updated 11:38 am EDT, Mon September 23, 2013
Specification upgrades, new accessories listed for Surface range
Microsoft has launched updated models of both the Surface RT and the Surface Pro slate computers, at an ongoing launch event. The Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 appear to be similar in design to the originals, except for the new two-stage kickstand in the Surface Pro 2, with both devices having a number of internal specification boosts and new accessories.
The Surface Pro 2, shipping with Windows 8.1, has an updated display with a 46-percent improvement on color accuracy and Dolby-powered speakers. Said to be faster than 95 percent of laptops and having a 50-percent graphics performance boost, the Surface Pro 2 houses a Haswell-based Intel Core i5 processor, with Microsoft Vice president of Surface Panos Panay claiming a 75-percent improvement on the previous model's battery life. The kickstand has a second position it can be set to, allowing the tablet to rest at 55 degrees as well as the original 22-degree angle.
The Surface 2 could be said to be more of an upgrade when compared to the Surface. Using the same 1080p ClearType display as the Surface Pro 2, it is said to be thinner and lighter than the previous model, with improvements to processor speed thanks to Tegra 4, a new USB 3.0 port, and a 25-percent improvement on battery life hitting 10 hours on video playback. Offering the same double-angle kickstand as the Surface Pro 2, and upgraded 5-megapixel and 3.5-megapixel cameras on the rear and front, the Windows 8.1 RT tablet will be available to buy in white as well as the original black.
New accessories shown at the event includes the new Power Cover, which houses a second battery that more than doubles the device's battery life, and a thinner Type Cover 2 with back-lighting, 1.5mm of travel, and a 1mm-thinner body. The Surface Docking Station, which works with both the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2, adds three USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, mini DisplayPort, Ethernet, and audio sockets, as well as being able to charge the tablet. A wireless adapter for Typing Covers, a car charger, a Surface Music Cover dedicated to music control and playback, a backlit Touch Cover 2, and an Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition were also announced.
Pre-orders for the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 will begin in the US and 21 other markets tomorrow. The Surface Pro 2 will start from $899, and will have 4GB of RAM in the 64GB and 128GB models, and 8GB in the 256GB and 512GB versions. The Surface 2, in 32GB and 64GB models, will start from $449. Shipments will start from October 22nd. Buyers of the Surface 2 and Surface pro will also be able to receive 200GB of SkyDrive storage for two years and a year of Skype Wi-Fi hotspot access and international calling.