Microsoft is offering a big discount on the first-generation Surface Pro, knocking another $100 off the price, presumably while supplies last. That brings the 64 GB model down to $699, and the 128 GB model down to $799–the same price as an iPad with similar storage.
But the more I use the Surface Pro 2, the more I think you’d be crazy to buy an original Surface Pro, even at the lower price.
While I haven’t used the first-generation Surface Pro extensively, my first couple of days with Pro 2 has made me certain that new two-stage kickstand is essential. The original Surface kickstand unfolds to just one angle, of 24 degrees, whereas the Surface Pro 2 can kick back further to a second, 40-degree angle.
That added angle is the one I’ve been using most of the time, and I can’t stress enough how important it is. In your lap, it makes the Surface much more stable, so you can attach a Touch or Type Cover and use it like a laptop. Even without a keyboard cover, the extra angle helps for just relaxing on the couch. Instead of holding the two-pound tablet in your hands, you can let the kickstand do the work, providing a nice angle for looking down on the screen. You might also find the 40-degree position useful if you’re sitting at a low table, or if you need a more upward angle to avoid glare from a nearby window.
Granted, the viewing angle isn’t the only thing Microsoft changed in the Surface Pro 2. Its 4th-generation Intel Core i5 processor is more battery-efficient and slightly more powerful. But I could see some users rationalizing the battery difference by resolving to plug in the Surface Pro most of the time, or by picking up a battery-boosting Power Cover when it comes out next year.
The viewing angle is one thing for which you can’t compensate, and it really prevents the original Surface from being both a great laptop and tablet, which is the very point of this device. If you happen to own an original Surface Pro and love it, I’m happy for you, but everyone else should stay away from this deal.