Between the camera, the keyboard cover, the processor, and the tablet's industrial design, the Lumia 2520 puts great distance between itself and the Surface 2, and that's an impressive feat considering that both tablets are essentially 10-inch Windows RT 8.1 devices. If you've read my Surface 2 review, you know that I'm no fan of Microsoft's ARM-based operating system, but I do see some value in any Windows-based machine that costs just $400.
Of course, that $400 price tag is subsidized. You'll have to commit to a two-year data contract to snag that deal, or else the Lumia 2520 jumps to $500—or $50 more than the Surface 2. So weigh your options. Test both tablets' keyboards, and see which device's industrial design gives you the better vibe in person. I don't recommend Windows RT hardware for anyone who has the cash flow to spend a bit more on a full-fledged Windows 8.1 tablet, and that's why I think the Lumia 2520 is a poor deal at $500. But at least the 2520 poses a legitimate challenge to the Surface 2.
And that's exactly what Microsoft needs right now: some energy in its mobile portfolio. Maybe a little competition between Microsoft's two in-house tablet lines will provoke a new path of innovation—and a positive consumer response. The 2520 is the anti-Surface, and right now that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.