Surface 2 Review: One Step Forward, Two Steps BehindEric Limer10/21/13 12:00amFiled to: Reviewssurface 2microsoftmicrosoft surfacewindowswindows 8windows rttabletstabletmobile1093EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkThe Surface RT was Microsoft's brassy if ultimately flawed attempt to do a cannonball into the placid, iPad and Kindle-dominated tablet pool. It didn't quite work out. With the Surface 2, Microsoft is taking the opportunity to say "No guys, but really," with a blistering, scary sort of confidence. What Is It?The Surface RT with a spec bump, a new name, and some surface-level changes. Who Is It For?People who want a tablet that's good for browsing the internet and watching movies, but is also good for typey things. Microsoft Office junkies. Why It MattersLike the Windows 8.1 and the Surface Pro 2, this was Microsoft's first opportunity to change course and cut losses after its original Surface line and Windows 8 were met with a thud. It's not doing that. DesignThe Surface 2 is, for all intents and purposes, the Surface RT again. There are a few changes, but they're all fairly minor. The Surface 2 is a whitish gray now, for instance, and it's got a coarser, less slick finish to its body.It is thinner! By two hundredths of an inch. And lighter! By one hundredth of a pound. It has Surface branding on the back now, instead of having the Microsoft logo. It's also got a better screen (1080p, 208 PPI, like the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2) and a pair of better, 1080p cameras. 3.5 megapixels in the front, 5 megapixels in the back. The best camera of any Surface, in fact, but still a tablet camera.AdvertisementAdvertisementIt's also got the same fancy new two-stage kickstand as the Surface Pro 2. This is an improvement that definitely makes it easier to use with a keyboard on a lap, but it doesn't make it good to use with a keyboard on a lap. Since the Surface 2 is a tablet first and foremost, that's not the a crucially important improvement, and the failure to make it great is not a crucially important failure either. It just sort of is, something that Touch or Type Pad Cover 2 owners will nod at appreciatively and then move on.Using It The Surface 2 doesn't just look like the Surface RT, it acts like it too. Just better. Where the Surface RT was noticeably laggy, the Surface 2 is not. And the better screen is, well, better also, if not quite up to par with similar 10-inch tablets like recent full-size iPads, or the Nexus 10. But even so, them live tiles really pop now, and video looks crisper than ever.Aside from the general lagginess, the other big issue with the Surface RT was the apps, or rather the lack thereof. The Surface 2—and in fairness, any Surface RTs out there and in use—aren't suffering nearly as badly as they were a year ago. The Windows Store is now home to absolutely essential apps. Apps like Facebook and Twitter. But really, when it comes down to it, the Surface 2 is a better Surface RT through and through. An alternate universe Surface RT. The Surface RT it might have been nice to have last year, but is nice to have at the party either way.