Welcome!

Adobe Flex Authors: Matthew Lobas, PR.com Newswire, Shelly Palmer, Kevin Benedict

Blog Feed Post

Surface 2: One Week Later

At MVP Summit this year, many of us were lucky enough to pick up a Surface 2 32 GB.  As many of you know, I have been a die hard supporter of my Surface RT and I think it runs great with Windows 8.1.  I simply love the connected standby and long battery life.  While your buddy’s Surface Pro isn’t notifying them of E-mail because it’s asleep, my Surface 2 chimes every time I get one (except during the new quiet hours :) ).  I also don’t have any desire to run Adobe Photoshop or Visual Studio on the device so sticking to the apps that are in the Windows Store works great for me.  I’m thoroughly impressed with the device.  Let’s take a look at some of the new features and differences and then you can decide if you want one for yourself.

Physical Differences

Meet the new Surface (2).  It looks similar on the front with a visible gray border from the casing.

Surface2Front

The Surface 2 comes in it’s natural gray color with the word Surface prominently displayed on the back.  I hope this leads to fewer people having to ask what the device is since they never had a clue what my Surface RT was. :)  I don’t like the gray color as much as the black on the Surface RT but it’s not a deal break for me.  If you are used to the smooth finish of the RT, you will notice that the back of the Surface 2 isn’t quite as smooth. 

SurfaceBackAnngle1

It features a two position kick-stand which I find highly useful when you have it sitting in your lap with a keyboard.  Here is the traditional angle offered by Surface RT.

Surface2FrontAngle1

Here is the new couch friendly angle great for using Xbox SmartGlass with your new Xbox One.

Surface2FrontAngle2

Camera

The Surface 2 has upgraded cameras (3.5 megapixel front and 5.0 megapixel rear).  I don’t think the camera is a huge selling point on any tablet device, but it’s a nice upgrade.  This is mainly because all I ever did with the cameras was take pictures using OneNote and occasionally use it with Skype.  The position of the camera and the ambient light sensor has varied some so if you have skinned your Surface RT, you’ll need a new one for your Surface 2.  Luckily, these are quite cheap at the Microsoft store (around $15).

Accessories

All of your Surface gen 1 accessories will still work including keyboards and power adapters.  This makes it easy to transition to Surface 2.  The connector on the power supply is slightly different.  When connected it now has a colored ring which makes it easier to tell it is plugged in.  It’s also a bit easier to get connected now as I often struggled when trying to plug in my Surface RT when in the dark.  You can see the ring there on the side of this picture taken in the dark.

Surface2PowerSupply

You may have heard about the new colorful type keyboards.  They feature backlighting.  Here’s an example of the purple (no it’s not mine :) ) Type Keyboard 2 with the key lit in the dark.

WP_20131125_006

Speed

One of the biggest issues among bloggers and reviewers in the last year with Surface RT was the speed of the device.  The device is particularly slow at times.  This is especially noticeable when you have a number of apps open, especially Outlook RT (which we got with Windows 8.1).  I have to say the Surface 2 is noticeably faster (night and day).  The device is generally snappy and the mail app runs pretty quickly as do other apps.  I can even keep Outlook RT running and the device doesn’t start to lag like I noticed before.  For the speed alone, this device is worth the upgrade if you want an RT device.

The memory in the device is still 2 GB.  This doesn’t prove to be a huge issue, but I do feel like the device can hit this value fairly quickly still when you have a lot of apps running.  When this happens you’ll find Windows tombstoning (closing) more background apps than you care for.

Transition

Windows 8.1 makes it so easy to move from one device to another!  When I first powered up the device and logged in it prompted me if I wanted to copy my settings from a previous device.  I opted to copy the settings and through the magic of the cloud, my start screen reappeared with all of my familiar tiles.  I only had to re-arrange a couple of tiles and it ended up looking exactly like my the start screen on my Surface RT.  It recognizes which apps you had installed before and you can click on just click on the icons to get them downloading.

One thing to note.  If you happen to buy your device when you are on the road, configuration at a hotel might be a minor issue.  Typically the WiFi at hotels requires you to sign-in, enter a code, or click a button before you are online.  The initial configuration experience doesn’t play well with this.  To get around it, I fired up my MiFi and did the configuration with that device.

