On September 23, Microsoft announced two new Surface tablets. The Surface 2 is an update on the Surface RT and the Surface Pro 2 updates the 2012 Surface Pro. Microsoft hopes that these new evolutionary tablets will be vastly more successful than their predecessors.
Microsoft Surface 2
The Surface 2 uses an NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor and Windows RT 8.1 (not the same as full Windows 8.1). Windows RT 8.1 brings improvements in areas such as personalisation, search, multitasking, built-in apps, and connectivity to cloud-based storage. The design looks similar to the RT, at least from a few feet away, but it is thinner (8.9mm), lighter (676g) and built from two pieces of magnesium, not three.
Compared to the Surface RT, you will see a considerable number of new features in the Surface 2, including:
- Screen resolution is now the same as on the new Surface Pro 2, 10.6” 1080p ClearType.
- CPU speed has increased dramatically, three to four times faster than the Surface RT.
- Cameras: the Surface 2 has a 3.5-megapixel front camera and a 5-megapixel rear camera, both capable of capturing 1080p video. Microsoft has added a third-inch camera sensor to the front of the tablet to help manage the light in webcam videos, especially those recorded in dim light.
- The original’s USB 2.0 port has been upgraded to USB 3.0.
- Battery life is reportedly 25 percent longer than before, with up to ten hours of video playback.
- The Surface 2 is available in black and silver.
- The Surface 2 comes pre-loaded with Microsoft Office 2013 RT and is available in 32GB and 64GB configurations.
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
The Windows 8 Surface Pro has been updated to provide a class-defining Windows 8.1 platform. It now comes with a stylus. Microsoft says that the new Cleartype 1080p screen has 50 percent more colour accuracy, the processor gives faster graphics performance and is 20 percent faster than the original. The Pro 2 has an improved speaker setup using Dolby. Battery life is improved by up to 75%. New features:
- 1.6GHz Core i5 Haswell processor
- Ports: three USB 2.0, one USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, Ethernet, audio in/out and charging.
- The Surface Pro 2, when docked, can output up to a 3,840 x 2,160 on an external display and is capable of editing 6K video.
- The Surface Pro 2 is available in 64GB and 128GB versions with 4GB of RAM, as well as 256GB and 512GB versions with 8GB of RAM.
Surface 2 accessories
There will be new peripherals launched to go with the new Surface – including a Surface Docking Station, Surface Power Cover (with integrated 30W battery) and new colour Type Cover and Touch Cover colours. The Type Cover 2 is now 1mm thinner and is backlit. There’s also a car charger with USB and an Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition.
Microsoft has replaced the Windows logo on the back of their tablets with the Surface logo so people will be able to see what you are using. Both the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2 have the same two-stage kickstand, which should make it easier to balance on your lap. Surface owners will receive a year of free international calling and Skype hotspot access, plus two year’s free 200GB of SkyDrive storage.
Microsoft’s next-generation Surface tablets are set to ship to 21 markets on October 22nd.
The Surface 2 32GB model will be £359 in the UK and $449 in the US. The 64GB model will cost £439 in the UK and $549 in the US.
The Surface Pro 2 price starts at £719 in the UK and $899 in the US, available in 64GB and 128GB configurations with 4GB of RAM. With 8GB of RAM, the Pro 2 can come with 256GB and 512GB.
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