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Microsoft Surface 2 Event Live Blog

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 22 comments
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  • 2 Hide
    stevejnb , September 23, 2013 7:43 AM
    Now, let's see if MS has actually learned from the stutter step of the first gen Surface devices... Those lower price points for Surface devices will be a necessity if these things are actually going make a notable dent and be the flagships of MS as a device oriented company.
  • -5 Hide
    hrhuffnpuff , September 23, 2013 7:45 AM
    MS needs to stop dumping (wasting) money unto Surface. And re-invest and reinvent Windows and bring it back to glory.
  • 0 Hide
    classzero , September 23, 2013 8:52 AM
    Quote:
    MS needs to stop dumping (wasting) money unto Surface2(RT). And re-invest and reinvent Windows and bring it back to glory.


    Let me fix that for you!
  • -1 Hide
    stevejnb , September 23, 2013 9:02 AM
    Meh, Surface 2 price starting at $450 is still a bit underwhelming even with the higher res screen (something I personally consider totally superfluous, but a lot of people apparently go nuts over tiny screens with high resolution), multi angle kickstand, etc. The original Surface RT staying at $350 is all good and fine but with the public perception battle MS has, they really should have cut another $50 off each price point, or more. Also, I didn't see RAM listings for the Surface 2 and, frankly, I feel like the original Surface RT could use a bit more than 2gb of RAM. Also, Surface Pro 2 still costing $900 is, again, pricey. This pricing and these devices might have been compelling six months ago. Now, not so much.

    They are doing some neat things with these devices - some of those cover types seem rather handy - but they're putting the cart before the horse to some degree. Adding all sorts of little niche doo-dads and generally progressive upgrades on a product that is only lukewarm popular isn't going to massively boost its popularity even if they are neat features. They need to get the basic product at a price/hardware point people are jumping to get at as a first priority and then add all the neat doo-dads they want after. I expect the Surface brand to grow with what they've done, but I don't think these are the moves they needed to make to really push this brand into the spotlight.

    Lastly... I missed it, but I'm guessing that none of the covers come included with the Surface 2. If not, it really, really should, though I personally prefer a Bluetooth keyboard I can move around with my tablet.

    Not at all surprised, but these announcements are neat, but underwhelming. Hope you're liking your small portion of the mobile world there MS, because I doubt what you've done here is going to get you out of it.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 23, 2013 9:15 AM
    Surface RT not interested. However, the Surface Pro 2, with a power keyboard, just claimed the industry lead, very very impressive
  • 0 Hide
    stevejnb , September 23, 2013 9:25 AM
    Quote:
    Surface RT not interested. However, the Surface Pro 2, with a power keyboard, just claimed the industry lead, very very impressive


    Industry lead, maybe, depending on what type of limited scope you use to analyse the sub-section of the industry interested in full Windows 8 tablets. Asus, a known hardware brand that tends to release quality products, is releasing a full Windows 8 tablet for $350 and it comes with a keyboard dock. There are gads of other more powerful Windows 8 pro tablets from various developers in the next few months at various levels of hardware quality and price points.

    Even if the Surface Pro 2 is some sort of an "industry lead" for the overall hardware package in terms of power and whatnot, if there are effective Windows 8 tablets coming out for just over a third of its price and multiple tiers of hardware quality up the scale approaching it, I'm really not sure the Surface Pro package is going to crack the full Windows 8 tablet market open at $900, even if it is a very complete little unit.

    When I was looking into buying a full Windows 8 tablet, I looked *very* seriously at the Surface Pro. I opted instead for the Acer Iconia W700 which cost me $150 less and came with a keyboard and a dock that is basically what the Surface dock is now. How many more Iconia W700 equivalents are going to be out within the next 3 months? How compelling is even the Surface Pro package going to be when there are other packages out there that offer similar hardware for less money and probably come with a keyboard?

    I'm curious, precisely what sense are you saying that the Surface Pro 2 is going to be an industry leader? I could maybe see an argument being made for it being the best overall Windows 8 tablet package if price were no object, but I'm not sure that's a title that is going to win them more than a tiny dedicated audience.
  • 0 Hide
    JD88 , September 23, 2013 9:59 AM
    I would be interested to know what CPU the Pro is using as it is likely the most powerful tablet out there.

