The Microsoft Surface Pro 2 sports a fourth-generation Core i5 processor with integrated Intel HD 4400 graphics, and comes in a handful of configurations. The 64GB and 128GB models ship with 4GB of RAM, while the 256GB and 512GB ship with 8GB of RAM.
We tested the base model with 64GB capacity and 4GB of RAM and came away very impressed. The machine slightly outpaces many similar Core i5 devices in our standard benchmarks. This could be due to the fact that the Surface Pro 2 is made by Microsoft, and should have flawless driver support.
Boot up time was also impressive, and the machine quickly started in less than 10 seconds consistently. But then again, fast startup times are a consistent quality on most Intel Core-based Windows 8 hardware.
Of course, integrated graphics means that the Surface Pro 2 won’t be able to handle the most intensive modern games on the highest settings, but it should perform nobly running older titles.
wPrime processor comparisons (lower score means better performance):
PCMark 7 is a newer benchmark and measures overall systems performance (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark 11 is a benchmark that measures overall graphic card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
The Surface Pro 2 sports what appears to be the same 720p front and rear cameras found on the original Surface Pro. Users typically don’t buy Core devices for camera quality, and that’s good news for Microsoft, as the Surface Pro 2 cameras are poor at best. They’ll do the job for a quick Skype chat, but that’s about it.
The original Surface Pro had horrid battery life, and struggled to last more than four hours on a single charge with casual usage. The Surface Pro 2 can far easily outlast the first-generation Pro, but misses the output of similarly-sized devices with comparable specs, lasing lasted 3 hours and 7 minutes in the strenuous Powermark “Balanced” test, which should translate into about six hours of the same casual use, give or take.
It’s a tradeoff, power and size for battery life. Compared with ARM-based tablets like the Surface 2 or iPad Air, and the battery time is woefully short, but the Surface Pro 2 runs laps around them in computing power. If you need more juice, Microsoft will begin shipping the Power Cover in 2014 for $200, which combines a Touch Cover 2 with a battery pack.
The Surface Pro 2 seems incomplete without an official Microsoft keyboard cover. Yes, the full-sized USB input means that users can plug and use any old USB keyboard, but the tablet was specifically built for use with the QWERTY covers, which snap on and off to the bottom landscape edge, complete with a satisfying and magnetic click.
The Touch Cover and Touch Cover 2 are the most modestly priced options at $80 and $120 respectively, and are “pressure response” keyboards. That means they are keyboards without keys. The first-gen is as basic as can be, while the Touch Cover 2 includes illumination as well as more pressure points. It’s thinner too.
The Type Cover 2 runs $130, and is well worth the extra $10 compared against the Touch Cover 2. It features real keys with a few millimeters of travel, and is extremely quiet. In a nice touch, the Touch Cover 2 features a proximity sensor, so the backlighting powers down when not in use, but lights up as fingers approach.
Others worth noting include the aforementioned Power Cover, which is basically a Type Cover with an additional battery; a Surface Music Kit, which doubles as a virtual DJ mixing station; and a $200 docking station, which adds an additional USB 3.0 port, three USB 2.0 ports, Mini DisplayPort, audio ports, and an Ethernet jack.