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Smashing victory for the Microsoft Surface Pro 2

November 30, 2014

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Nearly two weeks ago a homeless friend of mine took part of her tax credit and bought a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 tablet.

I was one of the first people she showed it to and in gratitude I wrote a post praising the hardware but slagging its operating system, Windows 8.1.

Fans of the Surface tablet will be happy to know that my friend developed quite a liking for the device. She was particularly impressed with the build quality. She told me repeatedly that she couldn’t break it no matter what she did.

High praise from a woman who’s last two laptops were destroyed by either being sat on or rolled over on.

Well, last Friday night someone finally figured out how to break the Surface. During an event involving a cheap Android phone — what my friend ruefully described as her new “$800 Android phone”, the Surface 2 was somehow effectively destroyed.

The last stand of a Surface Pro 2

The screen is shattered and the case is bent but yet the Surface 2 is still standing!

Still standing, even with a bent case and a shattered screen.

The Corning Gorilla Glass 2 screen was a crazed mess. The metal case of the Surface 2 was actually creased and bent from the back; the kind of result you would expect if you took it in both hands and brought the back down hard against the edge of a table — repeatedly.

For all that, the integral kickstand still deployed and the thing still stood upright.

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And it still tried to power up, for a few seconds at least.

My friend brought me the broken, bent and shattered remains of her Surface 2 tablet in the hopes that I might be able to rescue the contents off the solid state drive and she wanted to believe that it was still valuable enough that I could sell the carcass for her online.

“It still turns on” she explained to me.

And indeed, pressing the power switch actually caused the screen to light up for a few brief seconds.

I was duly impressed but had to tell her — as if she didn’t already know — that her Surface Pro 2 was well and truly finished as a device; perhaps the solid state drive and RAM could still be salvaged though.

Sometimes a loss is a good as a win

In the nearly two weeks that she had it, my friend didn’t have a bad thing to say about the Pro 2. It fit in the oversize pocket of her jacket, it did most of what she wanted to do on a computer and, like I said, it was tough.

One of the things that had bothered me was the way the onscreen keyboard slid up over top of the desktop taskbar.

She explained that you could change the keyboard’s opacity and then use the taskbar through the transparent keyboard.

While she used the device, she never expressed a single gripe to me about the Windows 8.1.

After it was broken though, she explained that she’d had just enough interface issues with the Surface Pro 2 that any tablet she purchased in the future would probably be an Android device.

What I take away from my friend’s brief experience wit the Surface Pro 2 is the fact that she liked it. Though it ultimately got smashed it certainly wasn’t done in a fit of rage over the operating system.

I can’t overstate that.

My friend is a person with little patience for details and difficulties. She’s certainly smart but not “technical” and prior to using the Surface her whole experience with Windows had been Windows XP. Yet, whatever little problems she had, she never experienced any great Windows 8 “future shock”.

I give due credit for that to the Surface Pro 2 both as a piece of hardware and as a platform for Windows 8.1.

The Surface Pro 3 is already much better hardware than the Surface Pro 2 that my friend had and Microsoft can only improve on Windows 8.1. All of which makes me more optimistic that the Surface may have a future, assuming Microsoft can tough out the reported ongoing losses on poor sales of the next-gen tablet. Click the images to enlarge them.

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