Microsoft Surface 2 RT Review and Gaming Performance: Thoughts and Impressions

Posted by B. Johnson
September 12, 2014 | 0 comments
Microsoft Surface 2 RT Review and Gaming Performance: Thoughts and ImpressionsHi guys, welcome back!

Despite not having such an impressive sales number nor market share just like Apple’s iPad or Samsung’s flagship tablets, I think it’s still amazing to see what Microsoft has to offer to tablet shoppers out there through its homemade Surface tablets.

They may not have such a giant game catalog nor healthy app ecosystem just like Apple with its iTunes or Google with its Play Store.

However, as a new comer, i believe there are still many people out there that will be more than happier to be the owners of Microsoft Surface tablets, even the ones that are just looking for a simple productivity tablet.

Anyway, earlier i just showed you one tablet made by Microsoft under the Surface series.

That tablet was the first-generation of Microsoft Surface RT tablet, a 10.6-inch tablet running on Windows RT of course, powered by NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 quad-core processor, along with its 12-core of GeForce ULP GPU.

Microsoft Surface 2 RT benchmarks and gaming performance

One interesting fact about this tablet is, despite being the lighter version of Surface Pro tablet - carrying the lighter version of Windows 8 Pro OS -, this Microsoft Surface RT tablet also comes with the smart keyboard just like it sibling, as well as the kickstand on the back of the device.

Today, i want to show you the other tablet from Microsoft which also carries the same Windows RT OS on its platform.

This one is actually the second-generation of Microsoft Surface RT tablet and as the sequel model, this one is packing more powerful internals than its predecessor – like Tegra 4 quad-core processor, 72-core GPU, 5MP rear-facing camera, 3.5MP front-facing camera, full HD 1080p display and many other new goodies.

However, this second-gen model still inherits some of the key features found on the predecessor – like the smart keyboard, the same 10.6-inch display, the same Windows RT OS of course, the same 2GB of RAM and also, there is no cellular connectivity on this model.

Anyway, the tablet i’m about to show you today is no other than Microsoft Surface 2 RT.

If you’re interested to know more about this device, including its gaming performance and how it performs when running the latest graphically demanding games in full graphics, then here you go, my personal review of Microsoft Surface 2 RT tablet.

Introduction

As a second-gen model, it’s not surprising to see that this tablet comes with some bumped up specs compared to the predecessor.

And it’s true because it now has a much sharper 1080p display (as opposed to the 1366x768 pixels on predecessor), a Tegra 4 quad-core processor (from Tegra 3 on previous-gen model), 72-core GPU and many other sectors that receive upgrades from Microsoft.


The upgrade also takes places on the software and OS version of this device, which now comes with Windows RT 8.1 out of the box, as opposed to the Windows RT 8.0 on the predecessor.

The good news is, the previous-gen model is also upgradeable to this same latest OS build just like Microsoft Surface 2 RT.

So if you currently own the first-gen Surface RT and you want to upgrade to the sequel model just for the shake of its Windows RT 8.1 update, i suggest you to delay that decision because your current Surface RT model can also be upgraded to the same OS build as Microsoft Surface 2 RT.

Anyway, something that really attracts me a lot with this tablet is actually its processor, which now is taken care by Tegra 4 quad-core processor, instead of Tegra 3 on predecessor.

I’ve already seen some of the tablets equipped with this powerful processor and all of them proved to be great for gaming or handling any graphics-related tasks on the device.

However, this Surface RT 2 tablet might also have the same problem just like any other Tegra 4 tablets out there.

And that is overheating issue – which usually can be triggered if you use this tablet mainly to do some heavy graphics-related tasks like gaming or watching HD movies in marathon without resting the screen. But we’ll get more on that later.

But the questions remain. With all of these hardware upgrades found on this tablet, does Microsoft Surface 2 RT have what it takes to be a great gaming tablet?

Does this tablet stack up against other 10-inch rivals on today’s tablet market?

Is it worth it to upgrade your current-gen Surface RT to this second-gen model?

Well hopefully, we'll get to know more about that at the end of this review. So be sure to stick around!

