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Retro review: Using Microsoft's Surface 2 in 2017

I loved the idea of Windows RT. I really did. That probably explains why I think Windows 10 S is a great idea. I know many people out there were not pleased with the idea of Windows RT, being locked to the Windows Store for all your apps and games, and I understand why. But to me, it was a great idea that was executed very poorly by Microsoft.

What made its failure more disappointing was that there was some incredibly beautiful hardware that ran alongside it. Both the original Surface RT and Surface 2 are gorgeous devices, even today. I remember buying my Surface RT and holding it for the first time thinking "wow, it doesn't get any better than this." It was thin, it was magnesium, and it had excellent battery life.

While the hardware front still offers that super premium quality in 2017, the software side has for the most part taken a different journey. Windows RT was killed after the Surface 2, and since then we've been using "normal" Windows on all the Surface devices going forward. Even with Windows 10 S, it's not really Windows RT as the "limitations" of being locked to the Windows Store can be removed by upgrading to Windows 10 Pro, an option that didn't exist on Windows RT.

You can imagine my surprise however when a few weeks ago, I spotted someone on a train using a Surface RT to get work done in the bundled version of Office that all Windows RT devices came with. I couldn't believe it. I was so shocked that I had to dig up my old Surface RT and Surface 2 from storage, blow the dust away and power those bad boys up. I wanted to use them again.

Now, that's easier said than done. Although Windows RT is still technically in support by Microsoft, that doesn't necessarily mean its app store continues to thrive or that there are any new features in tow for Windows RT. The last major update for Windows RT was "Update 3" back in September 2015, which introduced the rather useful Start Menu to Windows RT. More on that later.

It wasn't the software that I had issues with on the Surface RT. It was the slow hardware.

So, my plan was to use the Surface RT or Surface 2 for a week as my main "on-the-go" type device. So that meant replacing my Surface Book, which I use for writing and web browsing on most occasions. I started off using the Surface RT but quickly came to realize that I wasn't going to be able to last the entire week using the Surface RT.

It wasn't the software that I had issues with on the Surface RT. It was the slow hardware. Don't get me wrong, the Surface RT is the original, the one that started it all, but the Surface RT was and still is severely underpowered. Using Windows RT is so very slow on a Surface RT, especially when setting it all up and updating Windows to the latest version. That took days, alone. I'm not kidding. There are hundreds and hundreds of updates to do, and on the Surface RT, it took days to complete.

So, I abandoned the Surface RT and went straight to using the Surface 2. Admittedly, doing the updates to get Update 3 still took a while, but not nearly as long as it did on the Surface RT. Once all the updates were installed, I was up and running and ready to go.

The OS

So first up, I was curious to see how Windows RT itself has held up over the years. It's essentially Windows 8, without the ability to run Win32 programs. That's perfectly fine, in my book. I never once needed a Win32 program during my use of my time with the Surface 2, likely because I had set myself expectations of what to expect when using Windows RT. I know I can't run those types of programs, so I needed to make sure I wouldn't be needing them on the go.

With Update 3 installed, Windows RT still chooses the Start Screen over the Start menu as the default configuration option. That's fine, as the Surface 2 is a tablet after all, but I wasn't planning to use the Surface 2 much as a tablet. I wanted to use it as my productivity machine while on the go, so I quickly switched on the Start menu, which made the entire OS desktop-orientated.

I was using a Surface 2 Type Cover with it too, which made the experience so much better. I don't recommend turning the Start Menu on if you haven't got a Type Cover, as it kind of defeats the purpose. The Start menu is handy mostly when using the Surface 2 as a laptop, because it doesn't take you in and out of the desktop UI like the Start Screen does.

I went ahead and set up my wallpaper, accent theme and Start menu layout. Since this is Windows RT, you have to use the old Control Panel to customize your desktop experience. There, I was able to change everything you'd expect to be able to change on a Windows machine, including sounds and even cursor if I wanted to.

The Start menu is really neat in Windows RT. I find myself actually enjoying the Windows RT Start Menu more than I enjoy the Windows 10 one. For starters, it feels faster and more responsive, and I like how you can easily drag and drop tiles, resize multiple tiles at the same time and unpin multiple tiles at the same time too.