    Having said that, you are still looking at $1k with a type cover for the pro which is putting it in competition with a lot of nice Ultrabooks. Because of that, it probably doesn't make much sense unless someone needs a "tablet" with a lot of power. My guess is that market is pretty slim.

    The dock is interesting.

    Also, I'm still not convinced the form factor makes a whole lot of sense. I personally would rather have a dock type keyboard that turns the unit into something resembling a notebook that can still be used effectively on uneven surfaces.

    The Surface 2 RT is overpriced just as before. At $450 with no keyboard, it faces a lot of stiff competition. Also, I still can't believe Microsoft is charging $100 for the touch and type covers. That's probably 70% profit on each one. The power cover will likely be even more. It looks nice though so maybe the "premium" factor might help out.



    Overall, If this were $350 with a $50 touch/type cover I think this might be a hit.
  • 0 Hide
    stevejnb , September 23, 2013 10:02 AM
    Quote:
    MS needs to stop dumping (wasting) money unto Surface. And re-invest and reinvent Windows and bring it back to glory.


    I think the writing is on the wall that MS can't stay out of hardware at this point if they expect their software to remain as prevalent as it is. The world is going more and more mobile and the line between mobile and desktop is blurring pretty rapidly. You can now get mobile devices which you can use wonderfully easily on the go and then when you get home, plug it into a TV and it seamlessly provides a desktop/entertainment center experience. Hardware is getting smaller and faster and more capable all the time and it stands to reason that we aren't that far off of phones/phablets/tablets all being both affordable and being more and more able to fill the "desktop" role than ever before while doing what they do best - mobile consumption. Every time a consumer realizes that their phone or tablet can perform many of the functions their PC can, they are then less likely to buy a PC - and with that PC, Windows.

    In light of that, and in light of the fact that the world of mobile devices is currently dominated by a competing OS, what does it make sense for MS to do? Watch mobile devices slowly rise and muscle them out of the desktop marketplace because desktops will themselves become less prevalent? Well, it would take a while, but erosion of their primary market has already begun. As it stands, they seem to have decided to create their own hardware line as seeder devices, allowing them to be models for OEM hardware and a sort of product-driven development of their desktop/mobile OS. They make and grow their software with their hardware, while creating a market for their mobile/desktop OS.

    Looking at these prices, which don't strike me as overwhelmingly competitive, I have to wonder if they aren't intentionally leaving their prices on the high side so as not to muscle OEMs out of the market. I do NOT appreciate this as a consumer and it means I will likely lean towards competing products but, frankly, if MS had the clearly best priced/best hardware product on the market, a lot of OEM people would see this fledgling mobile Windows market and say "Ok, let's just make an Android device instead - we won't make money competing against the Surface brand."
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 23, 2013 10:03 AM
    Err, how about they have sold more than the Iconia W700, because you are obviously alluding to sales as the only metric that matters - but performance is obviously there too, I could rate this against any convertible and it would still be at the top apart from price, but I suppose Atom powered garbage with a garbage screen from Acer will always be cheaper
  • 0 Hide
    stevejnb , September 23, 2013 10:14 AM
    Quote:
    Err, how about they have sold more than the Iconia W700, because you are obviously alluding to sales as the only metric that matters - but performance is obviously there too, I could rate this against any convertible and it would still be at the top apart from price, but I suppose Atom powered garbage with a garbage screen from Acer will always be cheaper


    I'm alluding to sales in a future marketplace Back. When the Surface was released, there was virtually no market for Windows tablets. MS invested a lot of money into marketing and in the past year has even spent money marketing competing Windows tablets (see: Windows Tablet VS iOS ads). A year ago, when the Surface was released, people didn't even know what a WIndows tablet was, why to buy one, etc, and all of the sudden the market was flooded with ads for Surface. Not Windows tablets, Surface tablets. The only reason I even knew about the Iconia W700 was because I went looking.

