Microsoft has expanded its Surface family of tablets with Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 – along with an expanded portfolio of new Surface accessories.
The two new tablets boast many hardware and software improvements from their predecessors released last year, including improvements to processing power and battery life, to display and camera resolution, and to the Kickstand, now with dual angles, so it’s supposedly more comfortable for you to use your Surface on your lap or at your desk.
Both tablets have 10.6-inch screens.
In Asia, Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 will be made available in Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand starting October 22. China will welcome the devices in November. No word yet on when the tablets will be available in the Philippines.
Surface 2: Faster Than its Predecessor
Offering entertainment and gaming capabilities, Surface 2 is powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor, making apps run faster and smoother and increasing battery life to up to 10 hours for video playback.
Camera resolution has also increased, with a 3.5-megapixel front camera and 5-megapixel rear camera, both capable of capturing 1080p video and featuring improved low-light performance, according to Microsoft. Even with these and other upgrades, Surface 2 is slightly thinner and lighter than its predecessor.
Surface 2 will ship with Windows RT 8.1, bringing improvements in key areas such as personalization, search, multitasking, built-in apps, the Windows Store experience and cloud connectivity. The new Xbox Music allows you to stream millions of songs for free, and an updated Video app and great games from the Windows Store. For productivity, Surface 2 is pre-loaded with Office Home & Student 2013 RT and Outlook 2013 RT.
Surface 2 is available in 32GB and 64GB configurations; it will start at $449 in the U.S.
Surface Pro 2: A Laptop Replacement
Surface Pro 2 is the successor to Surface Pro and is being positioned as a laptop replacement, capable of running virtually all your Windows software including the full Microsoft Office suite, as well as apps from the Windows Store.
Running Windows 8.1, Surface Pro 2 is powered by a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 processor which, combined with other improvements, delivers increased performance and up to 75 percent longer battery life than Surface Pro, claims Microsoft.
Starting at $899, Surface Pro 2 will be offered in 64GB and 128GB configurations with 4 GB of RAM and 256GB and 512GB configurations with 8 GB of RAM.
The announcement also includes seven new accessories that will supposedly make Surface even more flexible, more portable and more productive:
• Touch Cover 2. Thinner and lighter than the original Touch Cover, measuring only 2.75 mm thin, Touch Cover 2 features backlit keys for even better readability. Touch Cover 2 is more rigid, registers keystrokes with greater accuracy and features updated sensors that support a variety of gestures across the entire keyboard. Touch Cover 2 has an estimated retail price of $119.99. It will be available for pre-order on Sept. 24 in all markets where Surface devices are available for pre-order.
• Type Cover 2. Type Cover 2 features the same super-thin, lightweight design of the original Type Cover, but it’s now backlit and will be available in Cyan, Magenta, Purple and Black in the coming months. It’s also more rigid, providing a better lap-typing experience, and is designed to be noticeably quieter when striking keys. Type Cover 2 will have an estimated retail price of $129.99. It will be available for pre-order on Sept. 24 in all markets where Surface devices are available for pre-order.
• Power Cover. Power Cover delivers the same great typing experience you get with Type Cover while extending the battery life of your Surface 2, Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 by up to 50 percent to help you make it through that late-night meeting or the entire flight. Power Cover will have an estimated retail price of $199.99 and has a projected release date of early 2014.
• Docking Station for Surface Pro. The Docking Station for Surface Pro lets you quickly connect Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 to desktop PC peripherals in a single step, taking you from laptop to desktop in an instant. While Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2 is docked, it can connect with an external monitor, Ethernet, speakers and power supply. PC peripherals connect via its one USB 3.0 port and three USB 2.0 ports. The Docking Station for Surface Pro will have an estimated retail price of $199.99 and has a projected release date of early 2014.
• Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers. The Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers connects magnetically to any Touch or Type Cover, letting you type from anywhere in the room using Bluetooth technology, so it is even easier to connect Surface to a TV or monitor and type from another location, such as the couch. Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers will have an estimated retail price of $59.99. It will be available for pre-order in the U.S. and Canada beginning Sept. 24.
• Car Charger with USB. Car Charger plugs into most cars’ power or lighter ports and charges Surface without the need for an additional adapter. It also features a USB port to allow simultaneous charging of a phone or other device. Car Charger will have an estimated retail price of $49.99 and has a projected release date of early 2014.
• Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition. This special-edition Arc Touch Mouse has been updated to match the look of Surface. Like other Arc Touch mice, it is designed for comfort and flattens for portability. It connects via Bluetooth 3.0, freeing Surface’s USB port for use by other devices. Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition will have an estimated retail price of $69.99 and will be available for pre-order in the U.S. and Canada on Sept. 24. Distribution in additional markets is projected to begin in the coming months.
Images from Microsoft Website