I forgot how much more convenient it is being able to manipulate multiple tiles at the same time. This is something the Windows 10 Start Menu is missing even to this day, so it's odd, yet funny to see it's supported on the older Windows RT OS.

The apps

Now, this is where things get interesting. Most of the apps I used on Windows RT did what I needed them to do with almost no issues. For example, Windows RT comes bundled with Office 2013 RT, which is superb. That means out of box I already had Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, Excel and even Outlook 2013 bundled and ready to go. All I had to do was sign in with my Microsoft Account and sync up my OneDrive documents.

All the Office 2013 apps are still absolutely fine in 2017. Although not the latest version of Office, they still work and operate, and even look like the 2016 version. Throughout my week using Windows RT, I never found myself needing the newer version of Office.

Since Outlook 2013 is installed, I had the option of two Mail experiences I could use. Either the Windows RT Mail app, or Outlook 2013. I tried out both, and honestly the Mail app still works just fine. Now admittedly, since it's a Windows RT app, it doesn't run in a Windows and does take you out of the desktop experience when opening it. However, Microsoft made several tweaks to Windows RT when in Start Menu mode where you could still invoke the taskbar and window close button with a mouse. So the experience wasn't really that jarring.

The Windows Store on Windows RT is basically dead at this point. Developers aren't building for it anymore, and a lot of the apps, especially social networking apps, don't actually work or are missing features in 2017. So, the modern apps on Windows RT are more of an issue than ever before, but the desktop apps work absolutely fine and in aren't any different from the desktop versions on a normal laptop or desktop.

So to combat a lack of apps, Internet Explorer steps in the save the day (for the most part). Internet Explorer is still a pretty capable web browser in 2017. Most websites are yet to start shouting at you for using it, so I was able to browse the web just fine. Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, you name it. It all works

On the Surface 2, Internet Explorer doesn't choke up nearly as much as it does on the Surface RT. Browsing the web on a Surface RT is next to impossible, because every site takes too long to load and ends up hanging the browser. This is much less of an issue with the Surface 2, which is a good thing considering it's really the only way you're able to browse the web on it.

That's not to say it doesn't hang sometimes. I definitely encountered a few times where it did start choking, especially when browsing the web with multiple tabs. But for the most part, I was able to browse the web just like I would on any other Windows machine with no issues. It was almost like I was using an actual laptop!

Final thoughts

If you've still got a Surface 2 and no other devices, I'd definitely say you can get by with one in 2017, assuming you're more of a Chromebook kind of user than a power-user that is. Not being able to download desktop programs will of course always be an issue for some, but for the people where it isn't an issue, the Surface 2 is still great.

I do wish Microsoft would update it to Windows 10. I also know that'll never happen, but it would be nice. Windows RT 8.1 Update 3 is still a great OS regardless, and has most of the main improvements that Windows 10 has too, including the Start menu.

But, even if you have a Surface 2 that you don't need anymore. You can repurpose them as other things. For example, I tried using my Surface 2 as a virtual picture frame, and it works flawlessly. Set up the photos app with your OneDrive account and it'll automatically pull in new photos and display them on loop. It's super nice.

I also set it up as a sort of secondary monitor one time. I sat it next to my main desktop, loaded up TweetDeck and let it do its thing. You can use these older devices for a lot more than what they were originally intended for, and that's why I think the Surface 2 is still a great bit of hardware.