    Now, it's a different market. Even if people aren't overwhelmingly enthusiastic about them, people know what Windows tablets are. There will be people looking to buy them. Now, when they go into Best Buy to pick up a Surface and they are then presented by a half dozen tablet models which cost less and are similarly functional, why is the Surface going to necessarily be the one they buy?

    I'm becoming more convinced that MS is actively pursuing the role of Surface being a seeder product - not intending to capture a small market, but rather expand one and make it ready for other people to release Windows hardware into it. This pricing just doesn't scream "buy me!" for any of these tablets. On top of that, MS has actively advertised tablets directly competing with the Surface in the past year... If their goal was for Surface domination, does that make sense? No. It DOES make sense if they want to use Surface to expand the market for other companies rather than dominate it themselves. It would also make this not-overwhelmingly competitive pricing make sense.

    Also, yes, that's what I was wonder Back - if you meant it was the top hardware package, even if not necessarily the top price package.

    Lastly, the T100 is by Asus, not Acer, and the Iconia W700 has an Intel i5 processor with a 1080p screen - not an Atom processor and a "garbage" screen. I daresay it didn't have worse hardware than the Surface Pro, and one might even argue it had better. I doubt that Acer will be the only company to offer products like this this time around.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 23, 2013 10:29 AM
    Err, how about they have sold more than the Iconia W700, because you are obviously alluding to sales as the only metric that matters - but performance is obviously there too, I could rate this against any convertible and it would still be at the top apart from price, but I suppose Atom powered garbage with a garbage screen from Acer will always be cheaper
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 23, 2013 10:31 AM
    Damn idiot comment system, hate those double reposts - Toms, SORT IT OUT
  • 0 Hide
    sean1357 , September 23, 2013 11:02 AM
    Microsoft original designed tablet back 2000, but they failed. I think Microsoft MUST to jump back to tablets war to compete with Apple and Google. The ships (Apple, Google) already sailed to the sea...
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 23, 2013 11:12 AM
    As far as where the product sits in the world, if I wanted to own a laptop and a tablet, and millions of people do, this will do both and could cost less than those devices combined - App Store? Pffft, this has 6.5 million programs that can run on it, plus Windows Apps, plus with that juicy Android emulator all the Android Apps too. All the reasons for not buying are disappearing, like Apps, battery, performance, all good - what I don't get is how you hate it so much, clearly fanboism
  • 0 Hide
    sean1357 , September 23, 2013 11:35 AM
    I don't hate Microsoft... I just said from a custom that it's too late for tablets war... Until, Microsoft builds good, solid, and better everything to compare to iPad, or some killer apps...

    Office, I can get it for free from Google...
    Windows OS, I can get it from Ubuntu (Linux)
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 23, 2013 11:39 AM
    Sean1357, wasn't directed at you, was directed at Stevejnb, the blind hatred fanboi
  • 0 Hide
    stevejnb , September 23, 2013 11:48 AM
    Quote:
    Sean1357, wasn't directed at you, was directed at Stevejnb, the blind hatred fanboi


    ... Really? Of all the people in this forum to call a "blind hatred fanboi" of MS, Windows, Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Phone, you pick someone who is an enthusiastic supporter and each and every one of these platforms/devices?

    If you checked my posting history, you'd see that is *so* far from the truth it's a just plain asinine assertion. Heck, I've been accused of being paid by MS. My primary on-the-go work machine is a 32 GB Surface RT, my home "desktop" is my Iconia W700, my phone is a Lumia 900, I have an Office 365 Subscription and I pay $50 a year for 100gb of Skydrive space, and before it died I actively upgraded my Asus G73 to Windows 8. I like a lot of MS products, but I do not blindly support them nor am I going to proclaim every damned thing they do an astounding success when it's plain that they've had some serious issues over the past five or so ears. Seriously, people like you make us more reasonable fans of MS products look like a bunch of idiots.

    I actually didn't respond to this:

    Quote:
    As far as where the product sits in the world, if I wanted to own a laptop and a tablet, and millions of people do, this will do both and could cost less than those devices combined - App Store? Pffft, this has 6.5 million programs that can run on it, plus Windows Apps, plus with that juicy Android emulator all the Android Apps too. All the reasons for not buying are disappearing, like Apps, battery, performance, all good - what I don't get is how you hate it so much, clearly fanboism


    Because I didn't think it could *possibly* be directed at me.