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  • No SIM No
  • Released 2013, October
  • 675.9 g (Weight)
  • Built-in 2-stage kickstand
  • 10.6 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen, 1920 x 1080 pixels (~208 ppi pixel density), 16M colors
  • ClearType technology
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1 RT
  • Quad-core 1.7 GHz Cortex-A15 Nvidia Tegra 4 T40 Chipset
  • 72 core ULP GeForce GPU
  • 2 GB RAM
  • microSD memory Card slot for up to 64 GB
  • Internal 32/64 GB
  • No GPRS
  • No EDGE
  • WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct
  • Bluetooth v4.0
  • USB v3.0
  • 5 MP rear-facing camera (2592 x 1936 pixels) autofocus, LED flash
  • 3.5 MP front-facing camera (1080p @30fps video recording)
  • HTML5 Browser
  • No Radio
  • No GPS
  • No Java
  • Dark Titanium
  • TV-out with HDMI port
  • Microsoft Office 2013 RT
  • 200GB free storage for 2-years of SkyDrive cloud sync
  • 1 year Skype free international calls and Wi-Fi
  • Non-removable Li-Ion battery
As a second-gen model, there’s no doubt that Microsoft Surface 2 RT will bring many bumped up sectors in terms of hardware specs.

And that what exactly happens on this model.

I even think that this Microsoft Surface 2 RT is worth upgrading tablet if you’re currently owning the first-gen Surface RT at your disposal.

First of all, on the screen department, this tablet features the same screen size – 10-inches – but with upgraded resolution of 1080p or 1920x1200 pixels, making it an equal rival to many 10-inch tablets out there on the market to date.

The camera sector of this tablet also gets bumped up with much better 5MP and 3.5MP cameras back and front – as opposed to the 1.2MP cameras on predecessor.

Meanwhile, on the software side, this Microsoft Surface 2 RT gets updated to Windows RT 8.1, compared to the Windows RT 8 on the previous-gen model.

Overall, i’m very pleased to see many departments of this tablet get upgraded to the higher level.

In fact, i personally think that Microsoft Surface 2 RT is worth upgrading especially if you’re currently owning the previous-gen Microsoft Surface RT tablet.

It has a way more powerful processor and GPU, a higher-resolution screen, much better cameras, newer software build, newer features and some other more.

Screen

The display of this Microsoft’s tablet may not be the best and highest-resolution screen on the market to date – because the highest-resolution display on the market today is 2.5K or 2560x1600 pixel display -, however, having this full HD resolution on the 10.6-inch display actually already delivers a sharp and eye pleasing experience to the users.

In fact, it’s more than enough to satisfy most of the users of this device, especially the ones who really love watching movies/tv shows, browsing the web, reading contents like books or magazines, playing games or even simply checking emails.

Everything just looks sharp and crisp on this screen.

The great thing is, even with that full HD display, this tablet is still more than capable to perform perfectly and smoothly with no lag whatsoever given that Microsoft Surface 2 RT is powered by a really powerful Tegra 4 processor, which has a staggering 72-core GPU, not to mention accompanied with 2GB of RAM, which is more than enough for multitasking many apps at the same time.

User Interface

The user interface of Surface RT 2 actually has nothing to write home about especially since Microsoft doesn’t really make a complete overhaul to this sector of its devices.

So basically, the UI of Microsoft Surface 2 RT still looks really similar with the one on the predecessor.

It still has the same looking Live Tile UI, the same wallpaper customization on the background, the same kind of features and pretty much almost everything on this tablet still looks and works just the same with the UI of the previous-gen Microsoft Surface RT tablet.

As a matter of fact, the UI of Windows RT OS on this tablet also looks and works pretty similar with the full-fledged Windows 8 Pro on Surface Pro tablet, although the Pro model has more complete features than the RT model.

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As far as the performance goes, it’s really obvious that Microsoft Surface 2 RT will be ahead of its predecessor - Microsoft Surface RT Tablet.

And that’s mostly thanks to its Tegra 4 quad-core processor, along with its 72-core GeForce ULP GPU - as opposed to the Tegra 3 processor and 12-core GeForce ULP GPU inside the predecessor.