Zac Bowden
Zac Bowden

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

112 Comments
  • Those were the days :p
  • They were.  But an article like this really show just how much useless bullsh!t people actually do on their modern phones and tablets.  When it comes down to doing all the essential things in life, school, and career, I really feel like all this social media and app craze are just distracting us from the REAL parts of life.  I think 99.9% of stuff people do on their tablets and phones can be classified as useless or pointless.  And the Surface 2 gets that essential portion right, which is why Zac is still finding it useful today.
  • Sorry bud,  your wrong there....I agree with the social media part,  but not the app part.   As I said,  I use apps alot when travelling,  I can rent a car and then unlock, start etc the rental car right from my phone,  I can book, a hotel, check in, and unlock my hotel room and other hotel services right from my phone,  I can do lots of things with my phone that I could not with windows mobile without apps.  Yep,  I could create a document and take a photo......thats about it.   Now with my iphone,  If I want to pick something up at the store,  I have one app that tells me where the cheapest place is to buy it...etc....I do not use social media apps,  but I do use a hell of alot of other ones that are not available on my windows phone.
  • Re: Steve Adams,
    "You're wrong"? This statement is a big one.
    Personally, I don't need the apps that you list.
  • haha Steve, you are illustrating my point so well.  Everything you mentioned, you don't need.  You are using those apps because there are apps.  Sorry bro, you can rent a car and use it fully without an app.  You can book a hotel and get into your room easily without an app.  You are using the apps for the sake of using the apps.  Not because it is essential.  
  • Not to mention the fact that websites work very well in most instances.
  • I still use mine for browsing and stuff.. It's great and without the windows 10 spyware
  • I still use mine on long plain trips...16/9 screen is perfect for movies, and so is the long lasting battery to watch .mkv on VLC and mobile.HD. It's much lighter and portable than my SP4.
  • I still use mine daily. Mainly for browsing, youtube and netflix. Funny thing is I actually ise it more than my SP4 and ipadpro 12
  • I do the same, with my RT tablet.  Daily web video.  I was using the Epix app but it has become unsupported apparently and now I have to access via the web.  RT works great.  Some apps (Netflix) use video drivers that do not survive the sleep event but this is not limited to RT -- I see this currently in win 10 on my Surface Studio!  You'll always get bad drivers.  It's infuriating but so little recourse is available. I use the RT more than the Pro or the Studio.  Probably the only device I use more is the Xbox (and not for games!). Sometimes I wonder if the so called stats as to how people use their devices is a result of biased data.  It never seems to accurately reflect my actual usage. Maybe when the ARM branch gets a stable release someone will try to mount it on an RT or a "2"?  
  • not enough RAM unfortunately
  • Why couldn't it run Windows 10 on ARM that Microsoft has been tounting for so long?
  • I think the emulation would be too much for the processor and limited RAM. I would think the Lumia 950 is more powerful and has more RAM.
  • Except for the emulation mode, it could probably, it would give it access to recent store apps (Win 10 and UWP but not Centenial). I've had an Asus Vivotab RT and I can clearly say that my Lumia 950xl is much more powerful than that RT device was.
  • They should push Windows 10 s out to these devices, or at least let users download and upgrade to it for free :)
  • They just need to give the OS UWP support, thats all
  • Don't think that's possible for WinRT/8.1. Too many under the hood changes. They could easily upgrade it to Win10 for ARM though and disable emulation
  • Isn't that crazy!
  • Something that they can do is make it run Windows 10 Mobile...
  • I still have my Surface RT. As you say, great software - but it runs soooo slowwwly when doing any sort of disk activity i.e. updates, reinstall etc.
  • I use mine everyday for college. Now for the most part I've uninstalled most if not all of the apps. The only Windows store apps I have installed are code writer which is a text editor, myRadar, game Streams, hyper, reader, and vlc. Everything else is gone. I have pinned alot of websites to my start screen for easy access. It handles what I need it to do until I get home and am able to work on my desktop. The only thing I wish I could do on the Surface 2 is use an ide for coding. Code writer allows me to start or make changes to existing code, but I wish I could run java, c++ or various other types of code instead of waiting until I got home to test it. Other than that I love my Surface 2.
