Microsoft Surface Pro 2 vs Surface Pro – what’s the difference?

Microsoft has unveiled its new Surface Pro 2 tablet to take on Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab range. A successor to last year’s Surface Pro, it looks almost identical in design but features a much improved battery life, a faster processor and the latest Windows 8.1 operating system.

We compare the Surface Pro 2 with the original Surface Pro on features and price to find out whether it’s worth buying.

Surface Pro 2 vs Surface Pro – design

Surface Pro 2

Design-wise, the Surface Pro 2 is pretty much the same tablet as the original Surface Pro. Both devices weigh a substantial 0.907kg and offer a 10.6-inch high definition screen. So if you thought the original Pro was slightly unwieldy, but good for watching video on; your opinion is unlikely to be swayed by the Surface Pro 2. The only substantial difference between the devices is the Surface Pro 2’s kickstand, which offers an extra adjustment setting so that it can sit more comfortably on your lap.

Surface Pro 2 vs Surface Pro – three key features

Microsoft Surface Pro

75% more battery life – despite featuring the same 4,200mAh battery as the Surface Pro, the Surface Pro 2 is claimed by Microsoft to offer much more power from a single charge. This is supposedly due to better battery management, but a 75% improvement still amounts to significantly more internet browsing time. We’ll see whether the claim stands up in our lab testing.

A laptop-worthy processor – the Surface Pro 2 comes with an Intel Core i5 ‘Haswell’ processor that should prove supremely fast in testing. That’s because it’s the kind of chip you’d usually find powering a laptop, instead of what is effectively a tablet with an attachable keyboard accessory. The previous Surface Pro came with a third-generation Intel Core i5 processor, so it was no slouch either.

Windows 8.1 – Microsoft’s update to Windows 8 comes pre-installed on the Surface Pro 2. This means users of the new tablet will be able to access the Start menu and Internet Explorer 11 out of the box. That said, a free Windows 8.1 update is also available for Surface Pro owners so no one misses out on the fun.

Surface Pro 2 vs Surface Pro – pricing and release date

Thanks the imminent arrival of its successor, the original Surface Pro is available at a cheaper clearance price until 22 October. At £639 for its 64GB model, the Surface Pro remains an expensive purchase. The Surface Pro 2 is set to cost £80 for its 64GB edition for £719, so you’re better off spending the £80 extra.

Which? expert verdict – ‘I’d rather buy a laptop and a tablet’

Rob Leedham profile imageSuch is the price of the Surface 2, you can afford a Best Buy laptop and tablet for less than the price of its 64GB base model. Microsoft would argue it’s more convenient to own just one Surface but I disagree.

As a laptop, the original Surface sat uneasily on your lap and, when using it with a Type cover, I kept hankering after a proper keyboard. A new adjustable kickstand position for the Surface Pro 2 isn’t going to change these fundamental design issues.

That’s the real problem with the Surface Pro 2, it’s an expensive solution to a non-existent problem. Its stripped back Surface RT cousin didn’t sell because consumers want the full Windows experience on a Microsoft product. The Surface Pro didn’t do too well either because the full Windows experience on a Microsoft product came with a premium price tag.

A faster processor and longer-lasting battery life are welcome improvements for the Surface Pro 2. They’ll benefit users who want a more portable way of accessing Office documents on the go. Unless this scenario is a necessity for you, I’d advise spending your money elsewhere.
Rob Leedham – writer

More on this

Windows 8.1 – five essential features
Windows 8: for and against – the Which? Tech Daily debate
Microsoft support scam – affects one in five UK households

Categories: Tablets

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5 replies

  1. I do wish for a tablet running all Microsoft Office. I own an ipad but do not rate any of the converter programmes etc available. I am not a computer geek but would opt for the Surface Pro 2 in preference to any android or apple product for my business purposes.

  2. I recently started on a MSc and needed a tool to support me. Opting for Surface (basic) version with the proper keyboard was a brilliant decision. The learning resources are on sharepoint which the surface loves and I use OneNote and the rest of the built in Office Suite to great productivity. Also has SkyDrive which is helping synch my own work. Yes it has limitations and an iPad has more for fun and social media, but the Surface is a great mini-PC

  3. My household owns a numerous Samsung devices and Android systems but has been infiltrated by my business devices more recently.

    Before, my work life was Microsoft and my home life was Samsung. That is now changing. I bought a Windows Surface Pro while at conference earlier this year. I thought I would use it as my home laptop.

    However, it soon started taking over my work life as well. I stopped using my work laptop, I stopped using my Samsung Galaxy tab. I have given in to the Microsoft wave. For the first time I have the best of both worlds from a single device. Eventually, swapped out my work device for the home device (got it reset by the business to conform with security policies).

    Microsoft still need to get more apps on their app store for sure. But if you are using the Pro, I’m pretty sure that after a while, you will stop using everything else.

    Agree, they need to do something with the price tag. The Microsoft premium is still a little high. However, they say the eating is in the tasting. I’ve been tasting for six months now and I’m in for the long term. Watch out Samsung and Apple, it feels like Microsoft is coming.


  4. I have owned my surface (pro-64GB) for 6 weeks now and could not be more impressed with it. It is extremely fast to start up and in operation and synchronises beautifully with my m/soft office software including Visio. I have the type 2 cover which works well although is not as pleasant to use as a traditional laptop keyboard. Windows 8.1 is clearly tailored to suit a touch screen and is perfect within that environment. It is easy to configure in a more traditional layout as per windows 7. It must be remembered that everything in life is a compromise to some degree and we all need to decide what works best for each of us. This single item has replaced my laptop (Dell 15” Inspiron) and Ipad 2 for almost all activities. I have set it up with a 19” monitor and full size keyboard / mouse as a desktop replacement for serious work and use it as a tablet as I prefer the wide angle aspect for browsing and watching films and IPlayer. If I could ask for one wish it would be for the size to be uplifted to 13”-now that would really be the ultimate tool.

  5. Have to disagree with the author here, I can’t praise Microsoft more highly for the surface pro – ok they could work on the price and it doesn’t make quite the same fashion statement as an iPad but I find myself using it a hell of a lot more than my iPad air because it does so much more. Multitasking on this thing is a dream, I just get so much more done! Access to legacy apps is invaluable and the fact I can run desktop games (obviously outside of work hrs) and at a decent pace is mind blowing!!

    Alright its not light but I love the build quality, like the iPad used to be… makes my air feel like a toy! And the widescreen aspect ratio along with Java and desktop browser if I need it make this thing far better for movies and web browsing. I’d love to see apples attempt at a true laptop/tablet hybrid, it would create real competition and probably more importantly public interest and bring the sector alive!!

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