Surface 2 tablet, they're trying to make RT sexy...if that's even possible.

I felt that Windows RT was a compromise, and that it shouldn't exist. It makes some concessions in an effort to extend battery life, and it does so by using ARM as it's processor muscle. That means no legacy x86 apps like the full Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Dreamweaver, etc)and all the other professional grade programs that you come to expect on a Windows machine. As a graphic designer and amateur photographer, having a limited tablet with no support for Photoshop was a deal breaker.

Having said that, I have to say that I "get" what Windows RT, and to that extent, Surface 2 is about. Let's face it, the problem with Windows RT isn't an operating system problem, but rather a marketing one. Simply put, Microsoft is just terrible at explaining things. It doesn't know how to describe the key benefits of an RT tablet to a particular consumer.

Now, to be honest, Windows RT is not going to fill everyone's needs. In fact, I feel this product is better suited to students as a replacement for aging laptops, and for professionals (like me) that need a companion device to service their mundane tasks like web searches, portfolio displays and light Office tasks like word documents and Powerpoint presentations.

The way I've worked the Surface 2 into my work flow is by using it as a portable device that allows me to check images on the field to make sure I captured everything perfectly. Surface 2 allows me to hook up my DSLR and see my RAW files through Skydrive on that beautiful 1080p screen. As a display for my portfolio, I can let potential clients check out previous work in the form of a slideshow (again through Skydrive) and have a compact and light device that allows me to check the internet when I need some assistance finding a particular location. For simple tasks of that nature, Surface 2 really addresses those needs.

It's not just that since I would also be hesitant to bring along my full work laptop around. The size and form factor of my laptop just doesn't help when I'm on the field as it's too cumbersome to carry around. Plus it helps that I'm not carrying around the source of my livelihood around with the potential of theft or damage. The Surface 2 can be stolen (knock on wood) and I wouldn't be left out in the cold and without a way to get critical work done.

That brings me to the hardware itself. This tablet is discreet enough and slim enough that I can lug it into my backpack without a noticeable bulge. The fit and finish is incredible, and it feels great in the hands. The silver tone VaporMG is a step up from the black casing the first gen Surface has, and the screen is brilliant and displays pictures with such vibrancy that it adds a new layer of pop that my laptop lacks. I can't stress enough how good the screen is on this thing. The two-stage kickstand is functional and I can't see myself not having it on my tablets ever again. It's a joy to not have to fiddle with a tablet because the angle of the kickstand just sits well when laying down in bed, in a chair or at the table. Microsoft really nailed this one.

The other accessories like the Touch Cover, which I have a first gen one, really extend the functionality of the Surface 2. The audible "snap" of the magnet-adorned keyboard when it latches on to the Surface is satisfying. When using the Surface 2 for Office purposes, the keyboard and tablet combination is almost perfect. While the Touch Cover is serviceable, it does take some getting used to. I'm using it to write this review and I can type at a good clip. There are times when I lose my way since there is very little tactile response from the keyboard due to its flatness. However, once I'm locked onto the proper F-J position to type, I can fly without a problem. The way to go if you're going to use Surface 2 primarily for typing is the Type Cover 2. With backlit and full functional keys the Type Cover 2 is much more comfortable to type on, but if you're seldom going to type essays the Touch Cover will do. Spring for the Cyan version if you can, the Silver-Cyan combo is eye catching.

There are some negatives of course, and some things that cancel themselves out. The most obvious complaint when it comes to Windows RT is, of course, the lack of app support. Yes, people will want Instagram and whatever else the "it" app of the moment is on tablets, the stuff you can find os iOS or the Android marketplace. However, for most stuff, if you can't find the official app, most likely you wont miss much since Surface 2 has a great running Internet Explorer app with full Flash support. This makes the whole "no support" of such apps moot, since you can still get to use the app through its website equivalent. Don't get me wrong, some apps just don't have a website equivalent, and thus you won't get to play with it. Period. But for the most part, the major things you want can be access through IE. On the flip side, you do have some things that other platforms don't have, such as Halo: Spartan Assault, the aforementioned Office suite, and some killer tools like great integration of Xbox 360 and Skydrive services. Still, Microsoft has to do better at supporting its tablet with rich game content, which should be a no brainer, but at least things are improving as we speak.