  • My Lumia 2520 on Windows 8.1 RT works flawlessly too 😊
  • Mee too. I still use my Lumia 2520, and the plus of having a SIM card slot lets me use it literally anywhere. I only regret I never bought its keyboard case, since I cannot find it anymore.
  • I got a free keyboard case when I bought my 2520, which only lasted about a year before the keyboard went haywire but still charged properly. The replacement lasted until about 8 months ago when the reverse issue happened. (keyboard fine, battery no longer charging) 1 screwdriver and a battery transplant later, all is good and I use it every day.
  • Mine too, only the batteries for unknown reason not working so I have to use always with a cable. But, still I'm getting updates.
  • To be fair, the Lumia 2520 is faster than the Surface 2 :D (I think it was using SD800 vs Tegra 4 on the Surface 2)
  • meto. I use it ever more. With my One Drive up to 1tb now and all my stuff on there it serves brilliantly as media server and a good web browser.bit is certainly a shame groove, Cortana and skype aren't available. 
  • I agree with you, Windows RT was an great idea but totaly botched by Microsoft. To little effort went into what could have been the Windows store powerhouse and something that would in the end merge with Windows Phone. Now we get Windows 10 S and ... nothing. I do not see any real hope for neither the store or UWP as it is now. A lost oportunity becouse Microsoft always runs towards the next great thing and lacks stamina to see thing thru now a days.
  • I still use my SP1. Starts in 5 seconds and shuts down in 2....
  • Still using Surface 2 here. As a tablet is still great despite few apps. I really like the advantage of having a Windows Explorer and built in Windows and command line tools while on the go having no laptop.
  • My dad still uses an original Surface. I've tried to convince him to spend the money on anything newer, but he doesn't want to get rid of it. But, he just browses the web and takes pictures with it. My guess is that he'll use it until it craps out. Then my stupid sister will convince him to get an iPad. God, do I want to smack her sometimes...
  • Yes, how dare your sister try to do the same thing you're doing but with a different product that might suit your dad's needs better. The nerve!
  • oh, you're probably assuming that because I'm on here, I'd be pushing him to go W10 tablets.  Lol, probably not. But I'm definitely not going to push overpriced Apple products on him, so I'd likely push a decent Android tablet or 2in1. And if you grew up with her, you'd want any excuse to smack her too...
  • I still use the Surface RT all the time for work. When I'm not at home I just connect it to my hotspot on my phone and I have outlook and teamviewer and RDP so I can take calls from work and still do everything I need with a very travel friendly device. Only problem that I've ever seen with RT was that Windows update would fill the drive real bad on the 32gb model and make i generally unresponsive. I knew what to do to deal with this but the average user would just be stuck with a useless brick. I love it still and hope it doesn't die on me anytime soon.
  • Thanks for doing this.  I too have a Surface 2, and I recently fired it up to check out the H/W and get a sense of it vs W10S.  Mine also updated, but didn't take very long at all (I must have updated it not too long ago).  I don't have any plans to use it though.  I will probably get a Surface laptop to evalute closer to the ship date.
  • I have a Surface Pro 1 that is now our common kitchen machine - use Groove, access my Bose SoundTouch 300, check E-mail, etc. I use my Surface Pro 3 for work.
  • I am using my vivotab RT LTE as a travel computer...works fine....minus apps of course.  but having a keyboard and touchpad,  it can be over come with websites.   I also have a 500gb USB seagate hooked up  storage not an issue.
  • I loved in the Vivotab RT that the keyboard part included a battery, doubling battery life when docked and recharging the tablet battery so when undocking the tablet was recharged from the keyboard's battery. I don't know why Asus dropped that concept from their Transformer series when they switched to regular Windows, I would have paid extra for the keyboard with a battery on my Transformer Book T100.
  • Yeah,  really!  Everyone wants slim and thats something that the vivotab was not.   But I love mine.  LTE is awesome too.  No bothering setting up tethering.  That being said,  I have 2,  one has the infamous touch issues.  I am going to replace the screen and digitizer on it.  Supposdly that fixes them.  My good one is still kicking.  again,  I wish texture's windows app worked,  I would be using it alot more.  As well as my dell 2 in 1.  