Screen Resolution

It doesn’t take long to get spoiled by the HD resolution (1920x1080).  You start to notice this in places like the Start screen and on the desktop.  When you go back to your Surface RT, you can really tell a difference.  Windows automatically makes adjustments to the scaling so things are easier to read on the desktop, but if you have good ideas you can tweak the device to run at normal scaling and see some very small icons.  Take a look at the screenshot of my desktop on the Surface 2.  Compared to the Surface RT, you can see that more tiles fit on the screen horizontally.

Surface2StartScreen

Here’s the same start screen on my Surface RT.  Notice how the last column of tiles gets cut off.  Even the background image is cut off in places.

SurfaceRTStartScreen

If you run Remote Desktop, you can run at the full 1920x1080 screen resolution.  This allows you to see everything on the device, but I find that it’s a bit hard to use with touch because the pixels are so small.   It’s fine if you use a mouse or the touchpad on one of the keyboards.

Apps

The app story keeps getting better for the Windows Store.  At launch, we finally got Facebook and Flipboard.  These were big apps that people had been waiting for (although you could always use Facebook in the browser just fine).  Since, I have no desire to run Photoshop on my tablet (although you can run Photoshop Express :) ), I am quite happy with this device as a bridge between business productivity and fun and games.  I never have understood why people used this particular application to judge the success of the Surface.  It’s not like IOS can run it.

Storage

I opted for the 32 GB this time as that was what is available.  I also had a Surface RT 32 GB for a while and never really had an issue with storage.  Movies and videos can be offloaded to the SDXC card.  Documents can be stored in SkyDrive with the included free 200 GB of storage for 2 years.  I don’t suspect storage space will be an issue at all.

SDXC Slot

The Surface 2 features the same SDXC card slot but it has been moved down slightly making it easier to reach.  One thing to note about this slot is that when you slide the card in, it will actually click twice.  If you only hear it click once, then it will not be detected.  Push it in further, and you’ll hear another click and Windows should detect it.

WP_20131125_011

Speakers

Another common complaint of the speakers of Surface RT is that they just aren’t that loud.  I never found this to be an issue since I always paired my Surface with a Jambox (or other Bluetooth speaker).  As far as speakers go, I would say Surface 2 is pretty comparable.  I did a few tests between the two devices and couldn’t tell any noticeable difference at max volume.  The Surface 2 adds an additional microphone.  This should help for conference calls using Skype when not using a headset.

Ports

The Surface 2 now features a USB 3.0 port whereas Surface RT only has a USB 2.0 port.  This is a nice improvement but I never found it to be a blocker on my Surface RT.  I haven’t found myself copying large files off of external hard drives or anything like that.  It’s still a nice upgrade.  Surface 2 still features a Micro HDMI port out.  I would like to see Surface and Surface Pro use the same port at some point.

Battery Life

The battery life with Surface RT was already ridiculously awesome.  I had no issue exceeding the quoted 8 hour battery life on a regular basis.  The story with Surface 2 is even better.  It’s quoted at 10 hours when playing video and I bet it can do even longer.  I have had no issues with battery at all yet.  The nice thing about RT devices is that they also charge rather quickly as well.  They can usually charge in just over 2 hours or so.

Issues

No device is perfect, but this one is pretty nice.  I have encountered a few minor issues but I have been able to work around them.  I noticed the first issue when I was on the airplane home.  I plugged my headphones in and couldn’t get any sound to work.  When visiting the Manage Audio Devices control panel, I would receive an error related to the drivers.  This has seemed to resolve itself though since I have gotten home.  Hopefully, it doesn’t happen again. 

The other issue I have also affected my Surface RT.  About once a week (maybe more), I find that Surface refused to turn on.  Pressing the Windows button will vibrate but pressing the Power button does not turn the screen on.  When this happens, you can hold the Power button for an extended period of time and it might turn on.  However, sometimes the only reliable way to get it to power back on is to plug it into external power and then hold the Power button for a bit.  I have only had this happen once on the Surface 2.  I was hoping this issue wouldn’t follow us to the new device but it looks like it may be there.  It’s not a huge deal, but it is a bit of an inconvenience.

