Microsoft Surface 2 RT - powerful, cool, controversial

    Tablets have come into use relatively long ago, partially replacing laptops and netbooks. Such mobile gadgets are especially popular among young people, however, in the business sector, the demand for tablets only grows every year.

    If initially this category of devices was associated mainly with the iPad, recently Apple’s share in the tablet market has been declining. On the one hand, numerous cheap Android competitors are attacking, on the other, Windows models have begun to appear. Among the latter, a special place is occupied by the Microsoft Surface line of tablets, which also seeks to occupy its position in this market. And today we will talk about one of these devices - Surface 2 RT.


    The Surface 2 tablet comes preloaded with Windows RT 8.1, an operating system that is optimized for thin and light computers. The resolution of the 10.6-inch display is 1920x1080 pixels. Inside it has a quad-core Tegra 4 processor with a clock frequency of 1.9 GHz and a 72-core (terribly sounds) NVIDIA GeForce ULP video accelerator. Other features include 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of user memory (+ microSDXC slot). Some models of Surface 2 tablets: Surface 2 (AT&T 4G LTE) and Surface 2 (4G) - have a built-in function for connecting to mobile broadband networks, which you can use to connect to the Internet if a Wi-Fi network is not available. In addition, a version with 64 GB of internal memory is on sale.

    imageScreen:10.6 ", 1920 × 1080 px, ClearType Full HD
    imageProcessor: NVIDIA Tegra 4 (Cortex-A15, 1.9 GHz, 4 cores)
    imageVideo accelerator: 72-core NVIDIA GeForce ULP
    imageOperating system: Windows RT 8.1
    imageRAM: 2 GB
    imageUser memory : 32 GB + microSDXC slot
    imageCamera: front - 3.5 MP, rear - 5 MP
    imageOptional: 2 × 2 MIMO Wi-Fi 802.11a / b / g / n, Bluetooth 4.0, microHDMI, USB 3.0 port, mini-jack 3 , 5 mm, light sensor, acceleration sensor, gyroscope and compass
    imageBattery: 31.5 watt-hours
    imageDimensions: 275 x 173 x 8.9 mm
    imageWeight: 676 Gram
    imagePrice: 374 $ (13,000 rubles)


    The tablet comes in a strict and massive black box, the dimensions are more suitable for an ultrabook. From this black box with a beveled right side, a white box peeks out, in which the tablet itself is located.

    On the back of the package are the main advantages of the tablet in three languages ​​(English, German and Italian) and license information with a guarantee. The side shows the memory version.

    Next, we are greeted by the bright side of the box with the lone inscription '' Surface ''.

    The box opens like a huge book. Inside the tablet lies neatly and charging to it.

    There are also booklets and some bonuses. When buying a Surface 2 tablet, the user gets 200 GB of space in the OneDrive cloud storage for a period of two years (there is a promotional code for activation). And, in addition, Skype gives an annual subscription, namely unlimited free calls to landlines in 60 countries ( Russia is on the list, despite the sanctions ), unlimited Internet connection via Skype Wi-Fi in public Wi-Fi access areas (more million worldwide), technical support in chat format, and of course, disabling third-party advertising in Skype. Please note: a free Skype subscription is available for 90 days from the date of purchase of Surface 2.

    The power supply is similar to other similar devices, only with a color sticker of Windows 8.

    The output current is 2A.

    No USB cable or headset included.


    Together with the tablet, I also ordered a Type Cover 2 keyboard (it is purchased separately and is not included). The box in it is certainly not as steep as the main unit, but it looks decent. The accessory is simply attached to a cardboard frame and stuck in a transparent plastic.

    The material of the keyboard is pleasant to the touch, looks more like a velvet rough fabric, but most likely it is a small-texture hard plastic. Only the keyboard collects dust very well ... Like the Smart Cover for iPad or Galaxy Tab, Type Cover 2 not only protects the device’s screen, but also wakes it up from sleep mode (when opened) or, conversely, puts the device into sleep mode (when closing).

    The keyboard module has standard keys, as well as support for combining them for common tasks, and a touchpad with recognition of various gestures. The keys have a good move and a well-thought out arrangement. The only disappointment is the lack of the PrintScreen key and Enter too small (after all, one of the popular buttons ;-)). And, perhaps, one more minus is the small area of ​​the touchpad (and the place allows you to increase it, a strange solution), as well as its material. The fact is that it does not visually stand out, and you won’t feel its borders tactilely. On the one hand, it is beautiful, but from a practical point of view it is not always inconvenient. Surprisingly, the touchpad works well and quickly recognizes scrolling or zooming.

