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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Microsoft Surface Pro 2 review:

Better battery and performance, same thick body

Microsoft Surface Pro
265

Microsoft Surface Pro 2

275

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11

314

Sony Vaio Tap 11

327

MacBook Air 11-inch (June 2013)

330

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

MacBook Air 11-inch (June 2013)
82

Microsoft Surface Pro 2

119

Microsoft Surface Pro

124

Sony Vaio Tap 11

165

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11

166

HandBrake MMT (in seconds)

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Microsoft Surface Pro 2
475

MacBook Air 11-inch (June 2013)

534

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11

741

Sony Vaio Tap 11

982

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

MacBook Air 11-inch (June 2013)
637

Microsoft Surface Pro 2

415

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11

311

Sony Vaio Tap 11

309

Microsoft Surface Pro

271

Sarah Tew/CNET

Conclusion
The Surface Pro 2 feels like a modestly improved sequel to what we had seen before, rather than a true 2.0 version of Microsoft's flagship tablet. Anyone shopping for a new Windows 8 system right now should rightly demand Intel's fourth-gen CPUs, available since June, if only for the increased battery life and power efficiency. The Pro 2 gives you that, and the new second angle on the kickstand does make it more convenient to use in your lap. The biggest disappointment is that it's still got that first-gen hardware look, while Sony has managed to shave its competing Tap 11 system down to a thinner, lighter package.

With no major new features or design changes, the Surface Pro 2 still relies heavily on its accessories to stand out as the market leader. But, with only a few new slate-style Core i5 tablets coming out (most competing models are hybrids that spend much of their time in clamshell-laptop mode), Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 manages to maintain a strong position in its small corner of the market.

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