This hardware upgrade is actually really vital for this tablet given that Microsoft Surface 2 RT now is packing a much higher-resolution 1080p (1920x1200 pixels) display, unlike the previous-gen model that is only equipped with lower 1366x768 pixel display (or slightly higher than 720p display, just slightly).

However, the significant improvements on the performance of this tablet might not be that noticeable, especially on the UI given that this tablet still inherits the same looking Windows RT OS (of of course, with newer 8.1 version compared to 8.0 on the predecessor), which has really light-weight UI, features and visual presentations.

So it still performs fast and smooth on the daily basis, especially when doing some basic tasks like editing Office docs, typing on Office Word or doing some media-consumption stuff from watching movies, reading contents like books or magazines, browsing the web, editing videos or playing games.

Even so, the huge improvements on the performance of Microsoft Surface 2 RT tablet will be noticeable when this tablet is tasked to do some heavy intense 3D gaming.

Thanks to its Tegra 4 quad-core processor, coupled with 72-core GeForce ULP GPU and 2GB of RAM, this tablet will be more than ‘happier’ to execute any games that you want to throw on this device.

The Windows RT platform on this tablet may not have such a huge collection of games just like on Android or iOS.

However, there are still some popular 3D games that can be ‘found’ and played on this device like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Need for Speed Most Wanted, FIFA 2014 or GTA San Andreas – which all of these guys can be played perfectly and smoothly on this tablet and the most importantly in full highest graphics.

This is actually not that surprising for me personally because i’ve already seen many Tegra 4 tablets out there on the market – even the ones with 2.5 or 2560x1600 pixel display - are also capable to handle the very latest and the most graphically demanding games across the market today – all in buttery smooth performance and full graphics.

So you can basically expect the same exact thing on this device.

Even though the app catalog of this tablet is not as complete as on Android or iOS, but at least, you can pretty much run all the games that you see today on Windows RT App Store or Marketplace (or whatever Microsoft calls it).

The good thing is – similar just like the previous-gen model, Microsoft Surface RT -, this tablet can also ‘get along’ with your Xbox 360 controller.

And that means, you can just plug in your Xbox controller to this tablet and it will automatically turn into a pure gaming tablet.

And more impressively, you can also find some retro game emulators for this device (like SNES or PS1) and then play the ROMS or game files straightly using that Xbox controller.

Isn’t that amazing, huh?

Overall, Microsoft Surface 2 RT can still be a great gaming tablet.

In fact – put its lack of game catalog aside -, this tablet is one of the best gaming tablets out there, especially in terms of gaming capability and performance.

It may not have some popular games like Dead Trigger, ShadowGun or Horn (which is an impressive open-world RPG) just like Android or iOS devices, but at least, there are still many popular titles from high-profile developers like Gameloft, EA Mobile or RockstarGames that can be found on Windows RT platform.

Besides, you can also play some of your favorite retro games in the past by using Xbox 360 controller on this tablet.

So i believe that can add up a lot of points on the gaming experience of this Microsoft Surface 2 RT.

But then again, Microsoft Surface 2 RT is originally intended by Microsoft as a simple productivity tablet, not a pure gaming tablet like Nvidia Shield.

So you just cannot expect this tablet to have the same gaming experience and performance just like Nvidia’s gaming device.



Anyway guys, if you want to know more about the gaming performance of Microsoft Surface 2 RT, including what games that will run on this tablet, check out my YouTube video playlist or Pinterest page. :)

Battery Life

One of the strongest points found on this tablet is actually its battery life.

Unfortunately, i found no exact information about the battery capacity inside this tablet.

However, according to GSMarena, this tablet is capable to deliver almost 15 days or 360 hours of standby time, which is really impressive for a productivity and media-consumption tablet.

The previous-gen model of this tablet actually features a huge 31.5Wh battery.

So you probably can expect the same battery capacity on this sequel, or probably bigger given that this tablet is now powered by a more powerful and power-hungry Tegra 4 processor plus 1080p display – which both could be huge battery squeezers on this device.

The good thing is, this Microsoft Surface 2 RT still inherits the same light-weight UI, features and visual presentations just like the predecessor.

