Category Archives: Surface

Final thoughts on the Surface 2

I have used a Surface 2 daily for almost a year now. I bought one as I wanted a Windows machine that was very portable, had Office, touch, was not vulnerable to viruses and spyware, and would just work. Unfortunately it failed dismally on the last requirement. I am not sure if mine is just faulty, but these are all the issues that I have with it:

  1. The nVidia display driver crashes, regularly. Often when this happens, there is a popup on the desktop saying that the driver has crashed, and then the entire operating system becomes a slideshow, and is completely unusable. You can’t even restart it, it requires a hard power off by holding the power button in. This has never been addressed by Microsoft.
  2. Sometimes the device will not wake up, the lights on the keyboard come on, but the screen remains black. Has to be powered off.
  3. Sometimes the keyboard stops working, and either requires reattaching, or rebooting the device.
  4. Sometimes no modern apps will open, requiring a reboot.
  5. It frequently stops detecting the micro SD card, and the card has to be reseated.

What worries me, is that if Microsoft can’t even get this working reliably with their own OS and their own hardware, with no third party applications installed, what is this a lost cause? My Surface 2 is far less reliable than my other Windows tablets and PCs, e.g. Lenovo laptops, home built PC, etc.

Regardless of the fact that the Surface 2 is now an orphaned device due to the demise of Windows RT, it is very disappointing that Microsoft never resolved these issues when they control the end to end experience, and I am worried about getting another Surface device for these reasons.

Surface 2 HDMI output problems fixed with a cable mod

The Surface 2 has a micro HDMI output, however some cables will not work correctly due to the angle of the port.

I picked up a Surface 2 the other day. Loving the tablet, except had few annoying issues. The first was that when I connected it to my TV via a micro HDMI to HDMI cable I picked up on Amazon here I found that it did not work properly. An LG TV worked fine, but a Samsung did not detect the input. It turns out that this is because of the angle of the port, and the fact that the cable needs to be fully pushed home to work properly.  Once I worked that out, it was a simple fix with a knife to trim some of the cable shrouding off on one side, allowing the cable to push further in.

Here is the cable after the mod, with one side shaved off, now works perfectly:

cable_mod

The second issue I had, was that my display settings kept getting messed up, either changing the resolution, or making the desktop and start screen much smaller than it should be. This was because I had a Windows 8.1 VM logged on with my account, and it kept syncing the settings. Modifying the sync settings to not sync display settings resolved this one.