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Surface 2: A Look at the Hardware Inside

Microsoft yesterday showed its Surface 2 tablet computer (click here for our hands-on video). While it may run the lesser-preferred (by power users, at least) Windows RT, albeit in 8.1 form, Microsoft has some significant improvements in this new model. The hardware in particular is much nicer, with a thinner and lighter magnesium casing. Nvidia provides the main SoC with its Tegra 4, which we had fun with in the Nvidia Shield.

The main display gets a considerable resolution boost, now sharing the same full HD panel that's also in the Surface Pro 2. Storage and memory capacity is a bit more modest than full Windows 8.1 bigger brother, however, with 32GB and 64GB SSDs as options and 2GB RAM standard.

We had a chance to take a bit of a closer look of the guts inside the Surface 2. Check out our videos and photos below:

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  • g-unit1111
    Windows RT = epic FAIL.

    If it ran full Windows 8, this thing would be out selling the iPad by a 5:1 ratio. But nope I see they're still sticking to crappy RT.
    Reply
  • jhansonxi
    Probably hardware locked at the CPU like the previous version so it's basically a M$ services terminal.
    Reply
  • hannibal
    11594294 said:
    Windows RT = epic FAIL.

    If it ran full Windows 8, this thing would be out selling the iPad by a 5:1 ratio. But nope I see they're still sticking to crappy RT.

    As soon as Microsoft store is as good as Play store on Apple store or near enough, Win RT is guite ok alternative to iPad or any Android based pad. In the meanwhile the pro version is more usefull, because it allready have guite huge software base that people can use allready. So I would not say that TR is bad not at least in the future.
    RT will be the pad replasemet, pro version in laptop replasement that can allso be used as an pad. So it has wider range of uses than RT, but RT may have its plase as an pure pad device. It all depends on how the software situation will develop.
    In the meanwhile the pro version is much safer bet, because it allready has the aplication pool that is needed and it will just get stronger when Metro based aplication become more common.
    Reply
  • stevejnb
    11594294 said:
    Windows RT = epic FAIL.

    If it ran full Windows 8, this thing would be out selling the iPad by a 5:1 ratio. But nope I see they're still sticking to crappy RT.

    Two points you should consider. First off, since the dawn of the iDevices, there have been hardware and (arguably) software bearing devices that were superior to the iDevices which were vastly outsold by said iDevices. They do not sell on hardware/software alone and it's likely they could sell the Surface Pro for $450 and it wouldn't outsell the iPad. IDevices carry weight well beyond their hardware/software components, and it's a weight that MS's products do not come even close to replicating.

    Second, if you actually bother to compare Windows RT to it's non-x86 competitors - iOS and Android - it's really not crappy at all. The app store is a distant third, but a competitive distant third, with enough apps to keep your average user more than happy. Also, it has full Office and far better multitasking than its competitors. Simply put, it's a competitive OS in the field it actually aims to compete in. Thing is, people see the name "Windows" and assume it must compete with, you know, full Windows, rather than the OS's on actual equivalent devices. This is a mistake, and a common one. Try Windows RT, compare it to iOS and Android, and you might find it has a very distinct set of strengths that will suit some people well compared to the strengths of iOS and Android.

    That being said... $350 for the (now) slightly outdates hardware of the RT, $450 for the decent but not $450'ish hardware in the Surface 2... Both strike me as an overcharge. I'd avoid the Surface RT line not because they're bad devices, but because they are overpriced products. I have a Surface RT I bought two months ago at $350 and I'm *damned* pleased with it for that price. With the T100 on the horizon, I'd tell people to hold off until the competition has their say.
    Reply
  • back_by_demand
    So hating on MS for being exclusive with RT to marketplace, but perfectly fine for Android and iOS? You mustn't be able to see the double standard from on top of that ivory tower.
    Reply
  • back_by_demand
    Apple and Google had 'only' 100,000 apps at one time and when it did it was magical, now MS has the same and Apple and Google have way more, but how much of that extra is duplication and shovelware? Seriously need 160 fart apps?
    Reply
  • stevejnb
    11594504 said:
    So hating on MS for being exclusive with RT to marketplace, but perfectly fine for Android and iOS? You mustn't be able to see the double standard from on top of that ivory tower.

    No, on the contrary... I personally find the Windows store - which, if you'll check my post history, you'll clearly see I've defended on multiple occasions - to be more than adequate. I'm finding some very enjoyable short term games on it (Jewel Ever, Everlands, Robotek, and a few others) along with most of the software I need for basic functioning. On top of that, the inclusion of proper MS Office is an absolutely spectacular boon to a lot of users and should NOT be ignored like many do. If you want to use excel or word on your tablet, RT or full Windows Pro tablet is the way to go, on question.

    That being said, there is no denying that the Windows Store is about 2 years behind its competitors. I've head you "150 fart apps" line before Demand and, while it is largely true - 90% of those extra apps are superfluous - what about things like Whatsapp? Those are things a lot of people actually use and value. There are actual important apps missing from the Windows store, and pretending like this is not he case is disingenuous.

    I don't know why you're painting me as some sort of an MS/Windows hater... I am VERY far from either. We are essentially on the same side, but you seem to take offense to the fact that I can't sit here and pretend like there is *nothing* wrong with MS and MS's products. They release some great stuff - in fact, awesome stuff - but it's not for everyone. 90% of the people who hate on Windows RT with no experience of it should give it a try and they might change their tune... But as much as I dislike that, I can't endorse someone who praises MS whatever it is they do.


