Regular listeners to the podcast will know that I purchased an original Surface RT device at launch and while I was pleased overall with the purchase I was frustrated by speed issues. These were alleviated to some extent with the release of the Windows RT 8.1 upgrade but it took the purchase of the upgraded Surface 2 to really give me the device I wanted. I said at the time I was in two minds about purchasing the Surface 2 or waiting for the Nokia Lumia 2520 and I’ve commented about how I find the industrial design of the Surface sometimes uncomfortable to hold. After the launch of the Lumia 2520 a part of me regretted not waiting.
We’ve decided that the Surface Pro 2 I also purchased will become the family “PC” since our desktop is getting almost no use these days and my wife will inherit my Surface 2 since Windows Media Center has also been relegated to our past. This meant I needed a new tablet and so I decided to follow my original instincts and purchase a Lumia 2520 (a decision helped by the current £100 discount being offered by John Lewis). So please read on to find out if this is a decision I’ve lived to regret.
The core difference, apart from appearance, between the Surface 2 and the Lumia 2520 is that the former uses a NVIDIA Tegra 4 (T40) Quad Core processor running at 1.7 GHz the latter uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Quad Core running at 2.2 GHz. I can honestly say I’ve not noticed any difference between these two devices and both Windows RT 8.1 and Office 2013 RT perform equally well on each. If you tend to base your purchasing decisions by comparing processors then on paper the Lumia 2520 seems to have the edge but in real world terms there really isn’t any perceivable difference between them.
These devices both share the same 10.1″ display size and also the 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution and as with the processor there really isn’t much to separate these devices. As with the processor there isn’t any perceivable difference between the devices either when using apps from the store or the included Office 2013 RT desktop applications. I’ve not used the device outside in sunlight yet but the Lumia 2520 does utilise the same technology as my Lumia 920 Windows Phone and so I’m hopeful of similar results.
This is the main difference for me because my Surface 2 was the 64GB model whereas the Lumia 2520 has only 32GB of storage and I was concerned about this even though I utilise OneDrive. This is really about comfort and having fully setup the Lumia 2520 I’m left with about 9GB of free space and that does make me a little nervous (amazing when I think that my first PC had a 60MB hard drive!). I’m using the 64GB microSD card from my Surface 2 to hold my Xbox Music library so the 9GB shouldn’t be an issue. There are some games that I’ve downloaded that are around 600MB and without the ability to install apps to the microSD card it is possible I’ll have to manage the free space. That is something I wouldn’t have had to worry about with the Surface 2.
I know that Ian doesn’t have an issue with the edges of the Surface 2 but for me I found the “sharp” edges uncomfortable in some usage scenarios, holding the bottom edge of the device in one hand for example, and while it didn’t impact my experience overall it was a small negative. The Lumia 2520 has what I term a much more classic design to its casing that resemble other devices like the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab and I’m pleased to say I find it much more comfortable to hold. This device is also smaller, 267mm x 168mm compared to 275mm x 173mm, and while both devices are classed as 8.9mm thick the Lumia feels thinner due to the design. There is also a small weight difference, 615 grams compared to 676 grams, and that makes the Lumia 2520 easier to hold and the device also feels less “dense” compared to the Surface 2. Given that this was my main reason for wanting the Lumia I have to say I’m really pleased overall.
I’ve left this until towards the end of this post since the Surface 2 has all the connectivity I need with inbuilt wireless and I have a Mi-Fi device for when I’m out on the road. The Lumia 2520 includes LTE (4G) and inside the box is a micro-SIM module supplied by EE with 200MB of data to get you hooked. I’ve setup the LTE connection but so far I’ve not used the device outside so unfortunately can’t comment on how well this works. You’ll just have to listen to the show on Tuesday (18th March) to find out more. In addition to the LTE component the Lumia 2520 also adds NFC and GPS compared to the Surface 2 but again I’ve not had a chance to try this out, I really can’t imagine using a 10.1″ tablet as a turn-by-turn GPS solution anyway and these days Wi-Fi seems to be just as good at pinpointing my location.
Unlike the Surface 2 that I use with my original Touch Cover I haven’t purchased the Power Keyboard for the Lumia 2520 yet because I really want the red version and so far only black has been released. While in my mind the keyboard is a great addition to the Surface 2 I would also confess to not using it all that often. The same goes for the kick stand on the Surface 2 which in all honesty I actually don’t use as much as I think I do. I will be purchasing the keyboard for the Lumia 2520 despite that so watch this space.
The Surface 2 has really impressed me with multi-day battery life based on my usage and I’ve never found myself in a situation where the battery didn’t have sufficient charge to get me through the day. I’ve only had the Lumia 2520 for a few days so while I can’t compare it directly to the Surface 2 my instincts tell me there won’t be much to separate them here. Both devices support connected standby so are always ready for use and each offers a “quick charge” solution meaning the battery can be quickly topped up even with only a 30 minute charge.
Overall, even with only a few days of use, I can honestly say that for me the Lumia 2520 is a better device overall from my perspective. I really prefer the feel of the device and it is far more comfortable to hold and my impression is that it’s much less “dense” compared to the Surface 2. I’m pleased to say that my regret at not waiting for the Lumia 2520 has proved to be correct and this is the device for me.