Now that I have a Surface 2, I have noticed that my Surface RT is not staying charged.  If I leave it unplugged, the next day it will be completely dead.  I’m not really sure the cause (maybe power settings), but I suspect it is due to jealousy of the new kids on the block. :)

Wants

I think the one thing I want from Surface Pro (no not the x86/x64 apps) is the stylus.  Although I don’t see myself using a stylus a lot, I would love to see that functionality make it’s way to the RT line of devices.  I was hoping that would make it into this version, but who knows there is always the next revision.

Summary

There is a reason why the next generation of Surface is flying off the shelves.  They are nice devices.  If you aren’t looking for a highly productive business device that can do some great consumer tasks, this device is for you.  If you have expectations of turning it into a developer tool or running your 15 year old software then go buy a Pro.  If you have been holding off to buy a Surface, go buy a Surface 2 now.  I have even heard the most skeptics of colleagues, bloggers, and tech writers totally pull a 180 on this device.  This is a device to be had!

Follow me on twitter: @coreyroth.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Corey Roth

Corey Roth, a SharePoint Server MVP, is a consultant at Hitachi Consulting specializing in SharePoint and Office 365 for clients in the energy sector. He has more than ten years of experience delivering solutions in the energy, travel, advertising and consumer electronics verticals.

Corey specializes in delivering ECM and search solutions to clients using SharePoint. Corey has always focused on rapid adoption of new Microsoft technologies including Visual Studio 2013, Office 365, and SharePoint.

He is a member of the .NET Mafia (www.dotnetmafia.com) where he blogs about the latest technology and SharePoint. He is dedicated to the community and speaks regularly at user groups and SharePoint Saturdays.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
SYS-CON Events announced today TMCnet has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) is the world's leading business-to-business and integrated marketing media company, servicing niche markets within the com...
The IoT has the potential to create a renaissance of manufacturing in the US and elsewhere. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Florent Solt, CTO and chief architect of Netvibes, will discuss how the expected exponential increase in the amount of data that will be processed, transported, stored, and accessed means there will be a huge demand for smart technologies to deliver it. Florent Solt is the CTO and chief architect of Netvibes. Prior to joining Netvibes in 2007, he co-founded Rift Technol...
Join IBM June 8 at 18th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn how to innovate like a startup and scale for the enterprise. You need to deliver quality applications faster and cheaper, attract and retain customers with an engaging experience across devices, and seamlessly integrate your enterprise systems. And you can't take 12 months to do it.
This is not a small hotel event. It is also not a big vendor party where politicians and entertainers are more important than real content. This is Cloud Expo, the world's longest-running conference and exhibition focused on Cloud Computing and all that it entails. If you want serious presentations and valuable insight about Cloud Computing for three straight days, then register now for Cloud Expo.
IoT device adoption is growing at staggering rates, and with it comes opportunity for developers to meet consumer demand for an ever more connected world. Wireless communication is the key part of the encompassing components of any IoT device. Wireless connectivity enhances the device utility at the expense of ease of use and deployment challenges. Since connectivity is fundamental for IoT device development, engineers must understand how to overcome the hurdles inherent in incorporating multipl...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, will discuss how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to im...
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, will discuss how leveraging the Industrial Interne...
The paradigm has shifted. A Gartner survey shows that 43% of organizations are using or plan to implement the Internet of Things in 2016. However, not just a handful of companies are still using the old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways, unaware of the critical barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can you become a winner? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan will present a methodical approach to guide the holistic adoption and enablement of IoT implementations. This ov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratoscale, the software company developing the next generation data center operating system, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Stratoscale is revolutionizing the data center with a zero-to-cloud-in-minutes solution. With Stratoscale’s hardware-agnostic, Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) solution to store everything, run anything and scale everywhere...
Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified – now it's a component-based well-performing framework. This immersive one-day workshop at 18th Cloud Expo, led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay, will provide you with everything you wanted to know about Angular 2.
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...