Surface Pro 2 prices start at $1300. For that you get 64GB of built-in storage.
You may need more storage. The Surface Pro 2 is designed for heavy-duty computing and that often means lots of data.
A 64GB model only leaves 37GB of usable storage. A 128GB model is $1500. There’s also a 256GB model at $1880. If you can spare $2600, you could go all the way to 512GB.
Let’s settle for a moment on the $1500 128GB model.
Keyboard as an optional extra
You also need to spend another $200 on a Type Cover 2 keyboard. The Touch Cover 2 is less at $125, but I don’t recommend it for serious users.
So to buy a properly equipped Surface Pro 2 you need to spend $1700.
That’s exactly what I paid for my 13 inch 2013 MacBook Air. My MacBook has 256GB of storage, a bigger screen and a better keyboard. The MacBook doesn’t have a touch screen.
It also comes with Apple’s iWork apps. Sure, the apps might not be as comprehensive as Microsoft Office. On the other hand, they satisfy my needs. And anyway, Office is not included in the $1700 price of a Surface Pro 2.
Maybe a Windows UltraBook?
The same money buys a lot of Windows UltraBook. In fact you’d be hard pressed to spend $1700 on an UltraBook at JB HiFi. Prices start at around $1100.
With an UltraBook you usually get a bigger screen, more storage – not necessarily solid state, and, hopefully a better keyboard. Don’t forget to budget extra to buy Microsoft Office, it’s not included with the Surface Pro 2.
Other Windows tablets
Microsoft isn’t the only option when it comes to Windows tablets. There are cheaper alternatives:
@billbennettnz Between an ASUS 2GB RAM/64GB SSD at NZ$350 and a Surface 2 4GB /64GB at $1200… I bought the ASUS.
— Mauricio Freitas (@freitasm) December 8, 2013
A number of tablet makers offer products with a similar specification to the Surface Pro 2 for lower prices.
Surface Pro 2’s biggest competitor?
Perhaps the most important rival to the Surface Pro 2 is the Surface 2. That’s right, the tablet with a cut down version of Windows.
It only costs $650 for a 32GB model, that’s all the storage you need, plus $200 for a decent keyboard. That comes to a total rice of $850, half the price of the Surface Pro 2 for 90 percent of the functionality.
Plus the Surface 2 comes with Microsoft Office.
To answer the question, if you need a Windows PC in a tablet, $1700 Surface Pro 2 is a fine choice but you’re paying a premium for the Microsoft brand.
If I was in the market, I’d choose the less powerful Surface 2. The Surface 2 Pro can manage a heavier workload, but thanks to cloud computing and lightweight apps, that’s less important than it was.