The last bit I want to talk about before finishing off is this: is this tablet for you? In some cases yes, and in some no. If you need to get work done and are just fine with web searches and using websites instead of apps for music streaming, photo viewing and commenting on social networks, then Surface 2 is more than enough. I've found a way to work it into my work flow and it does work well even after I was highly skeptical of the Windows RT platform. Can it stand to use some minor improvements, sure, but that's with any tablet out there.

The real test is not the tablet itself, as hardware, it's rock solid and impressive. Rather, the investment is solely dependent on the success of Windows RT. If Surface 2, and to a greater extent Nokia's 2520 model, succeed then yes, Windows RT has a future and Microsoft will support it until it becomes a viable ecosystem on its own. But, if Surface 2 follows the same path as its first gen big brother, then investing on Surface 2 as a platform wouldn't be wise. I can't tell how well it will do, although Microsoft is betting big bucks into it by infusing $406 million dollars of marketing muscle behind it. I suspect it will do alright, squeak in enough interest for consumers to keep it alive for at least one more life cycle into 2015. The app situation should improve dramatically in the next couple of months as adoption ramps up, and with a few improvements to Windows 8.1, RT could be a really good operating system.

What it comes down to is your own work flow and how a tablet like this might fit in it. For me, I understand its limitations, but also appreciate what it does in other spaces in my daily usage. I think as a tablet it rocks and makes life easier and enjoyable when dealing with the internet of things. If you give it a try, I think you would too.

**Update** A Month With The Surface**

So I've had the privilege of using the Surface for a solid month after purchase. With plenty of reviews by tech journalists and different individual consumers I have to say that most of the tech journalist are full of bunk. Lets be fair here, most of those reporters have a carousel of devices coming in and out of their mitts on a given basis. To really give a product its fair shake, one must live and breathe with the product for a solid month at least. To see its idiosyncrasies, be it detrimental or encouraging, you really have to put a product through the daily paces of one's life. After a solid month, I have to say that Surface 2 is a great product.

First, the device works wonderfully as a laptop replacement for those mundane tasks like web surfing and Office work. It's incredible how much I've reduced my usage of my work laptop. I've barely touched the thing due to the fact that the Surface is incredible for its portability and battery life. Sure, PhotoShop is still something I need for my work life, but the fact that I can stream all my media (Netflix, Hulu, YouTube) through IE11 (never mind the apps available for such services) through this machine has almost made my Samsung laptop obsolete. If the full Adobe Creative Suit came to the Surface 2 (I'm dreaming, but you can always dream, right) I'm sure I'd forgo the laptop all together.

The app marketplace has improved somewhat with the inclusion of Flipboard, which looks amazing, and other apps, but in reality it's still the same as it was a month ago. I don't see much movement in that area. It could be a deal breaker for some interested in apps like Pinterest and Instagram, but, again, IE11 can take care of most circumstances that arise when an app is missing. Gaming is much the same, which is that it's still missing some killer apps. Halo: Spartan Assault is really good graphically and the new Asphalt 8: Airborne is bananas, but other than that it's pretty bare bones. This is something Microsoft has to address and take advantage of, specially with the launch of the Xbox One console. Games has to be a priority to make Surface 2 a true consumption device.

Lastly, the support Microsoft gives the tablet in the way of updates is incredible. There are constant updates to improve battery life and other problems. I've only encountered two instances of bugs, but other than that, the foundation is rock solid. Some might complain about the number of updates that come about, but I see it as Microsoft backing up its product. They aren't intrusive and they are mostly done in a couple of minutes.

Overall, I'm satisfied with the Surface 2. I still feel it needs a few more months of maturation, specially in the gaming department, but most people will love the device and should give it a fair trial to see how well the device can perform for 99% of the people out there. If you're on the fence about it, don't be. Surface 2 is a special device worth considering as a bridge/laptop replacement device.
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Surface 2 - 32GB Desktop Tablet, by Microsoft 10.6"
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