    My response is that my point isn't that the Surface Pro 2 is not an awesome hardware unit... But it's an awesome hardware unit that will likely cost more than other hardware units that will cost less and do as much or almost as much. There will be lots of Windows tablets out there for which every single thing you said are also possible and I'm betting a lot of them will cost less. My point is, what's SO compelling about the Surface compared to similar products that are not notably hardware inferior and actually cost less? Unless you DESPERATELY need 12 hours battery life instead of having to plug it in after 8, or *slight* more hardware power is worth hundreds of dollars more, or some sort of Surface cover is something you *need* compared to a competing tablet keyboard, what justifies the extra cost?
  • 0 Hide
    JD88 , September 23, 2013 2:27 PM
    Don't bother steve. back_by_demand is the ultimate MS fanboy/troll and possibly works for them. It's worse than some Apple zombies who post here.

    You own a Surface and like it so I'm not certain how that makes you a fanboy of Android or whatever else.

    You and I have gone back and forth on some stuff, but at least your arguments are logical and you are willing to admit some flaws when you see them.

    back_by_demand just trolls anyone who would dare say something anti Microsoft and spreads misinformation. In other words, it's not worth it to argue with him.

  • 0 Hide
    game junky , September 23, 2013 3:27 PM
    Watched the reveal - for people that liked their Surface and Surface Pro, I think the 2nd generation of devices is nice and their power case and docking station are excellent. I don't think they are going to get a lot of new users buying into the product line by giving their RT device a 1080p screen, but some businesses might continue to use these in the field and buy into the new model due to the increased battery life.

    I have a surface pro that was purchased by my company - for the performance and functionality you get, it's great. I have a full windows workstation for work and can watch my bluray video rips in full 1080p and play steam games for play. I probably won't buy the next model immediately unless we need to deploy one to a different user in which case I will recycle mine to the new person and try the new model, but the additional battery life, new stand and performance increase is always good.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 23, 2013 5:27 PM
    Quote:
    My response is that my point isn't that the Surface Pro 2 is not an awesome hardware unit... But it's an awesome hardware unit that will likely cost more than other hardware units that will cost less and do as much or almost as much. There will be lots of Windows tablets out there for which every single thing you said are also possible and I'm betting a lot of them will cost less. My point is, what's SO compelling about the Surface compared to similar products that are not notably hardware inferior and actually cost less? Unless you DESPERATELY need 12 hours battery life instead of having to plug it in after 8, or *slight* more hardware power is worth hundreds of dollars more, or some sort of Surface cover is something you *need* compared to a competing tablet keyboard, what justifies the extra cost?


    http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-XE700T1C-K01US-11-6-Inch-128GB-Velvet/dp/B00CTHQORA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379981319&sr=8-1&keywords=ativ+q

    The price point of this device is like any range of devices, it used to be crappy 10" netbooks running Linux compared against Alienware laptops - all those plastiky crappy windows tablets that are made by Acer and such are trying to live in the same space as cheap Android tablets - whereas the Surface exists in the same space as highend ultrabooks and certain other tablets like the Samsung Ativ Q, the price of which far exceeds the Surface and yet you as a Surface owner (or so you say) diss the cost.

    As a company, you can do 2 things, either exist as a bottom feeder, scraping the margins from products that are almost impossible to differentiate by their boringness and when you use then it is hard to contain your indifference. Or you can make the absolute fastest and most powerful item you can, that can work or play and have subtle refinements and awesome engineering.

    The new Surface exceeds all other high-end tablets, including the $1200 Samsung posted above, but undercuts it by $200 even if you include the keyboard, then try to compare the price of some high spec ultrabook knocking around for $1500 or more. It is not an over-priced product, it is a comparative product on performance, but for price it is excellent value.

    Oh, and if that makes you think i'm an MS employee, that's real easy to say but so difficult to prove, i'm sure there are plenty of Google and Apple shills in these forums too, go wave a flag for world peace.
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