    The keyboard is attached to the tablet using a magnet: it is enough to bring them closer by 5-7 mm - and they will literally attract each other, accompanying the process with a characteristic click.

    Microsoft for the new generation of tablets has significantly improved Type Cover 2, it has become even thinner, now the thickness is only 5 mm. In addition, a built-in key illumination was added. Moreover, this backlight is adaptive (there is a proximity sensor)! Everything is very simple - they presented a hand to it, and it caught fire, well, or you can just press any key.

    An interesting point: Type Cover 2 can be wrapped on the back of the case, and it will stop working until you return it back - an intelligent accessory determines not only the connection, but also the orientation to avoid accidental clicks. But still, the feeling of keys under the fingers is not the most familiar, it is very confusing.

    Since the device was ordered from the United States, of course, on Type Cover 2 only English letters. There are three options for solving the problem: do laser engraving, draw the letters themselves with a felt-tip pen, or stickers. Well, well, or do nothing at all and leave only the Latin alphabet. I decided to go the first way and for 500 rubles in a local service in 10 minutes I inflicted Russian letters. Externally, the letters printed look exactly the same as the native English ones, the backlight also works in Russian letters. What happened - can be seen in the photo above. Well, now let's quickly move on to our device.


    The tablet looks strict and massive, but pretty. The edges are not sleek and beveled, as it is now fashionable, but rather clearly defined. Because of this, the device looks a bit angular. The display is surrounded by wide fields, for which it is convenient to hold the tablet without blocking the screen.

    At the top is the front camera, front microphone, light sensor and an indicator of the working camera.

    Only the Windows 8 logo stands out on the front surface, which is very interestingly beaten in the form of faces. The touch button, by clicking on which, you can always get to the main menu of the OS.

    The case of the Surface 2 RT is made of magnesium alloy (Microsoft itself calls it VaporMg), which is lighter and stronger than aluminum, and has only a plastic insert on the upper end in order to pass the WiFi signal. Behind the edges of the tablet are beveled, tapering to the back side, but without smoothing. That is, the back surface is as straight as the front, but smaller in area.

    On the plastic insert there is a rear camera and microphone.

    The most important feature of the tablet is of course the stand! Having it saves you from having to buy docking stations or looking for some other ways to fix the tablet vertically. True, this metal plate occupies half of the device (although it does not protrude in any way), but it can be folded into two positions. This whole structure holds very firmly, there is no feeling that now something will add up or change to another mode.

    One position is ideal for typing on a desk, and the other is for typing on your lap. The only, although very significant drawback of the stand is the inability to adjust the angle of its tilt. But experts from Microsoft provided angles at which it is comfortable to work with the tablet.

    There is a small ledge on the left side of the tablet for convenient prying out of the stand. And the microSDXC slot is located behind the stand.

    On the right side, we see one of the two speakers, a microHDMI connector and a full USB 3.0 port. As for the USB port, external hard drives and flash drives are quietly connected to it, and you can also charge other gadgets through it. Adapters and cables for connecting a Surface 2 tablet to an HDTV are sold separately and are not included.

    A little lower is the connector for the charger, which uses a magnetic lock, rather than physically securing the connector.

    The 5-pin connector is connected to the device (in this case it is even appropriate to use “fastens”) with a magnet, and it does not matter which polarity. After connecting, the white LED lights up. In the photo, it does not light, because there was no outlet for connection nearby.

    On the left side there is a second speaker, a volume rocker and a 3.5 mm audio jack. The sound quality itself is good, reproduces cleanly, but not very loudly. To watch the series at home or on a trip is quite suitable.

    By the way, on Kickstarterspecial “ears” have already appeared, which are worn on the corners of the Surface, amplify the sound by ten decibels, but at the same time do not require additional power. They simply prevent the dispersion of sound and direct it directly to the user. I tried just to clasp the speakers with my hands and, indeed, the volume slightly increased. So a pretty useful accessory for Surface owners!

    On the top face is only the power button. What I didn’t really like was the inclusion of a single click. Sometimes you just want to check if the device is working or off, and you press - and it immediately turns on.

