Some Good Stuff
It really isn’t all bad though. I like how Windows 8 lets you run multiple apps side by side in a split screen mode. With all the power Apple’s iPad has, it’s really annoying that I can’t watch a Netflix video while browsing Facebook or quickly copy and paste content from the Web into an email I’m writing like I can with the Surface 2.
I also like the keyboard new backlit keyboard cover. Apple has yet to create such an accessory for its iPad line, even though it could come in handy in a pinch. The Surface 2 keyboard isn’t the best for long-term productivity, but it’s definitely useful for firing off a quick email or browsing the Web.
I also like how well the Surface 2/Windows 8 integrates with other Microsoft services. With one login, I get access to my Xbox gaming stats, an online file storage service called SkyDrive (which gives you 7 GB of free data when you buy a Surface), and other goodies like Bing search, which now lets you explore all the files and apps on your tablet, not just stuff on the Web.
But the problem with the Surface 2 is that Microsoft changed very little in how the tablet fundamentally works. Last year, Microsoft fans defended the original Surface’s failings by calling it a first-generation product. It’d get better in time, they promised. The Surface 2 did get better, but not in the way it needed to. It’s still largely the same curious experience, just in a thinner and lighter package.
I’ll make this easy for you. If you’re thinking about buying the Surface 2, you only need to ask yourself one question: Do you need Microsoft Office on your tablet?
If the answer is yes, then the Surface 2 is simply the best device you can buy. You’re getting hundreds of dollars worth of Office software included with your purchase. That’s a really good deal, and Office users will love it.
But if you don’t care about using Office on your tablet, there’s no reason to buy the Surface. Between the confusing Windows 8.1 interface and its lack of apps, you’re much better off with the iPad, Nexus 7, or just about any other Android tablet.