Click here to close now.


Adobe Flex Authors: Matthew Lobas, 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.


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. 


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.


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



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).


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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. :)


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.


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 ( 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
WebRTC: together these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Cary Bran, VP of Innovation and New Ventures at Plantronics and PLT Labs, will provide an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet conditions, Dyn ensures traffic gets delivered faster, safer, and more reliably than ever.
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context w...
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, will discuss the impact of technology on identity. Should we federate, or not? How should identity be secured? Who owns the identity? How is identity ...
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new data-driven world, marketplaces reign supreme while interoperability, APIs and applications deliver un...
Electric power utilities face relentless pressure on their financial performance, and reducing distribution grid losses is one of the last untapped opportunities to meet their business goals. Combining IoT-enabled sensors and cloud-based data analytics, utilities now are able to find, quantify and reduce losses faster – and with a smaller IT footprint. Solutions exist using Internet-enabled sensors deployed temporarily at strategic locations within the distribution grid to measure actual line loads.
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, will explore the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, along with new ways to engage with users.
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll share tips on how to speed up business initiatives, harness Big Data and remain one step ahead by apply...
There will be 20 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet soon. What if we could control these devices with our voice, mind, or gestures? What if we could teach these devices how to talk to each other? What if these devices could learn how to interact with us (and each other) to make our lives better? What if Jarvis was real? How can I gain these super powers? In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, will show you!
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, will keynote at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target - this makes the integration of these separate pipelines and the coordination of software upd...