Microsoft announces second generation of Surface devices

Published by at

Microsoft yesterday announced the second generation of its Surface tablet devices. Both the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 are incremental updates to the original hardware. A number of new and updated accessories were also announced along side the new devices.

The Surface 2, which drops the RT name, is thinner, lighter and faster than the original Surface RT. The device, which is built around Nvidia's Tegrra 4 processor, also has a higher resolution screen (1080p ClearType display), improved battery life, and support for a full size USB 3.0 for faster file transfers. The Surface 2 will ship with Windows RT 8.1 and a RT version of Microsoft's Office Suite, including Outlook RT.

The Surface 2 Pro changes little on the outside, with the same external styling, weight, and size as its predecessor. However, there are significant internal changes, with the device now based on an Intel Core i5 Hasewell processor, which translates into significant performance gains across the board, most notably in a 60% improvement in battery performance. The Surface 2 Pro runs Windows 8.1.

One change that applies to both device is an improvement to the integrated Kickstand, which adds a second stop point at 55 degrees, allowing for a more sloped position than the existing 22 degree stop point. 

Both Surface devices also arrive with a year's free Skype calls to land line in more than 60 countries, and 200GB of SkyDrive space for two years. The Surface 2 and Surface 2 will go on sale on October 2nnd in 22 markets. The Surface 2 will cost $449 (32GB) or $549 (64GB), the Surface 2 Pro will cost from $899 to $1799 (various combination of RAM and storage available).

The associated Surface keyboard accessories have also been updated. Touch Cover 2 is more responsive and Type Cover 2 is quieter in use. Both keyboards are thinner, have improved backlighting, and are available in more colours. A new keyboard type, Power Cover, has also been introduced, effectively a Type Cover 2 with integrated battery to give a boost of Power to your Surface device. Also new is the Wireless Adapter for Typing Cover, which lets you use any of the Covers wirelessly (via Bluetooth), so that you can control your Surface from across the room.

Microsoft's well regarded Arc Touch Mouse gets a Surface Edition, but the most interesting new accessory is the Docking Station for Surface Pro. The dock, formed by two wings that fit around either side of the Surface Pro , includes three USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, audio in and audio out ports and a charger connector. It can also be used to power two external monitors.

Surface 2 accessories

A more specialist accessory is the Surface Music Cover, which replaces traditional keys with media control buttons, volume sliders, and a grid of number keys that can be mapped to specific actions. The Surface Music Kit will ship with a piece of software that integrates with Xbox Music and will people to remix songs. Microsoft described the cover as being pressure sensitive, enabling pressure based beat control. The Surface Music Cover feels more of an experimental accessory, but as the keyboards of the first generation did, underlines Microsoft desire for Surface to be seen as more than just a content consumption device.

More information on both new Surface devices is available from Microsoft's dedicated Surface website.

Source / Credit: Microsoft