Tablet or laptop shopping: the Microsoft Surface 2 could be for you - Wilmington Technology

With so many choices in the tablet and laptop marketplace, it is important to understand exactly where the tablet notebook hybrids of the Microsoft Surface 2 series fit into the tablet computer spectrum.Photo by Spencer Platt / Getty ImagesStarting with their announcement in the Summer of 2012, the Microsoft Surface tablet has been one of the most talked about line of tablet notebook hybrids. Unfortunately for Microsoft, not all the talk has been praise.Understanding the differences between the Microsoft Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 is key to your decision in shopping for your computer.For our tour of notebooks we will be focusing this article on the Microsoft Surface 2.Second generation updatesThe Microsoft Surface 2 series was released in October of 2013. The second generation tablets run the updated Windows 8.1 RT and Windows 8.1 Pro, addressing many operating system issue.Hardware improvements make the second generation Surface 2 series faster and lighter. Significant hardware improvements addressed complaints about the battery life with Surface 2 battery life specifications listed as "up to 10 hours."Other nice improvements include backlit keyboards, USB ports upgraded to USB 3.0, and improved video.Looking at the featuresOne of the criticisms of the Surface is that it runs the Windows RT operating system and only runs apps purchased from - learn more - the Microsoft Windows app store. The critics will tell you the Windows app store is virtually empty compared to Apple and Google. (Google's app store supports Android tablets.)As you are watching the video attached to this article, take note of the installed tools and applications of the Surface 2 that are part of the Windows 8.1 RT operating system. If you are looking for a notebook for the simple tasks of web surfing and email reading, the standard apps may be all you need.Working on Microsoft Office files that you have created at your school or office on your Surface 2 at home is an added bonus. Another cool feature of the Surface 2 is that Microsoft Office 2013 RT is included at no extra charge.The base model Surface 2 with 32GB of storage and 2GB RAM has a retail price of $449.The price for the Surface 2 hardware is pretty much in line with popular 10" Android tablets such as the Google Nexus 10 or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10. Due to varying prices and availability it was difficult to get an exact features to price comparison, but of the Android 10" tablets in this category, typical prices were in the $399 to $499 range.Some reviewers have commented that the Surface 2 should come with a keyboard. Having the keyboard as an option is not all that bad an idea. If you just want to use it as a tablet, you don't need a keyboard. If you decide you want a keyboard, Microsoft offers various types and colors of keyboards at around $120. If you are shopping for them online, Microsoft calls the keyboards, covers.The one feature that Microsoft loves to talk about is the USB port, something you find on Surface that is not usually found on tablet computers.Why buy the Surface 2For as much bad press that Windows 8 and the Surface tablet series have received, comments and reviews by users on tech websites are generally favorable.Some of the criticism of Microsoft - - Windows 8 and Surface tablets has been excessive. Perhaps the ill will for Microsoft comes from an ongoing love-hate relationship between Microsoft and technology consumers that has built up over the years. Before Google became the 800 pound gorilla Microsoft was the dominant force in technology.If your reason for buying a tablet is strictly for web surfing and email reading, the Surface 2 is very comparable to other 10" Android tablets.Add the additional features such as the ability to add a keyboard, access to a USB 3.0 port for easy file storage and transfer, and Microsoft Office included, the price of the Surface 2 seems very reasonable.Love them, or hate them, Microsoft Office files are the standard for many people at school and in their workplace. If you need to use Microsoft Office files, that reason alone could sway you to consider the Surface 2.If you are shopping for a Tablet or laptop, the Microsoft Surface 2 could be exactly what you need.-Trying to decide what is the best technology choice for you this Christmas?Follow us on social media as we will be comparing and contrasting your technology choices this Christmas shopping season. Look for Tom Peracchio on the net ... @Gu42 on Twitter , Guru42 on Google+ or Guru42 on Facebook.