CPU Performance

While multitasking on Surface 2 can struggle, the same really can’t be said for Surface Pro 2. The tablet is effectively a Haswell Ultrabook, capable of delivering the exact same performance as a 2013 MacBook Air – but in the form factor of a thick tablet. The performance of Intel’s Core i5-4200U is a fairly known quantity at this point, but to put Surface Pro 2’s tablet performance in perspective here are some comparisons to the best of the best in the ARM tablet space.

I ran tests using both Chrome and IE11, the latter is really only optimized for SunSpider and horribly unoptimized for everything else. In general you're multiple times better performance than what you can get from a quad-core Cortex A15 based device. If we look at Kraken, Surface Pro 2 running IE11 completes the test in 1/4 the time as Surface 2 running the same browser.

SunSpider 0.9.1 Benchmark

SunSpider 1.0 Benchmark

Mozilla Kraken Benchmark (Stock Browser)

Google Octane v1

Browsermark 2.0

WebXPRT - Overall Score

GPU Performance

Intel’s HD 4400 is good enough for light gaming and is a huge step above what you can find in a traditional ARM based tablet. Microsoft only gave us a few days to review both devices so I didn’t have a ton of time to re-characterize the performance of Intel’s HD 4400, but I’ve done that elsewhere already.

GLBenchmark 2.7 - T-Rex HD (Onscreen)

GLBenchmark 2.7 - T-Rex HD (Offscreen)

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Egypt HD (Onscreen)

GLBenchmark 2.5 - Egypt HD (Offscreen)

3DMark Unlimited - Ice Storm

Storage Performance

My review sample appears to have a SK Hynix based SSD. I ran it through the same modified IO tests I did on the ASUS T100:

Our Android IO tests rely on Androbench with a relatively limited LBA span. I increased the difficulty of the test a bit under Windows 8.1 but still kept it reasonable since we are dealing with eMMC solutions. I’m testing across a 1GB LBA span and testing for a period of 1 minute, which is an ok balance between difficulty of workload and sensitivity to the fact that we’re evaluating low-class SSDs here.

Surface Pro 2 is a completely different league of IO performance. The number to pay attention here is the tremendous increase in random write performance compared to the eMMC solutions we’ve tested. I suspect the gap increases if we were to look at worst case sustained random write performance. Killer sequential performance definitely helps Surface Pro 2 feel quick.

Storage Performance - 256KB Sequential Reads

Storage Performance - 256KB Sequential Writes

Storage Performance - 4KB Random Reads

Storage Performance - 4KB Random Writes

Display Battery Life


View All Comments

  • oranos - Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - link

    um no because unlike this product, the MBA can function without a touchscreen. Obviously missed the point. Reply
  • backbydemand - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    For that extra $29 you get a device that can remove the keyboard and be a tablet, which you cannot do with an MBA, to do that you also need an iPad that is hundreds of $$$ more and the inconvenience of carrying 2 devices. The MBA is a great laptop, the iPad is a great tablet; and never the twain shall meet. Reply
  • ADGrant - Saturday, November 2, 2013 - link

    The MBA is a great laptop and the iPad is a great tablet but the Surface Pro is neither a great laptop or a great tablet. Its far too heavy for a tablet (it weighs 2.5lbs with the type cover), and it doesn't work as a laptop since you can't really use it in your lap (the keyboard flexes and kickstand is unstable). The screen is too small for desktop apps also.

    The Surface 2 is even worse, it still weighs 2lbs with the cover (almost twice the weight of an iPad Air) and has almost no apps available. Both Surface tablets don't really work in portrait mode.

    For the record I have an iPad Air and a Surface Pro.
  • jasonelmore - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    dunno why this keeps getting compared to a mac book air. this is a tablet, has a 1080p screen, and runs windows in all it's glory. Reply
  • ghettotron - Saturday, October 26, 2013 - link

    I know this sounds dumb and kinda defeats the purpose of a tablet form factor....but just save your money on the keyboard and use one your own and plug it into the USB 3.0. Especially since most of those tablet/type cover keyboards suck for people with normal to large size hands. LOL Reply
  • Devjones2236 - Sunday, October 27, 2013 - link

    Air is not HD, does not have a touch screen (SP2 has capacitive touch screen, which is more expensive than a regular touch screen) and does not come with a digitized stylus. Is in the same ultrabook frame that requires very little Research and Development. Don't be naive Apple is all about profit margins. The Air could be sold at $700 easy, but Apple wants to squeeze your pockets. They say hybrids don't work bc they don't want them too, not because they don't. Apple wants you to buy a $1,000 MacBook Air and a $500-$800 ipad without any accessories. Reply
  • Imaginer - Friday, November 1, 2013 - link

    I guess those numbers also doesn't show the inclusion of a 10 point finger touch screen either in the comparison. Reply
  • InspectHerGadget - Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - link

    You get the MBA for about $999 with a keyboard and 128G Storage so yes, it is cheaper when you cost it out. Reply
  • augustofretes - Monday, November 4, 2013 - link

    The $899 has 64GB of storage and the keyboard is an essential part, and the keyboard is an essential part Microsoft should bundle, the Pro 2 without the type cover is just a terrible tablet and even worse "laptop". Reply
  • beggerking@yahoo.com - Monday, October 21, 2013 - link

    Air is NOT cheaper when it doesn't have a Wacom Pen or a touch screen, or even an Microsd Expansion slot. When you add all those in, Air cost > $2000.

    you (and many others) gotta stop confusing a "type cover" vs a "touch cover". Type cover is as good if not better than ANY regular laptop keyboard.

    When you have a touchscreen, a good touchpad is negligible.

    and STOP STOP confusing your smartphone os with a REAL full featured Windows OS. they serve different functions.

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