Microsoft introduced two new additions to its Surface series laptop/tablet line Monday (Sept. 23), the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2. The hardware and software specs improvements to these 2nd generation tablet offer increased speed, more storage space, and a thinner, lighter design.
These new updated 2013 10.6-inch Windows 8 tablets follow the Microsoft Surface RT and the Microsoft Surface Pro released in 2012. Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 offer a boost in specs, one of which is speed. The Surface Pro 2 is powered by the fourth generation Intel Core “Haswell” i5 processor, which the Surface 2 sports the NVIDIA Tegra 4. Software specs include the latest Windows 8.1 software from Microsoft for an improved user-interface (UI), including the return of the trusty Start button. The Surface 2 runs on Windows RT 8.1 and the Surface Pro 2 runs Windows 8.1 Pro.
The battery life of the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 are significantly improved by up to 75 percent, with a promise of up to 10 hours of power. Along with the new optional power cover, battery life of the device is promised to increased by up to 50 percent. This is a vast improvement from the 5 hour battery life reported on the 2012 Surface tablets.
Microsoft is currently accepting pre-orders for the new tablets, with the 2GB RAM, 32GB Surface 2 priced at $450 and the $550 for the 64GB version. The Surface Pro 2 features 4GB RAM and is priced at $900 for the 64GB, $1000 for the 128GB and $1300 for the 256GB model. The higher end model of the Surface Pro 2 with 8GB RAM and 512GB of storage space costs $1800.
Although the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 function as a standalone tablets, the devices are easy to convert into an ultrabook laptop. The Type Cover 2 with built-in keyboard is priced at $130 has the same form factor as the original. At 2 mm, it’s 1 mm thinner and is now backlit. Microsoft also offers another keyboard/cover option for the Surface 2 or Pro 2, the Touch Cover 2 for $120.
Another Surface accessory worth mentioning is the newly introduced Surface Docking Station. Expected to arrive early 2014, it adds additional ports to the Surface tablet for even more functionality. The Docking Station, includes 4 extra USB ports, an Ethernet port, a mini DisplayPort, audio in/out and also a power port.
Microsoft’s Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 can be pre-ordered online from Microsoft or Best Buy. Orders ship October 21, as both devices are set to hit retail stores October 22.