    And on the bottom there are contacts for connecting the main accessory: keyboard cover. The tablet is quite thin - not the same as the MacBook Air, but still thinner than most other models.

    The whole design looks really beautiful. It looks like a laptop, only more portable and compact.

    However, the paint with which the device is coated, with time with frequent friction on the surface, can peel off, exposing the true color of the material. Therefore, it is better to take care of the cover before buying.


    The tablet is equipped with a screen with a diagonal of 10.6 inches and a resolution of 1920 x 1080, which in the end is 208 pixels per inch (ppi). The Surface display is coated with glass, has an anti-glare filter and an oleophobic coating.

    Colors are acceptable, high contrast. The image is dominated by a "cold" tint. White color is really white, but black colors, especially at an angle, take on a slightly purple hue. In bright sunlight, you can see anything only at maximum brightness. By the way, there are no problems with her - she is here with a margin. In dim daylight and artificial lighting, a brightness of about 50-60% was comfortable for me.

    The Surface 2 RT display supports ClearType technology and five-point multi-touch.


    The Surface 2's front-facing camera allows you to make calls even in low light. The picture through the darkness is quite juicy. Microsoft really responsibly approached the implementation of the WEB-camera, positioning the Surface as a reference device for making video calls in Skype. The 3.5 MP front camera produces an excellent high-resolution picture even in low light.

    On a 5 MP camera in normal lighting conditions, you get good photos with natural color reproduction, if you do not find fault with detail. There were no problems with focusing.

    The video quality is generally decent, allows you to shoot in 1080p resolution and with stereo sound.


    Surface 2 RT runs on the Windows RT 8.1 mobile-tablet operating system. Today, when the market is full of tablets on full-fledged Windows 8, the choice of a less functional Windows RT can only be explained by the need to install a single-chip system on the ARM architecture in the tablet.

    With the arrival of the last major update, buttons appeared for quick access to the search panel and the tablet’s power management menu right on the home screen next to the avatar and username in the upper right corner. And next to the button for switching to the "Applications" panel, an indicator of the number of new applications installed in the system appeared from the initial screen.

    Sorting by name, installation date, frequency of use and categories has appeared in applications. I like the third sort more, and left it.

    On the RT version, the only significant difference from the older version and the main drawback of the OS is the inability to run applications from other versions of the Windows family. This means that in addition to pre-installed programs, nothing can be easily installed there, and the choice of software is limited only by offers from the Windows Store. By the way, at the moment the store has about 160,000 applications.

    The problem is also exacerbated by a strange company policy - a ban on installing applications from any source other than the Application Store. True, you can make a kind of "jailbreak" to remove this ban. After that, it will be possible to launch any application compiled for the ARM architecture, since the list of such applicationsalready accumulated big enough. Unfortunately, for the new version of Windows 8.1, jailbreak has not yet been released, but it will definitely be soon!

    Windows RT has a traditional desktop with a panel, notifications and shortcuts. You can create folders and documents, sort them and change the background of the desktop.

    There is Explorer, as well as the ability to work with files, as in Windows 8. However, only a few pre-installed programs work in the desktop interface - these are Office, Scissors, Paint and some others. And I remind you: you can’t install new programs that would have the usual Windows 8 window interface (in the Store all programs work in a tiled interface and are moderated for this).

    The drawback that I noticed when using the window interface is the blurring of some elements. Most likely, this minus is associated with unfinished scaling. If with HD resolution the font blur is not so noticeable, then at FullHD it does not look very pretty anymore. It is possible that with the update this bug will be removed, but so far it looks like this.

    Windows RT has a significant plus compared to Windows 8: it has a pre-installed and completely free office suite Microsoft Office 2013 (whereas in regular Windows 8 there is no pre-installed Office, you will have to buy it).

    However, be prepared for the fact that MS Office on Windows RT is not quite the same Office as for Windows 7/8. Firstly, it contains only four applications with the familiar interface: Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Outlook comes as a tiled Mail application. In addition, the Office interface is slightly different from the standard PC version (it shows the desire for optimization for touch control), and most importantly - there is no support for macros and ActiveX.

    Another interesting point is multitasking. In RT, it is implemented at a good level, familiar from full Windows. Up to the point that the Flash player on the web page can be active, and the user is engaged in other tasks at this time.

