Skimming the Surface

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Here is a brand new Surface 2, the result of diligent shopping and careful research. Microsoft might have taken a billion dollar write-down on the first-edition Surface, but maybe this time around they will do a little better. So far I think this is a beautiful new product. Too bad they make it so hard to buy one!Surface Out of the Bag

The new line of Surface tablet-laptop gadgets went on sale a month ago. They are beautifully packaged and the machines have a high-end, premium feel. I ended up buying mine at the San Diego Microsoft store, which is located in a wretched citidel of greed and materialism known as the Fashion Valley Mall. Although I don’t like malls I did like this store. They had plenty of display models of the various Surface products and several tables devoted to new Windows laptops and tablets made by other companies.

The first time I went to look at the new Surface line, I ended up going to several different Staples stores and a few Office Depots, throwing in a side of Fry’s for good measure. Not only did these places not have what I wanted, the workers at the various stores appeared to have advanced-level training in “studied indifference” to people shopping for these devices!

When I went to Microsoft store, even they didn’t have the new Type 2 keyboard in blue, which these days goes by the name of “cyan,” but they did take my email address and promise to be in touch when the accessory was in hand. Yesterday somebody from the store sent me an email telling me that I had 24 hours to come buy the item. When I showed up a few hours later the staff was friendly and helpful. I said I wanted to get a new Surface 2, and they took care to explain that this device is “a tablet not a computer.” I said I knew it ran Windows RT rather than full Windows. I’d thought about buying the Surface 2 Pro, but for $1,500 I could get a tricked-out new ThinkPad or Fujitsu desktop replacement. For my purposes, the Surface 2 will be more of a fancy netbook replacement.

I bought the 64GB Surface 2 and the Type 2 keyboard. They threw in a free version one Touch keyboard, a nice move I appreciated. Setup was a breeze. From opening the box to being on-line and editing a Word document on Sky Drive took about five minutes. The screen is beautiful and responsive. The keyboard is a feat of engineering. Although the device is fairly large it feels lighter than you’d expect.

Probably Microsoft expects Fashionable People to attract envy at cool coffee shops when they flash their new Surface 2 units. Instead they get customers like me. I’m sure the other folks at Denny’s ordering off of the Senior Menu will be most impressed with what a cool gadget I have!

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