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Microsoft Surface Pro 2 review

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Microsoft Surface Pro 2 standing

The Microsoft Surface Pro 2 is a powerful tablet-come-laptop that offers a host of subtle improvements over its predecessor. The biggest of these is its upgraded Haswell architecture, which boosts both its performance and battery life.

Pros:

Solid build quality, great performance and battery life by laptop standards, accurate stylus, Windows 8.1

Cons:

Heavy and clunky by tablet standards, keyboard covers cost an extra £100

Overall Rating:

4 Star Rating: Recommended

Price: £720

Manufacturer: Microsoft

The first Microsoft Surface Pro launched in 2012 and was designed to offer businesses a device that could function both as a tablet and laptop. However, running on an older Intel Core chip, the Pro's battery life was an issue. This and a number of small design flaws meant, while decent, the Pro's long-term business appeal was hampered. One year on, Microsoft's chosen to release a new upgraded version of the Pro, the Surface Pro 2, that, with the addition of Intel Haswell architecture and Windows 8.1, works to fix these flaws.

Design and build
Visually the Surface Pro 2 is almost identical to its predecessor. The tablet features the same metal chassis, and has all but identical button and port placements.

This means the Pro 2, when compared to bespoke tablets, is slightly chunky, measuring 274x173x13.5mm and weighing 907g. However, compared to full laptops and dedicated Windows 8 convertibles, the Pro 2 is fairly average and we soon became accustomed to the increased size when using it on the move.

However, despite looking the same, Microsoft has added a few covert improvements to the Pro 2. One key addition is that it has an upgraded USB 3.0 port on its bottom left-hand side. This means the Pro 2 is up to 10-times faster than the original Pro, which had a USB 2.0 port, at copying files or data from connected devices.Microsoft Surface Pro 2 kickstand

The Pro 2 has also had its Kickstand tweaked to offer users two standing options. These include the same high standing angle as the original Pro and a new lower one, designed for when the device is being rested on a lap. We found the second stand option made the Pro far more pleasant to use on our lap, particularly when one of its optional Type Covers was attached.

Another change is the Pro 2's upgraded wide-angle front-facing 720p and 3.5MP, 1080p rear-facing cameras. While we still wouldn't recommend using the rear camera for photos as it's unwieldy to hold and low-res compared to most other smartphone cameras, we found the front camera was more than usable for video calling. The Pro 2 also has a redesigned power port that aims to make it quicker and easier to connect the bespoke charger. Outside of this the Pro 2 has the same mini DisplayPort and microSD reader as the original Pro on its right.

Next: Display and Software

Processor: Intel Haswell 1.6 GHz Core i5-4200U
Display: 10.6in ClearType Full HD Display
Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB internal storage options, 4GB or 8GB RAM
Battery: 42WH
Camera: 3.5MP 1080p rear-facing and 720p front-facing cameras
Operating system: Windows 8.1 
Dimensions:  274x173x13.5mm
Weight: 907g

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Alastair Stevenson
About

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

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