Seattle: Get Fresh with the Microsoft Surface 2 (Event & Giveaway!)

Hey Seattle! Want to win a Surface 2? Then meet me at the Microsoft Store in Bellevue Square for the Surface 2 launch event, tonight from 10:00p.m. - midnight!

A year ago almost to the day, I traveled to NYC with Microsoft for the launch of their pop-up store in Times Square along with the launch of their first Surface tablet (Reminisce here!) It's follow-up, the Surface 2, is faster, thinner and lives longer (battery-wise) than its predecessor. The Surface 2 is touted as a powerful laptop packaged neatly in a tablet, and the buzz is already starting around its improvements. I'm excited to check it out tonight, and so pleased to share the fun with you! 

Microsoft-Surface 2-Fresh Jess
Microsoft-Surface 2-Fresh Jess

I'm hosting a launch event scavenger hunt to give away this Surface 2. This is all going down on the social mediaz, so you MUST do these two things in order for each of your entries to count in the contest:

Here are all the different ways you can win:

  1. Tweet us a Surface selfie! This can be you in line for the launch, in the store with a Surface 2, whatever. Show me you're there!
  2. See a cool pair of shoes or a smart shirt at the launch event? Tweet us a photo showing some Surface launch event style.
  3. Tweet a way a new Surface device can help you stay productive.
  4. Meet someone you don’t know and find something you have in common. Make sure to mention their handle in your tweet!
  5. Answer this trivia question: How long is the Surface 2’s battery life?
  6. Check in on FourSquare at the event, and share it to Twitter.
  7. Share this blog post on Twitter! Tweet #FreshSurface
Microsoft-Surface 2-Fresh Jess
Microsoft-Surface 2-Fresh Jess

So how can you do more with the Surface?

Here are some of the key features of the new Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2:

  • A 10-hour battery life that keeps you charged throughout the day.
  • Ultra lightweight, at less than 1.5 pounds and just 8.9 mm thick.
  • A more powerful, always-on processor, so it’s ready to go when you need it. 
  • Office 2013 RT is pre-installed with touch-optimized versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote - so Surface 2 can go from plaything to workhorse right out of the box.
  • The Docking Station for Surface Pro delivers the power you need so you’re ready to go at a moment’s notice. Charge your Surface Pro and a cell phone, and run your external hard drive while making a Skype call on your USB headset, and you’ll still have plenty of power to work with.
  • Whether you’re a business executive needing to power through important business or a student looking for the ultimate portable device to tote around campus, there’s a storage option to fit your needs.
Microsoft-Surface 2-Fresh Jess
Microsoft-Surface 2-Fresh Jess

What's happening at the launch event, you ask? Well...

  • There'll be a DJ, food & beverages and swag giveaways (hats, tees, gift cards, etc.) throughout the night;
  • Microsoft Store will also be hosting a series of challenges for a chance to win a trip to the Orlando store opening, complete with a live performance by Pitbull
  • The winner will be whisked away the following morning (10/22) for VIP treatment at the event, including a meet and greet with Pitbull. 
  • Seattle Seahawks' All-Pro Cornerback Richard Sherman will be also be in attendance to meet and mingle with fans. He’ll also be giving out autographed photos to the first 150 guests at the event! 
Microsoft-Surface 2-Fresh Jess
Microsoft-Surface 2-Fresh Jess

RSVP on Facebook. Good luck!

This is a sponsored post, though all opinions and editorial direction are my own. 

Read the official rules for the Microsoft & Fresh Jess Surface 2 giveaway.

Fresh Jess in NYC: Microsoft Store Launch & Surface Tablet

Last week, I flew out to NYC for a last-minute trip to help Microsoft celebrate the launch of the Surface tablet alongside Windows 8 & the grand opening of the Microsoft Store holiday pop-up in Times Square.  I was accompanied by my best friend Paula, three other invited guests from Nashville, Chicago & L.A. and their friends.  It was a whirlwind of fun, learning, exploring and luck! (We got out of there early Sunday morning and avoided any Hurricane Sandy chaos. Phew!)

You can see shots from my trip on the Fresh Jess Facebook page, including the big Microsoft Store opening, Windows 8 installations in the middle of Times Square, and more playing around with the Surface Tablet in the store. Microsoft was kind enough to equip us with photographers and a video crew who recorded our time in the store. 

So what were my initial thoughts? Watch the video below:

So what are my thoughts on the Surface tablet?

Before I share them with you, I just want to stress that I am not a gadget geek at all. I don't need the latest and greatest, I want something reliable that does most of the things I need it to. I own all Mac products, but do not own an iPad. These are the opinions of a casual tech consumer who spends a ton of time on a computer working and on social media.

That being said, I think the Surface tablet is a great lifestyle computer. The resolution is great, the screen's glare-resistant and is really responsive to touch & swipe. There are touch covers in several colors, but I found the keyboard on these touch covers not as responsive as the tablet screen or the Type Pad cover (I got one of those.) It's got a built-in kickstand, USB and memory card ports.

I'm a big fan of the Start screen. It's colorful and customizable to the apps, sites and settings of your liking. There are a ton of apps in the Microsoft Store, but small in comparison to the Apple or Android store. I'm hoping developers will warm up to making more sweet apps for the Surface soon! I'd love to see native apps for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. One big feature of the Surface is the "Charms" sidebar, which appears with a short swipe of the right side of the screen and allows you to share links and updates from your Surface among other things. Until I see native apps for those social media sites, though, I don't know that I'll use Charms often. A swipe of the bottom of the screen will bring up more settings controls.

What are my other favorite features?

I love that Microsoft Office 2013 is included in the Surface tablet. I bought MS Office for my MacBook Air, and it's nice to be able to work on documents, spreadsheets & PowerPoint presentations on either one. 

The camera is amazing. The screen sits at an angle when it's in kickstand mode, but the camera corrects itself and captures a lot. You can fit at least four people in on a conference call on it. 

Resolution for movies and music videos is clear too. Battery life will get you through a whole day of use, so if you're only using it sparingly, should keep for a few days.

I've had a lot of people ask me how it compares to the iPad, or if they should trade out their iPad for a Surface tablet. I think it's like comparing apples and oranges. If you've got an iPad and you love it, why would you want to make a switch? It'd be hard to switch between operating systems, but if you're only using the Surface for some light work and mostly entertainment purposes, it's a good choice. More than anything, think about your needs & budget for your tablet, then go from there.

I'm honored to be among the first to play with it, and look forward to seeing what Microsoft does to improve it in the months and years to come.

All photos above credit Edelman & Microsoft

I'll finish this post with some of my own behind-the-scenes photos:

In action!

Getting prepped

Interviewing Microsoft Store manager Melinda

Thank you Microsoft for my new toy!

The outfit: Stones jacket from Piperlime / Zara sweater, booties & bag / Old Navy Rockstar jeans / Gifted bib necklace (similar)

Check out the Surface tablet with Windows RT at Thanks again!