    The tiled interface also has a convenient switching between applications. There is a way to simultaneously view and manage two applications. You can, for example, open a browser or video on 75% of the screen, and chat on Skype for the remaining 25%. On other operating systems, you have to switch between applications, which is not always convenient.

    And it is not necessary that the second application has a Metro style.

    We should also talk about Internet Explorer. You won’t believe it, but this is not the old and buggy Internet opener, but a convenient browser with gesture support. I am sure that many owners of touch tablets or laptops will agree with me. By the way, IE has a full-fledged Flash player. For many, this is an important parameter, for example, to play your favorite social game. networks. But Java and Silverlight plug-ins cannot be installed.

    Very cool integration with the OneDrive cloud service. We edit the document on a PC or laptop, save it. Then we launch Microsoft Word on the tablet and in the latest documents our file is already visible, open it and you can continue to work with it. If you want your files to always be synchronized and available offline, do not forget to enable this feature.

    The tiled interface for touch screens is implemented very conveniently and beautifully with an emphasis on gesture support, it is pleasant to use. If I immediately turned it off on a PC, then here my hand reaches out to open the Start menu or close the application by swiping down (now I often try to do this out of habit on Android). I would like to mention the response to touch. It is instant, the image moves immediately with a finger. Perhaps a similar quick response can be compared only with the Nexus 7, because on the other devices you can immediately see the slowdowns. I am glad that many types of files are supported out of the box, for example, PDF or ZIP. Therefore, there is no need to reinstall applications from the Store.

    And I’ll write a list of applications that I use (maybe someone will come in handy).
    Hyper for YouTube - client for YouTube
    Movies Online - a huge number of films of various genres
    CyberLink PowerDVD Mobile - a functional player that understands the mkv
    8 Zip format -
    Files & Folders archiver - file manager - Russian service for accessing a bunch of movies
    VKontakte - in addition to communication, you can also listen to music
    Twitter - I'm writing different stuff
    Dropbox - a cloud with the necessary
    Viber files - an alternative to skype


    Only standard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are available. Wi-Fi works in dual-band mode (2.4 GHz + 5 GHz)

    . There is no GPS or GLONASS. LTE module is installed only in special versions of the tablet.


    The Surface 2 RT runs on an NVIDIA Tegra 4 chip, which includes a quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 processor with a frequency of 1.71 GHz.

    RAM is 2 GB.

    Now we are studying performance. PC Benchmark contains several subtests showing the speed of reading and writing under different conditions, tests of CPU, GPU and RAM performance.

    Relative Benchmark is a graphical test demonstrating the average frame rate (FPS).

    The Prime Test also forces the tablet to find all primes in the range from 0 to 30 million.

    3DMark is a popular benchmark from Futuremark.

    In general, the issue of performance is not so acute for devices on Windows RT, since there are practically no demanding applications for Windows RT. If you only consider heavy games in the Store, which so far are not so many. And professional applications for working with graphics or video are almost not created for this OS, since it was originally created specifically for tablets, and not for laptops. As for working in the operating system and pre-installed applications, everything works smoothly here, but when you open Metro applications, the device “thinks” for a few seconds (this is common for tiled Windows 8 / RT applications).

    ▌ GAMES

    There are not many serious 3D games that support touch control in the Windows Store. I’ll tell you about the most interesting of them.

    A toy that is only available on the Windows platform: Halo: Spartan Assault. Here we control a little man, complete missions and kill enemies. Made beautifully and tastefully, the whole game went with pleasure.

    GTA San Andreas is available on all OSs and so I saved all the saves without any problems. It is convenient when I played on the phone, but continued on the tablet.

    There is a football simulator FIFA 14. The game is distributed free of charge.

    LEGO Hero Factory Invasion is a dynamic action game designed in the corporate style of the designer. Throughout the game, you need to fight in a crumbling city and be sure to kill five terrible monsters so that they do not capture the city. Campaign games can improve your combat skills.

    Asphalt 8: Airborne is the famous racing series. The game is also free, has pretty nice graphics and convenient controls.

    There were no startup or performance issues. There were no freezes and crashes either. Games for Surface 2 are quite well adapted and support touch control. At first glance, there are not many games in the Store, but this is not so. If you dig around, you can find yourself some interesting for a couple of hours, especially since the list is constantly growing.