So this probably could help a lot in making its battery life last much longer even in heavy use.

To be perfectly honest, i don’t know the exact battery life number on this tablet when used for doing some heavy intense tasks without resting the screen - like watching full HD movies in marathon or playing games in the row.

But i believe it’s still more than capable to survive around 5 to 7 hours in that heavy use.

This is the reason why Microsoft Surface 2 RT can be a great choice for you especially if you’re looking for a reliable and long lasting on-the-go device that you can literally use in long long hours every day.

My Personal Opinions

So my final conclusion of this tablet is, Microsoft Surface 2 RT may not be suitable to use for most of tablet shoppers out there on the market.

However, as a productivity-dedicated tablet, i think it’s still impressive to see how this tablet is not just great as a productivity device, but also as a media-consumption and even gaming tablet.

And that’s proved by how powerful the internals found inside this tablet.

It has a powerful Tegra 4 quad-core processor, accompanied with 2GB of RAM and 72-core GPU, it has a high-resolution 1080p display, a complete set of cameras (5MP and 3.5MP back and front with LED flash and autofocus), a long 15-day battery life in standby mode, microSD card for up to 64GB to support the 32/64GB of internal storage and a couple important features of normal tablet.

Not to mention, as the owner of Microsoft Surface 2 RT, you’ll also get the privilege to enjoy the 200GB of free storage for 2 years on SkyDrive cloud service plus 1 year of free international calls and WiFi using Skype.

Isn’t that amazing, huh?

Microsoft Surface 2 RT may not have such a huge collection of games just like on Android or iOS’s Google Play Store and App Store respectively.

However, thanks to its ability to work seamlessly with Xbox controller, you can still turn this productivity-dedicated tablet into a pure gaming device.

And more impressively, if you’re a huge fan of retro games like SNES or Super Nintendo games for example, then your hobby will be accommodated really well on this tablet.

You just need to find the right emulator on Windows RT Marketplace and the ROMS (or game files around the internet), then you’re good to go. That’s the awesome thing about this tablet.

Overall, Microsoft Surface 2 RT can still be considered as a great choice around the 10-inch tablet market.

As a matter of fact, thanks to its powerful specs, i think this Microsoft’s tablet really deserves its position alongside other flagship tablets like iPad Air, Samsung GALAXY Tab Pro/Tab S, Asus Transformer Pad TF701T and many other high-end 10-inch rivals out there.

So to sum this up, i’ll try to answer some of the questions i’ve previously asked above:

Does Microsoft Surface 2 RT have what it takes to be a great gaming tablet?

Yes – despite lacking on game catalog and ecosystem, i think Microsoft Surface 2 RT is still a great gaming tablet.

It may not have many of popular titles that you can see today on Android and iOS, like Dead Trigger 2, ShadowGun DeadZone or an amazing open-world RPG called Horn.

However, thanks to its support for Xbox 360 controller and not to mention the retro game emulators, Microsoft Surface 2 RT can still be used as a gaming device.

Besides, this tablet is powered by Tegra 4, 2GB of RAM and 72-core GPU, which are more than happier to handle any games on the market to date.

Does this tablet stack up against other 10-inch rivals on today’s tablet market?

Yes – given its powerful specs, it’s really obvious that Microsoft Surface 2 RT deserves to be positioned alongside other 10-inch rivals out there on high-end market.

I even think that Microsoft Surface 2 RT deserves much higher position on the market given that this device is originally intended as a pure productivity tablet, not just a media-consumption device just like any Android or iOS tablets out there.

Is it worth it to upgrade your current-gen Surface RT to this second-gen model?

Yes, definitely – this second-gen model now brings many bumped up specs like a full HD 1080p display, a more powerful Tegra 4 processor, higher quality 5MP rear-facing camera with LED flash, more robust 72-core GPU and many other things that make it a much better offering than the first-gen Microsoft Surface RT tablet.

So i think it’s still worth it to upgrade your first-gen Microsoft Surface RT Tablet with this sequel.

Disclaimer: Hi guys, bear in mind that this is not some in-depth review. This is Read more...
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