New Tech: Surface Pro 2

Jamie Bartlett Blog Post 12 Comments 2315 Views

I love Jake. He really is the best husband I could ever ask for. Besides just being so stinkin’ cute, he is the most loving selfless person and he always wants to make my life easier.

Wacom has had their Cintiq tablets that let you draw right on the screen for a while now. I was never really able to get used to their other non-display tablets; it was just way too unnatural for me. So Jake bought the Cintiq for me over a year ago and I loved it and couldn’t be more thankful for it. There were a few down sides to it that annoyed me, but really was no getting around them at the time. Well, Jake being Jake always tries to make my life a little easier. So about a month ago he started looking into a better option for a graphics tablet. That’s when he found the Microsoft Surface Pro 2. When he first mentioned the word Microsoft I’ll be honest, I pretty much stopped listening. I haven’t used a non-Apple computer in YEARS! Plus I was a little hesitant to leave behind Wacom which is the standard for graphics tablets. But Jake kept pushing the idea and reading all these reviews to me. So I tried instead to look at the product for what it was and not who made it. Jake talked me into at least going to the store and playing around with it to see how it worked. The whole time I was there I felt like I was cheating on Apple. But then again Apple didn’t even make the kind of product we were looking for.

So there we were playing on the Surface Pro 2 — and I actually liked it. I’m not the person who likes to spend money, especially on big purchases like a computer, so It took a little more convincing for me. We decided that we would sell our Cintiq and Bamboo Wacom tablets and use that money for the Surface. That made me feel a little better so I finally agreed. Jake found a good deal for one on eBay and we bought it.

I’ve had a few weeks of play/work time on it and I LOVE it. It took me a little while to get used to the feel of it, but that’s how it is with any new technology. We ended up buying the Wacom Bamboo Stylus Feel to replace the stylus that came with the Surface. It’s a little more hefty and has a textured tip that makes drawing easier and feel more natural. I still sketch out most of my work on paper with a #2 pencil first and then take it to the Surface. Unlike the Cintiq, the surface is it’s own stand-alone computer so it doesn’t have tons of cords to plug in that hold you down to whatever computer you are plugged in to. That also means I can take it anywhere I want; the couch, coffee shops, on trips, anywhere! Pix especially loves that I can work from the couch more. For close to the same price as a Cintiq, the Surface Pro 2 is not just a drawing tablet, but an entire computer running Windows, in the form of a touch screen tablet. You can use it like a laptop too with the detachable keyboard. The screen is brighter and the colors display perfectly (unlike my Cintiq). Jake loves it because now he can play some of his PC games that he hasn’t been able to in years. Plus he really digs the FL studio groove app for making music for projects. The Surface definitely won’t replace our iMac, which I do all other aspects of design on, but it’s great for when I need to do hand lettering and illustrations. 

Overall I’m pretty thrilled with our purchase and it made me realize I should probably think a little more about what I buy rather than just writing stuff off because they aren’t a brand I’m familiar with. So if you like to do a lot of hand-done design you should check out the Surface Pro 2. I think you would like it.
If you’re interested, here are a few of the reviews we found helpful.
I’ve already taken full advantage of our new tool with all the recent projects I’ve been working on. And be on the lookout for a few more products I’ve been designing for our shop that I’m particularly excited about. I can’t wait to show you soon!
Jamie BartlettNew Tech: Surface Pro 2


  1. Yee Mei   Reply

    Well, I was already pretty sure this is the tablet for me.
    The problem is getting hold of one – been waiting for months.
    Thanks for a really good review AND I love it that you're left-handed

  2. Maja   Reply

    Thanks for the intersting post. I just got a wacom for christmas but still haven't quite gotten used to it yet. When you say " take it to the surface", do you trace the paper version, or just eyeball it from there?!

    1. apairofpears   Reply

      My sketches are usually pretty rough. So I scan my sketch in just so I have it there on the screen to refer too and refine it from there. I usually don't trace it I just have the overall design and layout figured out before going to the computer.

  3. Katherine Ross   Reply

    Oh man THIS. It's so funny, my husband has been trying to convince me that we should get a Surface tablet for months now and I just can't wrap my head around it! I've been Mac only for about 10 years now and can't imagine jumping over to a Windows tablet. Maybe we should test one out!

    Side note: I notice that you're left handed (me too!) I worked with a Wacom for a while and it just never felt natural. A friend mentioned that the setup isn't very friendly for left-handed folk. Maybe that had something to do with your discomfort too!

  4. Dave Birney   Reply

    "I'm not the person who likes to spend money, especially on big purchases like a computer"

    haha says the person who used to only buy overpriced apple computers 😉
    thanks for the review though

  5. dressperado   Reply

    I would love a Cintiq (haven't purchased because of the cost) — I've been drawing on a Wacom Intuos for 2 years with no problems and I love it. I'm wondering what your problems were with the Cintiq? What are you drawing on the Surface? Can you use it with Photoshop and Illustrator? I'd love more details on your usage so I can make an informed decision.

    1. apairofpears   Reply

      The main thing I didn't like about the Cintiq is all the cords and being tied down to a computer to use it. I wanted something more portable. The Surface is it's own stand-alone computer so it doesn't have any cords. For close to the same price as a Cintiq, the Surface Pro 2 is not just a drawing tablet, but an entire computer running Windows, in the form of a touch screen tablet. You can use it like a laptop too with the detachable keyboard. The screen is brighter and the colors display perfectly (unlike my Cintiq). They might have improved on the display since my model but again for around the same price you can have a drawing tablet or an entire computer. I mostly do lettering and little illustrations on the Surface. And yep it can run Photoshop and Illustrator! So for me the Surface made the most sense.

  6. Your Friendly Neighborhood Ed   Reply

    Hello! Thanks for your review of the Surface Pro 2. I wanted to know if you were still using it today, ( a year after this post)? Do you still enjoy it? Which version of illustrator do you have installed on it?
    I am looking at purchasing a Surface Pro 2, the 3 is way too expensive for me. I am mainly going to use it for designing decals on Illustrator. I currently use a laptop and wanted something a little lighter and convenient.

    P.S. I tried posting earlier and it didn't show, so my apologies if there are two responses from me.

    1. Jake   Reply


      We sold our Surface Pro 2 for the Surface Pro 3. The number of feature upgrades was substantial. We're using the latest version of all of adobe's software through the creative cloud subscription. I would suggest you try to get your hands on a Surface Pro 2 before buying it so you can get the feel for it and make a better educated decision. I don't think I could ever go back to the Pro 2 after upgrading to the Pro 3.