    Battery life is one of the strengths of Surface 2. In principle, this is not surprising: Windows RT was created taking into account maximum energy efficiency. The battery in this case can be quite capacious, because the case is large.

    Microsoft claims that the Surface 2 can last up to 10 hours in video playback mode, and from 7 to 15 days in standby mode.

    I tried to start the video from a local drive, set the brightness to 50 percent and turned on Wi-Fi. In this mode, Surface 2 played my movies for 14 hours and 32 minutes. In surfing mode with Wi-Fi, the tablet lasted almost 9 hours.


    Surface 2 RT currently looks more competitive compared to the younger model, which was released in 2012. Microsoft did a great job on its brainchild (faster processor, longer battery life, improved display) and fixed many shortcomings. Surface 2 has several advantages over its competitors: design, filling and firmware. Plus, you can buy a convenient keyboard, activate bonuses and synchronize the tablet with your home PC. However, a Store with few applications is still not able to withstand the Play Store and Apple Store.
    And most likely you need to add that Surface is more suitable not for consuming content, but for creating it. For those people who spend more time with a web browser or office and are looking for a portable PC replacement. That is why I still have not bought a tablet on Android'e or iOS, simply because I did not see the point in it. With Surface, things have changed. The tablet not only allows me to watch TV shows and spend time with toys, but also to fully work with documents and files. For myself, I did not feel a lack of applications. Many services that do not have their own application in the Store offer a fairly convenient web interface. However, by the second course I will need to work with narrower software and here my opinion slowly falls on the Surface 2 Pro, but this will be a completely different story.


    imageOriginal design
    imageHigh-quality and clear display, responds quickly to response
    imageHigh performance
    imageGood camera
    imageFull - fledged USB 3.0 port
    imagemicroSDXC slot
    imageComfortable and durable stand with two modes
    imageLong battery life
    imageFast and beautiful Metro interface
    imageMicrosoft Office package is provided for free
    imageBonuses in the form of coupons on OneDrive and Skype

    imageA small number of applications (compared with other operating systems)
    imageIt is impossible to install the application from other sources
    imageQuiet speakers The
    imagekeyboard is not included
    imageOwn charger
    imageHigh price


    In Russia, the Surface 2 RT is not yet sold, but the tablet can be bought in the USA without any problems using the services of an intermediary . I advise you to buy a device in the official Microsoft Store .

    Microsoft often makes discounts and so the device can be bought much cheaper. For example, for students, a device is sold with a 16% ($ 75) discount !

    Buying a device at a discount is not difficult, just follow a few steps:
    1. Go to
    2. We indicate that we are a student, place of study and put a tick.

    3. Select the version of memory we need and put it in the basket.

    4. In addition, you can buy a keyboard and choose a cover as a gift.

    5. Click Checkout and enter the delivery address (the address of the warehouse at the intermediary).

    6. We pay for the goods through a bank card or PayPal.

    7. We are waiting for the parcel to arrive at the warehouse.
    8. We collect the package in the Shop4import account .
    9. We ship in a way convenient for you. I advise fast delivery Shop4import Express .

    Student 2 discounts also apply to Surface 2 Pro. For example, you can buy a version with 128 GB of memory for $ 799.10 , instead of $ 999.00 (do not forget to use the GRADUATION coupon) A version with 64 GB will cost $ 709.10, 256 GB - $ 1069.10, 512 GB - $ 1519.10. Let me remind you that on the Surface 2 PRo tablet, a full-fledged Windows 8.1 Pro is installed, an Intel Core i5 processor, 4 GB RAM for version 64 / 128GB and 8GB RAM for version 256/512 GB.

    If you are unable to pay for the device or have problems with the purchase, then the whole process can be entrusted to Shop4import . It is enough to add a link to the desired lot, indicate its name and delivery method. Employees themselves will buy the device and bring it to the warehouse, then add it to your personal account.

    The final cost of the console with delivery with insurance via Shop4import Express mail :

    Surface 2 RT tablet: 374.00 $
    Keyboard Type Cover 2: 116.99 $ MailForwarding
    service: 5 $
    Delivery Shop4import Express: 68.44 $
    Total: 564.43 $
    In rubles (average rate 35 rubles): 19 755 rubles Parcel

    weight (2182 grams), The package arrived to me in 12 days. If you buy a tablet without a keyboard, then along with the delivery will be approximately $ 440 (15 370 rubles).

    And finally, a video review!

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