Microsoft Surface 2 review: Sink or swim

GSMArena team, 29 November 2013.
Pages: 1234567891011

Controls

Above the display is where the front-facing camera, an ambient light sensor, and a microphone reside. Below the screen, there's nothing but the capacitive Windows home button.

Microsoft Surface 2 Microsoft Surface 2
The view above and below the display

On the left side of the tablet, you will find one of the stereo speakers, a volume rocker, a 3.5mm audio jack, as well as the latch for opening the kickstand.

Microsoft Surface 2 Microsoft Surface 2 Microsoft Surface 2
The left side of the Microsoft Surface 2

The right side of the slate is just as busy. It hosts the other stereo speaker, as well as a mini HDMI port, full USB port, and the tablet's proprietary charging port.

Microsoft Surface 2 Microsoft Surface 2 Microsoft Surface 2
The right side of the Surface 2 is quite busy

The power/lock key is the only thing you will find on the top of the tablet. The keyboard connector sits alone at the bottom.

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A look at the top and bottom of the slate

The back of the tablet is home to the 5MP camera and an additional microphone.

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The back of the tablet the kickstand mechanism

The two-stage kickstand is there too, sporting a large Surface sign.

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The two-stage kickstand

The microSD card slot is located underneath the kickstand.

Microsoft Surface 2
The microSD card slot

Curiously, Microsoft is coy about the exact battery capacity of the Surface 2. The manufacturer promises up to 10 hours of video playback time and 7-15 days of standby.

We put the tablet's battery through its paces and here is what it had to offer.

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    12:51
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    12:49
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    12:32
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    12:30
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    12:22
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    12:18
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    11:51
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    11:29
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    11:27
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    11:15
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    11:14
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    10:12
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    10:07
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    10:02
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    10:01
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    10:00
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    10:00
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    9:53
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    9:34
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    9:30
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    9:28
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    9:27
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Handling

Thanks to its solid build quality and high-end finish, the Microsoft Surface 2 offers a pleasant tactile feel when handled. However, the slate is not the most comfortable to hold, particularly in portrait mode. This is due to its prominent edges - they look good, but are the main reason for the questionable ergonomics.

Microsoft Surface 2 Microsoft Surface 2
Handling the Surface 2

Overall, the Microsoft Surface 2 deserves nothing but high marks for its build quality and battery life. Its design could have certainly used a refresh though - the tablet doesn't feel new at first glance. The tablet-only ergonomics are also a little iffy.

Following next is a look at the Windows RT 8.1 experience which the Surface 2 delivers.

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