    Besides, wasn't it just yesterday you said you had no interest in Windows RT? I'll quote you on it if you want, but, care to explain why you weren't interested in the Surface 2? Frankly, I am, just not at the price point they offered.
    Reply
  • tipoo
    I'd like to see more tablets putting heatsinks on the SoC, as many of them throttle and have been demonstrably fixed with small pieces of copper and thermal paste.
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    11594504 said:
    So hating on MS for being exclusive with RT to marketplace, but perfectly fine for Android and iOS? You mustn't be able to see the double standard from on top of that ivory tower.

    I don't completely hate MS for using a closed system. They should not be advertising it as a full version of Windows. I like the idea of the Surface Pro because it's full Windows 8.0 but it's twice the cost of iOS and Android devices. I like the idea of the Surface but Windows RT is horrendous and has no app support for it. That's the biggest problem that I have with the device. If I'm being accused of being a Windows hater, I'm far from it. Every PC I've owned since 2007 has had Windows XP, 7 or 8 on it and I refuse to go back to Mac OSX. It's Windows RT that I can't stand. Sure it's cool that it can run almost a full copy of Windows, but the fact that it can't run EXE files really limits the device and what it can really do. It's not that it can't, it's a bad decision on Microsoft's part to release a limited, locked OS.

    Apple and Google had 'only' 100,000 apps at one time and when it did it was magical, now MS has the same and Apple and Google have way more, but how much of that extra is duplication and shovelware? Seriously need 160 fart apps?

    Fart apps? Really? That's what these devices are being used for? It's not a question of that. It's a question of numbers. And what's really supported. There's actually less than 10,000 apps for Windows RT. There's over 900,000 for iOS and Android. Sure a lot of these apps are useless but the ones that are useful are far better on iOS and Android devices. The Surface is a great device from an IT stand point because it integrates Windows with full MS Office on a basic tablet. But when you factor in real world usage, the device isn't as good as advertised.

    Two points you should consider. First off, since the dawn of the iDevices, there have been hardware and (arguably) software bearing devices that were superior to the iDevices which were vastly outsold by said iDevices. They do not sell on hardware/software alone and it's likely they could sell the Surface Pro for $450 and it wouldn't outsell the iPad. IDevices carry weight well beyond their hardware/software components, and it's a weight that MS's products do not come even close to replicating.

    I am not denying that at all. I'd take an NVIDIA Tegra 3 tablet running Android 4.2 than an Apple A7 any day of the week.

    Second, if you actually bother to compare Windows RT to it's non-x86 competitors - iOS and Android - it's really not crappy at all. The app store is a distant third, but a competitive distant third, with enough apps to keep your average user more than happy. Also, it has full Office and far better multitasking than its competitors. Simply put, it's a competitive OS in the field it actually aims to compete in. Thing is, people see the name "Windows" and assume it must compete with, you know, full Windows, rather than the OS's on actual equivalent devices. This is a mistake, and a common one. Try Windows RT, compare it to iOS and Android, and you might find it has a very distinct set of strengths that will suit some people well compared to the strengths of iOS and Android.

    Windows RT isn't an x86 operating system though. It's Windows 8 made specifically to run on tablets. If Windows RT were an x86 operating system then it would totally destroy iOS and Android for the ability to run executable files. If you could run AutoCAD, Photoshop, MS Office, and other Adobe products on a low cost tablet? Guaranteed you couldn't keep these things in stock as fast as you could get them in.
    Reply
  • stevejnb
    Gunit, I completely disagree with the statement "Windows RT is horrendous" and "has no app support for it." I have to assume that that your information is *sorely* outdated with ""There's actually less than 10,000 apps for Windows RT"... I was just looking through categories and I hit about 30,000 before the 1/3 way mark in the store, and then I see articles likes this:

    http://www.electronista.com/articles/13/07/02/windows.store.population.faster.than.that.of.windows.phone/

    The Windows Store broke 100,000 apps two months ago.

    Many, many people are operating with information about Windows RT/the Windows Store which is damn near a year old. Heck, the proof is in the pudding - you just claimed they don't have over 10,000 apps when they had 10x that two months ago.

    Windows RT is not for everyone, but for a *lot* of people, the App store will fill their app needs, and the inclusion of full Offfice is worth more than a half dozen half-arsed office-wannabe apps when you are actually trying to use the tablet for work... And I say this as someone who used a Le Pan II Android tablet for work for close to two years.

    I'm not a head-in-the-sand MS fanboy like Back-in-Demand and I'm telling you/asking you... Your information is outdated. I don't really care if you choose Android or iOS over Windows tablets but, if you do, do soon accurate information. I was an Android tablet user until I tried a Windows 8 tablet and it was *clearly* better for work than my Android. And heck, I still use my Le Pan II because it's better than my Surface RT for both text to speech and games, and I use it on almost a daily basis. Android is superior for some things, and Windows RT - or 8, obviously - is superior for others. I can't comment on iOS because I haven't used it seriously in over two years now.

    PS - please ignore Back-by-Demand. The guy's comment when accused that he was paid by MS was - and I quote - "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." As a non-hired person who is quite happy using all three types of devices and RECOMMENDING Android and iOS for certain needs , I have trouble believing this guy isn't hired by MS.
    Reply