I’ve been somewhat of a fan of the Microsoft Surface RT tablet computer. What I like about it is its productivity features, a big screen, nice keyboard available, Microsoft Office built in, and the ability to plug in USB peripherals. So for the things I do, watch movies, play games, blog, read email, social media and the occasional document or spreadsheet, it’s perfect. With one of the keyboard covers, it becomes something of a laptop replacement, even more so with an external mouse.
All of those good things said, there are a few things I wasn’t too happy with:
- The screen resolution is a little low for book reading. I found the Kindle app book text a little grainy.
- The resolution on the cameras isn’t all that high.
- It’s a tad slow starting programs.
- Connecting the charger cable is finicky.
- The battery life isn’t as long as I would like, and if you took it on a very long airplane trip (say across the ocean), you’d run out of juice.
So I’m selling my Surface on eBay—because—I got a Surface 2.
The Surface 2 addresses all 5 of my dislikes for the original Surface.
In addition, the Surface 2 has a USB 3.0 port where you can plug in one of those huge-capacity portable hard drives. (You can plug those into the Surface too, but it’s only USB 2.0.) My son, the Microsoft guy, gave me a keyboard like the one at the right for Christmas and it works equally well on the Surface 2. Of course, by logging into my Microsoft account, all the settings and installed apps came across. I had to enter passwords into the apps again, and set up my network printer, but that didn’t take long.
The Surface 2 comes with two one-year freebies. You get 200GB of OneDrive cloud. Microsoft normally charges $100 for this much storage. I’ll never use it more than the 7 GB everybody gets. The other is unlimited Skype calls to phones for a year and access to their two million hotspots. This latter feature is one I will certainly be looking for when I’m traveling. The two hotspots nearest me are in hotels that provide free Wi-Fi to their guests anyway. The ones in the Atlanta airport are more interesting.