When Microsoft released the first generation of its Surface RT / Surface Pro tablet / laptop hybrid, New Zealand customers had to wait for some months before they arrived down under. The second generation arrived pretty soon after they were released on the world stage. There's even a New Zealand sub site.
I was in Christchurch yesterday and checked out two of the stores that stock them here - Noel Leeming (two stores) and Harvey Norman. The three stores I checked all had both of the second generation models instore and on display.
- In Noel Leeming, I picked up the Pro 2 and was immediately surprised at how heavy it felt. Although it is lighter by almost 200g compared to a MacBook Air 11", it didn't give off that feeling. Clearly it is a lot thicker too.
- My Harvey Norman visit was instructive. Harvey Norman had probably 40 different computers on display. Apart from me, there were two other men looking at computers, and both of them were at the Surface Pro 2. The first was trying to figure it out - swiping, touching the screen, and clicking on random keys. He commandeered the Pro 2 for a good five minutes, almost oblivious to the second man who was waiting his turn. I guess that since the Surface was the new device in stock, the two men were there to understand what it is and what it could be used for. Whether they purchased a device or not I don't know. Harvey Norman also had the Pro 2 on "special" - a reduced price compared to the standard retail pricing. That was "interesting." Harvey Norman also had a good line up of the keyboard accessories, and a good stock of the stylus pens.
- Dick Smith is not permitted to stock the Surface line. I asked a staff member in one store if he'd had any customers coming in to ask about it. "Yes, lots," was his answer.
More reading on the Surface Pro 2:
- ZDNet, Microsoft Surface Pro 2 review: Better, but too heavy and too expensive
- TechCrunch, Microsoft Surface Unit Volume Doubled in Most Recent Quarter
- ArsTechnica, Surface Pro 2: Less than a laptop (the page 2 points about the footprint with keyboard, plus the two-position hinge, is especially helpful when considering whether this is the right device for you or not)
- PC World, Surface Pro 2 review: This is the Windows tablet you're looking for