  • I still use my SP2, but had to drop to slow ring, since many of the faster ring releases tend to green/blue screen the device everytime it would reboot. I typically use it for tasks relegated to a tablet (watching streams, Netflix, light gaming), but occasionally I have had the need to whip out Office to get some real work done on the go.  It still works, and I like it, but would really like an upgrade to something lighter..
  • I reset my Surface RT a few months ago and it did take a while for it to reload all of the updates. It's still pretty amazing to hold in your hands. The resolution isn't great for reading but watching movies is really nice and the stereo sound is still surprising. As long as I don't bog down the internal storage, it stays fairly responsive. I also disabled OneDrive synchronization which seemed to free up some background resources.
  • I still love my RT.  Yeah, it's slow but it has amazing battery life and it's perfect for torrents and streaming Netflix.  Everyone in my family has one and still uses them often.  We keep them all charged for the inevitable power outages we experience.
  • My partner still uses her surface rt most days for working on office docs with no problems at all, about to upgrade her to my old surface pro 3 tho.
  • What the Hell? When did it get a start menu?
  • Like 2 years ago ish. Around when Windows 10 launched. It's rubbish compared to the start screen on Win 8 though
  • Its user enabled or disabled. I tried the start menu for a while but switched it back. It's almost like switching Tablet mode on and off.
  • It's like the work in progress Start Menu from Windows 10 that came with the 1st build release of Windows 10, build 9988 or something in October 2014.
  • Still have my Lumia 2520 and it's work pretty well. Yeah, Windows 10 would be an awesome upgrade (as Windows RT 8.1 Store is dead). Have unlocked the app run policy so I can use win32 apps compiled for arm - this kinda save the siruation (7-zip, Notepad++, Filezilla, Putty and etc.). Also, I have home server with RemoteApp wich helps me to do more complex tasks on the go. The screen is superb, battery life is amazing - I think it can last for year or two at least. But yeah, the IE 11 is kinda bit outdated and having Edge or some other browser would be really great.
  • Have a link to a tutorial to accomplish this?
  • Yup, I am also running Win32 apps for ARM. They are a great addition, particularly Notepad++. Also screen and battery life is superb as you would expect from an ARM device. I can keep my Surface 2 in standby for almost a week.
  • I gave my S2 to my dad after I got my SP4 and he still uses it daily with no issue. He had an RT before and the performance difference really is bigger than it would seem on paper.
  • Would like to have a Surface 2 to fiddle round with
  • I still use my first Gen RT for browsing my Plex media. It's also works great as a device to watch Twitch streams.
  • Pulled my Surface 2 back off the shelf recently to use at my current job in the case that I need to remote back into computers at my old job in a pinch. Been using the VPN and the built-in fullscreen mail app to handle connecting back to that Exchange server.   All seems to work ok.
  • I still have my Surface RT and I still think it has much better multi tasking ability than the iPad and Windows 10 tablet mode could do with some more work to make it as nice as 8.1.
  • I purchased the Lenovo Yoga 11 Windows RT laptop machine as a refurb years ago, and it has worked flawlessly for me. It is light, with great battery life, and frankly I don't think I'll ever have to worry about malware with such a modest base of installed hardware out there. I'm happy and I would purchase it again under the same circumstances.
  • Now if someone find a way to allow RT/S2/Nokia 2520 use as continuum dock for that would be awesome.
  • I just refreshed my Surface 2 about two weeks ago. It took 2 days to figure out all of the updates. It really is slow now. I can't remember how I got through University with it 
  • I still use my RT almost every day. Even I have an Office365 on my desktop, I still use the O2013 from RT to view docs or edit.
    Another thing I'm using it is for Age of Empires: Castle siege because it lags, the game runs on a slow pace (~2x slower than should be), and this give me advantages on battles... gives more time to think the strategy and to give orders to the troops. It's a small cheat, but not my fault 😀
  • Are they any good as a jukebox? Does Groove still work on it? Not sure what ports to connections it has.
  • Xbox music still works and works with music on OneDrive. It may not be as pretty as Groove but it works and the movies app picks up films purchased from Windows 10 Films & TV. There is also a Plex app.
  • The Surface RT had miniHDMI I think and running an external monitor works. I did this for a while while I was waiting for a new PC to be delivered. I have used my Surface as a jukebox in the garden in the summer.
  • I know my vivotab did,  so I am betting the surface did too.  I also use my vivotab for streaming netflix in my camper when my son wants to watch stuff.  another great use for it.
