(WinSupersite) Surface 2 Reviewed

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | November 1, 2013 - 04:49 PM |
Tagged: windows rt, Surface 2

The Surface 2 is what happened to the Surface RT. Microsoft decided that "RT" has no place on this product except, of course, its software ("Windows RT") because they painted themselves into a corner on that one. The message is something like, "It's Windows RT 8.1 but not Windows 8.1; in fact, you cannot run that software on it". I expect, and you probably know I have voiced, that this all is a moot point in the semi-near future (and that sucks).

Microsoft's "Official" Surface 2 overviews.

Paul Thurrott down at his Supersite for Windows reviewed Surface 2 in terms of the original Surface RT. The inclusion of Tegra 4 was a major plus for him yielding "night and day" improvement over the previous Tegra 3. In fact, he thinks that everything is at least as good as the original. There is not a single point on his rubric where the Surface RT beats its successor.

Of course there is a single section where the Surface 2 lacks (it is shared with the Surface RT and I think you can guess what it is). The ecosystem, apps for Windows RT, is the platform's "Achilles Heel". It is better than it once was, with the inclusion of apps like Facebook, but glaring omissions will drive people away. He makes this point almost in passing but I, of course, believe this is a key issue.

It is absolutely lacking in key apps, and you will most likely never see such crucial solutions as full Photoshop, iTunes, or Google Chrome on this platform. But if we're being honest with ourselves here, as we must, these apps are, for better or worse, important. (The addition of Chrome alone would be a huge win for both Windows RT and Surface 2.)

I agree that this is the problem with the Windows RT platform and, in Google Chrome's case, the blame belongs to no-one but Microsoft. They will explicitly deny any web browser unless it is a reskin of Internet Explorer (using the "Trident" rendering system and their Javascript engine). You will not see full Firefox or full Google Chrome because Gecko, Servo, Webkit, and Blink are not allowed to be installed on end-user machines.

You are paying Microsoft to not let you install third party browsers. Literally.

Not only does this limit its usefulness but it also reduces the pressure to continue innovation. Why add developer features to Internet Explorer when you can control their use with Windows Store? Sure, Internet Explorer has been on a great trajectory since IE9. I would say that versions 10 and especially 11 could be considered "top 3" contenders as app platforms.

The other alternative is the web, and this is where Internet Explorer 11 plays such a crucial role. While many tier-one online services—Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Cloud Player and Prime Video, and so on—are lacking native Windows RT aps, the web interfaces (should) work fine, and IE 11 is evolving into a full-featured web app platform that should present a reasonable compromise for those users.

Only if Microsoft continues their effort. No-one else is allowed to.

Now that I expanded that point, be sure to check out the rest of Paul Thurrott's review. He broke his review down into sections, big and small, and stuck his opinion wherever he could. Also check out his preview of the Nokia Lumia 2520 to see whether that (if either device) is worth waiting for.

November 1, 2013 | 06:09 PM - Posted by pdjblum

Scott, I have not visited his site since he became everything crApple despite the name of his site. That was two or three years ago. God bless Ryan and pcper for not giving in to the isheep to get more hits for advertisers as so many sites did. To name a few, how about anandtech and techreport. No doubt, both of those sites have one or more guys on the staff that write great reviews and analysis, and I still visit them for that. But Paul is a total turn coat coward who at best is using the name of the site ironically, whatever that means.

November 1, 2013 | 06:45 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I could care less about M$, or crApple, and maybe the fanboys on both sides that accuse others of being "turn coat"! Really, M$ and Apple, and throw in Intel, etc. are not some form of salvition religion! Come on, let people review the products, but be sure to read more than one review, of each product, and do so on several different trustworthy sites! I am very interested in seeing how the ARM industries products compete against Intel, and how Linux, and other OSs compete against Windows, and OS(whatever) in the future. I am mostly a laptop user, and I do not own a tablet, but one thing I want in a tablet, is the built in ability to connect the tablet to the laptop, and have the tablet act as a 2nd monitor, and maybe, in the future, be able to have my laptop send tasks to the tablet and share computational resources(HSA style). I am not intersested in any way, in having to purchase a tablet that does not have at least the ability to augment my laptop as a 2nd portable display device! This App ecosystem crap, is just a way of seperating the fools from their money, I am just fine with my desktop apps, and see no value in the reinvented wheel! I do look forward to owning a tablet that can run at least a light Linux distro, and can interface and become a 2nd portable monitor to my laptop!

November 1, 2013 | 08:51 PM - Posted by pdjblum

Yeah, you make a good point. I just want to clarify that it wasn't about me being a fan of ms, but just that he become a shill for crApple on that podcast he did with Leo. I stopped listening, of course. It just seemed he had a cynical reason for becoming a crApple shill, especially considering how well he did covering windows and everything ms all those years. He switched his tune on a dime, as if he was trying to get back at ms for not soothing his big ego.

November 1, 2013 | 07:34 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I can't stand watching pauls pod casts with leo, hes so smug, hes like a gadget blog reviewer...only hes covering lots of stuff I don't think he really understands.

November 1, 2013 | 09:55 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

There are more of these so called tech journalists out there, and they are more marketing than true technology
journalists! Just like the internet, %99.99 crap and %.01
gold! Usually the tech sites that can do the most balanced GPU testing, have the journalists with the true technical skills to review any devices, so I stick to the sites with the tech expertise and GPU/CPU knoledge! It is easy to spot the marketing blowhards, as they will always change their "subjective" opinions to suit th-, well, suit the hand that feeds them! Remember take the "Today Show" kind of tech pod casts with a large chunk of rock salt, and stick to the tried and true: balanced tech sites, white papers, data sheets(real not the marketing kind), and the few remaining academic journals on computing. I always look for the journalists that cover the real technical conventions sponsored by the industrial professional societies, and major universities, and not so much the flash and trash sales events! Look for tech websites that use the best objective benchmarking software, with reviews that also critique the benchmarking software's strong and weak points, and beware of tech websites that cherry pick the benchmarks to suit their non-subjective goals.

November 2, 2013 | 03:28 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I'll feed the trolls..
I'm pretty sure most of y'all don't really understand what a shill is. If someone who makes money off of Microsoft's continued success comes out and says apple has a better offer out, he is probably being honest. If that same person defends a product he feels is good, despite damage to his reputation, he is probably being honest yet again. Just because his opinion differs from yours does not make him a shill. Your reactions here just kind of show you got butthurt because he said something you didn't want to hear

November 2, 2013 | 02:07 PM - Posted by pdjblum

It had nothing to do with honesty, far from it. It was out of desperation and opportunity. He saw the way the world was going at the time, all crApple, and he jumped on the bandwagon to stay relevant and turn around his faltering following and readership. In addition, his ego was bruised too many times by ms, and he clearly wanted to to get back at them.

November 3, 2013 | 07:14 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

ego he has... it has grown over time, i watched it and fled to PCPER.

we don't need him covering anything windows, you are better off just reading technet, at least you'll learn something.

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