Can Surface 2 replace a laptop?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by B..., Nov 12, 2013.

  1. B... macrumors 68000

    B...

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    #1
    Hi all,

    I'm in the market for a new laptop "device," and I'm insterested in the Surface 2 (not the Pro 2). Do you think it could replace a laptop for various light tasks like word processing, web browsing, listening to music, etc? I could remote desktop a computer with a full OS for any more intensive tasks, and I could use its micro HDMI out port to hook it up to an external monitor.

    So, do you think I could be happy with a Surface 2/Type Cover combo for about 2 years, or should I go a more traditional route?

    Thanks.
     
  2. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

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    #2
    I don't understand why anyone would every consider a Surface 2 when you can get one of these for less. Surface 2 has better display resolution but the Asus runs full Windows, has a dockable full keyboard, better battery life and costs about $300 less (assuming purchase of Type Cover 2 with Surface).
     
  3. Michael Goff macrumors G3

    Michael Goff

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    #3
    Yes, you could be happy.

    Because they really like Windows RT? There's still a future out there for a more optimized Windows. That's what Surface 2 provides. Also, given how well Microsoft supported the Surface RT, you can bet your rear that the Surface 2 will be getting better support than the Transformer.
     
  4. alex2792 macrumors 6502a

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  5. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

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    #5
    So there's functionality in 8.1 RT that's not available in full Windows 8.1? If so, then I stand corrected, thought everything in RT was also available in full Windows, just not the other way around.

    And what support would the Transformer not get? Wouldn't any Windows updates be available to any device running that version of Windows? Unlike Android, I didn't think Windows updates were device/manufacturer specific. Honest questions, haven't used Windows full time in quite a few years and never used to be that way.
     
  6. skaertus macrumors 68030

    skaertus

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    #6
    I would look into the Dell Venue 11 Pro, which costs about the same.

    ----------

    The low resolution of the Asus is a let down for me.

    Look at the Dell Venue 11 Pro, with a 1920x1080 resolution, and which costs US$ 499, and has an optional full-sized keyboard with an additional battery which can be attached to the tablet (and costs about US$ 160).

    New alternatives are coming. The HP Omni 10 will have a 1920x1200 resolution, and will cost US$ 399, but with only 32 GB of SSD storage (which is low for a full Windows 8.1 device).

    Now, the more appealing one should be the Sharp Mebius Pad, that has a 2560x1600 IGZO display. However, there's no information on price and on availability outside of Japan.
     
  7. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

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    #7
    Fair enough, hadn't seen that the pricing had been released for the Venue 11 Pro.

    Again, if someone could clarify the benefit of having Windows RT over full Windows, I'd appreciate it because otherwise, I don't see why one would get a Surface over the Dell, especially considering they're about the same price include keyboards.
     
  8. alex2792, Nov 12, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013

    alex2792 macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    RT is very secure so you don't have to worry about viruses and spyware. ARM chips deliver better battery life than Intel and Tegra 4 comes with a much better GPU than Atom. Basically RT has the security and ease of use of the iPad while being far more capable in every way.

    Check out this video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wG1b0yBJHLM
     
  9. Michael Goff macrumors G3

    Michael Goff

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    #9
    No, it's not features it's optimization. That's something that Asus won't have that Windows RT has. And the firmware support that Microsoft has given is second to none when it comes to these things. The most recent Surface 2 update, for example, improves battery life. Windows 8 is a one size fits all OS and Windows RT can be more optimized to take care of hardware.
     
  10. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #10
    Windows RT is junk, pure and utter junk. It's a massive mistake from MS that they seem to be pushing hard to save some kind of face. You can get EVERYTHING that RT offers in an Atom or S. Pro tablet, you still get Metro mode and all the apps that come with it. There just exists no reason, not a single one, to get a RT device over a regular windows tablet.
     
  11. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

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    #11
    Thanks. From what I've been reading, it looks like the new Bay Trail CPUs are still lagging a bit behind in GPU performance but every equal in CPU performance and battery life.

    Also, I'd always read that third party application development/support for RT is abysmal--is that still the case? Wouldn't the slight tradeoff in some performance be worthwhile for access to x86 compatible software? Performance is great but isn't good software the key to the entire experience?
     
  12. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #12
    I'll bet the battery life is not much better than an Atom tablet, although I don't have official specs and there are only a couple of baytrail tablets out in the wild. I know my Lenovo TPT2 with the older Atom Clovertrail got a good 8-10 hours of active use. As for GPU, why does a GPU matter in the RT unit if you can't run desktop games, or run desktop apps like CAD, photoshop, etc? Seems like a waste to me. Security you may have a point, although I've never found vanilla windows to be particularly insecure, but I will defer to security experts.

    You just lose so much with RT, you basically have a neutered ipad. It might be a strength if all you do is run Office, but then you can do the same exact thing on a non-RT tablet.
     
  13. B... thread starter macrumors 68000

    B...

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    #13
    You don't get the Surface 2 aesthetics, kickstand, backlit keyboard, 200GB free Cloud storage, 1 year free Skype Wifi, 72 graphics cores (yes, how they affect performance is debatable, but Tegra 4 graphics are better than Atom) with the T100. And it's lighter and thinner when both have their keyboards.
     
  14. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #14
    No I agree with you, the surface has some very cool hardware stats. It's very nicely built, it has the kickstand which I wish other tablets had, the snap on keyboard is very nice as well. But at the end of the day all those things don't matter if I lose the MAIN advantage of windows, the ability to run legacy programs. So it's a neutered ipad with a nice GPU that is useless and a kickstand, great. Of course that's how I use my tablet, I don't want you to think I'm telling you how to use yours.