  • Yep. I loved that.
  • I still have my Surface 2 for watching series and youtube in my bath- and bedroom. I even have a Surface RT in the kitchen, with some recipe apps and websites as favorites...
  • I loved my Surface 2. I could hook it up to a monitor and keyboard/mouse, and i could be typing reports on the big screen while playing a movie on the surface screen. Asphalt 8 ran like a dream also. I didn't care that much about apps since it had office already. And i felt cool bringing it with me to Starbucks lol. I broke it recently, so I'm going to get another one
  • Oh, and the keyboard smell was awesome 😫
  • I still have my 1st gen SP. However, I went and purchased the Core i7 256GB SP4 and that is a magnificent upgrade over SP1 for obvious reasons including display size. I use the SP4 more often than ever using the SP1 but the SP1 will now be relegated to travel duty. I have it on W10 Insiders Fast Ring and it manages to keep up still. SP1 is still way better than my iPad 4th Gen and Samsung Galaxy S tablet.
  • If someone has Surface 2 and don't need it, can you please donate it to me :p
  • Just wanted to turn on my Surface 2 a few days ago, but the battery was empty. I put on the charger and had to realize that it does not charge the battery :-(. When it is connected to AC it works, but it turns off as soon as I disconnects it. So I'm quite sad, I still love the quality of the hardware, the type cover, the weight. I'm typeing from a Dell Venue Pro 11 but it has the worst keyboard I have ever seen. AT work I got a SP4 and I love it.
  • Lol! Try to open www.windowscentral.com to see if the browser hangs XD
  • I still use mine daily to play Fallout Shelter on Steam. Apart from the audio not streaming Remote Desktop is single handedly THE best app for the Surface RT.
  • I loved my Surface 2 until an update killed my touch screen. Found out how to get it working again only to have it killed again by the next monthly update. Repeated this a few times. Even reinstalled twice t no avail... Kept hitting a certain update that crapped out the touchscreen and could never figure out how to avoid that update. Now it only gets used when I'm in the mood to torture myself with the type cover trackpad. A disappointment overall.
  • Do you live in the UK? I'm going through the small claims court because an update is causing the Sleep of Death bug on my tablet. I should get a result next week if it helps.
  • Samsung had the better RT device.
  • Surface 2 is my only tablet, I love it. Makes me so sad that RT is dead, I wish it could be updated I would use it more then. A big issue why I don't use it anymore is also the type cover which has broken (well it only types if it's at 45 degrees) tried using a surface touch cover and is totes awf. I just loved and still love the way my surface 2 looks especially with my cyan type cover. And Omd I just realised I really miss the swipe in share etc buttons!
  • Agreed, the charms menue was one of the great inventions Microsoft got rid of in Windows 10 :(
  • I hope some bright soul on XDA Developers will eventually make the Windows 10 ARM version install on a Surface RT and Surface 2. Would love to see what that would do to my beloved RT. I still love the damn thing, only the lack of apps is making me leave it uncharged sitting in a drawer. Come on XDA! Make us proud!
  • I have never give up my Surface RT and it is today a good "WindowsBook" computer with what you need today as a mobile Office. Office 2013 is up-2-date for today Office work and the hardware runs the WinRT 8.1 and Office 2013 as well as the Store Apps. It runs quick enough and for presentations it is a good device. So if you have a Surface RT don't drop it - use it!!!
  • I won one of these with a Music Cover from Microsoft, but I traded it in for a Surface 3 with LTE... 😁
  • Baring the fact the screen is a bit too small at 10.1", the Surface 2 sounds like the perfect device for my parents. It's Windows, has all the core apps, it has a capable browser still, IE11, full Office 2013 suite and they could watch a movie/TV show if they wanted to. If I would've bought this for my parents in 2013, it still would've been money well spent :)
  • I still use mine on a daily basis. Still think it is a great machine.
  • I use my Surface 2 every day for browsing. Windows 8 left-right thumb swipe is just so convenient for tablet usage i really miss this in Windows 10.
  • I have a surface 3 and still use it, though it doesn't perform that well with intel atom and 2gb of ram. 
  • The Surface RT tablets were always great machines.....as long as you RDP'ed though a real computer. They've always been extremely pointless as stand-alone devices, though.
  • My wife's RT is uses hers everyday. Browsing, Netflix, YouTube etc. It's still quick as long as you don't overload. Office runs great too.
  • Having Office preloaded at such a low price was the reason we purchased it and we still have our RT device. It still runs as good as the day we got it and as long as the battery lasts, we'll keep using it.
