The real thing – MS Excel running on a Surface 2 with Windows 8.1
Microsoft Surface 2
If you work in an office, you are probably one of the 1 billion people around the world that uses Microsoft Office – Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. You can’t do that on an iPad. You can run Office on a Windows 8.1 tablet like the MS Surface 2 or Surface Pro.
Last week I was reading “The must-have iPad office apps, round 6” in ComputerWorld. The writer was reviewing various word processing, email, scheduling, task, and spreadsheet apps for the Apple iPad that work somewhere between not-too-bad and not-too-well.
Part way through the 27 page story it dawned on me – people who use Microsoft Office don’t want “almost-Office.” They want real Office, you know the one on your laptop or desktop.
The Surface 2 comes with Office and Outlook and Windows 8.1
One way to get MS Office on a tablet is to own a Microsoft Surface 2 because it’s the tablet that runs Windows 8.1.
There are tablets like from Dell and other companies that run Windows 8.1. They either come with or can run MS Office.
I guess if you already own an iPad then Office substitute apps might help but they are not as easy as using the real thing.
The apps in the ComputerWorld story don’t integrate your contacts, calendar, tasks and email. The don’t offer easy linking between Office programs. Only MS Office does that.
The new Microsoft Surface 2 ships on October 22nd and comes bundled with Office RT, the real thing not some wannabe office productivity program. Microsoft Surface 2 are available for pre-order from Microsoft and from retailers like Staples, Best Buy and Future Shop
Windows 8.1 RT and Office RT
A lot of newspaper stories and blogs were written slamming Windows RT because Windows RT does not run programs compiled for Intel laptops and desktops.
Of course, that holds true for the Apple iPad. You can’t run Apple OS X programs on the iPad. It only runs apps compiled for its processor.
So if you want to run apps, the iPad has the advantage with 375,000 apps to about 100,000 on the Surface 2.
What do I care? I want to run Office and get work done. I need a fast browser which is included in Windows RT. In one test, it took 12 seconds to load NJN Network on an iPad 4 and 5 seconds on a Surface.
I’d like to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, read the news from ABS, NBC, CBS, Huffington Post and Fox. I can do all of those things and more with a Surface 2.
Office RT limitations
Outlook 2013 RT on Surface 2 and Windows 8.1
Office RT that comes with the Microsoft Surface 2 is Office Home and School Student 2013 plus Outlook, “and nearly all the features most customers use. But because tablets have special needs for security and mobility, a few features are unavailable in Office 2013 RT applications, including macros, add-ins, and other custom programs written by users or developed by third parties.” Microsoft.com
If you are already subscribing to Office 365, the cloud service, you can connect email, contacts, your calendar, and messaging through the Office RT apps. Lync has an RT app. For all other Outlook functions, you can use them through your Office 365 portal.
If you need full Office 365 apps functionality then step up to the Microsoft Surface Pro 2.
Who’s buying Surface 2 ?
Microsoft Windows 8.1 enthusiasts are definitely snapping up the Microsoft Surface 2. It’s more powerful that the Surface RT, the battery lasts longer and the $200 of SkyDrive space plus an Office license is an incentive.
Microsoft hopes consumers buy them as school and entertainment devices and with Xbox games and music, plus a 16:9 display the Surface 2 should be a hit, but that largely depends on successfully marketing against Apple.
Delta Airlines will buy 11,000 Surface 2 tablets for their pilots and air crews. The Surface 2 will have custom apps that give air crews the 38 lbs. of maps, charts and manuals they must bring to every flight.
Organizations that use Microsoft Server and Cloud infrastructure will be able to control their BYOD issues with Microsoft Surface 2. There are IT tools administrators can use to control who gets what data on their portable devices.
Whether one needs to buy the 64GB model or the 32GB is a good question. If you want to keep most of your music, photos, documents and videos on SkyDrive you really don’t need the 64GB memory.
Surface RT versus iPad 4
If you read the comparisons of the Microsoft Surface 2 and iPad, it’s all apples and oranges. The Surface Pro 2 is being compared to the iPad 4 which is wrong. It should be compared to the MacBook Pro. But that’s the media.
iPad 4 versus Surface 2
No one has done definitive benchmark testing between the Microsoft Surface 2 and iPad 4 but here is a quick feature comparison.
The Microsoft Surface 2 with MS Office is larger, faster, has more storage, a better front camera, much more free cloud storage and costs $150 less than a similar iPad 4.
|iPad 4||Surface 2|
|MS Office||No||Office 2013 RT|
|Resolution||2048 x 1536||1920 x 1080||pixels|
|Type||TFT 5 point||IPS|
|Processor||Apple A6X||NVIDIA Tegra 4|
|1.4 GhHz||1.7 GHz|
|Battery life||10 hours||10 hours|
|RAM||1 GB||2 GB|
|Storage||16/32/64/128 GB||32/64 GB|
|Camera||5 MP||5 MP|
|Front Camera||3.5 MP||1.2 MP|
|WiFi / Bluetooth||Yes||Yes|
|Cloud storage||5 GB||200 GB||2 Years|
|Skype unlimited||No||Free||1 Year|
|Price||$ 599||$ 449|
|Keyboard||$ 80||$ 120|
Windows 8.1 free upgrade
Windows 8.1 is a free update for Windows 8 users, available on the Windows Store starting October 18, 2013. Users of Windows 7 and earlier versions can buy Microsoft Windows 8.1 – Full Version for $120, available on pre-order from Amazon.com.
Here’s a tip. If you don’t already have Windows 8.0, you can save some money by finding a discounted copy of Windows 8.0 upgrade and get the update free. Amazon.com still has Microsoft Windows 8 Pro – Upgrade for $85.