    As for graphics, yeah you are probably right, but I look forward to playing Skyrim, Crysis, etc, photoshop, etc on my Baytrail tablet even with its slightly inferior graphics.
     
  15. B... thread starter macrumors 68000

    B...

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    #15
    Just because it can doesn't mean you should. Crysis isn't going to run very well on Baytrail graphics. But Windows RT isn't meant to be Windows (I think). It's meant to be a competitor to iOS, and not many people complain that their iPad can't do Photoshop.
     
  16. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #16
    Crysis on Baytrail? Ask and ye shall receive...
    http://www.frequency.com/video/asus-t100-bay-trail-gaming-crysis/128980421/-/5-19999

    And yes you are 100% correct, RT is meant to compete with the ipad. MS had the hubris to think it could out ipad the ipad, a $900 million dollar mistake. It threw away the incredible advantage of legacy programs to try and compete in the "dumb" tablet arena, it failed the first time and I have no doubts it will fail the 2nd time.

    The reason not many people complain their ipad can't do photoshop is because they know it's a dumb tablet, meant for consumption. People don't have the assumption that the ipad will run programs that a full OS can. But now you buy a Surface 2 with "windows" (remember MS dropped the RT part) and how many consumers do you think will be confused when they realize they are not getting windows?

    Look, I understand the long view. The eventual death of the desktop and the eventual ubiquity of mobile devices such as tablets. MS is trying to hedge its bets, you can get the desktop on surface Pro, or you can take part in the mobile only future with RT. I get it, I get the strategy and the long term thinking behind it. But I'll be damned if I give up my desktop and the huge amount of legacy programs I currently use and will most probably use for years to come. I'd rather have the choice, on my tablet I can run RT AND I can run the desktop, I don't have to compromise or choose. I have suffered years with the toy like ipad because someone thought there would be a "Post PC era", and here we are years later and PC's are still around and an integral part of society and technology. I'm not saying they won't transform eventually, but it will be a LONG time away and I won't hamstring myself until then.
     
  17. Technarchy macrumors 603

    Technarchy

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    #17
    Yes it absolutely can replace a laptop...depending on how you use a laptop.

    Based upon your description, a Surface 2 will meet your needs just fine.
     
  18. Technarchy macrumors 603

    Technarchy

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    #18
    And therein resides the problem with RT; the confusion with Windows.

    RT is not an inherently bad product, but MSFT mixing up with Windows and even having it look similar to Windows is just stupid.
     
  19. Michael Goff macrumors G3

    Michael Goff

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    #19
    It won't be as optimized. If you need to run legacy, it won't matter, but he doesn't need legacy. So it's inferior in screen for only a slightly more powerful CPU (and weaker GPU). There are literally no benefits to him getting full Windows for what he does.

    And those benefits don't matter to him for his use case. He's not using full Windows, so the only benefit that the atom tablet has is gone. We're stuck with the downsides.
     
  20. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #20
    Yeah I agree somewhat. You don't have inferior screens with the newer baytrail tablets. The T100 does have an inferior screen, but Dell just released a baytrail tablet with the same resolution for $500 so they are out there and being released. I don't think the CPU/GPU are really relevant here, for either side of the argument, as they both get the job done.

    I still don't see any downsides to an Atom tablet though, only pluses. Even things like keyboards are being solved, the Dell atom tablet I mentioned has a magnetic thin keyboard similar to the surface one, but it's not backlit, for example. They also come with Office 2013 free, just like the surface.

    I understand your point, he doesn't want legacy windows so why bother with it. If that's the case then I don't blame him, but I at least wanted him to be aware that he COULD get full windows if he wanted without compromising anything. But I don't blame him either way, the surface RT 2 is a nicely built machine.
     
  21. Michael Goff macrumors G3

    Michael Goff

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    #21
    VaporMag is a beautiful thing.

    I didn't know anything about the 10" Dell.
     
  22. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #22
    Yeah, I have to agree that the hardware on the surface is a beautiful thing. No atom tablet has matched it yet. I also love the kickstand and have no idea why it's not standard on EVERY tablet.
     
  23. Michael Goff macrumors G3

    Michael Goff

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    #23
    Well, because other companies seem to be trying to make a margin. Microsoft is cutting their margin as time goes on. Tegra 4, VaporMag, nice kickstand, nice screen.
     
  24. TheHateMachine macrumors 6502a

    TheHateMachine

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    #24
    It certainly can replace your laptop. I bought the Surface 1 and it would have replaced my laptop if WinRT allowed you to bind to AD. We don't have Server 2012 R2 here so I cannot do Workplace Join with 8.1 either.

    Free Office, Secure, Good design and Battery life. It makes a good laptop.

    Everyone's gripe seems to be using it on your laptop. I could do it with the old kickstand with a bit of awkwardness... not sure how the new kickstand improves things or not. That seems to be the only niggle left.
     
  25. Technarchy macrumors 603

    Technarchy

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    #25
    Getting "Full Windows" is hardly some great blessing. Unless you absolutely, positively need legacy support you'd be better off with RT in many cases.

    There's a reason why laptop sales are sinking and Chroebooks, iPads and android devices are gaining traction. People are figuring out you simply don't need Windows and the bloat, cost and tech headaches associated with it. RT was Microsoft's answer to this market, but they botched the marketing, packaging and interface leading to massive confusion with Windows proper.
     

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