  • there's so much more it could have done if Microsoft would have let it run recompiled for ARM Win32 apps.  of course ist's gettig a bit long in the tooth now so It would be like chasing a ball down a steep hill. 
  • Still using my Surface 2. Love my SP4 but the all day battery life and smaller form factor is really convenient on planes. Not giving it up any time soon.
  • My wife has a Surface 2 and it's still the best Windows device I have used. It is fast to start, connected standby works really well (much better on the S2 than my SP3), it has a long battery life, it's never crashed (I think once it wouldn't turn on and I had to do a soft reset), and it just works in situations where my SP3 doesn't - e.g. the S2 Miracast streams to my Xbox easily, every time where my SP3 takes multiple attempts and sometimes just won't work.
  • Hopefully we see Surface 5 with Windows on ARM.
  • this would be so nice with WoA or even W10M
  • Folks over 70 percent of the people who own a Windows RT tablet said they were Ok dispite their weak points. To me that says the Microsoft Windows RT Tablets were not as bad as the press and tech web sites said they were, especially after Microsoft got the drivers right in the device and a person did not over burden them with a lot of apps running at the same time  
  • I guess the other 30% had a Surface RT :D
  • I absolutely agree. Most RT users loved their device. The hatred towards RT mostly came from the media and users, who never intended to buy an RT device anyway. I wish Microsoft would have more listened to the users and not so much to the ranting internet community.
  • I still use my Nokia 2520 on occasion and I have it set up on my AT&T account.   However just last week I saw the 125/4 LTE version of the Surface 3 pop up on Amazon (new!!) and I couldn't help myself.  I am really looking forward to it, even given it was released two years ago.... I'll actually kind of happy that I'll be on Windows 10 rather than RT.....   Because, you know, real OS updates.
  • Still use my Surface 2, in fact I'm typing this on it right now. It's sad that Microsoft abandoned it so early. I also have an iPad 4. The iPad was released a year earlier then the Surface 2. I still have the most up to date OS on the iPad and still have regular updates to apps. That is the major difference. Microsoft will just totally drop a product while Apple will continue to support their products for a reasonable period of time. Even leaving the OS for the Surface RT's at 8.1 they could have at least kept updating their core apps like calendar, onenote, xbox music, news, weather, ect. My Surface 2 would still be my favored device if Microsoft had only allowed it to reach it's potential.
  • I've been using my Surface 2 again lately as well. Suprisingly gets the job done for what I need which is just some web browsing and what not.
  • Still use my Surface 2 daily.
  • The touch screen died on mine within a week or two of the warrantee expiring. Piece of junk that they wouldn't fix. That is why after having the original Surface RT and Surface 2, I would never buy a Surface again. Bad quality and bad support. And the worst thing is the new Pro models have proprietary charging and ancient ports. I absolutely need Thunderbolt 3 for eGPU if I buy a new computer. But for the last year I have not owned a computer at all, just a phone. Can't find a single device worth buying.
  • I have one of the original units. I thought it was great when it came out; now it is a total dog! So slow; I still like the size and the keyboard and 'feel'; I've tried to reset it a couple of times, and it just takes forever to update things. Once I get it going, it's super slow. Too bad....
  • Those were very exciting days indeed.....
  • Hi Zac, great article. Can you/Dan talk about your experience with Longhorn/Vista days. Like the whole coverage of the Longhorn era, 5 year development cycle until the final release of Vista. For some reason I have been fascinated by Longhorn/Vista developments and all the stories around it. 
  • You can get help for this :D 
  • My wife dropped her beloved Surface 2 (64 Gig) and broke the screen so I bought her a used one through Amazon.  "Like New" except for the WiFi adapter which did not work.  The replacement was worn and slightly damaged, but it works.  She is happy, she tried two different Android devices and while they kind of worked, her main streaming video was limited.  The Surface 2 is great for her, and I am pursuing a complaint through Amazon for the "Bait and Switch"
  • OMG I'm still using Surface RT and I had no idea about that start menu!
    BTW best mail app ever. Why they ditched all that design and UX of Outlook mail app from W8 :/
