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NZ$400 Surface 2 a bargain for Office fans

Microsoft’s swanky Surface Pro 3 went on sale in New Zealand earlier this week.

It’s a lovely device, but it is not cheap. Prices start at NZ$1200. For one-third of that, you can buy the last generation 32GB Surface 2 at Noel Leeming until September 7.

The price is tempting. Is it worth considering?

At NZ$400 the Surface 2 is good value. Whether you should buy one depends on what you want. Think about how you plan to use it. Surface 2 not for everyone.

If your life revolves around Microsoft Office and you mainly use a desktop, the Surface 2 is a great way to add mobility.

Although they share a name, Microsoft has two distinct Surface product lines. Surface Pro 3 is closer to a laptop than a tablet. Microsoft’s marketing directly compares it with Apple’s MacBook Air. Surface Pro 3 runs Windows, it will handle all your normal Windows software. You will need to buy a keyboard to get full value from the device.

Surface 2 more tablet than laptop

Surface 2 is a more traditional tablet. It’s smaller and runs Windows RT.

RT looks like standard Windows, but only runs specially-written software. It won’t run all your existing Windows apps.

Surface 2 comes with its own apps including an edition of Microsoft Office at no extra charge. This alone can make it worth the money.

You have to buy a licence to run Office on a Surface Pro 3. Office 365 prices start at NZ$119 for a Personal licence covering a single device. I recommend paying NZ$165 for Office 365 Home which covers five computers and five mobile devices.

If you get more than three years use you, in effect, get the hardware for free. Just remember it is not as versatile as the more expensive Surface.