If the first Surface did not go very well, Microsoft did not give up so far and the firm presented two new models last month: the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2 . However, the firm organized a special evening last night to present these two slates, an evening to which your humble servant had the opportunity to be invited. And while I played with the Surface 2 for quite a while, I was also lucky enough to be able to pick up the Surface Pro 2 for a few minutes. Just enough to give me a more precise idea of its strengths and weaknesses.
Be careful, however, because this article should be taken for what it is, that is, for a simple start. It is not in a few tens of minutes that you can get a real idea of a product. However, I contacted Microsoft to get a Surface Pro 2 on loan. If the firm accepts my request, you will be entitled to a more complete test somewhere in the next few weeks.
You know the song, first of all it is necessary to take stock of the technical specifications of the Surface Pro 2.
The tablet thus embeds a 10.6-inch ClearType screen capable of displaying a definition of Full HD 1080p type (1920 × 1080, 10-point multipoint) and a 4th generation Intel Core i5 processor . The amount of RAM and storage space will depend on the model chosen: 4 GB of RAM for 64/128 GB versions , or 8 GB of RAM for 256/512 GB versions . We are also entitled to two cameras on each side of the slate, cameras capable of filming in 720p. Connectivity, for its part, does not change and we are therefore entitled to WiFi 802.11 a / b / g / n and Bluetooth 4.0.
The connection is quite close to the Surface 2 with a USB 3.0 port , a microSDXC card reader , a headphone jack and a Mini DisplayPort port. No big surprise on the onboard sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer and ambient light sensor will respond present.
Interestingly, the Surface Pro 2 will be delivered directly with a stylus, which will not be the case for the Surface 2. Battery life, for its part, has not yet been tested by Microsoft but I asked for the question to one of the employees of the firm. According to him, the tablet could last up to eight hours. Better, the Power Cover would allow us to extend the autonomy of the device by three additional hours. So we would get a total of eleven hours. For my part, I think these estimates are a bit too optimistic, even though Haswell is energy efficient. However, it will be necessary to wait to have the slate in hand to be fixed.
Design & Ergonomics
Microsoft has kept exactly the same design as for the previous model and we are thus entitled to a VaporMg chassis and really neat finishes, which contrast radically with what we can see on some hybrid machines produced by other manufacturers. .
If the dimensions of the Surface Pro 2 are identical to the previous model, the same is not true for the weight of the tablet, which drops to 907 grams . This point is not negligible, because it also means that it will be less pleasant to use in tablet mode. Finally, unless you regularly attend the local weight room, that goes without saying.
The ergonomics also remain unchanged. The headphone jack, the volume control buttons and the USB 3.0 socket are located on the left edge of the device. On the right, we can get our hands on the power outlet, the Mini DisplayPort and the SDXC card reader. Just like the Surface 2, the tablet is also entitled to a reclining foot capable of taking two distinct positions . It can therefore be used on a desk, or on the knees. Here again and at the risk of repeating myself, I would have liked Microsoft to give us a little more freedom.
I also had the opportunity to approach the Microsoft Docking Station, ie, in good French, the firm's docking station. The latter has a lot of ports (three USB ports, a Mini DisplayPort, an Ethernet port, etc.) and it is quite design. It will also be quite possible to use the Surface with its keyboard when it is placed on the base. On the price side, however, it will take 199.99 € to take advantage of it. Accessories are expensive at Microsoft …
The Surface Pro 2 is a good product, there's no doubt about it. However, it is not perfect for all that and its weight is not necessarily very suitable for tablet-type use. Finally not for mobile users. On the other hand, with a Type Cover, we obtain an ultra-portable extremely fast and which finally corrects all the flaws of youth of the first model.
As long as you pay the price. With a selling price starting at 879 € for the first model, the Surface Pro 2 will not necessarily suit all budgets. Especially since it will be necessary to spend no less than 979 € for the 128 GB model, 1279 € for the 256 GB model and 1779 € for the 512 GB model! The whole problem being that Microsoft does not provide a Cover for this price and it will therefore be necessary to add no less than 119.99 € for the Touch Cover 2, 129.99 € for the Type Cover 2 and 199.99 € for the docking station.
Basically, then, if you want a little more room on your slate, the Surface Pro 2 will cost you as much as a MacBook Air or a MacBook Pro. For the MacBook Air, this is not a problem since the two devices are in the same segment. However, the same is not true for the MacBook Pro.