  • I've been using my Surface 2 almost daily for as long as I've had it.  The speed is pretty acceptable for basically everything except for browsing Windows Central (ahem!).  I use if for work and personal.  Home and trips.  Onenote, Powerpoint, Email (I'm still annoyed by hyperlinks mostly not working in the mail app), RDC, password manager.  And my kids still love the game apps, including the SNESX app which lets me hook up an xbox controller and play old games like Mario, Donkey Kong, etc. In December I bought a Surface Pro 4 and was so annoyed at the pathetically short and erratic battery life that I returned that thing.  When Surface Laptop was announced, with its 14 hour battery life (insert Grain Of Salt!) I had a day or 2 of hope that the SP5 would be announced with a much improved battery life.  But, alas, that hope has been dashed.  Apparently SP4 is here to stay for a long, long time. 
  • You can speed up the web browsing by tweaking the host file. Here is an example http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/
  • We have at home a SURFACE 2, but we cannot use it, The device says cannot open windows for errors. We downloaded on USB the restore files from microsoft site, but the surface cannot load files from USB, (on internet forums no one ever restored RT or 2 from USB memory) Microsoft doesn't give assistence on Surface 2 -...
  • It would be great if Windows Central could collaborate with Android Central and iMore to compare how this kind of older hardware holds up. Maybe compare this Surface 2 with a Galaxy Tab 3 and an iPad Air to see which ones are still getting updates, still have good performance, etc.
  • My touch screen doesn't work anymore. I didn't use my tab for a few days. The battery went dead. Then when I turned out back on. RIP 😭. Lucky I have the type cover to navigate.
  • Bought mine on december 2013 and I use it like my main working device until today (never bought another laptop-tablet until now). Because of my job I have to stay every year like 4 months abroad only with a cellphone and my Surface 2. I use Outlook app for my work's email and the free suite office works perfectly for my needs. The device is still fairly fast until now i f it hasn't loaded a lot of apps in the backgroung. But nothing that a reboot cannot solve. I have a 64GB version with a 64GB SD card. I use Torrex for downloading movies and stuff, and the main 64 are getting a little bit short, but I have some games installed. I'm trying to finish GTA San Andreas fast so I can delete it and recover like 7GB that would be more than enough for like two more years of use. Because I work for a chinese company, I have to use the QQ app everyday. Tencent stopped update it but still works fine. The only thing I hate is Microsoft dropping Skype support for the device, is not convenient when somebody sends me an image and I have to open Internet explorer in order to see it. The official weather app now doesn't work at all. Its also a bummer. I haven't find any other weather apps that use the live tiles. (Yes, I use the classic metro style. I think is better for a device like this). Wunderlist works fine, But I found recently there are some task I put on my desktop and on my cellphone that don't show on my surface 2. Perhaps I should reinstall it? I use Manga tree and Freda for Manga-book reading on the go and they are decent. Torrex works perfect for downloading stuff. I bought and app called K-lite that can open almost any kind of video format you feed it. But I can't find it anymore on the windows 8 store in other devices. If you look hard enough, you can find nice games in the windows 8 store, So far I have bought GTA San Andreas, Ducktales remastered, Hydro Thunder Hurricane, Riptide 2, that you can play wonderfully with a USB or bluetooth gamepad. And also you can download some things that don't need gamepad like Machinarium, lara croft Go, rayman, Halo Spartan Assault, the harvest, dragon's lair  etc... I still have to buy Castle of illusion starring mickey mouse. I will buy it after I finish San Andreas. The screen is amazing for watching movies or tv show. Certainly a lot better than any ipad. But obviously the ipad format beats the surface 2 on manga-book reading. The battery is amazing until today. I bought a power cover keyboard and with this keyboard the Surface 2 battery es second to none compared to any other device. It literally stands for days. And that's awesome for a sky warrior like me. (I have to be many days a year in planes, airports. Sometimes flying to places with weird power socks (ehem europe... ehem Brazil...) Usually my eyes surrender before the batter does. Surface 2 is the perfect device for me. I will be very sad when we have to say goodbye. I just hope Microsoft bring good devices with Windows 10 on ARM, and I will buy it on a hearthbeat. X86 is not the ideal platform for on the go devices and will never be. I hope they keep office for free, and the Surface 2 screen format. But probably they will not. It would be nice to play things like recore or halo wars on the go on ARM device. Surface 2 I love you.